Our neighbour the farmer hasn’t been able to start ploughing anything. Temperatures here have been so difficult and the ongoing ice and snow cover on the ground, till today, hasn’t helped. Today might have been the first opportunity, as everything has suddenly become soggy and drizzly. It’s been what we call a ‘dreach’ day, a wonderfully onomatopoeic adjective. The soothsayers say more very low minus temperatures are on their way next week. I do hope they are mistaken.
Lambing has been progressing in the large barns. The first good looking black lambs, from two gorgeous Suffolk sheep, arrived late December. The mums, who were bought late last year already pregnant, were were chosen by the farmer’s primary school aged grandson. I reckon he has a good eye for stock already. During term time, grandson ‘farms’ every weekend. It was great for him to see the lambs, now a good size, playing out today under the watchful eyes of the ewes. Grandson would have been involved in their movements in and out of the barn, loving every moment. I have been thwarted from getting pictures of these ewes with their lambs. They always manage to position themselves where there is an obstruction.
Meantime, the other woolly ladies in waiting are bedded in the maternity ward, (the barn) many ready to go into labour and others in the throes of delivery. Weather permitting, we might soon get sight of lots of gambolling lambs.
This long cold winter is difficult for everyone. The farmers need to keep their stock nourished; swedes grown by the farmers, play a large part here. We haven’t had so many generous gifts of vegetables thrown over the fence into our garden like in previous years. It is an indication, I think, of the prior requirements of the animals.
A lot of hay bales have been carted around,(strictly speaking, moved around on lorries). Again, these are for the animals, and if there has been a poor growing season the year before, or there is insufficient hay on a particular farm, the farmers have to find hay wherever they can obtain it and at a cost. Fortunately, last year, we had a mild, if not sometimes, long damp Autumn, which encouraged growth and harvesting at a level that was not possible in previous years. Without a doubt, it has been needed.