Thursday, 18 July 2013

Sheep Preparations

A regular job on the farm in Mid July is getting the sheep ready for lambing in about a months time.  The ladies were penned up over night to keep them dry and then crutched (bottoms and bellies shorn) the next day.

This helps the lambs find the milk when they are born and keeps them clean too.  The shearer came and went in the morning while I was at work and when I got home they were back in the paddock filling their tummies.

Now they eat and wait until lambing starts.  Some of them are already pretty large and I need to do daily checks to make sure none are stuck on their backs and can't get up - not a very elegant position for a lady sheep to be in.  If they get to a point where they can't roll back on to their feet they can end up dying in the paddock.  My son spotted a stuck one the other day and rescued it.  I am sure she appreciated it - looks like twins in that tummy.

Off to greener pastures - my daughter gets the credit for this photo

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Nature laid bare

I love the shapes and backbone of the deciduous trees in winter.  They are beautiful without the adornment of leaves and flowers.  These poplars loose their leaves early in the season but don't fade into the background.

The Silver Birches have very graceful dainty branches and leaves and look different with every season.  Gold in autumn, bright green in spring and more olive green in summer.

The wood pigeons have moved in for the winter and spring months.  They are fabulous looking birds but I wonder sometimes how they lift off with that jumbo sized body.

They come for the blossoms and young leaves as they emerge on the trees.  They breed around here but I have never seen a nest and imagine it must be up high in a very sturdy tree.  I see the young ones once they are flying but they hide what I imagine is a pretty substantial nest very well.  I would love to hear from anyone who has seen a wood pigeon nest so I know what to look for...and where.

The garden is never totally bare.  The Camelia's are favourites for their lush leaves and pure flowers through winter and spring.  One of my favourites is 'Donation'.  It looks great through all sorts of weather and in my garden its usually the first one in flower.

A nice surprise today was finding 'Winter Sweet' in flower.  I have had this bush for years but have never seen it flower.  When I bought it the guy at the garden centre said its not very attractive for most of the year so hide it in amongst other shrubs.  The scent of the flowers makes up for any lack in beauty - although I think calling it unattractive was a bit harsh.

I picked some to bring inside - 2 branches and I am an instant success at flower arranging.  Just as well I like things simple and understated.
This little arrangement is perfuming half of the house - I am definitely a fan and would recommend it.  There's not much else around to beat it at the moment.

Always ready for a photo opportunity our two cats.  Not sure what they think they will catch up there although I have seen them eyeing up the wood pigeons - very optimistic like a lot of felines.  If a wood pigeon pooped on them they would fall out of the tree.  Never mind - dreams are free!!!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A Winters Day

Moving the Sheep

As an "every other day" part time farmer I don't get to choose the weather on the days I am at home.  Today is a bitterly cold southerly and you need to be well covered up to be comfortable.  The dogs seem to love the cold and have more energy than they know what to do with.  

Today's job is to move the sheep off one of the hill paddocks.  In my opinion sheep are not 'thick' as some people think.  They have learnt that after a few days in a paddock if I approach they will probably be moving to fresh grass.  They start filing down off the hill when they hear me.

And are waiting at the gate when I get there.

The pets are usually first and it is good to have a couple to lead the others, although all my sheep are pretty quiet and used to a stress free life.  We have 4 pets - Chloe and Molly are the oldest at 11 & 8 years old.  They are both pregnant again even though I advised them to stay away from those rams!  They are both great Mum's and have lambed every year.

Chloe & Molly
The two youngest pets were born last year - Elena and Jemma.

Jemma & Elena

By now they are all sick of having their photo taken and just want through the gate.  So I let them through.  
Job done - home for hot soup and toast.