Eat, sleep, farm, repeat? 'Remove the sleep' I thought numbly - Jill Thorp

It was starting to feel a lot like Groundhog Day last week.

Foaling and the imminent return to school for John-William

The nightly checks continued as the wait for the second foal to arrive dragged on. I stared tiredly at the wording on John-William’s t-shirt one morning ‘Eat, sleep, farm, repeat’.

Remove the sleep I thought numbly and that about sums it up. As Fioled’s pregnancy loomed up to the twelve-month mark, I tearfully pleaded with her one morning to just have her foal. I’d had an increasingly uncomfortable feeling that something wasn’t quite right and I couldn’t shake the dark thundercloud of worry that hung over me.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The majority of mares foal in the early hours, so I was confident that I could get away from the farm for a few hours during the day. Another glorious day unfolded and as nobody had checked the ewes and lambs at Farnley the previous day I headed over, grateful for a change of scenery.

Want more farming and rural news? Join our dedicated Facebook group.My phone rang as I was driving into the first of our fields where some of our mules and their lambs were sunning themselves.

“You’ve got two foals in the field,” announced Paul in a rather flat, disinterested voice.

“What? Seriously, are you joking? Is it ok?”

“It’s fine,” he muttered. My mind raced, how typical that I would be almost forty minutes away from home when she foaled. I fired off questions, is it out of the bag, is it standing, how does it look, colour, sex?!

I was met with the same monotonal reply “same as t’other one” to all my excited queries. I gave up and breathed a sigh of relief. Both foals safely arrived.

The news that schools were hoping to gradually reopen with a staggered return for primary pupils came as a huge shock to John-William. He sat in silence as the possibility of his long, unexpected holiday looked set to come to an abrupt end.

He declared there would be no school for him until lambing was over and then it would be silage time, so really he was needed on the farm.

Whilst a lot of parents will welcome this news, there is a touch of sadness in it for me. I’ve loved having him with me, watching his passion for farming grow, his unfaltering surprise and joy at the endless stream of new life arriving daily.

The cade lamb pen is a constant source of amusement for him. It ebbs and flows, sometimes bursting with new hungry faces, at others quiet as new mothers are found. Names are given, friendships made, favourites declared. It’s sad to think this boundless enthusiasm will slowly fade over the proceeding years and the cade lambs will become a chore.

But for now, I’m grateful for his patience and help when faced with row after row of clamouring woolly faces.

I thought we’d almost made it through a day relatively drama free, no slamming of doors or fisticuffs at dawn, until I heard Paul’s bellowing scream. A petrol can was thrown across the yard followed by a shriek of “Who the heck put diesel in a petrol can?”.