'As I turned onto our drive a huge wagon load of rubbish that had been illegally dumped blocked my way' - Jill Thorp

Another week has flown past, the end of May will soon be upon us and the summer months will roll on by.

Jill's new foal is poorly

The last couple of months have been a blur, Easter and the bank holidays no longer something to look forward to as we’ve all been going through such uncertain times.

Thankfully we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as our lambing sheep are below 100 now. Both Paul and I have found this year’s lambing time harder than usual. It’s always a long slog, the inclement weather we often experience up here adding to the difficulty and hardship.

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We’ve been lucky this time, the weather has been kind, but we’ve just not enjoyed it and struggle with the long hours and constant lack of sleep.

John-William, our little ray of sunshine has kept us going, his unwavering enthusiasm keeping our spirits up.

We hit a particularly bad low when one of the foals was taken ill last week. She was the second foal to be born, and seemed a bit listless one day, laying under a wall showing little interest.

That evening I noticed she’d started scouring and the following morning it was pouring out of her. She deteriorated rapidly and the vet was called.

Diarrhoea in foals can be fatal and at seven days old her little body was struggling to cope with whatever bug it was she’d picked up. We gave her an oral rehydration paste and a probiotic to try and help her gut bacteria and prayed that she would fight it. Sadly she continued to go downhill and the decision was made to take her to a specialist equine unit where she could receive further treatment.

I watched the vets take my mare and foal away and wondered if it would be the last time I’d see the little one.

I drove home alone, tears coursing down my cheeks feeling utterly wretched. As I turned onto our drive a huge wagon load of rubbish that had been illegally dumped blocked my way. I sat numbly staring at the mound of garden and building waste wondering not for the first time, what sort of people I share this world with.

Two more of my Blue-faced Leicester ewes have lambed, within a day of each other. One had triplets, the other twins.

All healthy and colourfully marked lambs and judging by their full bellies, they’re being mothered well. Another calf has arrived, a lovely strong bull calf out of one of our red Hereford’s. Herbie, our Limousin bull is enjoying the extra attention he gets whilst being in a pen next to the remaining Farnley lambers.

He’s a big lover of back scratches and will stand for as long as your hands can rub up and down his back and around his shoulders before cramp sets in! He’ll soon return to Farnley where he’ll join his girls for the summer. Thoughts are now focused on silage time and we’re praying for a drop of rain to boost the grass. Lambing sheds will be left for the open fields as the next phase of our farming cycle begins.