The meadows and hillsides are alive with lambs, bouncing, bleating and basking in the sunshine. The azure blue skies and sunshine are always a blessing at this time of year, anything but the dreaded mud. Sharp frosty mornings have greeted us and not a drop of rain has dampened our spirits.
Unfortunately the dry cold has delayed the grass coming through, another essential element of lambing time. In between the constant checks of the lambing fields, Paul is kept busy filling the ring feeders with hay and tipping long lines of fodder beet out.
Feeding the ewes at this time of the year is always a tricky one. It’s a fine balance between ensuring they have all the essential vitamins, minerals and protein but not giving them so much that the lambs are huge. We’ve reduced the amount of ewe rolls we’re feeding as our lambs are coming big. Even the mules who usually lamb themselves have needed help.
Following quite a slow start, they’re all coming thick and fast now. Checks of the lambing fields keep Paul busy from first light to last light.
At a time when all hands on deck are needed, it’s frustrating to be taking John-William to school every day. We’ve had countless arguments and enough tears to fill a river. His pleas to remain home and help Dad have caused us all upset, myself especially. I have to pry his little hand from mine then quickly walk away as his teacher pulls him into the classroom.It’s a heart wrenching ritual that occurs most mornings. The big farm lad that can do all the important jobs his Dad can suddenly reverts to a small, desperately sad little boy when faced with school.
After dropping him off I count the hours before he can be home.
Following emails from various farming groups, it would appear that Extinction Rebellion’s “mass trespass” is being taken quite seriously. I find it incomprehensible that they choose to exercise their “right” to go wherever they choose at the most critically sensitive time of the year. The hill sheep have begun lambing and the ground nesting birds are on eggs. If they truly cared about nature and the impact we are having on the climate, why on earth would they do this now?
Disturbance from people and dogs is one of the contributing factors to the rapid decline of some of our most treasured birds, not to mention the stress and financial implications of sheep worrying.
I was yet again reminded of the selfish nature of some people when I stopped a woman who had nine dogs running loose across our moor where the Herdwicks are lambing. The tirade of abuse that flowed from her was quite shocking.
This seemingly constant level of aggression and “I’ll go wherever I want and do whatever I want” attitude is becoming an everyday misery for farmers up and down the country. As it seems to be increasing, it can only be a matter of time before things turn very sour.