"Watched ewes never lamb", it is a waiting game at the farm on the M62

They say a watched kettle never boils, but right now it’s the watched ewe that never lambs.

Jill is hoping for the best weatherwise - but preparing for the worst.
Jill is hoping for the best weatherwise - but preparing for the worst.

The due date for my small flock of pedigree Blue Faced Leicester ewes has come and gone and still no lambs.

They waddle around the barn, bags bulging, fit to burst but no lambs have appeared.

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I’m sure it’s made worse by our constant observations, and round the clock checks, not to mention my mounting frustration. I was caught out last year when one of my favourite ewes lambed early, a beautifully marked gimmer lamb that sadly never made it out of the bag.

She was still warm when I found her but despite my best efforts I couldn’t get her going. It was a sickening start to lambing time and even though she raised an adopted lamb quite happily, it really marred the whole of spring.

Paul’s overly ambitious order of fertiliser last year is all of a sudden looking like a gold mine. With the current price being so high, almost three times what it was this time twelve months ago, it seems ludicrous putting it on the land.

We’ve spread every last bit of our muck heaps in an attempt to save on costs so the idea of selling our fertiliser might not be such a bad one, although knowing my husband, it will end up on the land!

The Stott Hall hill sheep have all been scanned, with just over 5 per cent geld. Its always disappointing when they’re not carrying and you’re left with the difficult decision as to what to do with them.

In our case, no doubt due to pressure from a certain little guy, the majority will stay on and be tried again come December. I’ve tried not to get too excited at the prospect of a glorious spring, even though it’s been forecast.

I always prepare for the worst and make sure every last shed, stable and old milking stall is cleaned out, disinfected and ready to be used if the weather turns against us. The thought of endless rain or even a heavy fall of snow which is not unheard of in April, fills me with dread.

Fingers crossed the ‘soaring temperatures’ I’m reading about will come to fruition! The cost of staying warm in our house has suddenly become quite a strain on finances on top of all the other sudden price hikes.

Thankfully, we have a seemingly never-ending supply of old fence posts and beyond repair wooden gates that get fed into our log burner, which at least keeps our main sitting room warm.

No doubt it will also warm up countless cold, shivering lambs over the coming months and dry endless pairs of overalls, hats and gloves and, of course, keep the kettle boiling away.

This week’s forecast is sunshine all the way, which lifts the spirit enormously.

It’s funny how the world can seem a very difficult place to be when the grey rain clouds encompass you, yet all your worries and woes float away on the warm breeze when that big yellow face makes an appearance in the sky!