Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Farm (Spring)

 This is the time of year the farm begins to rumble. With its old, well used cogs slowly starting to turn, laboriously at first as their tired and stiff after the winter but soon the rusty wheels loosen up and begin to purr their familiar grumble and take a deep breath in to greet the upcoming Spring and leap into a well rehearsed routine that is old as time. 

  Buds begin to appear on the apple tree's in the old orchard, these loyal companions of the farm have taken root and claimed the small paddock as their own for longer than either you or I have been here, yet every year without fail they produce their wares as competent and masterful as ever. 

 The Bluebells swiftly follow the Daffs in their colourful bloom and adorn the road side of the garden, along with the long wild grass and occasional bramble. The Bluebells always remind me of summers as a small child in what I used to call our 'wild garden'. My parents and I used to live in a house with a very long garden, so much so that the lawn mower and all our extension leads put together (safety first!!) would not permit it to cut away at the very end- the result was a natural meadow that grew all kinds of beautiful flowers and grass that was so tall it used to tickle my chin. I'd spend hours just sitting within this grassy capsule making friends with insects and on one memorable occasion, a grass snake (I think my Mother still has nightmares!).

 These guys are raring escape their barn which they have been kept in over winter. They are not happy bunnies at the moment watching the sheep play in their field through the gates, but it wont be long until they are free to roam their pasture, with hopefully a few babies in tow by that time too!

But, of course. This is what your here for:

 Yes, here in the land of farming Spring means one thing: LAMBS!

And lambs!!!

 This year our lambing total was 600, that's ewes not lambs and we had a fair few twins (and about 6 sets of triplets!), so lets do the math.... defiantly over 800 new woolly mouths to feed, but an actual figure is a little tricky to obtain without falling asleep ;) 

 Lambs are wonderful creatures, they have the ability to make you smile even when every bone in your body aches from the walking, your eyes feel like lead from the sunrise mornings and late nights and your mental state is not quite up to anything other than putting one foot in front of the other. They run along the ditch banks in little packs, skipping, bleating and racing each other up and down, in and out of the ditch spoil dumped in the field. They are just so happy to be alive. They've done studies to determine the reason why lambs skip, and their oh so scientific conclusion was: because their happy....... I don't like to think just how much money went into funding that crucial research!

 But, yes is the answer to every bodies question. Yes, it is amazing :)

 Now, I don't do anywhere near as much towards the lambing as what Ash does. He's up at 4:30 wandering around the fields, making sure the right lambs are with the right mums, that lambs which have just been born are getting their mums milk, helping ewes which are struggling to birth their lamb and all sorts of other situations sheep manage to get themselves into. Lambing is hard, it is one of the most mentally challenging times on a farm and I have great admiration for my boyfriends persistence and endless hard work to ensure it goes as smoothly as what it can. 

 I help out with the feeding of sock lambs (lambs without a Mum) and the generally easier lambing tasks, with placement and my commute I'm not really able to give all that much without burning myself out too- something which I can't so when I need to be on the ball looking after unwell children.

 Lambing will be over soon and then we will start to hear the distant sound of harvest and hay making approaching. Long, hot, dusty days await the farm in the upcoming months but this humble way of life breathes with the seasons, even when the seasons are against it. It is forever adapting to a world that insists on changing its deep rooted traditions and routines. The farm is stronger than any other industry, it is who we- as humans- are: growers, of all things. 

 I hope you enjoyed this post, its been a little while coming and -if I'm being completely honest- I really struggled to get good pictures of the lambs because they are forever on the go and appear as a blur in my camera screen! 

 Until next time, enjoy what Spring has to offer.