Weaning is taking place today and the farm is far from quiet as the lambs get used to not having their Mums around. The ewes on the other hand are far more relaxed and I always think seem a little relieved to have time to themselves again. Rearing lambs is hard work and demands a lot from the ewes so we need to make sure they have enough time to regain any condition before they meet the rams again in the Autumn.
All of our hay is safely in the barn and we think this might be the first year it hasn't got wet! The usual frantic weather checking and 'shall we, shan't we', until we decided to go for it and were lucky. Such a great feeling to have it done. We have also made silage for the first time this year too, so we have a good stack of bales piled up behind the barn which we can see from the kitchen window.
Our small area of spring barley is a few weeks off still from being ready for harvest. We have just had a couple of very wet days which will be helping our winter fodder crop to grow which is food for the lambs during November/December time when the grass has very little goodness in it. The local rooks and pigeons also think it is quite tasty and it is times like this we remember we share our farm with a lot of other wildlife, some more welcome than others!
We've been busy pulling ragwort again this year with help from wonderful local groups who give their time and come and lend a hand. The farm is looking so much better we think than it did this time last year due to our efforts to get on top of the thistles and nettles which had really got out of hand in some fields. Roly has been busy topping, which is a key part of grassland management which involves taking the top off the grassland which gives the grass and second boost of growth. It can also kill some thistles too if done at the right time. An old saying goes relating to thistles, 'if you top in June its too soon, if you top in July they're sure to die'. So much of farming experience which gets past down the generations remains invaluable.
Our first batch of spring lambs are ready this week and we are really excited to begin supplying some of our regular customers who have also been enjoying hogget and mutton up until recently. Positive lamb burger feedback remains particularly strong but our Saddlescombe Sausages are certainly coming in a close second!
Talking of piggies....we have 3 little boys who have arrived with us, Gloucester Old Spots this time and they are wonderful. They took a few days to settle in but are now fully into their routine of listening out for feeding times and loving a good scratch and wrestle. They've had a good explore of their patch and found some tasty treats amongst the mud and bushes.
Family life is busy too with Molly starting school in September, everyone tells you it goes so fast but you don't believe them until it is happening to you! We are really enjoying having all of our lovely Bed and Breakfast guests too who are exploring our beautiful surroundings and seem to fit into our perhaps somewhat chaotic family/farming life.
Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Boris and Belle