Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Finally...the last lambs!

They arrived yesterday and are already looking strong and well as you can see from the photograph. A proud mum, but she has kept us waiting!

At the same time as going to check on her, Roly thought it was time to give Molly her first shepherding lesson, you can see her concentrating very hard and taking it all in. It won't be long before she has her own shepherds crook....

We had some very welcome rain at the end of last week, about an inch, just enough to tide us over but we do need more, the cracks in the ground are getting wider. We are just about managing on the grass we have to move the sheep around. We have learnt during this dry spell that the sheep do very well on the grass due to it having higher dry matter content due to the lack of moisture. However, this cannot be sustained as new growth is needed to keep up with the grazing and this can only happen with rainfall!

Our new season lamb is picking up now so please come and visit us at the markets this month and try some for yourself. We are butterflying some legs of lamb now all ready for the barbeques and our delicious burgers are always a favourite.

Despite the lack of rain, the countryside is still alive with colour and the butterflies are loving the nettles and cow parsley. We have seen a lot of orange tip butterflies this year.

Brian our shearer is booked up to come and shear the remainder of the flock in a weeks time - the rams, the ewes which lambed in January and our ewe lambs (replacements).

The lambing sheds have all been cleared and the manure is in a big heap waiting to be spread on the arable fields here at the Earth Trust. Sheds which are so alive with activity for two months now seem so quiet and empty!

More soon

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Boris and Belle

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Happy days!

But with a hint of anxiety as we check the weather forecast and still see no sign of rain! The grass is ok for now but soon it will begin to be a problem if we don't get rain. But its wonderful to be enjoying this amazing sunshine while it lasts and watching the lambs grow. Oxford farmers market on Thursday will be the first market with our new season lamb, so the last of the hogget (last years lamb) has finished and we are starting the cycle once more.

With the warm weather brings the threat of fly strike which I know I have talked about before. We have been through the whole flock now and treated them with a prevention spray which protects them for up to 16 weeks. It is always a relief to get this job done as there is nothing worse for the sheep if they are unlucky to get strike.

Our Easter lamb trade was really strong and we've had lovely feedback from our customers about how delicious the lamb was and it is a great feeling thinking of all the families sitting down for Easter lunch and enjoying our lamb.

Molly is doing really well, and is almost 4 months old now, she smiles and giggles (particularly at Roly as you can see in the photo) and seems very content coming out with us and checking all the sheep. It won't be long until she has her very own shepherds crook! Her big sisters Jessica and Arabelle are coming to see us this weekend, I think they will be amazed by how much Molly and the lambs have grown.

We were tempted to paint the sheep red, blue and white in honour of the happy couple and to prevent any rustling....we were very interested to read another farmer spraying his sheep orange to prevent them being stolen!

More soon, it won't be long until we'll be thinking about haymaking...

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Boris and Belle