Thursday, 16 January 2014

A very different kind of January...

....we are still getting used to the idea that we are going to be lambing outdoors in open yards for the first time this spring here at Saddlescombe and feel very excited about it. Once the ewes have lambed they will be taken into one of the maternity wards in the wonderful old traditional barns, which have not housed a sheep flock since the 1940s, which will make it even more special. All our ewes are still outdoors, previously in Oxfordshire they would have been inside by now being fed hay and even shorn.  We're unsure how the ewes feel about still being outdoors and having to put up with getting very wet!  They don't appear to mind as there is still plenty of grass and during a big sheep move manoeuvre across the farm on Monday they had a pit stop in the farm yard for us to take a good look at them and make sure their condition is in good shape. At this time of year when the ewes have their winter fleece, it is only by putting your hand on their back can you really access their condition. The good news is they are doing well on the grass at Saddlescombe.

Moving the sheep around the farm has to be well thought through and will always involve us asking for an extra pair of hands to help us get them across the road.  The latest move with the ewes was fun as they have moved from one end of the farm to right opposite the farm entrance, so it is lovely seeing them every time we leave or come home.  Molly enjoys saying good morning to them!

Soon "Bob the scanner" will be paying his annual visit to us to tell us how many lambs they are having to make sure they get the appropriate feed in the build up to lambing. This is an exciting job but makes us feel a little apprehensive too as so much depends on it.

We are busy planning for our lambing weekend on the 12th and 13th April.  We are looking for helpers so please get in touch with us if you are able to give us a hand, jobs will be everything from helping in the lambing yards to car parking.

Our lambs born last spring have been grazing some stubble turnips on the highest point of the farm and enjoying some amazing views of the sea, Devils Dyke and Brighton - all from one spot.

Last week we had a real scare when Freddie our 11 month old boy was taken into the high dependency ward of the childrens hospital in Brighton with Bronchiolitis. He is heaps better now, thanks to Dr Patel and his amazing team who took such great care of him and Gemma, Lisa, Natalie and Anna, his amazing nurses. Whilst we hope Molly and Freddie will have a wonderful childhood growing up on the farm, having Freddie in hospital for fours days and nights did remind us just how difficult it is being a parent and shepherd to a lot of sheep. We decided to postpone Molly's 3rd Birthday until Freddie was back home and we could spoil her with a trip to the beach (above). We think we got away with it, until she can read these blogs!

More soon

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Boris and Belle