Monday, 13 February 2017

Lambing time

He doesn't look so mucky in this photo, but it certainly is
not as white as snow (see a video of him here link)
Ian had a little lamb
It’s fleece was mucky grey
And everywhere that Ian went
The lamb got in the way
It followed him down to the shed each day
To strengthen his little muscles
And even paid a visit
   to some very bemused alpacas
Now he spends his days
Suckling on his mother
Now our days are over
Of standing in for mum

Mother looking somewhat bemused, or maybe more like
wondering where her grain is while she puts up with the
little one
Okay it doesn’t perhaps scan as well as the original but it has been amusing watching the little lamb following Ian about the apartment, with an accompanying clip, clop, clip of his tiny little hooves on the laminate flooring. Of course apartments are not the ideal place for a little lamb but there wasn’t much option for a lamb that wasn’t getting much milk from its mother, especially when she was jumping over the bales of hay to get away from him and with the temperatures dipping to -24C one night. So we weathered the puddles on the laminate flooring (never realised how long a lamb can wee for), old towels to the ready and Ian trundled the little fella backwards and forwards each day in a big blue box. At first he could be safely confined in the box, but as he got bigger and stronger it was harder to keep him in. Each day, Ian would take the lamb down to his mother and make sure she fed him by keeping her in place. One day he had a brainwave and took some grain down and every time the little fella fed, she got a few grains at a time to keep her still. Ian’s patience paid off and with a wooden gate in place she stayed with her lamb. Last night we decided to try and leave him overnight and of course it was a worry that she wouldn’t feed him. We gave him a bottle at 7pm and left him to it, the temperatures only dipping down to -8C overnight, but he was in a reasonably sheltered shed.
Alpacas are rather agile and they make me laugh at their contortions

The last of the lambs to be born and she is already bigger
than our little fella
The next morning the little fella took another bottle and our friend from the nearby sheep farm came to take a look. He also came because finally our last ewe gave birth to a female. This ewe we half expected she would have babies in December. This is because she didn’t manage to rear her lambs last year, as she wouldn’t feed them and they got chilled in the first rains after the drought and died later. Thankfully this year she has paid attention to her lamb and is feeding her and all seems fine. It is odd I suppose, but we are grateful that two of the ewes only gave birth to single lambs and so they should be fine in the winter weather. Our little fella was the smallest of the two lambs his mother gave birth to, but the only one to survive. It is a good job only one survived though as she only has one working teat and would have struggled with twins anyway. Our friend suggested we should continue to take the little fella home and he had a big wooden crate he could lend us, well that was the plan up to mid-afternoon. Our plans changed when the little fella refused a bottle of milk and his mother seemed much more attentive to him. It would seem Ian’s patience had paid off, as they were finally beginning to bond.
This one has a different fleece to the other two, much fluffier

A happier looking Aggie
Aggie continues to be given her penicillin injections and she is certainly looking brighter than she did a few weeks ago. We are not sure if the swelling is going down or not, she still has an obvious lump on her face and maybe she always will, but at least it is not growing and she has stopped moaning. Alpacas moan by humming, they also hum to each other when something is going on, but often they are quiet unless they are upset. They also make a noise when they are having a fight like the two young lads this morning. Brencis got put in the sin bin today for quarter of an hour to calm down after a fight with Mr. P. Ian says it is almost as if all the lessons he learnt with our three children are now being put to use on the animals, he had a good chat with Brencis about his behaviour and I understand he behaved himself afterwards. Probably just needed the time out.
Such a smiley face

Still lots of snow here and we even saw the sunshine
We found out this week that the hens will have to be kept indoors or at least in one place until July due to Avian bird flu. We can’t keep them in the greenhouse till then of course as they will cook. Their arks will need making completely wild bird proof and we won’t be able to move them daily, which could pose health issues and so we need to devise a deep bed system outside that we can put their arks on for the duration of time. If we keep adding bedding then it should be okay, like we do over winter in the greenhouse. The only thing is that we will have to prepare the spots where they are going to be so they don't get contaminated by bird droppings when the snow goes.
Mr. P. looks like he's having a laugh. I wonder if that was after
Brencis got put away for being naughty? 

I had a phone call this week from a friend about a belt for our winnower. We have a one hundred year old winnower (or at least that is what someone estimated it to be) but the belt is getting rather worn (you can read more about it here). We tried to get a belt for it before but weren't successful, at least now we should be able to get what we should be asking for in Latvian so that we can try again.
A damp westerly wind meant the trees got covered in frost

Cats and lamb getting warm in the caravan. The cats don't
quite know what to make of him
Having a baby lamb at home has meant we have been confined to the land or home and we have even been going to bed early because we, or to be more precise mainly Ian, have been getting up at night. Ian’s hearing is better than mine and that’s my excuse and besides I got up for our three when they needed feeding in the night many years ago, it’s Ian’s turn now. He got away lightly though since he slept through the last two nights he was at home.

The snow is lovely when it shines
Apart from feeding a lamb and helping Ian with Aggie’s penicillin injections my days have been spent either writing or sorting out our apartment again. We have far too much stuff or it has just got far too disorganised and I’m not quite sure which at times, probably both. We now have a hallway with electrical items that need to go to the place where electrical items go to be recycled and the huge box full of paper that will be shredded eventually has been added to. At least all the paperwork has been sorted out and I have sorted papers for crafts (whenever I get the chance to do something that is) as well as the important papers kept from times before computers, that have sentimental value. It has been fun reading through the prayer diary of an anxious young mother. Nearly forgot to mention, I also got a couple of sessions of cross country skiing in, it is a bit icy underneath but managed not to go end over end anyway, probably going too slow.

The paths are getting a bit slick though
I also found some books that can read in the mornings to get me back into a more contemplative frame of mind. Years ago I read Joyce Huggett's book "Listening to God" and I found it really helpful in taking time to meditate in a creative way. In it she warned of a time when life would get busy and it become more difficult to set aside time, especially when schedules get chaotic. I am glad I read that years ago, as that has definitely been the case more recently. I know I have to work out a way to get into a rhythm that works in the new routines, especially over the summer when I have to be up and out of bed so we can put the bed away during the day in the caravan, usually I find that is the best time to have a quiet time. I certainly need it at the moment with the chaos of the world around. I remember reading a cartoon that stated "My desire to stay informed is at odd with my desire to stay sane" and that is exactly how I feel at times.

Veronica nibbling the snow on the gate
A little side note: I mentioned last week that the bus drivers call out the numbers of pre-purchased tickets and I always wondered why they started at number 3, well I found out through a friend that the bus seats No 1 and 2 were traditionally reserved for somebody with special needs or for a mother with a baby in the times when buses were pretty crowded and families used them. So a relic from the days when buses were used more frequently than they are now, although they still can get a bit full sometimes. 


  1. Great blog this week. Fabulous pictures. I wish I was as 'bendy' as the alpacas! x

    1. Thank you Lyn and all credit goes to Ian for the pictures. As for bendy alpacas, I wish I was that bendy too


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