Monday 11 April 2011

Away lambing

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Shep's away in them Scottish borders again, having 'fun' with them wild woolly Cheviot sheep. The hill ewes here on the 6th April waiting for their breakfast. Can't say they really need feeding, there is so much grass this spring and they are so fit in themselves anyhow. They've only been getting a bite for a fortnight so you can't really say they've been spoilt. They will be due to commence lambing on the 17th but do generally come in a few days sooner.

In the meantime Shep is on night duty. The 'field' ewes are lambing and are housed in a shed overnight, it is Shep's responsibility to ensure all is well during the hours of darkness. To date all has been fairly well, although I did feel sorry for one ewe one night who was held at my mercy for two hours, I honestly thought I was going to be beat and the thought ran through my head to raise the shepherd from his bed. Fortunately perseverance paid off and the ewe was finally rid of her rotten lamb and even better she went on and lived - yipee! The highlight of my night shift is when morning dawns and dogs and I head to the hill to feed the hill ewes before we retire for the day.
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I say dogs as young Kale is with us this year as seen above he enjoys his mornings to the hill also. Moss is of course top dog and lambing dog, Kale is in many ways a hindrance, however, he has to come with me and has to keep learning. Who knows? Next year he might find himself the lambing student instead of just the hanger on!

Kale turned a year old on the 5th April, what a day that was! Not because of the dogs birthday, such things just fly by unnoticed, no, it was a pretty lousy morning run. The weather was atrocious, fortunately mild with it. Howling gales and driving rain - awful. The first cut of sheep I went to I found a ewe standing over a keb (aborted lamb), same on the second cut of sheep and the third, I hardly dared head to the last cut but all seemed well. Two sheep were with their dead premature lambs, the other lamb had a great big ugly black backed seagull for company and no ewe anywhere to be seen, the seagull was having a great feast managing even to hold the Ravens off - nasty beast!

My humour was failing, rain running down my neck, sheep to pen up ready to set something on to. I found myself taking a different route to usual around the hill and was aghast when reaching a hill top and looking back to sheep which I had already fed I noticed they weren't there. I had left them in shelter from the elements, away from the wind and driving rain and they had gone, every last one of them. In their place was a horse and rider merrily cantering backwards and forwards.

The quad was fired up as was I and the pair of us shot off at a rate of knots in an attempt to head the horse and rider off, we succeeded and joined up with them just before they left the hill ground. I was polite, the girl looked terrified (not surprising when you see a quad flying at speed from a far distance but gaining on you all the time). I don't expect I will be seeing a horse out on the hill for the remaining duration of my lambing, I truly hope not anyhow or I may not be quite so civil the next time.

Fortunately the 6th April was a better day, the two lambs set on the day previously to the ewes which had kebbed are full and happy and away out. I saw my first swallow of the season - yipee! I also sat and watched some hares for a good long while.
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It was a grand sight to behold, hares charging around like only hares can.
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Seven of the little brown devils in total, charging and scooting around one another, boxing and jumping. Took me back to my youth as there were many hares living where I lived as a youngster but I rarely get the chance to enjoy the sight these days.
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Distant shots which I am amazed came out.
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The first day this lambing time that I have carried my camera and I was lucky enough to see this sight. I had to get on, needing to head to home to sort some sheep for the elderly sheep keeper. Maybe tomorrow I'll have more time and the hares might even come closer, who knows? I hope to share the lambing with you if possible but at the moment have not managed to work out Internet access, also haven't had the time or energy to write anything. However, there are posts which have been queued up and you'll never notice I'm missing should I not manage to get better organised.


Kevthefarmer said...

No Photo's?

Tarset Shepherd said...

Hopefully the photos are back!

Tinkerbel said...

Brill photos of the Hare's Shep - lucky to catch them all!! (Glad to see you back home!)

Tarset Shepherd said...

Thanks for the kind words Tinkerbell. Didn't realise just how lucky I was with those hares - never saw them again! I looked every morning but to no avail, plenty of single ones around but never a sight like that again - I really was lucky and to think the photos actually ain't too bad at such a distance is a huge bonus