Ahhh, the day we all dread –
when the clocks go forward by an hour (how civilized that it’s done on a Sunday, at least). Here at the Ffarm it wasn’t only the clocks that changed: we decided it was time for a bit of relocation, relocation…. as the field in which the main flock of sheep has been resident is looking distinctly tired. So we transferred feed troughs, water troughs, hay troughs; then moved the rams, hoggets & the three remaining pregnant ewes into ‘Caravan Corner’ – a small grassy triangle over which the two massive, gnarled ancient beech trees tower; their gargantuan silvered branches overhanging the drive in imposing display, regardless of the season; roots twisting through the old stone wall beneath as if the trees are breaking free to ponderously walk the land in the silence of the night……
The little pocket of land itself (it doesn’t really warrant being called a field, nor even a paddock as it’s a bit of a “no-mans’ land” despite the wonderful, tranquil views) hasn’t had any livestock on it since we’ve been here. Although grass growth is sparse beneath the trees themselves, up by the caravan there’s plenty of fodder – albeit if only for a few days. And of course we’ll supplement the little flock’s diet with coarse mix.
Next we checked over the recently-lambed ewes, who have been housed until their young are strong enough to go out safely. We were kept busy, docking lambs’ tails & castrating Cranberry. I also treated him for a possible entropion in his right eye as there’s clearly a problem with it; although I’m not convinced it is actually entropion as the lashes of his lower lid don’t appear to be brushing the eyeball, the cause of this unpleasant & painful condition. But the eye is weeping; & I couldn’t find any other obvious cause of discomfort to the little creature.
Then Headcase, Jelly, Althaea, Acer & their lambs, were transferred from their pens & out to the freedom & fresh spring shoots of new grass in the paddock behind the house; soon to be joined by Alchemilla, Acacia & their older lambs – although Corncockle, a cheeky ram lamb, was determined he wasn’t going to join in & took quite a lot of catching!
Soon they were all safely in their new field, & in spite of today’s stolen hour time unfolded into one of those tranquil shepherding ‘sheep may safely graze’ moments; a delight to see the lambs gambolling together as the warm afternoon sunshine spilled golden light over the valley, whilst the daffodils danced & the blossom buds bounced fat on the branches of the apple & plum trees in the orchard beyond, the lambs’ bleats puctuated by the sweet, honeyed nectar of multitudinous chorus of wild birdsong.
Silli, our little silver, one-eyed Maine Coon cat, even caught an early lizard, who was basking on the warm stones of the old wall beneath the beech trees. He successfully shed his tail to escape her dangerous play – & will live to bask another day, when the warm spring sunshine returns to cheer us.
And as the sun went down behind the hills, dark in the distance; peace descended over the little Ffarm, as by firelight we sat in comfortable quietness to celebrate Earth Hour – when all the lights & electrical equipment are extinguished, to help our precious planet to breathe again. And, perhaps, the time for those trees to walk…..?