The bucket trick, Peanut and Cashew and docks...
I’m at Willowford and one of the Dorset’s is having her lambs. I bring them into the shed as the weather is foul, hail and wind, not good lamb weather. The second of the lambs is looking a bit limp and lifeless, it’s moving about but without much enthusiasm. We milk mum and tube some colostrum into it in the hope of perking it up. It improves a little but seems too cold so Lauren decides we should implement a trick we learnt on our lambing course, the bucket. We get some warm water in a bucket and pop the lamb in. The important thing is to not leave it to drown but hold its head up. It seems to perk up a bit so we take it with us to lunch and make it a lamb buoyancy aid, a head hole cut in a bit of polystyrene, the lamb thinks this is most undignified and huffs and puffs about in its bucket. It is possibly the funniest thing I have seen in ages. But its working, the lamb is reviving, and trying to swim out of its neck brace. We fish it out and dry it out, time for 20 minutes under the heat lamb then see if we can get it back to mum. Later in the day they are reunited and although mum is a little unsure about it, it smells odd and has been away a while, we are cautiously optimistic. Dorset’s generally with mother anything that gets near them, so she will most likely take it back. Plus it’s almost learnt to swim now, which is always a useful skill.
We have ended up with two pet lambs at the Croft, they are hanging about in the shelter-belt near the house, a brilliant playground for them, all over grown grass, trees and roots to leap about on. I’m going to feed them their lunch time bottle of milk and discover it to be a bit of a challenge. They both want their milk and I’ve got them a bottle each but negotiating getting them both feeding at once proves tricky. I finally get both drinking but now I’m crouching in the mud with a lamb on either side, and they both decide to reverse. My arms are only so long! Thankfully Cashew (don’t ask) runs into the fence and can’t reverse anymore. Peanut drinks about half then tries to get in my lap. I can tell these two are going to be a challenge.
It’s that time of year, the grass is starting to grow, the lambs are frolicking in the field, the spring barley is in and things are looking much livelier. And that also means the weeds are starting to grow. After working so hard on them last year it’s sad to see the docks back, but it’s inevitable I guess. Lazy Dog in hand I make a start on Big Dipper at Wallacefield. It’s a bit swampy after the recent rain in the middle of the field which actually makes it much easier. A couple of hours digging is about my limit on my own, the sun is shining and the birds are singing, which helps. The three Stirks in the field watch me with vague cow interest for a while then go back to munching and contemplating the mysteries of the universe, or just chewing the cud. The next day we get the Halo group to work on it too, this is much more satisfactory. It’s easier when there is a gang and you can have a chat whilst digging, progress is definitely made. Several barrow loads are removed and a patch of nettles is also ruthlessly savaged. There is more of this to come.