Tuesday 3 April, 2012
Last week, the Met office was forecasting snow for this week. As we sat out in the sun in shirt sleeves, I thought "no way" - but the bods at the Met office were right.
Our first lamb is now 12 days old - hasn't seen rain. Well, he saw it last night. We house our pregnant ewes at night but once ewes have lambed and the lambs are well mothered, we leave them out. Yesterday, just in case the forecast was right, I asked Dan to put the livestock trailer in the nursery field to afford some shelter, if not in it, then around and under it.
When I went out at 2am to check the in-lamb ewes, the sleet was heavy and horizontal. There was nothing doing in the barn, so I went back to bed but couldn't sleep. At 3.30am, I gave Dan a nudge and suggested we bring the ewes and lambs in. And he didn't even swear, saint that he is.
We were bringing them into the byre - fine, except that we had stacked some stainless steel tabling in there. However, we reckoned that there wasn't anything dangerous so, with me in front with bucket and Dan encouraging from behind, we brought the four ewes, four lambs and two ewe hoggs inside.
Luna, who had lambed twins (ewe and tup) yesterday morning, was in a mothering pen in the barn. When we checked her, the lambs were soaked, so we took them round to the byre too. I dried the lambs with the hairdryer and they were soon quite content.
All the ewes with lambs have been in today; the in-lamb ones went out late morning when the weather improved but are back in tonight. The forecast is OK for tomorrow, so they can all go out in the morning.
The barn, where the in-lamb ewes are, is pretty wet. Over the summer, we will put up boarding and improve the rainwater collection, to reduce the water ingress. One of the problems overnight was that the wind, and therefore the sleet, was coming from the opposite direction to the usual. This also meant that our field shelter wasn't as effective as usual and the henhouses were a bit damp this morning - naturally, we have them sited with their backs to the prevailing wind.
Anyway, I hope that's weather related drama over for a while - ironic that at the end of last week, we were stressing about getting water to the newly planted fruit trees though.