Wednesday, 6 April 2011
The Farm has come to life.
Suddenly it is all happening here on the farm. First of all, the pedigree Swaledale sheep are going today. In the photograph they are waiting in the barn for the transport to arrive - notice there is always one that is King of the Castle! The grass is now growing well in the fields, which means it is beginning to be too lush for these hardy upland sheep. Without putting too fine a point on it, they are getting very messed up at the "back end" and this results in maggots, clipping out and all kinds of disgusting things. So it is time for these sheep to go back onto the hefted fells where they belong, where the grass is poor quality and where they can roam at will. In addition to the grass being too lush, they are also shedding great clumps of their wool as they scratch on various bushes - must be horrible carrying that heavy weight of wool around when the weather warms up - it is 15 Celsius today and a beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds.
In the little barn in the pasture stock doves are nesting and flitting in and out of the 'window' carrying twigs. My father always used to say 'two stick across and a little bit of moss' is all that constitutes a pigeon's nest - and as this one is on a ledge in the barn, that is all that will be necessary.
The farmer is overjoyed today to report the first swallow of Summer - today, April 6th. The earliest they have arrived before is April 9th. At present there is only one and it is soaring high in the air - full of joi de vivre - if it had been sitting on the wires I would have photographed it for you.
The farmer is out spreading fertiliser on the fields and I am here watching out for the sheep men coming so that I can ring the farmer to come back home and give them a helping hand at loading up.