The sheep from the fells, which over-winter here, went 'home' yesterday evening. They would have had a very lean time if they had stayed on the fells, in fact most of them would have died in the snow. As it is, they all went home fit and healthy and ready to be back on their beloved Buttertubs fell. For the last few weeks they have been frisky and restless, so not a moment too soon.
Soon we shall have ewes and lambs on our fields but not for a week or two because the grass needs a chance to grow - it is about a month to six weeks behind normal because of the bad weather.
One local farmer fared very badly during the heavy snow and lost a great quantity of ewes and lambs - it is heart-breaking. The trouble is that on these high fells farmers have often not got enough buildings to bring in all their flocks - and in any case, under normal conditions, it is not healthy for the sheep to be inside. They are definitely an outside animal - but cannot cope with deep snowdrifts.
Weather is such a relative thing though. A friend has just been to Scotland for a week on holiday and the weather was atrociously wet and cold. Here it has been cold and windy but dry. The farmer who collected his sheep from here yesterday expressed a wish that he lived on our farm, which is about six hundred feet lower than his - he said it was wet and windy up there yesterday. I read Bovey Belle's blog yesterday, on which she posted wonderful Spring photographs - oh yes - Spring is in full flow down there. For a moment I wished I lived there.
On an entirely different note, and to end my blog today, I really did experiment yesterday with the soup for lunch. The farmer collected a bag full of young nettle tops and I made Nettle Soup. It was quite a fiddly job as they needed a lot of washing and they also needed a lot of added vegetables, but the result was delicious and I leave you with a photograph to tempt you to have a go at making it before the nettles get too high. The garnish was goat's yoghourt and a sprinkling of chives - one of the few things which are growing well in our vegetable garden.