Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Goodbye for another year.

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.

7 comments:

Heather said...

Your nettle soup is so attractively presented on that delightful plate - I'm sure it tastes every bit as good as it looks and I always mean to make some myself.
I hope this summer will be kinder than last year to farmers and livestock alike, and that they will not have to endure another winter like the last one for a long time to come.
I have just enjoyed my lunch sitting in the garden, listening to the birds and bees and watching a robin going to and fro from a nesting box where his mate is sitting on her nest. Bliss.

MorningAJ said...

Which bit of Scotland was your friend in because we got back on Friday night and last week was glorious in Galloway.

It rained overnight a few times, and there was one very windy day, but the rest of the time was great. I even caught the sun!

Gwil W said...

That's a cool blue plate for a warm green dish!

The Weaver of Grass said...

AJ My friends were also on the West Coast - not far above Galloway but I think it was the week before last.

angryparsnip said...

Beautiful looking soup and I adore the dish !
When daughter was using a CSA group I got to try different greens that I never cook with like dandelion greens, radish tops. But I never knew you could use nettle. I will have to google what young nettles looks likes.

I felt so sad when I read about the deep freeze and all the sheep and lambs that died. I have BBC feed on my computer.
Your farmer friend was lucky to have his flock winter with you. What a difference six hundred feet make. Now they are fat and sassy and back home.

cheers, parsip

acornmoon said...

The weather certainly has been a challenge this year. I hope your lambs have some time to enjoy the spring. Your nettle soup looks nice x

Hildred said...

Oh Pat, I don't know about nettle soup, - doesn't sound too appealing to me, - but I do know about sheep getting lost in sudden snow storms. Part of our flock spent the winter on the mountain and came home with the ram, in the spring, ewes and lambs all happy to baaaa in the barn again, - except for the ones the coyotes got.....