Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Lambing at last!

After spending my annual couple of weeks staring at the ewes and scrutinizing belly and udder size and shape, they have finally tired of my fence-side presence and decided to put me out of my misery.
First to go was Geherda, which was funny because Chris and I had been so convinced that Rosy or Girlsta must pop at any moment that we hadn't really given anyone else a second look until the night before when I pointed out Geherda and said, "I'll bet she's about to lamb and has been laughing at us staring at the backsides of those two!"
Geherda had a stunning little tup lamb whom (who, whom?) we have named Biff in honour of of friend's Spence an Lottie's new baby of the same name. He is a gorgeous little chap and always looks as though he's smiling.

No sooner had we got Geherda food and water and made sure that Biff was feeding happily, then Kate proceeded to lamb in the middle of the field. I had nipped out and so Chris had to come to the rescue as the other expectant mothers in the field gathered around and tried to steal the twins.
These little beauties are Blitzen and Belingi! Blitzen is the little dark grey lamb with the lightening mark down his shoulder.
Belingi is the grey katmoget, at least I think he will be grey katmoget as the eye stripes etc are black but he has a lot of the brown pigment.
Belingi is so named because when Chris and I are driving about and I point out all of the different sheep breeds in the fields, he tells me that I am making up the names and merrily points at a sheep saying "oh look, there's a belingi!" Belingi the lamb (not the breed!) is a very bold little chap who loves Chris and comes running for cuddles in the field. Probably not a good thing for a tup!
After a 24 hour break, Rosie went into labour and we prepared ourselves for possible triplets since she was so huge. Labour went on and on into the night, but there was no distress and the water bag hadn't appeared. At last at 3am, when I was asleep in the stable and Chris was on watch, Rosie had two enormous ewe lambs.
They are little stunners with really fine fleeces. Bernadette is the dark grey katmoget and Beatrix is the grey ilget katmoget.
Just in time for Chris to be able to watch the football match last night, Gletness had a set of tiny but healthy twins right in the middle of a rain storm. These two aren't even named yet but the little tup is the grey krunet katmoget and the ewe is the flashy little lady.
Only 5 more to lamb now :o)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

A Wilde Wedding

In between staring at sheep who appear to have no interest in producing lambs, Chris and I are now busily planning our wedding... or rather I am busily planning our wedding while he makes agreeable murmurings whenever I ask what he thinks of something.

Being true to ourselves has been foremost in our consideration of how, what, where and who. Therefore it is, no doubt unsurprisingly, a Summer Solstice handfasting ceremony which will take place on one of my favourite nature reserves, followed by a party at a woodland campsite with a big hog roast and roaring fire for our friends and family to sit around.

The dress is ordered, the invites almost all written and we are working with our celebrant on the format of the ceremony.

Handfasting is a most ancient tradition and the origin of the phrase "tying the knot". In Celtic tradition the couple would first be joined for a year and a day before deciding whether or not to make the arrangement permanent, but since Chris and I have been together rather longer than this, we're willing to skip this stage!

Of course, you'll have to wait until the wedding to see "the dress" but I'll post some bits about the preparations as we go along. Don't worry, there is no danger of this becoming a wedding blog!!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Same Old Waiting Game

The ewes are lying in the field looking fatter and more uncomfortable than ever. The first due date is past and their udders are swelling, but they are still hanging on to their lambs.

This morning was the first of the early checks and the girls all looked faintly surprised to see us in their field at such an inhuman hour. What on earth could the people be doing up at that hour?!

I'm so looking forward to my second crop of Galtress Ptolemy lambs. Last year (see the archive of posts starting in April 2010 for photos) there was a wonderful array of spots and colours. That for me is one of the wonderful things about Shetland Sheep, if you're breeding for patterns you never know just what you are going to get!