Friday, 15 April 2011

Bed-lamb in the Smali Flock!

Lambing is done! 17 lambs, 9 tups (rams), 8 ewes, 4 singles, 7 sets of twins. 1 still born (big handsome black, non-ag HST tup lamb :o( ) an one very healthy and noisy pet called Bram. More of the story coming up... in the meantime enjoy the photos! That's my little brother Joe asleep with Bramble the pet lamb.

 Hope all of you with livestock are having a good spring and that everyone is getting out and enjoying the new life that is budding and blossoming all around.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Lambing Live

Unlike the program of the same name on the BBC at present, lambing for us is a rather quieter, if still rather all consuming affair. Lambing is such a funny time when you have a small flock of sheep. It tends to be a bit on the dragged out side and the majority of the time there is nothing going on... but you feel that you have to be there just in case! Sometimes it seems a bit daft considering that (touch wood!) I have never yet had to help a Shetland to give birth, but I just couldn't risk anything happening to one of my lovely ewes or their little ones and we drag ourselves out of bed in the small hours to check them, spend a fortune in fuel and sometimes have to camp in the stable.

So as a result, I have plenty of time to sit and write, at least for as long as my laptop battery lasts, and after this time for...
 getting to know Danny better...
catching up with Rosie and hearing all about what being mother of twins again is like...
and for swooning over her fleece!
Chris enjoys watching the lambs as they become braver and their characters develop...

and he is always impressed with how good the girls are at caring for the lambs, and how tolerant many of them are. Blitzen is NOT Girlsta's lamb!
The texels next door are just SO different from our dainty little Shetlands that they always make us laugh and Chris couldn't resist getting a photo for the blog.
His photography is really coming along now and the resident tree sparrows make excellent and obliging subjects.
Tolly doesn't understand why the little springy things are getting all of the attention when HE is clearly still top of the flock!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Why Handfasting?

I have spent a good chunk of today, between lambing checks, writing our wedding ceremony. It is quite a difficult thing for me in some ways because my beliefs and spirituality have always been very private, and because I want the ceremony to be understood and enjoyed by everyone, without anyone feeling uncomfortable. I would never try to persuade another person to take on my beliefs because it doesn't matter what rules each person privately lives by so long as they are happy and good: define these as you see fit!
I suppose that my understanding of the world fits most closely with that of Druids. My soul has been deeply touched by the natural world that I spend so much time exploring and trying to understand; to me the stars speak their graceful silent poetry, the grasses and the deep woods are as cathedrals. I love to meditate and feel the energy that flows through all living things. For me there are no idols to worship so there are no mentions of gods or goddesses in the ceremony, just the ancient mysteries of nature itself. A church wedding would therefore have been inappropriate, even though I do find churches beautiful and peaceful places, and a registry office or hotel too impersonal.
We have chosen to have our ceremony at one of my favourite nature reserves, in a meadow beside an ancient hazel wood. This place has been special to me ever since I was a child and Chris has grown to love it too.
Handfasting is often described as being an agreement between two people for a year and a day. However, for us this will be as permanent as any other ceremony and the year and a day idea appears to have come from one reference: Sir Walter Scott's The Monastery. It is an ancient celtic tradition and the origin of the phrase "tying the knot".

During the ceremony our hands will be bound together with ribbon as we travel the circle to each compass point. Each point represents an element and has associated objects or qualities. North is Earth and stability, fertility, experience and inner wisdom; South is Fire and passion, power, change and energy; East is Air and communication, travel, new beginnings and music; West is Water and emotion, imagination, compassion and intuition.

After visiting each of the compass points, the ribbon will be removed with the knot intact ready to be put in some special place and kept safe.