Friday, 9 March 2018

Two Teasers

Archery friend Niamh calls by and has to have
a lamb cuddle. This is one of Polly's twins at
9 days.
Another short post  with very little progressing, especially in the fox and the lambing departments. There is just a quick, tantalising tease in each, but more of that later.

Cousin Cathy takes a 'selfie' with Towser. 
Our guests for the weekend arrive safely and we collect them from Knock Airport. These are Cousin Cathy and her daughter (so, presumably another cousin) Danielle. CC would be Elizabeth's closest cousin from childhood; the 2 families shared a house for 2 years

Danielle cuddles the other twin. Note turkey on
chicken shed roof ridge. 
Friends of the Blog will know that Danielle (Mrs Dan) has been here many times before and loves our live-stock filled farm life and is delighted that our ewe Rosie decided to hang onto her 'payload' till the girls got here. They had booked these dates completely unawares that this might be happening and we had not told them anything because we had no idea Rosie was going to 'pop' over these days. Of course we have no idea whether she will - she might equally keep hanging in there till after the guests have left (Monday), just to be a minx.

Lamb takes selfie of the three of us.
This is Cathy's second visit. She'd be maybe more interested in the indoor, 'domestic' side of this life and doesn't go quite so mad for the animals - she's getting Mrs C to show her various cookery skills, and I am teaching her sourdough bread baking. I will send her home with a sourdough starter 'dose'. My starter (Reginald) was the 'son' of a culture in Bridport originally, so now the 'grandson' (or daughter) is almost coming back home.

A duck egg but the purple thumb is a clue
that I have had a lameness problem in
our last-to-lamb ewe, 'Myfanwy'. I hope
she's on the mend now.
But those teasers. I will tell you first, perhaps that Danielle, being over here and loving our animals, has also come to hate our fox with the same passion, and wants rid of him as much as we do. She was very interested in our current 'fox-watch' campaign and the trap and I knew if Foxy showed up, Danielle would be out there with us gee-ing on the dogs.

Alder catkins. They open Mid-March
Well, we didn't see him today but we were all in the Dining Room at about 3 pm, chatting, when that old familiar Guinea Fowl alarm went up, but out on the front lawn. We all charged out and I let the dogs off. We never saw a fox, but the way the dogs shot off on their usual track down through the veg patch and out across the slope fields suggested that he might have poked his face up above the bank in our 'woods' and been spotted by the Guineas.

I love that the buds of hazel break first with this tiny red tassle.
I will have to look up whether this might be the female flowers.
The 2nd tease was a little 'stunt' pulled by very pregnant ewe, Rosie who we are sure will lamb soon. Today I was introducing her to Danielle and joking that if it started to go wrong I'd be looking to see which of the ladies had the smallest hands, roping them in for a bit of midwifery. Blow me if Rosie didn't suddenly arch her back as if straining to poo.

Turkey hen 'Gloria' tries her hand at
weather vane. 
She produced no poo but I am fairly sure I saw at her vulva a small amount of pink membrane and glistening wetness. Cathy also described seeing the contractions going as a slight wave down her abdomen. I was sure we were on, but, no, she seems to have been having me on a again. The pink may just have been (engorging?) vulva and the wet might just have been wee. I kept checking her through the evening and even blew out my attendance at a pub quiz to which all the girls have gone but she has showed no more signs and her back end is back to dry-ish normality.

There is no sign of any more back-arching straining or the great woosh of baggy membrane and amniotic fluid which precedes a genuine birth. That hangs there like a water filled party-balloon while the lambs slide out and only really falls away when she passes the afterbirth. (Sorry, hope you weren't just having your tea!) . Now at 10 pm Rosie is just lying there on her hay looking like a normal relaxed sheep, falling asleep. She has fooled this amateur shepherd again. Maybe more news by the next post.

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