Monday, 30 June 2008

Soil Association Inspection

Big Day! Soil Association inspection day and all is ready - all paperwork has to be in place and all files laid out for inspection. The weather is awful and rain is pouring and pouring, a biblical type of weather day when building an ark would seem reasonable. The inspector arrives and as the weather is so bad we decide to check some paperwork before inspecting the farm. In comes Faye, my wonderful and experienced stockperson - she is an expert on pigs and now an expert on sheep - and asked to see me. She then dropped a bombshell - there was a lamb in the field, in January!! Unheard of for a primitive rare breed I thought. And today of all days, being inspected, which is a very big deal, and the rain. We agreed there was nothing for it but to move the flock as the water was rising from the stream, now a river and two foxes were in the field eyeing up the lamb. Our hurried and almost whispered conversation was overheard by the inspector who was wonderful and asked what he could do to help! So there we were, in the rain, moving sheep. I carried the lamb across the field to the waiting trailer which was up to its wheels in water. I thought the new mother would not swim to follow the lamb into a half submerged trailer but she did and I was so proud of her, it was wonderful. The sheepdog was swimming along and I asked the inspector if he could take a picture on his phone as I, naturally in the general panic, but not put my camera in my pocket, but he had not put his phone in either! It would have made such a good picture for the blog! But you will just have to believe me. Anyway the whole flock was moved to dry land, near the house, and eight ewes lambed much to our complete amazement. It was due to the movement restrictions with the Foot and Mouth in August and we were not able to wean the lambs and they were all in the same field. It did occur to me that we might have a forward ram lamb but had thought that ewes would not be in season in August. But then August was so cold and miserable that I think they thought it was Autumn and the time to be in season!!It was a day to remember!!

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