I thought the snow was slow to clear from the first dump, then the large pile of banked snow got up and waddled off - poor Harry, our very thick fleeced sheep, does spend a lot of time lying down. The weight of his fleece is huge, the children can’t lift it when it is all sheared and bundled up, but I must wear my glasses more.
Staying with Harry, he will be sheared early this year in case he is needed for cart pulling duties around Easter. It is always touch and go whether he will fit in the shafts - he needs to shift around 20 inches from his middle - I know the feeling!
Harry fitting into the goat cart shaft
I am not so blind not to notice that the cream leg bar hen is still loose - with the bird flu restrictions, all poultry has to be penned up, so she is being fed nearer to the coup ready for the pounce. Oddly, the cream legbar hen is referred to as Jeff, what? I know some of the names for the team are odd, usually I sensor the craziest ones, but a few have slipped through.
“Jeff” the Hen
I quite like the name for our first home-bred black Highland heifer, Cilla, although those below a certain age will have no idea why. But I have heard a few odd names creeping in for the other young Highlands, which I will censor.
Continuing on the theme of suitable names, Auntie has produced a beautiful litter of ginger piglets. They are so pretty and have so far survived being born on the coldest night of the year. I have already chosen the young boar who will grow up to replace Sherlock, his father. He has a white saddle with ginger front and back and one spot on his bottom. I am going to resist the obvious - how can a fully tusked, smelly, hairy, grunting pig be called Spot? Countess, the Berkshire sow, is next to farrow in March, sadly that will be Sherlock’s last litter with us.
Auntie's ginger litter
Spot, Sherlock's replacement, at the top
We are preparing for hopefully three Highland cross shorthorn calves to be born in March. The in-calf cows are now on their own, and Locky, last year’s calf, is up on the hill with the other young stock. Her Mother will get a few weeks to recover before she has the next calf.
The maternity wing - three “in calf” Highland cows
The snow-rain-snow routine has led to parts of the hill having water in areas not seen before. It has made it hard to get onto the land for any management work, but dog walks have to continue.
Dog walks in the snow
Odd place for a pond
The sheep have been scanned and are now all being fed accordingly. If you are carrying just one lamb, you get sent off up the hill and recovered a month or two later. The first lambs are due in mid-March, and we will be feeding a few pet lambs this year, which is always a highlight.
We have ordered our Valentine's menu from Fairhurst's at Berry’s, I do look forward to evenings of no cooking and minimal washing up. As usual, the Valentine's menu has been so successful, it is fully booked already.
A recent headline said that the Yorkshire Dales National Park was the most popular national park in the UK, and the seventh most popular national park in the world. Crikey, we knew that of course, but we had better be ready for the flood of feet this Spring and Summer.
Now I must nip out to bring in our Kune Kune pig...
...I think Traffic Light is one of my better names for a miniature pig.