Well the snow has been and gone and the Easterlies have arrived… why do we worry about our wee sheep who are more than capable of braving the elements?! All we feel like doing is bringing them in to snuggle down!
After much discussion, watching and waiting, both gimmers are now in lamb. The proof will be in the pudding, as they say, next Spring!
It’s proving tough to keep the Ryelands wool free from foliage and tangles so we just mainly concentrate on making sure that they can see properly! We have had to trim back some wool from their eyes, especially Windblown’s, which he has dealt with pretty well really!
When the snow came, Windblown helped Aidan sledging by gently headbutting him down the wee run! No pictures of that unfortunately!
Well a Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmanay to all from our fluffy friends and we’ll be in touch with more updates in the New Year!
Windblown, Velvet and Valentina have settled in well and we are enjoying them very much! Velvet and Valentina now readily come to the trough when we bring the bucket down. We have been keeping the other side of the fence so V+V feel safe and have stroked them through the fence, they seem to be liking their strokes and scratches now! We take them down tree fodder – cut branches of willow, lime and ash which they gobble up. I’ve read that Ash to sheep is like chocolate cake to humans!
Tree fodder & Windblown cuddles
Under advise from Adam (our commercial flock shepherd), we separated Windblown for the night then took him back today into Velvet and Valentinas’ field to observe him ‘working’ (aka mating!). He did a lot of sniffing but nothing more, it can take up to 17 days for the sheep to come into season. perhaps ours are late starters!
Leading Windblown back in
Fraser led Windblown back into the field, another padlock drama as Fraser had padlocked the gate and the keys were back at home so I huffed and puffed, stuck some placcy bags on my feet (too much of a faff taking waterproofs, welly boots off etc you can imagine!) and retrieved the keys from my bedroom.
More cuddles & observation!
We set up camp in the other field from the Ryelands. The boys had picked elderberries when we were in bed (they got up at 5.45am, eek!), and I’d got some more with the ladder this morning, so we set to work picking them all off their stems whilst watching Windblowns antics!
Fraser building gates
Fraser set to work in the afternoon building gates for his sheep pens. He made 3 wonderful gates in total!
Will Windblown perform?! Watch this space…..
Skippety and Ruff + Tumble
Our Ryelands story really begins with the boys raising two lambs this Spring, Skippety and Ruff + Tumble (Texel cross) under the watchful eye of Adam our shepherd.
We went along to the Royal Highland Show in the summer and spent an immense amount of time in the sheep marquee, discovering all the amazing array of different breeds of sheep there. Fraser loved the Ryelands there, with their docile nature and sweet woolly faces there was no going back for him! So getting Ryelands seemed like a natural progression of course after Skippety and Ruff + Tumble!!
We asked around locally, but being the end of year in terms of getting gimmers in for tupping (mating) we could only source tups! Luckily for us the Carlisle Show was coming up so it was a good opportunity to take a visit and see what we could get!
With much appreciated help from Susan from the Scottish Ryeland Group, we nervously bid on two Ryelands shearlings (gimmers in Scotland!) and won the bid! It was a nerve-racking and exciting experience! Certainly the biggest sheep sale we’ve ever been to!
Ashgrove Farm Ryelands
Our two lovely Ryeland gimmers (meaning last years lambs that have been sheared once) arrived from the Carlisle Show on 17th September. They had a journey up from Ashgrove Farm in Herefordshire so we gave them a few days to settle in. Local breeders the McEwen-Kings kindly transported them home to us.
Rare breeds have different alphabetical name beginnings, last years was V so we had to choose some unusual names, Velvet (Fraser’s) and Valentina (Aidan’s)!
Fraser at the Carlisle show
They have settled in well and Aidan and I fixed up an old trough for them to use. We are training them to come to a bucket and it is a slow but rewarding process!
Watch this space for more photos of Velvet and Valentina and the story of Windblowns arrival! …….