Sunday, 22 February 2015

Feeling Sheepish in the Lake District!

There is the sound of a whirring sewing machine in the kitchen as my daughter starts her first attempt at dressmaking. We discovered a newly opened scrap store yesterday and came home armed with material, stamps, paint, magazines, wool and ribbons- heaven! Half term has been a haze of sewing, crocheting, planting and creativity. In fact my daughter has said she would like to have a go at making her own clothes, so having managed a cowl with material from the scrap store and mastered how to thread the machine she is ready for trying something simple.I will post the results when we've made something!

It's half term but ,as with any home educating family , the learning always continues. We received a text from my daughter's ELBS (enviromental and landbased science) teacher this week to say her lambs had been born and did she want to see them? We didn't need to be asked again.They were born right on cue on Pancake day.Two tup lambs.
Weighing the lambs

At Boon Cragg national trust farm in Coniston lambing normally takes place in April where there are two lots of around 400 lambs born every year. The students' sheep, of which there are eleven , were sponged to time the birth for February so they could get individual attention as the students have to weigh them and monitor their health. First the lambs were weighed, then their sex was checked to see whether they were gimmers or tups.

Practising with the spray paint

Then after a practice with the spray canister, they were each numbered.The sheep in the barn were Charollais and there were several Tup lambs.The farmer normally prefers the gimmers (female sheep) but this time he was pleased as he wanted to sell them for breeding as the Charolais will be shown at Westmorland show.They weren't particularly attractive sheep like the Herdwicks, having rather square faces and being all white (at least these were) but they make a good price. One of the ewes had given birth to three lambs but had sufficient milk to feed all three.Another sheep lambed after her with a singleton lamb. If she had lambed first then one of the three would have been passed to her to feed to make it easier.

Numbering the lambs

My daughter's lambs on the other hand are Texels . There were outside when we saw them but would be brought in at night.It took us a while to get them to pose for their pictures!

My daughter's lambs with their mum!

And all the time we were up the farm we were surrounded by the sights and sounds of spring. The snowdrops are out and the primroses and crocuses and the daffodils are just about to open ready for a new half term of planting and growing in the new school greenhouse!

Spring is here again!

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