First lamb.

Good morning from The Potting Shed.  Good grief.  I knew it had been a long time since my last letter but I see from the Joe Vinks story below, that it was June 25 since my last post!  I’m sorry for my absence, but such a lot has been happening at The Potting Shed as we prepare for Spring.  Truckloads of new products have been arriving, lots of special orders to fill, obelisks and espalier frames to be made, gardens and pots to be planted up for Tulip Time  … and so the days quickly turn into weeks and then into months.  I’ve been putting off writing my blog, unable to think where to start.  Or start again, in my case.  Anyway, nature always gives me solutions to every problem.  And this very frosty morning (minus 3 when I awoke!)  after my breakfast and once the sun had burned away the mist, I strode out to survey our flock of Suffolk ewes to see if lambing had begun.  Usually I’m confident about the lambing dates but this year, our rascally ram George broke through the gate to be with his girls and my planning rather went out the window!   But I knew we were likely to see some action this week so I’ve been careful to watch everyone.  Out I went into the freezing, frosty morning and the first thing I saw was a spectacular flock of sulphur crested cockatoos in the vegetable garden.  Actually a grouping of parrots is referred to as ‘a company‘ or birds in general are a flock if on the ground and a flight if in the air.  Not sure what you call them if they are sitting on posts in a vegetable garden!  Anyway, I love them.  They are so playful and naughty. They love showing off and strangely this morning  it was as if they were trying to show me something.  They all took flight in a blur of white and sulphur, and swooped out over the garden to the fields beyond. And as my eye followed them, I spotted our first lamb of spring.  Tiny and black like a little spider wobbling over the frosty grass, there she was.  Perfect.  It’s a miracle how these little babies born in freezing temperatures get quickly up to have their first feed and then imitate their mothers and begin to try and graze.  Suffolk lambs are all born black and then eventually turn white retaining only the black face and legs.  We love them and lambing always marks the turn from winter to spring.  This year we’ve put the donkeys in with the flock to help protect the lambs from foxes … which, I see from Wikipedia, are known, when in packs as a leash, a skulk, or an earth.  We learn something new every day.  Anyway, we have five donkeys, including baby Phoebe who was born just before Christmas, so I’m hoping her mother Clementine, father Digby, along with Annie and  Ned Devine  will all be aggressive towards foxes to protect her.  It’s always an anxious time as the foxes are hungry and needing to feed their young and every year we have losses. All heartbreaking.  So, though I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed at how on earth I’m going to manage lambing on top of everything else at the moment … this first arrival set my heart soaring and I now can’t wait to see a paddock full of lambs gambolling about in the spring sunshine.  I’ll just get up a little earlier each day to fit it all in.  After all, nothing wonderful is ever achieved without a bit of extra effort.  Is it?  Have a lovely day.  M x x x 

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