Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Lost in translation

We thought we had asked for six bales of straw from the farmer at the straw-buying place. We had watched him walk away and get into his big fork lift tractor. We had observed him as he trundled off in it down to the hangar which housed huge bales of straw stacked high on top of one another. We had thought that he was turning his tractor round. Indeed he did just that. We saw him do it. We also saw that he had somehow gathered onto the fork lift bit at the front of his tractor a good quantity of smaller hay bales, fourteen in total, all tied together in a big lump. We thought that he was going to drop them down on the ground near our car and trailor, break open the batch of straw bales, and sell us six.

He did not. What he did was kept on going to the back of our trailor then dropped the whole lot onto it.

What a surprise that was.

(Thought I would just break in here for a moment to say that the doors are wide open because the builder is in to carry on with making a ceiling for the kitchen, I can hear a lamb yelling its head off and its mum yelling back which means they have lost touch with each other so I will have to go and give a hand - they are in the mud bath of a sheep paddock at the moment so that means slopping about in mud, it is freezing cold in the house and more freezing still outside, and the cold is starting to seep into me as well. I'm not moaning though, just doing a tiny bit of a whinge!)

(Back to the hay bale story) 

At first the bundle did not fit, but stood tilted slightly up, resting on the front part of the trailor. He said that it would be OK. He pocketed the money and waved us cheerily off. We managed to make it round the corner before there was a sharp crack, which upon investigation was shown to be the sound of the wooden front wall of the trailor caving in under the weight of the straw.

We drove on, Hubs and me both tense, wondering if we would make it home. We did. Trailer intactus, car intactus, me and Hubs frazzled. He was in the middle of a twelve hour day on his PC. It was not very helpful to his state of mind that mid way he had had to go and get some bales of straw for this lot.......

Jacob, the ram is not in this photo. He was off to the right having gone through a few mad moments of skipping about as if he was a young lamb. Showing off, I think. After all this lot are mostly with lamb, and here's the proof we woke up to this morning:

...another black lamb, a female because she goes to the loo squatting down. And another surprise because this ewe did not look pregnant, had no udders, and was just about a year old. We honestly did not think we would have lambs this year because we had seen no signs of sexual interest on the part of Jakey last autumn, none at all. He must have been going about his business in the dark of the night, by stealth, and he has caught us out.  We were supposed to be reducing the flock numbers, but Jakey's activities looks like almost doubling them. We are going to be hard pressed in regards to the grazing now. Not to worry, but actually, yes I am! Even one of the elderly sheep, who we were going to cull, has developed udders so could be expectant. Jacob sure has been a busy boy! He is smaller than the ewes. He must have borrowed a ladder so he could get the job done, or else they squatted down for him. Oh what obliging girls if they did!

Message to self: Do not sit in the car and leave Hubs to sort out things like buying bales of straw. Although his French is getting on better than mine is, sometimes it is better to have two pairs of ears listening to a someone speaking French so that any errors of translation can be avoided.

So with a head full of concerns about those lambs on the way, and with clothes full of bits of straw so that I look like I have had a wonderful afternoon romping in the hay but have not done so but have been shifting the straw about the place which not so thrilling a task as is romping, I leave this day behind and trundle my way to bed. I might be brave tonight and undress in front of the fire in the front room before getting into bed. Last night, may I say, I got into bed almost fully clothed because it was just too much effort to get undressed and brave the cold betwixt even for a second .

Taking notice of my last blog, repeating endlessly to myself that the joys outweigh the difficulties........

(So off to bed I went into the bliss of a toasty warm electric blanketed bed. I did not quite finish the blog so went over it again the next day)

The next day: Hubs: "There's two more...." Oh. And there they were, with their mum. One black little girl (she was squatting) and one gorgeous black and white boy (he has little fluffy dangly bits) That makes three lambs so far this year. Can't post up photos as battery charger seems not to want to work properly, but they are deadly cute. Sat for ages on a hay bale in the barn with them, watching them take up their lives.

Off to choir that evening, rehearsal being in a big church in Mabourguet. Everyone moaned that they were cold. I actually thought it was quite warm. At least the doors were shut and the windows closed so no drafts.....

The day after the 'next day': So another two lambs were born overnight. Two black ones. We are wondering what the response of people around here are going to be. Without effort we seem to always be fetching up with something either happening to us, or around us, which draws attention to us. Having a flock of lambs which are mostly black is certainly going to do that. One of the overnight lambs had two white socks. How on earth are we ever going to cull that one. Strewth. I thought the  male black and white lamb born yesterday was going to be difficult enough, but this one today...oh wow, but it is a delight.

So off in the field they went this morning.  I thought the mums with lambs would be staying in the Sheep Paddock for another day, but apparently when the gate got opened to take them to the Front Field for the day, the mum's charged out with the rest of the flock leaving the lambs to follow on as best they could.

And here's a funny thing......the sheep without lambs are totally spooked by those little black lambs. When a lamb bounces over to the rest of the flock to say 'hi' they run away, as spooked as anything.  I wonder what the mum's thought when they started licking off their black youngsters which had just arrived from out their tums. Perhaps they were too busy to notice, and by the time they did, the bonding process had taken place .......sorry got to go, that lamb is still yelling so I had better go sort it out.

Been a bit of a long blog, and if  you have to the end of it then well done you.


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Bet you are glad that you are not still in the caravan with this weather that has just appeared. Hope your poor little lambs have somewhere warm to go. I wonder even more about the black lambs, are you sure you did not have an overnight visitor that you missed :) Keep warm Diane

Horst in Edmonton said...

I'm very surprised that the sheep are so afraid of the little black lambs. Love your blog, always read to the end. Hope it warms up for you soon. have a great day.

Vera said...

Diane, I sure am glad that those caravans have gone! Am counting my blessings about that most days. Fingers crossed for the lambs, though. We are doing our best, and hope that they all pull through these very cold nights. And black lambs? Well the ram is a Jacob (which is why we call him Jacob!) and they are predominantly dark in colour although he is actually mostly white but with some black patches. And keep warm as well - I think that you are having worse weather than us at the moment.

Vera said...

Horst, they really did scatter when the black lambs bounced up to them trying to be friendly, but that only lasted for an hour or so, and then all was calm. Glad you enjoy the blog and I much appreciate the advice you give us.

Ken Devine said...

Glad the trailer is fine...they are invaluable. Also glad you are warm at night and no longer in the caravan. It's cold here but nice and sunny during the day...but still cold.

Vera said...

Ken, trailors are a must-have, although this one is a bit too big for us to handle (can't go backwards in a straight line for a start!). We are cold and sunny today, but with a high wind chill. Trouble is that we are spoilt here in SW France - when the sun shines, which it often does, it does kick out quite a good heat even during the winter so that when it does get really cold we do feel it more. Some days the seesawing temperatures from very cold to quite warm can be quite tiring for our bods. Hope your painting is still coming on OK, and your book as well.