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Christine Ryder: 'Mule gimmer lambs have now been sold and we are drafting out ewes'

As we move into autumn I am enjoying watching the colours change. The weather has been great which helps it along and also keeps the bed and breakfast customers coming.

As we move into autumn I am enjoying watching the colours change. The weather has been great which helps it along and also keeps the bed and breakfast customers coming.

 

Things do not look like slowing down any time soon. At least when the sun shines I can get the washing dry, but the downside is my line runs across part of the yard sometimes used as a holding pen when Chris is dipping sheep.

 

He is been doing that a lot lately, but I took a chance one day, got my wellies on because of all the poo and pegged out a whole line of whites, only to find an hour later the line had snapped.

 

Once dipped for sale the lambs look well and then it is time to watch the weather. A heavy downpour can soon wash the colour off them. One night a heavy thunderstorm started and Chris dashed out and brought the lambs inside.

 

Some guests were most concerned as they thought the sheep were scared of the storm and Chris was taking pity.

 

This week we hosted a farm visit for a party of Swedish sheep farmers. They came from Gotland, a large island in the Baltic Sea and famed for a breed called Gotland, a dual-purpose sheep reared for meat and lustrous wool.

 

One lady had brought a pelt to show us; the wool was grey and curly and so soft to the touch, apparently prized wool for hand spinning.

 

Chris took them on a tour of the farm and then I provided lunch. Unfortunately, it was the day Northern Power turned the electric off for seven hours so hot food was off the menu, but with the help of a friend’s generator on the tractor I did manage to brew up.

 

All the Mule gimmer lambs have now been sold and we are drafting out ewes. Traditionally, we breed our own replacements and try and keep our flock as closed as possible, but we do buy-in a pen or two to make numbers up. It is an expensive job, and somehow the shopping trips seem to take all day.

 

A couple of new tups have arrived and there is some home-bred tups to go. We were fortunate to get several Bluefaced Leicester tup lambs this spring, so we will try them with a few Swaledales each and see what happens. Always interesting to see their offspring in spring.

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