Open for Springtime

Despite the recent heavy rainfall our caravan site is open as usual. The driveway to the site and all the pitches are hard standing and are unaffected by the inclement weather.

And despite the weather spring is here. Last week we saw our first house martins, heard our first cuckoo and saw a leveret sprint down Cromer Road. We are not sure where the barn owl has taken up residence, but it is not far away. We saw it earlier this week one afternoon, perched on top of the traffic sign and in the evening last week it spent some time sitting in one of our oak trees. The owl continues to hunt in the allotments, the white downy feathers indicating its flight path, and at night, we frequently hear it calling. A pair of jackdaws; always the opportunists, took over the barn owl box when the owl vacated. We hope there residency will be short, until their young fledge, and that the owl or its offspring will return to their home later this year, or next.

At the end of March we took the four ewes to a local commercial sheep farmer for shearing in the sheep trailer. The ewes were not used to the trailer but food and coaxing eventually had them on board. We left the ram lambs behind, and there was much baaing as we drove off. The ewes settled down and after 45 minutes of driving through the beautiful sunny Norfolk countryside we arrived at our destination, a farm near Wyndham. The ewes were happy to leave the trailer and congregated in the pen to be shorn. The shearer was experienced, and Sheila the largest ewe with whom we had inexpertly grappled on many occasion, was put on her back in one easy move. The shearer was in total control, and started shearing. The fleece cleanly parted company from the sheep, but we were most in awe of the way he carefully used the large shears on the head of the ewe. He delicately cut round the ears and the eyes, and in no time Sheila was shorn. The other three ewes followed, and in 40 minutes all were shorn of fleece. We thought we would once again struggle to move the sheep onto the trailer for the return journey. However, the ewes were keen to leave the shearer and bounded up the ramp into the trailer without any coaxing. We put the fleeces in the compartment behind the ewes and drove home. When we arrived the ram lambs and the ewes greeted each other with baas and it was not long before they were reunited. As instructed by the shearer we put the ewes and lambs into the back field, so that they had the shelter to protect them from the cold frosty mornings of early April. The ewes quickly settled back into grazing, with their adolescent lambs. As the shearer suggested we left the ewes with the lambs for a couple more weeks, prior to weaning, so as to minimise the risk of mastitis. The ewes and lambs recently had their annual inoculation and their six monthly blood tests to ensure that they are not infected with Maedi Visna. The lambs are due their second inoculation this week, six weeks after the first, but the ewes are covered until they are put to the ram. This week we weaned the lambs, dosed both the ewes and lambs with wormer, and trimmed the ewe’s hooves. We will shortly apply the pour on spray to guard against blow fly strikes and that should complete the farm management tasks until the summer.
The fleece from the shearing is in the garage, and we need to remove the foreign bodies, wash the fleece, and dry it ready for the sale to local spinners.

We look forward to a sunny summer and welcoming our guests to our cottages and caravan site. As I write the sun is breaking through.