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When the north wind doth blow...

Margaret Finlay: It’s not just dairy cattle here at Rainton, we also have a flock of about 500 sheep, mostly Scotch Mule ewes - a cross between a Scottish Blackface ewe and a Blue Faced Leicester tup. The crossbred ewe is supposed to embody the best bits of the each breed - hardiness and good natural mothering, and prolificness with good milk production respectively. The southwest of Scotland where the farm is located, is generally accepted to have a ‘maritime’ climate, with cool summers and mild winters - warmer and wetter than the east is a common description. Not this March.

22 April 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 3

Confused lambs, a cheeky lamb and the last lamb...

Emma Heseltine: We are giving the ewes and lambs in the big Houghton field their morning feed and it’s usually chaotic. The ewes all come running for their food and the lambs all mill about in confusion bleating until mum has finished breakfast, then there is much running around and baaing until everyone is matched up again. We leave them too it, a few lambs are testing out the goods on offer but most are milling/bleating.

14 April 2013 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 2

Swaledales, a ditch and preparing for lambing...

Emma Heseltine: We are moving some of the ewes about at Stone Raise and have discovered some interlopers. There are two Swaledales lurking in the flock. I think they have joined for the good eats and the treacle. The trouble is someone will be missing them. We ring a few people who have rent-a-sheep in the area to find the owner.

17 February 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

Rocks, the last of the lambs and Wasi and June...

Emma Heseltine: The spring barley went in last week on the Park at Wallacefield. It’s been rolled too, not by me this time and the next job is to get rid of some of the boulders that have turned up. We track back and forth picking them up then move onto the winter oats to get the smaller ‘combine breakers.’

22 April 2012 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 1

Lamb taxi, a new coat and Hayley and King...

Emma Heseltine: I’m moving some of the ewes and their lambs to the hay meadow at Tarraby. They stay in the pens a couple of days so we can make sure that the lambs are okay, that the ewe is mothering them properly and we can give them a pedicure. Then they can go out into the field and enjoy the new grass. I’ve been doing some of the foot trimming and I can tell you it is not easy to tip a mule, they are big sheep and they are most unappreciative of my efforts. It’s a fairly easy job loading them into the trailer, the ewes will follow their lambs so we just pick them up and pop them in and the ewe follows.

13 April 2012 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 1

Lambs, trees, lambs and more lambs...

Emma Heseltine: Lambing is due to start this week at Houghton and sure enough, Monday night one of our girls is early. I’ve been sent to bring the sheep up to the field just by the house so that we can keep an eye on them easily; I’m doing this by jiggling a bucket of wheat.

21 March 2012 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 5

Kasper, fences and a trial run at lambing...

Emma Heseltine: We have a new calf at the Croft. It’s a fine day to be born and little Kasper is a cute looking little thing. Mum Croft is very protective so we have to careful moving them to the little paddock which is nearer the house so we can keep an eye on them both.

11 March 2012 | 9 Comments | Recommended by 3

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