Naughty lambs, moving cattle and hedgerow jelly...

Emma Heseltine - 23 September 2012

There is a bit of a mystery at Wallacefield. The lambs are supposed to be in the big dipper but when I come down the drive there is no sign of any sheep. Worried now I go round the back to find the gate open and no sign of lambs. I half expected them to be frolicking in the barley and oats, generally causing chaos. But no, on further investigation I find them in the lagoon field. Apparently they have let themselves in and shut the gate behind them. How very odd. Next mystery, on Friday I put three lambs and a ewe in the shed as they are going to the abattoir on Tuesday. There are now only two lambs and a ewe. How on earth did one of the lambs get out? It would not have been easy I’m sure. Turns out he’s in the field with all the rest. We get them in and fish him out again, anyone would think he knew his fate. We send the lambs back to the big dipper and when we leave later they are still there, but for how long?

John has got a new tup and he’s just in time to start work. He’s a Millenium Blue, which is a Bleu du Maine crossed with a Texel. I had to look that up! He’s a strong looking fellow and does indeed have a bluish face, I wonder what his progeny will look like?

It’s the time of year when we have a lot of cattle all over Cumbria. We do a lot of conservation grazing for various reserves and today we are moving some of our cattle from Finglandrigg woods, where they have been doing a sterling job on the vast wood, to Orton Moss and one cow and calf are coming back to Wallacefield. Trouble with these remote spots is that they don’t really have any handling facilities so it’s a bit ad-lib. We do have a mobile pen to use which is very good once its up, but first we have to get the ladies in it. This involves us shooing them out of the woods, walking them up the field toward the pen, then they about turn dodge around us and run off back to the wood. We do this several times. Seems they like it here. Eventually they are all in the temporary pen and its just a case of persuading them to get in the trailer, no easy task. We eventually get Acorn, Ellis and Kai to Orton Moss and Croft and Kasper are taken to Wallacefield. We then walk them down the road and through chestnut field to steep field where there is an ocean of grass to be sorted out. Good moves.

Autumn is definitely in the air and so I'm making hedgerow jelly. The recipe is a bit vague but contains some if not all of the following, crab apples, rowan berries, rose hips, haws, elderberries, blackberries and sloes. The fruit and berries are a bit hit and miss this year and im struggling to find enough purple ingredients to give it the lovely colour it usually has. Then I hit pay dirt in the corner of hen house field, an elder that hasn’t been stripped of flowers for elderflower cordial and has an abundance of elderberries on it. Soon the kitchen is filled with the sweet smell of hedge. 

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