Birth of new lambs. 

Those little fluffy clouds with legs you see jumping around and skipping in the spring fields of England. They are a herald for the new season and hopefully the better weather days ahead. 
Until I moved back home I hadn’t really spent any time thinking about how much work goes into this time of year for the sheep farmers. I simply enjoyed watching them and gushed over their little waggy tails as they fed. 

The Browns my friends Farm whom I have written about before, this time of year is one of the busiest, hardest but also most rewarding. A LOT of work goes into getting the spring lambs to the happy points in the fields you see this time of year. I was again privileged to spend some time with them with my husband at the weekend. 

I lambed my first lamb under Ian’s careful guiding hand. It was so amazing!!

It was a big weekend for boxing and we had this weekend arranged for a while. I joked;

“Ahhh don’t worry I will lamb, you can watch the boxing!” 

All joking aside I was certain I wanted to help and although ANY one that knows me will be absolutely shocked to know. I did it. I put my hand into a ewe and helped her birth a perfect little lamb. 

Having a farm is pretty much 24/7 anyway but this time of year that’s never more true. Every couple of hours out  around the ewes to check that no one is in difficulty or needing help. So like new parents feeding a new born. These farmers are up all through the night no matter what. 

For Ian last night that meant while trying to enjoy an evening with friends, he had to work at the same time. I’m pleased we could be on hand to help but we enjoyed a moment of respite from our own office type jobs so you would think the novelty would wear off for the farmers. That’s not true with the Browns. The excitement and joy at every healthy birth is just as exciting, if slightly exhausted. 

My husband has of late been helping on the farm, it’s so far from anywork he has done that he is loving learning how the farm ticks. The opportunity for both of us to help out and learn something new was so awesome! 

I didn’t even hesitate when he asked, flinging my legs over the fencing into the pen and hands in the ewe following Ian’s clear instructions, five minutes later I am watching a little ball of wool taking its first breath and watching mummy clean and stimulate her baby. A while later he fed and was up and about. 

Out again an hour later to top up any lambs not getting enough milk which means hand feeding the little ones until their bellies are full. 

Next check at about 2am it was my husbands turn! A man who does not like to get his hands dirty with mud, delivered twins and a rather more challenging experience as twin number two was being difficult. They stayed calm and within ten mins out came number two. Initially a little lifeless but with some help from Ian and mummy ewe he took his first breath. Phew!! 

My husband was so overwhelmed by the experience I was a little worried he was going to climb in and sleep in the pen with the babies all night. Haha. 

We got to bed me around 3am, my hubby around 4am. We the part timers slept through till 10. Mean while Ian and his dad had been out another two or three times to deliver three sets of triples. One of which was delivered by the Brown’s four year old daughter Florie. She has literally no fear and knows exactly what she is doing!! Arm straight in, lambs out!! 

While we had slept Ian had an hours sleep! When we got up he still had the rest of the farm dutys to see to, feeding and moving around the livestock. 

If he didn’t do this, if he was wasn’t so conscious and caring for the animals. The amount being lost would be so much higher. The twins my husband delivered and also one of the sets this morning, they needed help. No help and certainly the lambs if not mother too would have died. 

I am tired from reduced sleep and excitement. I have no idea how they do this for months solid. It can only be the love and dedication I witness every time we are there. The care that goes into each animal on the farm is so amazing. 

So the next time you are driving the countryside admiring those little hoppy lambs frolicking in those fields. Spare a thought for the farmer and his family and the tremendous amount of hard work that goes into the process. Think about what you buy. 


Farm gurl in training – shearing sheep!! 

This weekend we packed our camping things into my husbands van and we made a trek up to Bonny Scotland to spend the weekend with some friends at their farm. 

Let me start by saying, I am NOT a camper, I’m accused regularly of being a snob. This is not the issue. It’s not like I deem myself “too good” to camp out, just that given the choice between a comfy bed with amenities in a nice hotel or a sleeping bag in what is essentially nylon ball with a door. I choose bed every time. I have to defend this preferance. ALOT.   

However if I was ever to give in and take the plunge it would be to spend time with the wonderful people I did this weekend. I am so glad I did. 

You may have read my blog about lambing with the Brown Family well here we are back again with them, but this time we are on their new farm in Scotland and we are shearing sheep. 

The drive to Scotland was beautiful, we live in an already breath taking area but the beauty of Scotland’s landscape isn’t lost on me. It’s raw beauty is worth the drive alone, the farm is actually in the middle of no where, so like those houses on the hillside that you say,

How cool would it be to live there, no one around for miles!!!

This is exactly what the Browns new farm looks like. Driving up the long road to the farm, the van bounces along like that scene from Ace Ventura. We don’t have a comfy car with great suspension, we have a Vauxhall van with naff suspension that makes me feel like my stomach is about to come out of my mouth!!! Sorry Vinny Vauxhall but it’s true!! 

The comical scene that waits me is worth the trip, Marie Brown one of my oldest and closest friends does not do anything by halfs, she says camp and she has every possible thing you could need to do it. Including twinkle lights, a must for any party in my opinion!! 

There are seven adults standing over a six man tent complete with three bedrooms and a living room with a carpet. There are no instructions for said tent and only a couple of us with any clue about how a tent goes up!! Cue at least an hour of hilarity that can only be equal to that of a Three Stooges movies, up goes our home for the next two nights, with minimal input from me. I imagine many divorces are a result of putting up tents!!!

Now I know what you are thinking, you are at a farm, why don’t you sleep in the house. Well it’s been empty for a while and well …… That’s just how we roll!! Apparently ….

After a fun evening filled with a lot of beer and laughter. We retire to our tents to get some rest for the adventure ahead.  

So after a some what freezing night in the tent we headed out to work, we were all supplied with coffee and bacon butties by Terry before we started!!! He is Marie’s dad and I think we all adopted him total ledgend!!! 

We started my clambering to the top of a hill, jumping a stream. Anyone that knows me will confirm how unlike me this is!!! I broke two nails climbing on my hands and knees to reach the sheep, not going to lie, cried a bit at this I have been growing them for ages!! *sigh* never mind let’s move swiftly on!!

At last we reach the top the hill and Gwen the sheep dog sets off to work.  

It never fails to amaze me how passionate Ian, Maries husband, is about farming. It’s a hard job that is a lifestyle, you live and breathe this life and he still has such a passion for it. It must be amusing to him us townies showing an interest in his lifestyle but we do love it. We love spending time with them. 

This time of year the heat and the bugs can be a danger to the sheep, if their fleece gets too big and they get stuck on their back, they can die. So shearing is an important part of looking after the wellbeing of the sheep. It’s more than just wooly jumpers. 

Ian the professional showing us how it’s done. 

It’s back breaking hard work. It’s a fantastic skill to see, quickly and expertly removing the fleece it’s obvious that Ian has had many years experience. We were on hand to help …. I maybe hindered but Nikki, one of our party, was a dab hand helping to pull the sheep out and pulling them into position which is bloody hard work and some of them were as big as her!! My husband Ben also pitched in and for a city boy he did well. Between them it was a smooth assembly line. 

The wool when it’s removed is rolled up and sold on but not for a great deal. There is something very pleasing about the smooth lines and the sheep shaped wool that’s removed. 

Ian told me some farmers burn the wool rather than sell it in protest to the poor prices paid for the wool. I can understand it. There is a LOT of work that goes into running a farm, do we really appreciate it? Do we do enough to support our British farmers? 

Me having a go. Then Ben and one of the final sheep. 

Ben really got the bug and he and Nikki helped to worm some lambs too, I was amazed watching my husband who has been born and raised in the city take control of these lambs. Nikki on the other hand equally amazing at it she looked very at home in this enviroment and you can’t help admire a girl that can really kept up! No pink or blue jobs here!! Yes I realise I loose some credibility for mentioning my broken nails but it can be gurl power with awesome nails!!! 

They worm the lambs every six weeks or so because of the bugs in the grass the lambs eat it keeps the insides healthy. They also are regularly sprayed with fly spray to stop them living in the wool. 

 This life is so different to the one so many of us live in the corporate world, dealing with targets and money and sales. Farming has its own stresses and it’s unbelievably hard work but I can’t help feeling envious of the time spent outdoors with animals. 

Many hands made light work so we were able to get out and do a little touristy stuff in Ary too. Hopeful Ian was pleased with the help getting his jobs done, I don’t mean my limited efforts more the others lol!! 

Our weekend was a mear glimpse into their life, but I loved it. It was helped along by great company and a lot of laughs. After the unbelievably bad start to 2016 laughs have been rare. I hope we can do it again soon. 

Here are some other shots from the weekend. Xoxo

The Lambs, and the birth of a calf part two……

At last we spoke, I had just arrived at my friends farm. I know very little about the workings of a farm I just know that I love animals so any excuse to spend time with them I will  and of cause my friend and her family, especially her farm-house cooking!

Over the last couple of weeks I have witnessed the birth of 5 lambs and 1 calf, I don’t think I can express the sheer excitement I feel when waiting for that new life to enter the world.

My first visit to the farm was a few weeks ago at the time I wrote my first blog, the barn was filled to the brim with little dancing lambs, Ewes, cows, calf’s and even a puppy!  My second visit was last weekend, we went for weekend boxing celebrations and more lamb cuddle’s the barn was a little less busy!!IMG_3075My friend Marie and her family live on this amazing farm, in the middle of no where…… I do mean no where…….

IMG_3029IMG_3043No main roads, No other buildings, in the middle of no where!

No main roads, No other buildings, in the middle of no where!

Marie was a townie like myself but has merged into farming life beautifully,  it’s always a pleasure to be around this family. Marie and I have been friends since we were babies, in fact along with my best friend Amanda I can’t remember a time we didn’t know each other, we all lived on the same street growing up. Marie’s Nana and my Nana were even best friends so it feels like being with family when we all get together.

The farm is so peaceful, there is a bitterly cold wind the type that gets down to your bones but even that couldn’t dampen my excitement!!

After a brief catching up we went into the barn and I was in animal heaven! I have mentioned before that snuggling one of those wooly jumpers with legs has been a to do list thing for a while, when I actually got my hands on one it was near perfection. With its little warm fuzzy body pressed to mine, at first I was worried I was stressing it out as its little heart pitter pattered against my hand, but the lovely snuggles and nibbles told me otherwise.

Within this cavernous barn there were lambs, sheep, cows and their calfs, pregnant cows and a baby sheep dog Billy hidden in the comfy corner, he is just a bundle of bouncy fur with eyes! Sorry Marie I had to steal your picture of him!!

Even Lewis the cat gets in on the action!

IMG_2954IMG_3005The Brown family all work to keep this farm running including the kids,  the freedom for the children out in the countryside is amazing. They are so independent and are able to be off out enjoying the fresh air, they are very aware of the dangers of farming life and seem to be more sensible for this!

There is something wonderful about watching the kids tend to the animals. Marie and Ian’s (Her Husband) children Ellie, Rose and little Florrie (who needs her own blog she is so hilarious, a little old woman trapped in a toddler)  get stuck in with the farming chores and have no problems getting dirty, watching Florrie toddling around with a lamb under each arm is unbelievably cute!

This last weekend was a family gathering and these little lovelies looked after their cousins who were up here also.

Florie and a lamb!RoseTeigan, one of Marie's neices.IMG_3082

Some of the pics here – Top left Florrie , top right Rose, bottom left Teagan (Marie’s niece) and bottom right Florrie and the lamb =D

Ian, Mary (Ian’s mother) and David (Ian’s dad) all work hard, so hard. I enjoy being around them very much, don’t get me wrong I would love to trade the stress of deadlines and sales targets for a slice of this wonderful life but it’s so tough I am not sure I am cut out for it. I don’t think there is much call for beautiful handbags on the farm!

By the time of our first visit the Brown’s were already a month or so into Lambing season, which is a 24hr job. Sleep is a luxury but you can clearly see the love and passion for the job in everything they do. By the second visit a couple of weeks later, they were looking a little zombieish =D

Although it was already quite late on that first evening, surrounded by the sounds of the different animals, they still found the passion when talking to us about their job. Showing us the various breeds of sheep and their lineages. Some descended from show winners! The examples of good ones and bad ones for resale and showing. David often joking about the leaping £ signs and their fate, he knows I would keep them all as pets given the choice. However I know they are all soft-hearted, and Davids teasing is just that. There were examples of their compassion all around me.

For example the below pic is of a little fella that was lame, he wasnt even standing, now a cold-hearted business person may have seen this as a waste of feed and time, not the Browns! Ellie, the eldest daughter, was determined to get him to walk! When I left after our first visit she promised me that he would be up and around no matter what! And guess what? On my second visit for the boxing party  – he was up and about!! I even got kisses off him!! see below!!

IMG_3067Watching David, Ian, Mary and Marie wandering round hand feeding orphaned lambs, the work involved in fostering the orphaned to a new mother, the time checking their little bellies are full, that they are warm and comfortable you can really see the dedication to their “job” and I word job loosely as I think it’s more of a lifestyle!

Ian told me of the terrible snow fall in April a couple of years ago that killed so many of those vulnerable little lambs out in the fields across the UK, they rounded their flock up into shelter and then spent all of the next day digging them out of drifts – they only lost one lamb! There is so much love, care and passion for the job and its evident from everything they do.

Now I am not getting into the vegetarian argument whats right or wrong that not the point of this post, but I will say this, for those of you concerned with where your meat is coming from, which I am, seeing the effort the Brown’s put into this stage of the process is a proud statement for British farming.

I am a complete hypocrite I will hold my hands up to it, I like my meat shrink wrapped and not resembling anything like the animal it came from, but I enjpy being a meat eater and I couldn’t do without it. But I also love the animals and don’t want them to suffer so to know there are farmers out there like the Brown’s, making sure their stock are well looked after, healthy and happy for the time they are with them makes it a little easier for me and I am proud to buy british products!

I had never, up until this first visit, witnessed any sort of birth first hand. As we were making plans to leave Ian already had noticed a Ewe starting to get ready. I find it interesting that they constantly have their eyes on the pregnant Ewes and know when they are close, of cause they can labour alone but its much safer for the farmer to be on hand as I witnessed.

The barn is a very organised system, so Ian knows who is about to birth and when they are in labour, there are signs the farmer recognises. The farmers also have the sheep scanned so they know how many lambs are being born and keep track of this by colour coding their backs or sides. The Ewe about to give birth had triplets inside her and she needed some help, sadly the first lamb out didn’t make it. It was a sad moment and again another example of the love and care given. I could see David, the very same lovely man who had been joking was a little quite, he doesn’t like to lose any of them. The other two were perfect and out safely, one boy one girl – named after me Sharron and my husband Ben. I am pleased to report they are both still doing well! The second Ewe went into giving birth soon after this and she gave birth to two perfect lambs. I was amazed by it! I could have stayed all evening, listen to those little ones barring playing.

Ian confided in me afterwards that the best moment for him is watching them hop skip and jump about in the fields, he feels like job well done, I have to agree job really is well done. Go on admit, when you see those little babies jumping and playing together with their little tails wagging – who can resist a smile?!

The second visit to the farm was to be a weekend of fun and I would like to say the animals were the main attraction but sadly the lads in our little party were raring to watch the boxing match that was being shown over night early hours of the morning. I am not a boxing fan but it was a fun night! We didnt get home until 7.30am and we were planning to go back to the farm to continue the fun later that day – I should point out that I don’t drink so was safe to do this!

I love this time of day and with the fresh air I was wide awake by the time we got home, made worse by the suicidal bunny’s intent on going under the van as I drove, sleep was a struggle – don’t worry I missed them all!!

The lads enjoying the boxing from left Shaun Mckie (Maries brother), Ian brown, Ben (my husband), Steven Mckie (Maries other brother) and Luke Mckie (Stevens son)

The next day, no sorry later that day……. we freshened up and headed back to continue the fun, Ian is again an example of a total legend, proving farmers don’t need much sleep! He had no sleep from saturday morning until 2am monday morning!!!

I had expected us all to be a sleep in our food on the Sunday evening, long gone are the days where I could party all night and survive on very little sleep to do it again the next night! We had so much fun, we laughed a lot, we ate some wonderful food cooked by Marie and at about midnight we decided we should make a move and start the 40 min drive home!

I wanted one last look in on the animals ………and a cow was in labour!! I couldn’t go home now, no sir! Ian predicted about another hour or so… husband was so pleased as he was able to have a couple more beers – beer monster!!

While we waited I spent some time with Caesar a calf that wouldn’t take to his mother so had to be hand feed, he would suckle on hands but not on his mother. Farmers often have to teach the little ones how to latch on but sadly Caesar just would not. Ian tried so hard with this little one, he even ended up with a broken toe from the mother standing on him!

He looked so little and lonely in his pen at the back, timid standing staring at me. He peeped out behind his feeding tray to say hello, then would bob quickly behind it again. All of the animals know the Browns smells, Ian was able to stoke and interact with them easily I had to work a little harder for it. I stayed with Caesar for about twenty minutes before we made friends but then after that it was amazing, he was letting me cuddle him, he loved the side of his neck stroking and most of all suckling on my hands! I am not going to lie it took a lot for me to leave him in that barn, I was wondering if he would fit in my back garden!!! Caesar and I are firm friends now….I might even be trying to smuggle him home with me! =D

Another calf on the other side of the room was one they had bought as sadly the originalcalf died during the birth, he was just too big for his mother to get him out and its testiment to the skill and quick thinking of the Browns that the mother survived, but she needed a baby. So they bought this little guy and to make sure the mother did take to him they had to use the hide from the original calf like a cloak so she would accept it, they are both very happy now and the calf is a little friendly one.


The birth of the calf we were waiting for then begun, whom I think we had a mix of names for but Shauna (Stevens daughter) and myself liked Betty and as this was my nana’s name I am going with it. I can not describe the beauty of this moment, I loved it. The cow is held in place by fence type thing that traps her head, sounds a lot more medieval that it is, shes as happy as she can be with a big calf popping out!!

Ian and his father help her to deliver feet and nose first, up to his armpit Ian helps this little one into the world. With a litter picker looking contraption, times a hundred in size, they snugly fit the arms of this rig around the cows bottom. then it’s tightened and then propped under her bottom, they don’t want this cow to sit or lay down! Finally the little one drops to the floor and its done, Ian clears its airways and administers some medicine to help it along.

Other than Ian, I was the first one to touch this little one, so hot she was steaming, smooth and wet feeling a little like a dog covered in shampoo, I was totally smitten!!

IMG_3204Ian and David then cleared the pen, because of cause I was right in there along with the kids!! Then they let the mother free, she headed straight for her baby and got to cleaning her off. Ian tells me there is nothing better than the mothers touch to get the little one going and that was so true within a few minutes she was trying to stand. The mother, who has a stunning white love heart on her forehead, was so attentive to her little one. A mothers love translates whatever the creature, there is nothing better than that!


 So a very weary crowd of party goers finally gave in after 2am on that Monday morning after an epic weekend we all went our separate ways. I was so excited that I didn’t sleep for hours after I got home!! I want to do that again!!!!

Until next time xoxox