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

Emma Heseltine - 22 April 2012

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’. The oats are looking great; about ankle high now, although there is the usual crop of docks poking through. It was wet and now they are really too far along so the field never got rolled. There are lots of smallish stones that could be caught by the combine in the summer and cause massive problems. We have the quad and trailer and a small team of our Monday volunteers, we run up and down the field slinging them in the trailer. I am once again in the danger zone driving the bike but thankfully nobody hits me on the back of the head. I make myself a difficult target by leaping off every now and then to grab a handful of rocks, just in case.

There are four Ewes’ left in the front field at Houghton. Two are in lamb but appear to be crossing their legs, the lambs will come sooner or later, they can’t stay in. One of them lost her lamb some weeks before lambing and mooches about looking sorry for herself. The last is just fat, she is the worst. Whenever you go in the field she comes waddling over to see if you have any food. I’m letting the chickens out and they get a scoop of wheat on a morning. Over comes Mrs Fat and starts stealing it. I shoo her away but she seems determined and the chickens are no match for a Mule ewe. In the end I stand in the middle of the chickens while they peck around my feet and the ewe circles. She even starts stamping her feet at me in annoyance; you really don’t need any more grain! And stamping your feet will get you nowhere.

On Wednesday morning the last of the lambs arrives. One of the ewes had her lamb the night before and then this morning the last Shearling has twins. This is double good news as we were worried she was empty a few weeks back. A quick check of the remaining ewes showed that she had milk so she went back on the good list. Both lambs were fine and popped out without any trouble. So doing the calculations we had 53 ewes go to the tups, 49 lambed and we ended up with 88 lambs, not too shabby.

At Wallacefield Wasi, June and Jacob are in the shed. We have had them in to wean June and now its time to turf them out and take them down to Orchid field to play with the other little heifers. June and Jacob are very happy to get to Dock field, they have a good run and jump about with us behind trying to get them to go out the bottom gate. As soon as they see the heifers they go running over and a great reunion/cow meeting/frolic ensues. Wasi is just as enthusiastic to get down to Spring field and see her herd-mates, although much mooing occurs later on when she realises her calf isn’t there. She settles down after a time and I’m sure does some catching up with Beechnut who is also in the field. That’s all of last years calves weaned now.

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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