More calves, a bonfire and lambs...

Emma Heseltine - 17 March 2013

The calves are coming thick and strong, Cypress has a little bull calf which is named Lincoln. He is born on an extremely snowy day (obviously, best time to have babies) so we bring them up to the paddock near the house and put them in the shed for 24 hours, it’ll be much better than being out in the freezing cold blizzard that proceeds to lash down all day. Speaking of snow, the pigs don’t mind the snow lying on the ground but when a sudden snow flurry sweeps in they scream bloody murder. It’s a hell of a noise a pig in full screech mode, I can help laughing, and I can’t do anything about the weather girls!

There is a lot of twigs and branches kicking about the farm at Wallacefield. We have been sorting out the hedges and so all the stuff we have removed needs burning to get it out of the way before birds start nesting in it, or sheep start getting tangled in it. Bonfire time! I enjoy trying to get it going and burning well with just one match and some newspaper and straw, not always an easy task.

This week we are due to start lambing. Last year as I was my first lambing I approached it with some trepidation and excitement of course. This year I have an idea what to expect, so I just want to get started. Friday comes and goes with no lambs. I’m studying our girls very carefully, who will be first? I’ve got my eye on one with purple tags. Saturday morning I’m woken early (for a day off!) by the boss letting us know there is some triplets appeared in the night. This is a good start. Thing is there’s a market today and I’m manning the lambing fort, will there be a sudden rush?

The Sophies and I go to feed the cattle and guess what, more triplets! They all look great so we scoop them up in the trailer and take them back to the shed. Because there is three and number one is on its feet looking for its first meal whilst number three is still going ‘what on earth just happened!?’ we decide to tube them. I milk some of the top notch colostrum from mum and we give all of them a stomach tube to make sure everyone gets some. No colostrum; no good lamb, simple as that. This morning with the first lot of triplets there was a ewe who was trying to steal them from their mum, this is a good sign she is thinking about lambing herself. Sure enough a bit later we go have a look and she is on with the job.

The first pops out no bother and the Sophies go off to feed at Aglionby whilst I keep an eye on her, there’ll be another on the way. So I’m on my own when I realise the second is coming out a bit wonky. It’s doing a superman with one leg back, so the ewe might need a hand. She’s not keen on the idea and keeps running off so I get her other lamb and convince her to get in the trailer when I can help her out. Take a deep breath, think about the position of the lamb, be as gentle as you can and get that lamb out. Don’t ask me how but out it pops, a huge lamb. Well done girl, lets get you in the shed out of the rain. 

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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