Monday, May 05, 2008

Late spring in the Gers

Having emerged relatively unscathed from the end of tax year mania, life was just beginning to get back on an even keel when lambing started.

Unlike the goats, who are considerate enough to only kid between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., the sheep favour lambing between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. So, for the last 3 weeks we have been subjected to night after night of only a few hours of sleep. I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again – how do those of you who have had children cope with the sleep deprivation?? By the end of the first week, we were both exhausted – Eddie more so as he is the one who makes the routine checks during the night, and ends up getting up at 3 a.m. and not getting back to bed at all. I just about managed to do my normal work each day without passing out in front of the laptop, but other than that I could barely function. If I wasn’t working, helping Eddie or eating, I was asleep. Even dragging myself into the shower more than once every couple of days just seemed like too much effort!

I think one of the hardest things to cope with during lambing, when you are so tired, is the fact that any sense of routine to your life just goes out the window as we are completely at the behest of the needs of the ewes. One night, when we sat down to eat our evening meal at 10.30 p.m. I could have cried – I didn’t know which was more important at that particular moment in time – to feed myself or to just go to sleep. At least we only have to put up with it for about 3 weeks though – I don’t know how parents cope when it goes on and on and on...

Still, that’s all behind us now – we just have one ewe left to lamb, so life is gradually getting back to normal.

So, time to catch up. Knitting first. I mentioned in my last post that I had two FOs to show. First up is Adamas:

I would like to be able to say that I loved knitting this but that would be a lie. I pretty much hated every minute once I’d got past about 3 pattern repeats. This was not the fault of the designer, but entirely the fault of the knitter, who simply couldn’t get the pattern to stick. There was copious usage of life lines, and much frogging. The only thing that kept me going really was that I knew the end result would be beautiful, and it is. This was knit in merino lace and used quite a bit less than one 100g skein.

Next up is a pattern from Yarn Forward, whose name escapes me. I knit this in the recommended yarn – Rowan Kid Classic - as I just happened to have the right amount in my stash, but the gauge given in the pattern bore no resemblance to the gauge given on the ball band of the yarn so I ended up winging it quite a lot. The end result is quite cute I think.

Last time I posted we were going through a spell of pretty awful weather – it seemed to rain pretty much constantly during March and the first half of April (although looking back through our weather diary it wasn’t actually as bad as it seemed at the time!), but we seem to have turned the corner. The last week or so has been glorious – temperatures in the high 20s, clear blue skies, and the landscape has just gone bananas. Our fields are covered in wild flowers, many varieties I’ve never seen before. The hedgerows and trees are in full leaf now and the countryside is incredibly green. I guess that’s what you get when it suddenly warms up after 4 or 5 weeks of rain. It’s like Cornwall on acid – you can almost watch the grass grow.

Last year was a bad year for fruit trees here, but this year looks like it will be a bumper crop. We’ve had great fun finding out what we have on our land – apart from the usual apples and pears we have plums, at least two dozen cherry trees (could be more – I don’t think we’ve found them all yet), half a dozen walnut trees, and my absolute pride and joy: an almond tree

The animals are all doing well. The pygmy goats LOVE the sunshine

The mums and kids prefer the shade

The kids are coming on really well

As are the lambs

and one of the hens has just hatched some eggs

No, not four chicks


So, life is good at the moment. And made even better by the arrival of a lovely gift of the knitterly variety – Caroline made me socks!

She cleverly left the stitches live on the toes, in case they weren’t the right size but they are a perfect fit, so I just need to find half an hour to graft the toes and they’re done. Aren’t they beautiful?

Right, off now to catch up on my blog reading. Bloglines is telling me I have 91 new entries to read, so this may take some time!

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