Monday, 28 March 2016

Lambing - Holy Saturday

I shall not write a report about Easter Saturday, as Easter Saturday in 2016 falls on 2nd April and is the day I return to the City.  However, Holy Saturday was yesterday, and I can write about that.  After the lovely sunshine of Good Friday, Holy Saturday was grim stormy affair, with a very strong southerly wind - a wind the farm is largely sheltered from, but one that brought waves onto the promenade at Penzance.  Saturday has two traditions - pasties for lunch, and sausage and mash for tea.

The Cornish Pasty is a specially designated food that must be made in Cornwall.  There is a long mythology around the origins of the pastie, and how they were designed to be taken down the tin mines by miners, with a knot on the crimp so that they could be held in dirty hands, and with two different fillings, separated by a pastry wall.  Like most such legends, there is possibly some truth in it, but I doubt much of it is true.  All this said, the pasty is a lovely thing.  Let not the purchased variety, or the dreadful Ginster’s Cat Food Pasties deceive you.  A true pasty has a crimp on the side, and is stuffed with potato and swede and steak.  It should be eating very warm (not really hot) by hand.  The large size is to be recommended.

In the middle of the afternoon, between hailstorms, and when the drizzle was only persistent, rather than heavy, Mrs Farmer and I went out to the tractor shed, to visit the three mothers and their lambs.  We chalked up the boards that identify each mother and her lambs, and then each lamb had its tail fitted with a castration ring - this is painless, and trims the tail, which would otherwise drag on the ground almost.  The lambs then have their number - 1 for the first of the lot, and so on, sprayed on their back, and the mother has the number of her lambs sprayed on her back, which assists when they are all together in the barn later.  All seemed to be progressing well, and the single lamb was becoming quite huge.

Later that afternoon, one of the sheep in the upper pen appeared to be a little discontented, and had assigned a choice corner to herself, butting away any others who dared trespass.  This is a strong indicator of labour, and, sure enough, she showed membranes later on, and was hastened to the lambing shed.  She Did Not want to go and, once in, we noted from her previous labour, that she had been difficult to move before, but that her labour had processed quickly and efficiently, and that she had produced her lambs when no-one was looking.  After waiting until she had settled down, we decided to go and investigate tea.  Surely enough, when the Young Mrs went to check, the ewe had produced two healthy lambs with no fuss, and informed the Young Mrs that she Did Not need to be checked upon and that she was Quite Capable of looking after things on her own, thank you very much.  We therefore all retreated and consumed indecent quantities of sausages and mashed potato, while the rest of the sheep naughtily continued to chew cud and look most unwilling to deliver their lambs.

No comments: