Saturday, 18 March 2017

Lambing 2017 Day 9 - Sunday

Sunday on the farm began with Morning Communion at the nearby Anglican Church up in Paul, at the church of St Pol-de-Leon.  This church has a wonderful castellar tower.  The communion is said from the Book of Common Prayer.  I am much more used to liturgy now, and see the benefits of its limited use in worship.  However, the non-conformist in me still bristles a little at the disastrous imposition of this book on churches – as unhelpful a development in church history as almost any.  Notwithstanding all this, the words are actually helpful, and, once one gets over the theatrical elements, all is not harmful.  The minister there is a very nice chap, and speaks with sincerity and warmth.

Going to church early means one has breakfast on one’s return.  Toast and marmite is a lot nicer when one has already been to church and it is not quite 9.30.  After breakfast, we lamb-napped a sheep out of the lambing pen, just leaving the two misbehaving mothers there for closer supervision.  With two pens free in the lambing pen, and only two sheep left to lamb, the end was in sight.

Later in the afternoon, Holly, one of the remaining ewes, went into labour.  I need to explain her name.  It is generally considered that one should not name animals on a farm, but on a small farm, one gets to know the animals and their ways quite well.  One sheep of note was Charlotte. Charlotte was born in the days or artificial insemination and there was an error, as she was clearly a Charolais cross, instead of the usual Texel.  She had lovely blue and grey patches on her face, and was quite a bit larger than the other sheep, standing proud and tall.  She was most definitely in charge, and stamped her foot if you behaved badly, or entered her pen without permission.  Charlotte stayed on for many years, because she delivered large twin boys every year with easy deliveries.  Charlotte had a daughter called Charlene, slightly less Charolais, who followed her mother’s tradition. 

All sheep love to eat ivy – it is often given to sheep who have been unwell, as it perks their spirits up.  One sheep in particular went crazy for ivy, and so, naturally, was named Ivy.  She was a pleasant sheep who lambed well each year, as did her daughter Holly.  Holly also produced lots of lovely lambs, and was dominant, but sweet-natured.  Among Holly’s daughters was Setti (Poinsettia) and Missy (Mistletoe).  Holly and Missy were the two sheep left to lamb.  Holly was quite old by now, and therefore rather thin, and a bit arthritic – taking a long time to get up from being on the floor etc.  Because she was rather thin, her pregnancy made her look simply enormous.

Holly continued to labour quite well, pushing, and getting on with it.  She is a good mother, and was very licky  - licking any place where she had pushed and waters might be.  However, eventually, she had laboured for some time and was not progressing along, and was getting rather tired.  A large foot was showing, but not a second foot.  We went in and Sir found that there was a normal presentation.  We decided to give her another half hour, but, on the failure of further progress, Sir attached ropes to the feet, and with a gentle pull, a fine lamb was delivered.  This was Lamb 15.  Holly was B15, and Missy is G15 and, furthermore, Holly had had other lambs at No. 15.


Pleased with this, we retired to the house, to sleep off the enormous roast mutton meal we had enjoyed.  In the evening, Mrs Farmer and I went to the Methodist church as normal – a lovely service with five hymns, and a short but helpful sermon.  They are an elderly bunch – four people out of ten there are over ninety, and I was the youngest there by at least ten years – but always friendly and warm.  I enjoyed my two services in Cornwall.

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