The small mountain kingdom of Trelystan should be alive with lambs by now but the weekend's uncertain weather has meant that all bar the strongest are confined to quarters. Sheds and barns are bursting at the seams with the little critters. Over at Fir House a temporary ovine maternity ward has been established.
At first sight it is a chaotic enterprise - but no, impressive order emerges out of apparent confusion.
The human work force is in perpetual motion, strawing down, watering, watching, assisting, ever on the move.
Pregnant ewes, bleating raucously and a tad confused, have been drawn in from off the hill and are gathered in a large strawed yard awaiting their fate. Postpartum, and depending on the number of lambs they produce, they will be penned into neat sections - singles here, twins there and the triplets to the right. A slightly sinister arrangement holds ewes who need persuasion to feed their lambs - there must be a technical term for a thing which holds a sheep so it can't turn around and butt a feeding lamb but I don't know what it is. 'Cade' lambs have a corner too. These chunky lambs born earlier in the year are motherless for one reason or another and look to any passing human with expectation. A slightly grim pile of corpses in the yard reminds us that life is not an easy passage - if birth doesn't kill you then maybe the tongue-pecking ravens will.
In this barn I scent the visceral tang of bloody birth, the sweetness of shaken straw, the earthiness of dung and, amongst all this, the sourness of life-giving milk. Here is a pleasant sanctuary, giving shelter from a biting northerly wind, offering protection to fragile new lives. Here is as good a start to a lamb's life as might be found.
I take my photographs and leave - complimenting Heather on the shed's organisation as I go. She brushes off the compliment with a laugh before rushing back into what she perceives as chaos. This is the way it is. This is what they do. I am full of admiration.