Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Who'd be a sheep eh?

This morning
I don hat-scarf-coat-gillet-boots - unearthing all my cold weather gear from where it has been stowed away a little too soon - and trudge up to let the hens out. Through a blizzard. I soon regret leaving my gloves behind. It's only an itsy bit of April snow. Nothing serious surely?

Not surprisingly as I raised the pop holes on houses one, two and three, the hens squawked 'blow that for a game of soldiers' as they saw the whiteout conditions, and took to their perches for a day of clucky grumbling'. And who would blame them?

I wasn't expecting this - too far south, too far west etc but at 2.00am this morning snow was indeed falling. And it is falling still, some 18 hours later. Thank goodness that as it has fallen there has been something of a thaw because otherwise the white stuff would now be up to the eaves. (As I type this I notice that the sky is now clearing and the moon is out.) We lost the electricity at breakfast time and the snow filled the lane shortly afterwards. We've spent a lot of time today just looking out at the window.
...and this afternoon
But who would be a sheep? Up until now the weather has been perfect for lambing. The little fields around us are used as nurseries and ewes and lambs spend a few days there, bonding before moving on and joining the bigger flock. Even yesterday evening we were watching some week old lambs running and jumping as the sun went down. Such simple pleasures, such joyful sheepy games. This morning though was a different story as their mothers led them to shelter in the lea of a hedge, out of the bitter wind. They seemed such scraps of things struggling through the heavy wet snow. With the lambs parked-up the ewes continued to graze, pawing at the snow to find the grass underneath, giving an occasional bleat to their shivering offspring.
John brought a big bale of straw to shelter some lambs in a particularly exposed field but mainly they manage to find shelter of some sort. I remind myself that wool is brilliant insulation. Here in our field is a kind of sheep refugee camp - they are hunkered down in a fold in the land, sheltered by a thicket of blackthorn and out of the worst of the weather. A couple of old ewes seem to be babysitting.

I click the camera off - it's too cold to stand out here fiddling. The wind is coming from the north and driving hard little crystals of ice into my face - it's a bit like being sand blasted. Indoors seems like a very good idea.


Cro Magnon said...

Keep looking to your nearest Hawthorn/May tree. And ne'er cast a clout till it's in flower. The old sayings are often the best.

Annie said...

It seems the world has gone mad eh? All winter we had only just had a very thin sprinkling of snow and now this in April!!! Brrrrrrrrr
A x

Fennie said...

You seem to have a sheep in your hawthorn tree!

Down here on the Vale Riviera we have just had your cold wind tearing the blossom to pieces. Do hope all your lambs survive.

Twiglet said...

Very similar over here on the other side of the valley. It is just beginning to thaw but Roundton and Corndon are still white over.

Chris Stovell said...

That's a wonderful photo of your sheltering sheep. Poor things, what a contrast for them! What a strange, uncertain world they've found - but at least they have you to care for them.

Pondside said...

I hope it clears up for Easter. Late snow like that is just an insult!

elizabethm said...

We had a walk tonight and found sheep up on the top huddling into corners even though the snow has mostly gone. It was dramatic though. Our cottage visitors were snowed in yesterday and this morning drove back to London in sunshine!