You may have noticed things went rather quite around here… in fact a tumble weed rolled through several times!
With COVID-19 hitting the world I had to prioritise and something had to give so my blog went on hold there for a while- but don’t worry I’m back!
I don’t think anybody expected what just and is still happening across the world! There I was just bumbling through maternity, getting use to life with two under two and lockdown hit.
For us it actually meant things were about to get crazy!
Lockdown began mid-lambing which is one of our busiest times of the year. Normally it isn’t an issue. Alongside my husband and my father in law, I muck in and help with the lambing every year. Between us, various other family members and lots of keen friends who can’t wait to come and feed all the baby lambs on the weekend, although the days and nights are long, lambing is very enjoyable. COVID changed this, ok we didn’t have the hands we normally do but it’s fair to say it bought us a whole new set of challenges.
The animals we rear on our farm supply our family butchers just five minutes up the road. The butcher shop typically does well and locally we have fantastic support from the community but the lockdown meant that the butchers suddenly went into peak demand. My father in law moved focus to the shop to try and manage how we would go about a new ‘business a normal’ and begun to set up a local delivery round.
In a normal year that probably would have been ok, me and my husband could have managed down the farm. But this isn’t a normal year so let’s throw another factor into the mix.
With all the bad weather we had at the end of last year it meant that none of our winter crops had been planted. The positive thing is the weather has been good the last few months and that meant, like many farmers all over the country, spring crops could be planted to replace those that would have been planted last year. Good news for the farm as we really needed to get the seed into the ground and growing but for us as a family a further pressure. This now meant that whenever my husband could be off doing tractor work during the day he needed to go.
With lockdown in full swing that meant that me, my 1.5-year-old toddler and 6-month-old baby where in charge of the lambing shed. OK- not to too bad I hear some of you thinking, and I agree some days fantastic, but other days horrendous!
The daily jobs in the lambing shed include- straying the pens, feeding the ewes, topping up the water and hay. This takes place morning and night. Next, we have to feed the cade lambs (basically any orphan lambs). They are bottle fed milk 4 times a day, and once during the night within the first two weeks of birth. Then on top of that there is the actual lambing itself- helping ewes that need assistance, penning up the ewes and lambs, castrating and marking up, turning them out into the nursery and finally taking those ready out into the fields.
To begin with I struggled, trying to juggle the needs of a baby, a toddler and a lambing shed took a little bit of forging out but we soon got into a routine. I had a bouncer put up in the poly tunnel for my youngest, that meant that when he wants feeding or sleeping, he’d could stretch his legs have a play and a look around and that soon tired him out again. The toddler was a little harder to occupy. Happy to help and pay with the lambs but the attention span of about 5 minutes and with a whole farm to play in (including the distraction of tractors) he would soon lose interest. Eventually I got the swing of it- plenty of snacks and juice, a lambing pen toddler proofed with Peppa pig on the iPad and some toys in, and finally one of his ride on tractors into the shed. The combination meant he could help when he was interested, play by himself loading up straw and hay on his tractor and then have some quiet time or I had a safe space I could contain him if something urgent needed doing.
With lambing in full swing and a bit of a routine built up we then got involved with deliveries. A new element to the shop but essential given the current times, it was actually nice to do deliveries as we all went in the car together and it has been a kind of weird family time driving round together and catching up on everything.
My slow cooker has been in full use, I think like most the nation I have been baking and eating and any spare time left had me feeling guilty for the kids being at the farm so much so I filled it with toddler-based activities. Between all of this and housework although my Instagram and IGTV has been very busy my blog itself hasn’t.
I had to let something drop to focus on our family and quite rightly it meant I took a break from blogging. Things are now a lot quieter- lambing has finished, the shop is now in a routine of the new normal and we are enjoying getting into an isolation routine as a family.
So, blogging is back, I am looking forward to having the me time, dedicated to my passion and sharing my love with others! Not only have I learnt a lot from the weeks that have passed but I have been up to some great stuff too, just watch this space as I will begin to share some of the lockdown madness. Oh, and if you want to see some lambing- head to my IGTV!