Mr Packham

This was one of those days that makes you know you’re alive. Where you don’t have time to appreciate one individual second of it, tunnel-vision-intent as you look for the next job to do, washed over by waves of emotion only when you switch off and let it all go.

This would be lambing time. On a day that decided to (very briefly) rain.

The rain’s an important factor, by the way. For some reason best known only to evolution, sheep lamb* when it rains. Until then, the majority keep their legs crossed, stuffing cake** as often as possible and chasing any person carrying either a crackly plastic bag or a  yellow bucket***

Since 13:30 this afternoon, we had a goose that laid an egg on the trailer door (which is lifted and closed every night) and proceeded to attempt to build her own nest out of straw stolen from the other.

There are now four brand new lambs added to the chaotic band of pets, two jet black (Zwartble) and two white with black and white faces (Kerry Hill crossed with Swaledale). The mother of the white set had no milk and didn’t care about her lambs, the black set were found abandoned and shivering on the hillside, unlicked. A single lamb has a mother with only one ‘tit’ and no milk in it, but its mummy loves it, so for the time being it’s with her and being bottled****.

And then there’s Mr. Packham.

Mr. Packham is a pet lamb who has a severe case of the shits. Yesterday, it spent the morning in front of the gas fire in a crate, wrapped up in a padded shirt. It was put back in its pen with its mates when it developed a propensity for climbing out of its crate and setting off round the room.

At 13:30 this afternoon, Mr. Packham was fine, sitting quietly but comfortably with its friends. By 15:00, it was at death’s door, head twisted to look directly behind, utterly miserable. Thinking it was dehydrated, we wrapped it up in a cosy furry Parker coat, took it inside, and tubed it with electrolyte fluid. Then more. We gave it ‘rattlebelly’ pills (Norodine) and more fluids. No milk, so the bug can’t feed off sugar and fat. If we avoid that for as long as possible, perhaps the bug will wear itself out in 24 hours.

Himself has tubed it again tonight when he got up very late to give the pets their last feed of the day, and will do so in the morning too, if it’s still alive. Poor Mr. Packham.

Are we right to try and keep it alive when it’s so miserable and poorly?

Maybe it's a Swale but some of our Kerry crosses look like this.
could be a Swale, could be a Kerry. Looks like a joker.
Kerry hill lambs
Kerry Hills – Highway Sheep as lambs.
zwartble lambs
Zwartble lambs with a lot more greenery than our lot have.


*lamb as in the verb ‘to lamb’. As in birthing a lamb.
**hard, pellety chunks that probably taste sweet and malted. Not the chocolate kind.
***both cake carrying items, as the sheep well know, though not full time; sometimes they carry boring water or goose grain, which the woolly raiders only find after they have trampled the person carrying the vessel and knocked everything all over the yard.
****’bottled’ as in given milk from a large baby’s bottle, not as in being smashed round the head with a Pils bottle.

Spotz and Geeses

This blog has turned into a mis-mash, without a real focus. We’ve gone from food to book, to geese to lambs and I’m not sure it’s making sense any more. Perhaps I’m looking for some balance in my life; as above, so below. Where I get balance in other areas, perhaps the blog will re-find it’s direction. For now I’m wandering in whichever takes my fancy and today it is lambs and geese!

Spotty Lamb. The littlest suffolk, needy, all over you and has tumbled head first out of the trailer a couple of times. An ‘up and down’ lamb, not sure why. It’s feeling a bit better today – we took it off milk yesterday (it’s older than it looks) because it wasn’t agreeing with it and it’s getting used to the idea of eating creep feed and grass when it gets hungry. I should add sulkily.

The geeses still think they should have their trailer back. They like to stand around the ramp of their old trailer, intimidating the lambs.

Life Experience

A picture tells a thousand words. If that was true, they would have already put writers out of business, but luckily, pictures tell only a number of very targeted words. They don’t tell why you, personally and specifically, took a picture of something.

Two snapshots to illustrate my life experience right now:

1. Real, physical life seems to be fixed at the centre of Camp, where there is no electricity, running water, or heating. Or internet.

However, there are lambs:

Nine of the pets are in this picture. Spot the lambs! Three bad (not bad at all, bless ’em) suffolk crosses in the foreground, (clockwise from the left) Spotty, the littlest, Big Lamb and Mid Lamb; Freckle (texel cross) in the stone trough on the hay, Bunny Ears, Baa Lamb and Fuzzy behind the long trough and Lamby (white texel at the back) and then in the long grass, you can just make out Smoky, a Swarble with a white flash on his head.

2. Being able to take a photo of my own, physical, paperback book!  It’s a lovely, solid, slightly bigger than normal paperback, with very white pages and has been bound very neatly.

Notice the copy of An Unfamiliar Murder by Jane Isaacs beneath it. A rocking story with some strongly visual characters, Unfamiliar kept me guessing right up till the last chapter, something you always want in a thriller! See my review here.