It’s the first proper snowfall we’ve had for a few years, and the dogs absolutely loved it!
Although it can be a bit of a pain, one advantage of snow is that the dogs come back spotlessly clean from their walks. No need for a watering can wash twice a day!
It’s unlikely to be with us on Christmas day, regardless of how many times Bing sings about it, but wherever you are, whatever weather you have, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The Training Lines Team
We are taken by surprise
We were enjoying the lovely spring weather and basking in the sunshine. The ewes with their offspring had all been turned out onto lush green pasture and the lambs were relying less on milk and beginning to nibble the grass. Everything was going well and we were discussing how much hay we were expecting to get from our newly reseeded field.
The forecast had said that the temperature was going to drop but we wern’t completely taken by surprise when the chilly but sunny morning turned into a wintry blizzard!
The snow came down thick and fast, huge white flakes settling on the ground and everything else. We couldn’t believe that in a couple of hours it was inches thick and still coming.
There is a small hut in the sheep field but it certainly isn’t large enought ot house the whole flock, so we battled our way through the snow storm to shepherd all of them into the shed. It was a bit of a squash but at least they were all tucked up warmly for the night. We didn’t want to risk losing any lambs due to the weather, not when they had come this far. There were no objections from the sheep, they couldn’t get inside fast enough!
Although both us and the sheep were horrified by the turn of events, the dogs were delighted, barking with excitement and playing wild games in the snow, all except Fin, who laid down and after only a few minutes, resembled a snow dog.
The following morning it was still there, thick as ever but the sun was out, melting it rapidly. By the end of the day only a few patches were left and we returned to our previously green landscape, turning the sheep back out into their paddock.
That was definitely the worse snow we have had all winter and hopefully we can now move safely through spring without any more hitches.
We welcome the snow
We’ve had a busy month, packing parcels day and night to ensure they arrive before the big day. We are looking forward to taking it easy and putting our feet up.
The dogs aren’t interested in lounging around, not when there’s snow outside. We’ve had a light sprinkling, enough the freeze the mud, thank goodness.
We brought all the lambs indoors for their beauty treatments, ear piercing and feeding up, and then they were off to the mart. Sorry to see them go as they were a cheeky bunch but a relief to have less mouths to feed over the winter months.
Wishing all our customers and their pets, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all at the Croft.
We went from knee deep mud to knee deep snow almost overnight and then back to mud again
Last month we mentioned the lack of snow. We should have kept our mouths shut as this month we have been inundated with it, as has most of the country.
At first it was a relief to swap the thick mud for the lovely clean snow. However, it didn’t last long as the snow got deeper and it became more and more difficult to feed the animals.
Everything was freezing, the water barrels that served the livestock had a thick layer of ice on top and no sooner had we filled them up, than they were starting to freeze. Dragging a wheelbarrow full of hay or buckets of feed across a snowy paddock was not much fun either.
However, there were some who were absolutely delighted with the change in the weather, the dogs.
They absolutely loved it. Fin guzzled it down like ice cream and the two youngsters played in it happily for hours. They obviously don’t suffer from cold paws like we do.
As the snow started to disappear we were left with treacherous ice which was even more of a feeding challenge.
Now, sadly we are back to mud with a side order of gale force winds!
The snow catches us by surprise but the dogs love it
It was all going so well, and then suddenly there was a blanket of white. We knew it would happen sooner or later, but we just didn’t expect it to be in November!
Still, we can’t dwell on it. The sheep have been converged into a more sheltered area (this was due to happen anyway, but the snow gave us that little push), and we are well into the animal feeding cycle now. The main difficulty is that the feed has to be carried as the wheelbarrow can’t be pushed through, and the usual paths are quite deep. It makes otherwise quite straightforward tasks much more tiring.
On the plus side, we haven’t seen many muddy pawprints in the house! All the mud has either frozen or been covered over, leaving a nice clean play area for the dogs. They love it!
We discover a couple of new-borns running in the snow
With yet more snow this month, in between the really soggy thawing out periods, the going has been pretty difficult outside. Most of the animals have been moved inside, but we were just a little too late for one of our ewes…
We were feeding all of the animals in the late afternoon as always, and when we got to the sheep we noticed a couple of newborn lambs running about in the snow!
Whilst they looked healthy and dry (their mother had obviously been looking after them), the outdoor conditions were far from ideal. We very quickly moved them into a warm, dry pen (pictured). After a couple of hours, mother and lambs were doing well!
In the meantime, a quick look at our calendar revealed that these lambs were born at the very earliest possible date (taking the time with the ram and the typical gestation period into account), which caught us on the hop!
We move the livestock indoors but the dogs enjoy the great outdoors
There is a time for snow, and that time appears to be now!
All of the dogs love it, although today’s depth seems to be at around 18-24 inches in the field, and it does seem to slow them down marginally.
And as Sophie (pictured) says, waste not want not! She can roll about in it all day!
More seriously though, it does make croft life very tricky at times, and feeding the animals is particularly challenging. We have brought all of last year’s lambs inside (the first time ever), and amazingly, we also managed to bring the cows in too!
Pippa and Co have always had a severe aversion to our livestock shed, but after a few false starts and by rattling a bucket of nosh, they were all comfortably in the small enclosure just outside of it. They go in and out of the shed at will (the door doesn’t shut properly because of the snow) which seems to suit them, and we think that gradually they will become less nervous about being there.
The snow makes life difficult for us but the dogs are thrilled
Did it snow? Did it ever!
Whilst we have seen worse over the last couple of years, it did come as a bit of a surprise. Mind you, the dogs absolutely LOVED it!
With nothing but a light breeze, bright sunshine, several layers of snow over the field, they chased around as though they were floating on air. The canine equivalent of ‘snow angels’ could clearly be seen around the perimeter of the field (their usual route).
In addition to the fun though, there is also a more challenging aspect to the weather. The animals not only need to be fed at the usual times, but also have to have plenty of dry bedding, and it all has to be carried to their pens through the snow. At first, is quite easy, but after a while, we found it quite exhausting!
Thankfully the snow has now passed, and has been replaced by drizzle. The mud is deeper, but we’re used to it, and it’s no less than we expect in Feb. In a couple of months, it will subside as the ground dries up. Hopefully!
A month full of snow and gales but at least the dogs are happy
February has been a month of extremes.
Snowfall in the first week, which the dogs (pictured) absolutely loved, gave us some concerns for the calf in the cold. Thankfully it seemed to pass without incident, and soon gave way to wetter but slightly warmer weather.
Then following a few more cold days, the weather changed completely and gave us several days warm(ish) and dry! This gave us the opportunity to finish the boundary fencing and shift the ewes in. The grass in there had been untouched for several months, so was fresher than everywhere else.
Unfortunately, though, the weather changed again in the last couple of days giving us severe gales with more forecast. Not ideal, but probably no worse than expected at this time of year. If we can just make it through March and the beginning of April, hopefully, we’ll start to see an upturn in the weather, and an improvement on the damp rainy conditions of last year.