The week began with some more rain, another 14 mm, but then some drier weather arrived with just another 5mm before the end of the week. There has been noticeably more sunshine appearing between the clouds, but the wind direction has changed coming more from the east and north.

This has given the air a rather chilly feel, but with longer days and the sun higher in the sky the ground here on Manor Farm has started to dry out. Lets hope that the sun is going to shine in the days ahead as we are now in lockdown. I am sure everyone knows what I mean, with sunny spring days making us all feel better .

The ewes and lambs out in the fields are all doing well, so thank you to everyone out walking for keeping your dogs under close control. Just a reminder as we go forward that more of you will be accessing the countryside and rights of way, so please continue to keep dogs under control when near livestock. Also please try to avoid straying off footpaths to get closer to lambs and their mothers, as they are easily frightened and if separated become very distressed .

At the end of the week there were only 50 ewes (of the 900 main flock ) waiting to give birth, so the workload has eased a little. Melissa, with help from Natasha and Annabel, still has to bottle feed a small creche of displaced lambs three times a day and these lambs are all looking well.

Granddaughter Annabel has adopted a recently born black ewe lamb, one of two born this season. She has already begun to halter train it, in preparation for the Young Farmers Club Sheep Show, which will hopefully be able to take place later in the year. Annabel's black lamb is a Lleyn. Lleyns are usually white, but can sometimes have a black patch on their bodies. Blackberry (the black lamb) has only a few stray white strands of wool, as does the other black ewe lamb born earlier in the season. Both Blackberry's mother and father must have a recessive gene (heterozygous ). If this is the case there is a 25 per cent chance that their offspring will be black.

Lleyn sheep originate from the Llyn Peninsula , which extends into the Irish Sea from the North Wales coast. This breed has gained popularity over the last 10 years , primarily for meat, although the white wool is of a high quality, with no kemp (coarse hair or fibre). Lleyns are also quiet sheep with good maternal traits, producing plenty of good quality milk for their lambs.

Ian began his week helping Kevin with sheep work, but as the pressure eased mid-week he turned his attention to some field work. First of all, with dry weather forecast, Ian found after inspecting the fields planted with winter cereals, that they were dry enough for him to be able to spread some nitrogen fertiliser. He also sprayed patches of black grass and other germinated weeds which had appeared in stubble fields not yet planted, with a herbicide .

Having completed those tasks Ian, with Jenny's help did some fencing. Our 60 Aberdeen Angus beef cattle will be turned out onto grass from their winter quarters as soon as possible, but they have never been out in a field to date as they were born last autumn. Therefore we have to ensure the field they will be grazing is safely fenced. The field is close to the barn and is surrounded by a hedge, so Ian and Jenny are erecting a stockproof fence on the inside and inside this fence will be an electric fence, which they will soon learn to respect. Now let's hope the sun keeps shining !