Spring has definitely sprung around here. The daffodils have been out for a while now, and the trees and hedges are just starting to show hints of lime green fresh leaves.
The field behind our house belongs to the local farmer, it's been empty all winter, but a few weeks ago a small flock of sheep were moved in. They do scan the sheep to check which ones are in lamb, and these ones had all been identified as having twins.
Our local breed is the Welsh Mountain. It's definitely hill country round here, and you need a sheep that can survive harsh weather, with very little human input. The sheep spend most of their time up on the hills, and the grazing is poor quality so you need a lot of land for not many animals. You couldn't use the land for anything else though, so it's actually a pretty valuable part of our food production in the UK.
Come spring, the sheep are brought in to fields closer to the farms. Lambing usually happens around April, as by then the worst of the winter has passed, and the grass is growing again. The sheep lamb completely unassisted, every morning recently I've been looking out of the window and seeing more lambs bouncing around. The BBC hosts a lovely show called Lambing Live, filmed live in a sheep shed, during a week of lambing. There the sheep are usually having twins or more, and sometimes need assistance during birth. The lambs themselves need a bit more tlc during their first few days so they're kept inside.
No such luxury for the Welsh Mountains, they lamb outside, usually with single lambs. The grazing round here is poor, so twins usually grow a bit more slowly than the singletons who don't have to share their mother's resources. The farmers actually prefer single lambs to twins, very much not the case in a more lowland system.
The lambs are very curious about everything, they'll often stand and look at you through the fence, humans are still interesting, rather than creatures to avoid. Their Mums think differently though, and getting near them to take pictures is a definite challenge.
The lambs themselves spend lots of time either eating, playing or sleeping. The field is usually full of curled up bodies fast asleep.
It can be a bit disconcerting, as when you glance out of the window all you see are lambs that look very much like they're dead.
Get too close however, and a little head pops up, and the lamb runs off at great speed to find Mum.
And just to give you a sense of perspective, this looking down on our house from the sheep field. I think it give you a sense of just how steep the land here is. Last winter we had great fun sledging here, usually baling out well before the bottom as you build up quite a sense of speed!
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Dugoed Bach, Mallwyd, Machynlleth,
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