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January, Lambing

January, Lambing

Out on the wold the shepherd sat huddled in his hut over the charcoal stove ...

A bleat roused him. At his feet by the stove lay his latest newborn, lanky and damp. He turned it over and stretched out for the bottle of warm milk. First tying the teat himself, he placed it in the lamb's mouth. Tenderly, with all the wisdom of over fifty lambing seasons, he seemed to breathe life into the inert huddled mass of legs, gently caressing the tiny body that was hardly as big as one of his own enormous hands. 

On the roof of the hut the rain drops fell noisily as bullets. A piece of loose tin flapped in the wind. 

Satisfied that the lamb was living, the shepherd flung one sack across his shoulders and tied another one round his waist and took lantern and lamb out into the night, to place the creature against its mother. The wind blew his beard across his face and the rain blinded his eyes. It was by touch rather than sight that he made his way to the lambing pen and found the mother sheep. Several ewes were just coming on to lamb. He would have very little rest to-night ...

Extract from Clare Leighton, The Farmer's Year

February: Lopping

February: Lopping

A Calendar of English Husbandry

A Calendar of English Husbandry

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