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Foot Blankets and Lambing Courses

At the moment I am making baskets and attempting to knit my first ever sock...

The heel has worked but I've added rows I shouldn't have in order to correct mistakes and I forgot to turn the sock back inside out after I'd had a look at it so the knits all weirdy in places.  It's certainly not perfect, but it's definitely some kind of foot blanket!  I'm about to do the toe bit so I should be finished within this lifetime!!!

I attended a lambing course last Saturday at Beech hayes Farm in Somerset.  It was organised by Val Grainger - The Woolly Shepherd.  I didn't get any pictures as it was too dark in the barn so I've used a lovely picture off the net.  

Unfortunately we didn't get to see a lamb being born but I did get a good look at a sheep in labour.  So I feel confident that I'd recognise that in the future.  It was also useful to see how to dock the tails and castrate the lambs.  Probably the most important thing I learned was how to check a sheep for condition - whether good or poor.  Not just by using my eyes to check changes in behaviour or lack of interest in food but using my hands to feel the body of the sheep, on the back, on the side and on the base of it's spine.  

I really appreciated the level of husbandry at the farm.    All the animals, without exception, looked healthy and well cared for and even at this time of the year the pasture looked in good nick.   That matters to me, a lot.

I learned many, many things and it's really helped me to make stronger decisions about my future as a sheep farmer.  We were considering a flock this year, but because of many, very good reasons (some cemented after attending the course) we are probably going to have to put it off for yet another year.  Which is a shame, but there are many things in the pipeline that will benefit from my full attention this year.

Maybe I should make a list...


  1. Oh I love sheep. So what is your goal for being a sheep farmer? Will you be raising them for all factors of what they can provide? (wool, meat, milk) Do you get to make many more visits to this farm to learn more about your future friends?
    The sock is looking good. I have not worked up the courage to take on a sock yet. I am still sticking to hats and such.

  2. What a lovely thing to have a go at Hen. I watched them delivering a lamb on Victorian Farm this week and it looked so interesting, I'd love to have a go. xxx

  3. Stacey, our land is well suited to grazing animals. So my interest in wool has grown into an interest in sheep. I never expected that I would ever consider breeding animals for meat on any scale other than for the home. However I have to be realistic and produce lamb for meat from the sheep I have for wool production.

    So the sheep will three uses... 1) wool 2) meat 3) conservation grazing

    It's a huge deal for me, so unusually for me I'm not rushing into it!

    pixiedust, I saw that too it was fantastic wasn't it! Personally I loved watching the guy making the oak swills!! Inspiring that programme isn't it!


  4. Never having lived on a farm, although I have spent a good part of my life in the country, I am amazed at how complex sheep farming can be, just from your brief description.

    I guess I shouldn't have been though. But I was.

  5. That sock looks so soft! Who cares if it's perfect? :)

    I'd love to hear more about your sheep farming journey if that's the path you end up taking.

  6. Hello Hen

    Sorry I had to dash off to the hedgelaying course!!! Glad you enjoyed the lambing course...Ruth is very very good at teaching and explaining things!
    Hope to catch up with you when I'm not trying to organise 2 courses on the same day!!
    Val xx

  7. I love the name foot blanket. :)
    Very cute. It's fun being creative.


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