Grass is growing, even the lawn got cut at the weekend during a quiet spell in the lambing shed.

A fortnight ago there was a clear indication of green on some of the more recent re-seeds but now everywhere without sheep is looking a healthy colour.

We had some family visiting from Yorkshire this week who had visited only in the summer before and Debbie’s Uncle mentioned that he’d never seen the place look so brown and barren.

Maybe how green your grass is has less to do with any particular hue, but more to do with your outlook on life! I hope your grass is looking green – no matter what shade it is.

We’ve had a wet January and March with a dry February – the opposite to last year, but coming up with the same total of 10 inches.

Ploughed land is not fit to go yet – although good winds are getting it nearly dry before the next shower comes through, and although I’ve not been away from home – I hear the seeders are all going when you get out of the glen.

Soil analysis results are back, revealing nothing too out of the way. With pH levels mostly between 6 and 6.5, but one down at 5.7 which took me by surprise and will need immediate remedy.

Adequate Phosphates hopefully means we can make a bit of a saving on fertiliser once more and some low Potash is a good reminder to replenish after cutting which is easy to forget in late summer. It is good to see analyses improving on the fields which we have remembered to rectify.

Organic Matter levels were also reported to qualify for Sustainable Farming grant funds. Coming in at between 5 and 12% and averaging 8% over a good mix of about ¼ of the farm.

Our soils are expected to be at 3%, so these results look like we are nearly storing three times more carbon than predicted. That means we have carbon locked up in the soil beneath our pretty traditional mixed upland farming system that is thousands of tons beyond what the Carbon Gurus are expecting.

I take soil samples with a spade and bucket in early spring, using the old-fashioned vaguely W-shaped wander across the field and skipping wet bits and places where I know stock usually camp on.

The spade was a bit difficult to go in on one field and I hope to get a neighbour with a sward-lifter to have a go in there this spring.

Calving is progressing reasonably well. Working on a 287-day gestation, we should have started on March 24, and be nearly at the end of the first cycle now – however we had 19 calves by that ‘due’ date. About half of the total expected calves are on the ground now, but that is including heifers who aren’t bulled until a cycle and a half behind the cows so haven’t started yet.

We have service or AI dates on about half of the cows, giving an average gestation length of 283 days – with calves by Luing sires on that average, Simmentals two days longer and our Angus (particularly selected for easy-calving), five days shorter.

These shorter gestations don’t negatively affect calf vigour or hardiness and it gives the mothers of these calves almost an extra week of recovery before the bull goes out again.

The biggest mistake this calving so far has been using some AI straws in yearling Simmental heifers from what we thought was a calving ease sire. The two we have so far have come out at 292 days and although not giving a lot of grief have needed help. On the up-side, they are both cracking bull calves!

There are a couple more and then we had repeats running with a more reliable home-bred Angus, along with all the Luing heifers.

Calving and lambing cameras installed with a SAGGS grant last year are working out fine. Jim runs the calving sheds and I’m on Texels and we both have access on our phones.

We are both still getting up to check when the shed is busy and there’s lots going on – but do find it useful to sit in the house and keep an eye on progress when something has started. They really come into their own once the sheds quieten down a bit.

The main ewe flock are two weeks off lambing and have had their Heptivac vaccination. Robbie the vet took bloods for metabolic profiling about 10 days ago.

Short term energy and protein levels were on track so feed levels have been kept the same, although I think we are getting to the stage of running them onto lambing fields and cutting out the snacker.

I find it difficult getting the balance between having plenty grass in front of them at lambing and not over doing it and landing with prolapses.

What I’m not going to do again is too much jiggling about a day or so before they start. I’m determined to learn from that mistake.

Long term protein levels were a bit low on one of the batches which led us to do some fluke egg investigation which turned out negative. I’m putting it down to being a bit hard on them feed-wise early pregnancy – with being short on winter forage crops.

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We are lambing 110 Texel ewes now and they have been coming steadily. It is great to be able to get ewes and lambs out to grass on day one or two. Lambing has been reasonably straight-forward with 75% of ewes needing no assistance and only 6% so far classed as ‘a bit tricky’.

This column is usually written about 11 at night, but it’s the middle of the afternoon now – as I’m hiding in the office on the first day of daughter, Tally’s ‘lambing experiences’.

She has sold just under 100 tickets for visitors to come and spend some time in the lambing shed, feed pet lambs, collect eggs and maybe see one of the dwindling number of Texel ewes left in the shed give birth. The first group this morning enjoyed cuddling pet lambs and there are a couple of ewes looking like they will do something for this lot.

Home from vet school, she has done a two-week lambing stint in Northumberland and has the rest of the Easter break trying to raise funds for ‘Dig Deep’, a charity supporting improved sanitation in Africa.

She has a target to reach before she heads to climb Kilimanjaro in the summer. Sharing the joy of the lambing shed (while hiding some of the other bits that go on), is making a decent start.

Younger child is ‘studying for highers’ while rolling silage fields, planting hedges, and still clearing up from Storm Arwen. He passed his driving test a couple of weeks ago and his mother has been threatening him with all sorts if he isn’t careful on the road.

However, like most of the youngsters, his insurance company have sent him a black box to go into his car so he thinks he is being very careful.

The irony that Debbie pranged the farm pick-up this week has not gone un-noticed. Everyone is fine, apart from the pick-up which has delivered its last tup.

With thanks to some good local contractors and wind turbine funding the village hall is all back together again and operational ready for the community Coronation celebrations next month.

I think the new King will be happy enough if we just celebrate from a lambing field, keeping the countryside in order.