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Our farming year
Each year the farm is divided broadly into three: for our sheep, cows from a neighbouring organic farmer, and hay. This traditional system, with the thirds rotating every year, helps keep pastures fresh, controls weeds and parasites and encourages wildlife and a diverse range of grasses and wildflowers.

The farming year roughly follows the pattern below:

Spring is one of the busier seasons. The barns and lambing pens are being cleaned out and scrubbed down in preparation for lambing. The grass is growing and the ewes are thinking about lambing, which takes place in March to April. By the middle of April most of the ewes have lambed and are out at grass with their lambs. The lambing pens are taken down and the barns cleared for shearing, which takes place towards the end of spring, or earlier if the weather is hot.
All the ewes and lambs are out at grass. With shearing complete, the barns are being prepared for all the summer hay. Good hay is vital as its the flock's winter feed and bales need to be kept totally dry. Old pallets are put on the barn's floor to keep the bales off the damp and roofs are checked for leaks. Hay making is dependent on the weather, we keep an eye on the grass, and the weather forecasters, before choosing our moment to move in with the mower.
The lambs are being weaned and most will be close to being fully mature and fully grown. Hopefully all the hay is in. The fields are being tidied with a topper, (a large mower) and our neighbouring organic farmer may put his cows on them, to catch the autumn flush of grass. Towards the end of the season farmyard manure will be spread on the fields taken for hay. The manure helps return the nutrients to the soil and increases the soil's fertility and the organic matter content. The rams are being prepared for tupping. Their feed is increased and they are checked over before going in with the ewes in October.
Short days and long cold nights. The slowest season, but often one requiring the most work. Hay bales need to be carried, water troughs have their ice broken and pipes defrosted. The hedges might be being laid, trees pruned and ditches cleared out. The rams will remain with the Ewes until the end of January.