The last few weeks have seen me coming around to country life a bit more. On sunnier, warmer days like today, I've really looked forward to afternoon walks with the dogs. The birds are singing, flowers are popping open and lambs are bleating in the surrounding farms. It's so nice to be wearing sunglasses (not that they went anywhere over winter though) and to be able to walk around without a coat. Spring in the countryside is beautiful!
Saturday this past weekend was no such day; coats, hats and gloves were most definitely needed as the clouds were grey and the temperatures were freezing once more. Nothing however, was going to stop us from getting in the car and venturing out a little further afield to Lackham College in Wiltshire. I'm not too sure who was more excited but after reaching the college on the Lackham estate, we jumped on the tractor and trailer to reach the farm.
Living where we do surrounded by farms we had seen plenty of lambs running around the fields, but to get this close to them was brilliant. Some were only just born as they couldn't walk (lambs attempt to stand between 30-60 minutes after birth), but the little guy above stole our hearts as he wandered over to see us and seemed very curious.
We were quickly in need of a hot drink to warm up and as I couldn't eat the donuts and cookies on offer of course the choice would be hot chocolate and marshmallows, which was surprisingly delicious considering it was in a polystyrene cup!
The goal of the day was to hold or feed a lamb and thank goodness the photographer was willing to let each girl have one as we had foolishly told them beforehand (without checking first) that they could. There was a long queue and the lambs were getting a bit tired by the time our three reached the front, so the girls were happy when they cuddled in tightly. Fear not, the lambs were not taken from their mother to be held, these were lambs that were being hand reared on the farm and they were rotated frequently. I have to admit I was a bit envious as I wanted one aswell, but decided against throwing a childish tantrum!
I took the photo above on my phone but were really pleased with the two photos we purchased from the photographer. They were priced at £6 for one, or £10 for two 6x4. We purchased two and they are so lovely that we are getting copies for family and frames for ours.
All around the farm and pens there were snippets of information about the animals and farming. I was shocked to find out that farmers are only paid 75 pence per fleece, which doesn't cover the cost of shearing.
There was also a trail / quiz that you could do whilst walking around but we didn't do that. There was plenty to see in the tents and stalls, all featuring local produce. You could purchase ducks, chickens and hatching eggs which the girls were eager to do; however our dogs would also have been very pleased!
It was funny watching both the lambs and their mothers trying to sniff each other out. A few weren't particularly fussy and wanted to suckle on any mama in the pen!
I did feel sorry for this mama pig; they can suckle 14 piglets at a time!
There were plenty of other animals to see and you could watch the cows being milked; feed the deer; climb onto tractors and other machinery and Tractor Ted was there for the younger children.
All in all it was a lovely day out and at £20 entry for a car (otherwise £6 per adult; £4 per child) it was reasonably priced, although some of the fair rides cost extra. Lambing weekends are not finished for the year at Lackham but it is definitely worth a visit next spring.
The only thing we would have enjoyed more (apart from warmer weather) would have been the opportunity to bottle feed some of the lambs at a certain time of the day; but how viable this is for them I don't know.
We finished off the weekend at the Mendip Farmers Point to Point yesterday, which again was freezing. I've never wanted to go to any horse racing, but at this grass-root level the horses seemed to be loving every minute of it. I've not seen so much tweed in one place ever but yeah, the country life is growing on me!
Here's hoping this warm weather continues :)