We will soon have two lambs at our place. At the moment they are being bottle fed four times a day at their first foster home; they’ll come to us in a couple of weeks when they’re down to only one or two bottle feeds a day and have started to eat grass.  I have cut the grass in our cattle race so that it will be short and sweet for them when they arrive, and they will have a comparatively small space to occupy while they get used to us and a new home.

Michael-van-der-LamzenThis is Michael Van de Lambzen – named after the Food Truck chef, Michael Van de Elzen.

Annabelle-LambeinAnd this is our very first ewe lamb – named Annabel Lambein after the lovely host of the Free Range Cook TV show.

Aren’t they the cutest? If I hadn’t made the decision to become a vegetarian 18 months ago, seeing these two would have tipped me over the edge. Although I have no problem with other people eating meat, I just know I can’t eat it any more.

Michael-finishes-a-bottleI had never bottle-fed a lamb, and loved the experience of feeding wee Michael. He and Annabel were just a week old when I took these pictures and had the joy of feeding them. I am looking forward to their coming to live here, with a bit of apprehension thrown in, never having had to manage such young stock before. I’ll post again when they are here, and you can see how we get on.


A tale of Hugh Sheeply-Wittingstall

Once upon a time there was a generally well-behaved sheep named Hugh Sheeply-Wittingstall. He lived on an olive grove in the country, and had a long rope tether to one of the trees. He could wander around the trees, out into the surrounding grass, drink from his water dish and generally have a good time – to the end of the rope but no further.

At the end of my ropeOne day Hugh discovered his rope had got a whole lot longer. At first he stayed close to his trees and ate the long grass near the water race, but when that stopped being interesting he started to venture further afield. He had a look at this, sampled a taste of that, and was wandering past the house when he heard a surprised voice say “Well hello Hugh! What are you doing here?”. Hugh was pleased to see one of the people as he was beginning to wonder just how long this rope was. It was nice to walk beside the woman, but he decided she wasn’t that nice after all when she put him in a pen. She took his collar off and Hugh felt decidedly uncomfortable without its familiar weight. When the woman came back with a bucket of water for him he played it cool and drank lots to lull her into a false sense of security. Then he charged at her!

Very wet!She obviously wasn’t thinking clearly because she held the bucket in front of her as a buffer. Ha, ha, she forgot it was half full, and the force of the charge meant the water ended up all over her!

However she had the last laugh, as the bucket was rather old and it broke – ending up jammed over Hugh’s head. The woman wasn’t any use at first, because she was almost helpless with laughter – but when she finally stopped laughing she took it off him. Hugh shook and shook to get all the water off his face, and then sulked in the corner of the pen, pretending that none of this had happened.

Ex-bucketHugh would like it known that he didn’t mean any harm, and asks that you join the “Free Hugh Sheeply-Wittingstall” campaign by leaving a comment.

I'm innocent, I tell you!

Close Encounter

Right from the start, our kitten Ninja has been fascinated by Martin the lamb. At 8 weeks old, on only her second visit to ‘the outside’, she tried stalking him.

After six more weeks of experience, Ninja is now an old hand at lamb wrangling (although she still hasn’t decided quite what to do with him)!

Doing a Photo-A-Day

I had such fun – and was challenged creatively – in 2010 when I did a Photo A Day for the entire year. I have to confess that there were some days when I missed taking a photo, but not too many. (I made up any gaps by taking an extra photo the next day – making sure it was some constant feature of life that stayed the same over several days).

This year I’m doing it all again. My approach is to try to capture everyday life, and photos range from an ordinary breakfast:

to special dessert and coffee (hazelnut mousse, from La Cloche, on the Old Hutt Road):

The household animals feature strongly too – here’s Martin the sheep:

Martin’s full name is Martin Baasley, after Martin Bosley the chef. Each year we host a lamb for the Hyde family, for when their town section’s grass has all been eaten up there’s still plenty at our place. For the last three years we’ve renamed the lambs on arrival here, choosing to name them after chefs. We’ve had Gordon Lambsey and Lam(b)ie Oliver as well as Martin Baasley so far. The challenge is coming for next year as we’ve run out of the easy ones – if you have any good ideas for chef/lamb names, please let me know. They all have to be males as the female lambs don’t get given away as they’re too valuable as breeding stock (else we could have Annabelle Lambein, of course!).

Even though the year is not yet one month old there have been lots of photos of Ninja the kitten. As she’s getting older and bolder she comes ‘walkies’ with me and seems to enjoy seeing new territory with the safety of her person nearby. Here she is a couple of weeks ago in the cattle race:

There are also pictures that reflect our developing business. We have had many visitors to the grove over the Christmas/New Year holidays (and we hope for more as the summer continues). As yet we don’t have a separate sales room, so visitors come into our big living space to taste our products:

We are also selling at some of the open-air markets over the summer. I am so grateful to our son’s girlfriend for her help at these – she is a terrific sales person and keeps me going with her enthusiasm and energy. The Eat, Drink and Be Crafty market was on Saturday, and we had loads of family groups enjoying the sunny weather, great (locally produced) craft, listening to the country band, and all in support of the Life Flight Helicopter Trust. As it was such a beautiful day and a lovely setting, I’ll leave you with a nice big image for this one: