It's oh so still in this grey, watery run up to lambing. No tractors are out and about - the fields are too sodden to take the strain, everyone is dealing with indoor tasks, sorting their paperwork and tackling VAT returns. Farming seems on hold apart from those with dark shadows under their eyes from nights in the calving pens and lambing sheds.
I feed the sheep and check their udders and girths. In theory they could start lambing the day before Easter Sunday, and one or two look like they might oblige, with swollen udders and teats becoming more prominent. The lambing shed is all ready, old straw and muck removed, pens set up and fresh straw scattered, water buckets and haynets on hand and gloves, lube and iodine in place.
Lambing has been happening since Christmas round here, so the wait seems particularly extended and I feel the urge to get going on this most exciting and exhausting occupation in my farming year. More than anything I want the rain to stop and the sun to shine, encouraging fresh shoots of grass to welcome the new arrivals.
Even though they are brought in at night and many lamb between dusk and dawn, inevitably, some of the ewes will lamb outside during the day and I don't want them to drop their young into puddles. I'll be going up and down between the house and the orchard where the expectant mums spend their days to make sure nothing untoward happens and my calf muscles will build their April shape. I've been known to take a stool up there and watch a ewe determine her lambing space and go through the whole process, and when the lambs are up and happy, take mum and offspring into the lambing shed to iodine the navels, feed and water the mum, and give them up to 24 hours in there before giving mum her first pedicure in five months and sending them off into the sun.
But for now, it's the quiet before the storm.
Tomorrow I'll try and take a photo of the heavily laden ewes between downpours.