HAPPY NEW YEAR Who could fail to be happy when they compared this January to 2011s? My grandchildren I suppose, and perhaps all the children in the country, and skiers, and masochists............... Alright, lots of people but surely not Ryeland owners? Sheep seem to manage very well, but the work.....! So this year starts on a good note. Tupping appears to have been successful at Lightwater although Grace was seeking out the rams at the beginning of the week and in a rash moment I put her and Merlo Nimo together. If the tupping is successful lamb[s] will be born right at the end of May which will leave me wondering when to get her clipped. The questionable ram was Lightwater Pickett of whom I had high hopes. All his ewes returned [the first time any have returned to a ram lamb] and Grace was one of his. The only reason I can think of is that, a matter of weeks before tupping, the ram lambs were left without shade[accidentally] during some very hot days. Of course their fleece is exceptionally thick. I understand overheating can destroy the sperm and reproducing them can take several weeks. Perhaps this is a good year to have the ewes scanned. If things are awry I might even have to get Pickett tested before next autumn. PercyPersona went away to tup two coloured Ryelands locally. Jobs for the month? Plenty, but importantly finishing topping 'Sheep Hill' an 8 acre field that was barely used last year and will hold the ewes and lambs this summer. Then, I have bought a hundred paving slabs to lay in an area I use for footbathing. It better not snow! The sheep seem to be doing well. I am giving them no extra forage since the fields have plenty of grass but they have all been getting 150gms of 18% ewe nuts and beet shreds, a day, since the beginning of December and I'm ready to give them more if the weather changes. Of course rams get only tup mix. I'm even planning to visit my daughter for 3 days in the lull. George - my grandson - is now a year old and starting to walk. How time flies.