February 11, 2010

Feeling Sheepish

I'm very sorry if you're tired of hearing about sheep; I can't say that I blame you. I'm with you. If you simply can't handle another sheep post - I suggest you stop now - because we're still feeling pretty sheepish around here.

For those of you who are still reading...
Yesterday was a truly classical mayhem day. We haven't had many of those lately. It has been pretty quiet these past few months. Disturbingly quiet. Things were going pretty well, until 4:00 when it was time to go out and give the sheep their mid-afternoon snack. The first hint that all was not well was the sheep half-buried in a snow drift. (No, I didn't take a picture.) Evidently she had been trying to crawl under the bottom rung of the wooden fence. Well, she was 'great with lamb' and only managed to make it half-way before she got stuck. That's when the wind came along and dumped a whole snowdrift on the poor thing, and there she had been for a great long while - judging by the icicles on her chin and eyelashes.

After about ten minutes of shoveling, I had her free - but she wouldn't stand up. Eventually, (with the help of my brother) we were able to get her up and in the barn. (Where she proceeded to eat non-stop for the rest of the evening.)

I really felt like I had done enough to deserve a mug of hot chocolate at that point; but in the process of excavating Meredith, I had noticed a lamb I didn't recognize, wobbling around one of the sheds. After convincing myself that we wouldn't be amputating any frozen sheep feet - I went looking for that lamb...

I found her in a little shed, all snuggled up against one of our older ewes - Amelia. I could immediately see that Amelia was right in the middle of having a lamb - so I assumed this baby was hers also. Something was strange though... The baby looked like it was a couple of hours old - so either Amelia was having trouble or this wasn't her baby... (Lambs usually aren't that far apart.) Strangely enough; she kept on talking to it and licking it like it was hers... Meanwhile, Amelia's three year old daughter, Alice, was running in circles around the shed baaa-ing in that certain voice that they only use when they are looking for their babies. That's when I found another little lamb in the corner, all covered with snow, that hadn't made it. Probably Alice's. Putting two and two together - I knew that the other baby was Alice's too - despite what Amelia was saying about it.

I decided to pick the little shivering thing up and take it to the barn - within five seconds - I had two bellowing mommas chasing after me. One of which was getting ready to drop a lamb any minute. I postponed offering to cut the lamb in two - figuring that if I just waited a few seconds - we would have another lamb to bargain with. Sure enough, the moment Mom and I had some straw on the floor, Amelia had her lamb. As soon as she saw her own little boy, she was sufficiently distracted. As crazy as the last half-hour had been, everyone quieted down at that moment. It doesn't matter how many lambs I catch - I still panic those first few seconds. His little lips were purple. But then he sputtered - and then he cried - and all was well.

Within five minutes, he had a little brother. A teeny tiny little brother. Amelia was happy. My hands and feet were frozen, but I couldn't resist taking a moment to soak up the peacefulness - and examine the tiny little ears and noses in the soft red glow of the heat lamp.

By that time it was dark, and I was numb, and a cup of tea was sounding like a really good idea. More than enough mayhem for one day.

We had yet another lamb this evening... The snowdrift lady (Meredith) made a speedy recovery - and was well enough to have her little boy. (And she still has all of her feet - by some miracle.) We are now at the point where I have officially lost count of how many sheep we have. I'll get back with you on that.


Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Kate,

Oh, my, what a day you had...busy, exciting, joyful, exhausting, frightening...words can hardly describe! Your pictures say it all...what a blessing to be part of that experience. Thank you so much for sharing it with your readers. May I ask, what do you do with all your sheep? Do you sell them? You had said earlier that you don't use their wool...so I was just curious.

You seem to have much more snow than we do on the coast of Maine...we are getting teased with "spring" type weather this week. Our "ladies" are stepping up production...more eggs each day for baking! (They don't seem to know it's still mid February). Won't they be fooled when we get more snow next week!

Have a wonderful day, Miss Kate. I love your "sheepish" stories...can't wait to see some more pictures!
God bless you and your family,
Mrs. Laura

Miss Breezy said...

Aww, this story was so sweet, as crazy as it was. Those little lambs just melt my heart!


Kate said...

Dear Mrs. Laura,
[Well; Katadhins are technically a "meat breed"... Ours are organic, and totally grassfed. We usually keep or sell the females; and raise the males to about 75 lbs. (6-9 mos.)(Not so cute anymore)...]

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Oh! Those lambs are so cute! Great pictures too. :-)

Sarah Elizabeth

Tarissa said...

Oh, the sheep photos are so lovely! I loved reading your sheep story... the new lambs that were born, and poor Meredith caught in the snow! Sometimes I wish I could have a sheep or two, I just think they are wonderful animals. Don't worry if you feel like you are posting too much about sheep, because I like reading about them!
~ Tarissa