Every morning I go outside, let the ducks out, feed them and give them fresh water, open the green house, then check for new little lives. Our sheep are having lambs left and right. I count the sheep to make sure they are all there. When one is missing I scan the pasture for her. They like to give birth away from the rest of the heard. Just this morning I found a momma hidden in the tall grass with her twins still covered in the birth stuff. Whatever that stuff is.
Monday morning there were 4 new babies! We started to notice on Monday afternoon that one of the mommas was not taking care of her lamb. So we observed and saw that the ram was already trying to get with that momma every time the lamb would cry and try and she would try and get to it. Some sheep do not have good mothering instincts.
The next morning the lamb was trying to suckle on the other mommas and getting thrown around. This little animal had such a tough first 24 hours in the world. So we decided to build a lane of electric fencing from the pasture to the barn and herd all of the sheep and their babies there. Why go to some much trouble with new babies everywhere, you may be asking yourself? If you have ever tried to capture and pastured sheep then you would understand. They’re fast, they’re skiddish and they jump really high. So getting them into a confined space was our only chance of wrangling the momma and the ram, who we chose to prematurely separate from the herd. The poor baby was weak, wobbly, and starving. The fate of this little lamb was now in our hands.
Once in their own stall, we grabbed the momma ewe and held her while her lamb (a little ram) fed. We did this 3 times. The 4th time we just kind of shoved the baby in the mom’s direction and she allowed the little ram to nurse instead of trying to push it away. The fifth time was the same. This morning the ram lamb was going after the milk himself without me in the stall to encourage. The mom was nuzzling and not pushing. Like coming out of a post-partum depression, the ewe is now embracing her little lamb for the most part. She doesn’t seem to be the most doting mother, but the lamb’s life is out of danger! HOORAY!
Every day is a lesson on a farm. We don’t have our own children yet, but it’s amazing what you are willing to sacrifice when 37 little lives are dependent on you. And more lives every day!
Jesse’s dad, Tony, came out on Saturday and hoed like crazy. For those of you who don’t know, hoeing is not an easy task and must be done at the driest and hottest time of day to kill the weeds you hoe out. PROPS TO TONY! His encouragement and enthusiasm for the farm is contagious and we are so lucky to have such a committed father-in-law/dad. Megan left us on Saturday night after our potluck dinner outside under a big oak tree with fresh cut wild flowers adorning the tables and fresh farm produce going into our bellies. Of course Megan left with a bang, encouraging the whole party to take our first swim in the pond! It was so much fun! Winnie, ever the eager swimmer, jumped in too trying to herd us all back to shore. Megan’s crazy energy and endless quiz bowl knowledge is already missed. But she’s promised to come and see us. Meanwhile, Marni, our current WWOOFing volunteer, has dazzled us with her cooking skills. We haven’t had a bad meal since she’s arrived (she’s inspired us to up our game!). Not only has she been super helpful with sheep and cow moving, baby lamb saving, sweet potato slip, winter squash and herb planting, and tomato stringing and mulching, but she has also decided to paint our built in bookshelves! A task I have been dreading and she is doing with skill and patience. We are so grateful for the awesome people this farm is bringing into our lives!
As usual we will be at the Richland Park Farmer’s Market on Saturday with a little produce, some fresh herbs, and many herb plants from 9-12. Come see us! We love talking with everyone!
Here's a cute video of our first lamb trying to keep up with her momma to finish off the post.
Lizzie, Jesse, Marni, Tony, and Winnie (the dog)