Many shepherds are very busy this time of year with lambing. My friend, Janet, has had three ewes lamb this week. To me, this seems ridiculous. Why anyone would want to be outside in this weather escapes me. I mean, lambs are cute and all, but it’s bloody cold out there!
I tried lambing early one year with Dolly. It was the end of February and the ground was hard. Frozen solid. No snow, but the frost I swear was an inch thick. Lambing out this time of year requires a heat lamp to keep things warm. Things being my ten fingers and ten toes. I tried to convince Dolly to sit on her lambs like a mamma duck or hen would, but she would have nothing of it, kicking me out into the cold and snuggling up with her babes under the heat. And that was the end of winter lambing for me.
This winter my girls have been languishing in a lovely red barn belonging to my new best friend Dawn. She’s even supplying the hay. What a friend, indeed! Bessie, MaryBelle and Annette are quite content with their sheep hotel. I stop in two or three times a month to check on everyone, scratching their backs as they thank me with mighty sheep burps in my face. Nothing says thank you like a sheep burp.
One such trip had me noticing that Bessie’s udder was beginning to fill up. A week later, it’d doubled in size. Her sides appear to be sticking out farther as well. And it’s only…February? Just barely? But there’s still snow on the ground! One thing was for certain, I could not have Bessie lambing out at Dawns house because I’d never be able to get there in the near blizzard like weather. And so it was that Bessie came home and is now living in a private suite with a lovely view of the mudnure paddock. What’s mudnure, you ask? Well, that’s when your horse makes manure and leaves it in the mud for you to clean up. Mudnure.
Bessie is not the only one who’s come home. Pokey, my ovine gigolo, has come home after nearly three months of romancing ewes out in the country. Wouldn’t you know that boy had nothing else on his mind when he found Bessie in the barn? And her all heavy, carrying his child…tsk, tsk, Pokey! Since he wasn’t catching on to Bessie’s, “Not tonight dear, I have a headache” line, I promptly got him moved. It wasn’t easy, though. You may recall my slight fender bender altercation with Pokey last summer when he rear ended me for stepping between him and his friend Carrot. Imagine moving him away from his woman! That boys eyes rolled back in his head as steam came snorting out his nostrils. He reared up, tucked his nose down and and sprang forward with gusto, just like those rams on National Geographic!
Not. He actually just walked out into the paddock with Firecracker, a bit reluctant and still calling to Bessie, but without any trouble.
So now we’re waiting for Bessie to lamb. And between now and then we get to try and guess when she’ll lamb, how many she’ll have, and if she’ll have boys or girls or both…not to mention, will they look more like their mother or father? And we need to wait for the weather to get better. And warmer. And drier. And less full of snow. Because I know Bessie is going to fight me for that heat lamp.