Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Force is strong with this one.

Well! The snow disspeared in record time - as soon as the sun came out that is. And, I'm fairly certain that the sheep can actually hear the individual blades of grass growing. You'll see them trying desperately to graze what little stubble is out there, when suddenly, a large group of them will head in the same direction with singular purpose (mildly borg-like) only to arrive at a mysterious destination in the middle of the field.... only to begin grazing stubble in the NEW spot.

Anyways, yesterday was the first really warm, sunny, why-the-heck-am-I-doing-barn-chores-wearing-a-wool-sweater day. And we found this out in the pasture, motherless and forlorn first thing in the a.m.

She is a sweety. Another ewe was valiantly trying to be her mother, but failing as she herself isn't due for several weeks and has no milk to offer. Mom was no where to be found, and after a careful search we decided she was a single orphan. Now let me tell you. When we bring the ewes into the barn yard, they line up at the feeders for a bit of grain and it is an impressive site. We do this for a couple of reasons.
  1. Sheep are not the brightest creatures. Reminding them that the rattle of a grain bucket is a yummy thing, keeps them running for you and that bucket in the middle of summer. This is especially handy when a fence comes down and the sheep are out of their pasture. (the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.) The fact that all year long they continue to fall for this trick is a tribute to their brain-power, and yet they do occasionally outsmart me. nice.

  2. It gives us the opportunity to trick them into confinement so they don't try to eat the bale of hay as it comes of the tractor, sacrificing themselves under 600lbs of feed. Or the wheel of the tractor.

  3. Prior to lambing, it gives us the chance to get a good look at everyone, catching and handling any ewe with a problem.
In this case, it gave me the chance to walk through the barnyard while they were all head down in the feeder looking for the errant mother. Now, I'm sure you all can guess how we do that here. Even my 4 year old knows what to do, and she's quite good at it. We walk the line of bums, looking for tell-tale signs of labor and/or delivery. Couldn't find a thing. Husband finally found her about an hour later, by accident as he was catching another ewe with a limp. He noticed blood the size of a quarter on this ewe's back leg. Talk about a good eye! Noticing that on one sheep out of 300, in mud up to their bellies. We are impressed by him on a daily basis. Anyways, this was as suspected, a first time mum suffering from the 'what the heck came out of my butt' syndrome. I'm happy to say that after 24 hours tied in a stall with her offspring, she is now untied and no longer trying to head-butt the poor thing. Why she even grudgingly gets up to let her nurse! Serious progress. In a couple of days she might even get nervous when I take her lamb away for a moment.
That lamb? This afternoon she weighed in at a whopping 5lbs 7oz. She probably weighed under 5lbs at birth. We are seriously impressed with her will to live. Not bad for a preemie!

Sock Progress: I'm happy to say, that if I give up 5 more minutes of sleep a day, I can actually add a row or 2 to this sock. And let me just say, I LOVE my knitpicks circs. LOVE.

What's in the dyepot you ask? Harry Potter. Or, at least Harry Potter themed colors. House colors to be exact, go check them out here at and while everyone seems to want the self-striping yarn, patience is going to have to be the word of the day on that one. To make that project feasable, I'm still working out a better mousetrap for skeining/dyeing. I'll keep you posted.


Khadijha Caitlin said...

What a Beauty! The new little lamb looks like a sweety!

Colleen said...


Do you shear the sheep before or after lambing? How come? Do you find the various things that "they" say matter?

Just wondering...onwy

Marigold said...

LOL! This post sooo took me back to the days when I had sheep. And, the even longer back days when I bottle-fed lambs. :D My parent's thought it was great (Suuuure they did) when the grown-up lambies would jump the fence to come looking for me.

Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said...

So glad you reunited mum with baby and that mum (albeit reluctantly) agreed to accept her offspring.

I'm trying to order that incredible Celtic Sock kit from you but am worried about costs of shipping to Ireland. Have friends close by you though and can always work it that way.