Friday, February 27, 2015

Like the Dead

I slept like the dead last night...right through til dawn...and woke up with a start.  I usually get up two or three times a night to stoke the stove or do what nature calls for.  Not last night.  The tip of my nose was cold and spouse was snoring away.  He had offered to work from home today to baby sit the lambs and watch for more dropping.  No wonder his alarm didn't go off.  I got up and built the fire, suited up and went out to the sheep.  Little Sandy jumped up to greet me.  He still thinks I'm his mother since I've paid more attention to him than the lovely and aloof  Margot.  I stood still for a moment, listening, and there it was....the sound that cuts right through you....the cry of a new born lamb.  I sighed when I realized it was coming from the way way, the coldest place in the barn.  I stepped carefully through and over the wooly bodies strewn about and there they were - a big black ewe with a shivering but standing black lamb.   I scooped him up - couldn't help but notice the little sac on his belly - and held him to my sweater.  Mom didn't like that a bit and instead of following me walking backwards with her lamb to the maternity pen, she bolted.  This is never easy.  I went inside and woke up my long suffering husband, who quickly suited up to come help me.  It works so much better with TWO people.  He caught her with the leg crook while I popped on the halter.  We got the pair in the pen and I did my business - sweater on, Nutri Drench, cord clipped and dipped in iodine.  Matt held mom while I nursed out her teats and caught some colostrum in a cup.  I was pleased to find her udder soft and teat unplugged.  This strong little guy had surely been nursing already and that's why he is alive.  At minus 8 last night, and him born in the freezing way back by the open door, well, he is one tough ram lamb.  My daughter said something very wise to me.  She said, mom, remember, the lambs that don't survive you have to attribute to natural selection.  It's true, in the wild only the strongest lambs born in this frigid cold will survive.  I want them all to survive and do my best to make that happen.  Sometimes I slip. I used to be very hard on myself about this but over the years I've become more philosophical.  If it was up to me I would camp in the barn with them all night long and really be a shepherd.  Historically shepherds have lived in the fields with the sheep.  Remember who the angels chose to be notified of the imminent birth of the Saviour?  They were in the field, under the stars.  I like that.  

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