March Break

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It’s March break and I like to say that spring must be around the corner here on the farm. After a warm rain most of the stubborn snowbanks on the Northside of the slopes have disappeared, the first flowers promise new beginnings, the first robins have returned and in the barn the first innocent lambs have been born…

The lambs in particular have been a surprise. Well okay, every single spring for the past sixteen years we’ve had lambs, starting with buying a black lamb in the first year and a white lamb in the second. From them we started our little flock with a borrowed ram the first few years and finally a purebred Romney for the past ten years. Unfortunately, this handsome and well-tempered ram, who came to us as a bottle lamb which our daughter – then five years old – raised and played with, died in summer and as a result I shipped  all but five of my favourite sheep that following fall. The five remaining sheep I decided to keep as “pets,” at least as long as my two old ones enjoyed their retirement…

Now – imagine my surprise when I came into the barn last Saturday and found one, no two! lambs among my tiny flock…! Who says you need a ram to get lambs??? – Well, I guess you do need a ram, although I favour the idea of miracles and wonders… Counting back the months… oh man: there must have been a precocious little ram in the flock that took his chance. Although I’m not a fan of inbreeding, right now, not even two weeks away from Easter, I love having two little lambs in the barn!

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Life usually doesn’t go straight though… After a day of pure joy and wonder, the mother ewe decided she wanted only one lamb. She decided for the bigger, greyer, feistier lamb with the pink nose and pushed the white lamb away whenever she wanted a drink. By mid Sunday, we fought with the mom to stand still and let her lamb suckle, without much success, then to stand still so we could milk her and feed the poor dehydrated baby, but as it is the lamb’s way, she already gave in to her fate. We quickly “baptized” the lambs just in case and called them Sophie and Eleanor.

Monday came and my daughter and I rolled out of bed with sore muscles and bones from fighting with mother ewe, but with sleep deprived eyes we rejoiced seeing little Miss Sophie still alive. Ten years later and we once again sing, “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb, …” and Miss Sophie already listens to her “mother’s” voice and tries to follow my daughter wherever she goes. After doing the night feeding at 4 a.m., I woke up this morning shortly after eight with my daughter sitting on my bed, lamb in her arms, asking me to listen to her breathing… Well, I tell you, she snored just as well as I did moments before!

I don’t know about your plans for March break – I’m sure they are exciting! -but I tell you, our daughter seems to be quite content right here on the farm.

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