On the Lam
by Callie B.
The barn is quiet and dim. As I enter the pen, the lock clicks behind me, and there is a nervous rustling of bedding as the sheep take notice that a threat is near. It is time to be sure everyone has water, hay and minerals, but first I want to pet a lamb. This is not as easy as it sounds. When they see boots approaching, away they go. Here is the shepherd, out to grab them, and they are on the lam. The key is to get one in a corner. It is the perfect opportunity, just stoop and swoop. If I’m lucky, I come with a lamb and not air. Once in hand, the lamb may go very still. This does not mean it is happy and content. Not yet. In time maybe. Now it is terrified, frozen with fright. Or it may struggle, trying to leap back to ground, and those little hooves are quite sharp! So I hold on tight, scratching behind ears, and cooing, and pretending they love it. They’re so darn cute! The feeder is a favorite place for them to sleep, and sometimes makes it easier to catch them.
The older ones feel surprisingly heavy. How can they be so big already! It seems like we just started lambing yesterday, but in realty it’s been so crazy around here time has flown by while seeming to stand still.
The smaller lot are so light, and their hooves so perfect and tiny!
Beatrice is friendly, and lets me pet her, so her ram lamb is curious and will sometimes come up too. Jemima, although not completely averse to a scratch now and then before she had her lambs, is now a dignified queen. “Do not touch me, minion, thou menial carrier of water buckets. And stay away from my babies.” She wants no attention, and butts those who try to give it.
Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, a little white lamb with brown spots, is especially cute, so I pick on her a lot. Sometimes it pays to be less good-looking.
A new lamb entered the scene today; a yearling ewe had a big, healthy black lamb. She doesn’t have as strong an instinct to keep her lamb near as the experienced mothers, so we had a bit of a fuss figuring out who the new guy belonged to.
Last week Bianca had two lambs, an interesting combination, as one is large and white, while the other is the smallest lamb I’ve seen yet, black, and (surprise surprise), has a white splotch on it’s head. Good grief! Our ram Bert must have some skunk in his background.