We never know what we are going to find each day when we open the barn doors. Yesterday, unexpectedly, two tiny lambs were born to number 20. Apparently it was a surprise to her too. Number twenty a big white first timer had none of the normally very obvious signals of impending birth,... the most conspicuous indication generally being a very engorged milky bar. The two little ewe lambs and learner mom were quickly and safely tucked away in a bonding pen to ensure mom accepted responsibility for her offspring and the lambs learnt where the sadly inadequate milky bar was located. Unfortunately for mom ewe and us, number 2o is unable to meet supply and demand which means that mother nature needs a little help and two little lambs are being supplemented with an artificial rubber teat, a recycled plastic Coke bottle and some formula. The infants are slow to accept the imitation mom and mom ewe is clearly unimpressed at the intrusion in the nursery. Over the next vital few days every little drop will help to keep her babies alive and it maybe that the ewe will belatedly stock up her milky bar in response to her babies searching and the formula will not be necessary.
I was passing the window in the bathroom ( as you do) and out of the corner of my eye I had a fleeting glance of the formation eating team and their lambs. Distractedly I noted the flock was REALLY enjoying grazing the lush Spring grass that is growing around the base of the flagpole…..THE FLAGPOLE !! The sheep had staged a Jurassic Park style breakout, the sedate moms and their exuberant offspring were in the barnyard munching everything they saw, cleaning up like a swarm of locusts…and they were heading intently towards the open gate and the road. A frantic call to Greg who seemed to take a lifetime to answer and Greg and Camille simultaneously appeared from the depths of the barn accompanied by Bran the Border Collie. Bran was ecstatic, all his Christmas’s had come at once…something to chase, unfortunately (a) the ladies were far too busy eating to worry about a dog and b) who worries about a dog anyway, particularly a Bran dog? Once the road gate was closed, Greg set about trying to return the reluctant escapees to their pen... and Bran the dog concentrated on causing anarchy and chaos. Greg pushed Chance (my bottle baby lamb) by the butt in the direction of the gate then turned his attention to Alice our rescue lamb. By the time Alice was pointing in the right direction, Chance had wandered back to visit with Greg and defy the frenzied dog. By this time I confess to having seen the funny side of the confusion and all alone up in the bathroom, horror had quickly turned to uncontrolled and very guilty hysterical laughter . Camille was hanging grimly on to Lamb Chop who only wanted a morsel of carrot and wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about. Greg was pushing and shoving lumpy sheep butts, ewes followed closely by skipping lambs wandering back and forth into the barn and Bran the enthusiastic (but out of control) sheep dog was ineffectually charging up and down, totally ignored by the satiated eating team. When all the sheep had eventually returned to the sheep pen, Greg’s blood pressure had settled, Camille had bribed lamb Chop and Bran had hyperventilated, Camille innocently risked life and limb….”can we do it all again for a photograph ?” Sadly ( but, in retrospect understandably) I think Greg had, somewhere in the time he was wrestling sheep, temporarily lost his sense of humour.
Well, time to go the starving team has returned for their lunch break and need feeding Bran is trying to pretend he didn't get a treat and the sun is still shining . Take care, keep safe. M