Saturday, April 25, 2009


As with last year, Penny, our most reclusive watchful, nonsocial sheep, decided to give birth when we had a farmfull of friends and children. We'd finished dinner, looked out the window, and there she was, a dainty black spotted lamb at her feet.

The audience made her a bit nervous, as did the flurry of doggy excitement at the fence and the kids, who, after a quick look, were playing tag in the orchard. We waited to see if another lamb was forthcoming but there was no sign of one. Now, Penny was HUH-UUUGE during this pregnancy. I couldn't believe that that absolutely average-sized little guy was the only lamb in there.

Just a week ago, we were thinking triplets. But Penny wasn't interested in having any spectators. She stared and licked and stomped, but not so much as a waterbag appeared. After the excitement died down, we put Penny in a nice quiet stall. And, before too long, Penny got to work birthing her second little lamb.

Now, I have three young children of my own and so know a bit about the struggles and sacrifices of motherhood, but watching Penny birth her second lamb brought these into clear focus. As she labored and grit her teeth through massive contractions, her firstborn skipped around nudging and nuzzling, sniffing and distracting. Penny bore all this with amazing grace. She nursed and nurtured her way through the strain of labor. Pushed out the second babe's hoof and nose while guiding her wobbly first into position on the udder.

And this, folks, is motherhood in a nutshell-- or at least mudderhood. What an incredible lot of energy and care and shear tolerance mothers have, even sheepy mothers.
It's not yet Mother's Day, but, wow!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Lamb Named Disappointment

Lambing season is sort of in full swing here on Maggie's Farm. There's Acorn's ram lamb, Dodge, who remains humongous, bold and lovely, and now Leela has followed suit and had herself a big ol' single ram lamb as well, a cute moorit badgerfaced boy.

I was at work during the birth (I'm 0 for 2 this year) and Dan helped out a bit, along with our oldest daughter. Micah has been waiting all spring for a ewe lamb of her very own and was beside herself with excitement as Leela licked the adorable lamb dry, even called me at work to tell me about "her" lamb.

But alas, her lamb turned out to be a "him", and we are not keen on taming ram lambs, also not keen on any extra wethers to feed come fall. She's waiting on the next mama to be: Penny, due any day (hour!) now.

Micah's consolation was that she got to name the little guy-- any D name that she wanted. (The "D" is to demarcate our fourth year of lambing.) I suggested "Disappointment", but she decided on "Dracula".

So here he is: Dracula, Maggie's Farm's second lamb of the 2009 season!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lamb Sunday

This is Dodge, Acorn's humongous ram lamb. He was a whopping 12 pounds at birth.

Poor Acorn! Those horn buds made for a hard labor.

Dodge was sired by Charlie:

We'd hoped for horned lambs from this pairing (LambS being optimal of course...) and it appears that Dodge will have them in spades! He is moorit gray and, have I mentioned, HUMONGOUS?

If this trend continues, we'll have to re-examine our feeding program. We've fed the ewes nothing but hay for the last month or two, but I'm wondering if perhaps our hay is too rich for these thrifty Icelandics.

Anyway, mom and babe are doing great. And there's no better way to celebrate spring, rebirth, and just plain "birth-birth" than with four new hoofs on the ground?
Happy holidays everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring Shearing Day!

Shearer Andy Rice stopped by today, and the sheep are looking sleek in their new spring non-coats. They seem so puny after you get used to bulk, wooly puff-balls wandering about.

The spring fleeces are never terrific-- but shearing in Spring helps the new lambs locate their Mamas' most important features and it also helps the fall fleeces keep from becoming matted overlong messes.

Shearing day is always an event of sorts-- this one involved five kids running around (Ours and the neighbors) an extra dog or two (Andy's extremely well- trained BC and the Chihuahua next door) a lot of excited (annoying) yipping from Luka who had to be locked in the house so as not to further freak out the sheep with her assertive little self and a great and rambling sheep related conversation.

The girls look quite gigantic now. Acorn, Penny, Copper and Leela have nice big udders already.