Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Anticipation

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. Usually, this time of year anyway, is kind of slow time for shepherds. We're waiting for our "Christmas". We're waiting for the lambs to be born.

Most of us plan our breedings carefully. I do have friends who have experienced a few "oops" this year - mainly when a ram with other ideas than cooling his heals jumps a fence and parties with the ladies he finds in the next field. Most of us know who was in with whom and in approximately 147 days or so, the results will make an entrance to the World.

This is the first year I have used a ram lamb - ever. I like older rams. They know their job, the main reason for them to be around anyway, and take their work very seriously. Skittles was that way...just show him the girls, turn him in with them, and be prepared to remove him a couple of weeks later. "Nuf said. The older guys show confidence and smoothness which the ladies seem to like. You can almost hear the Barry White music in the background.

Loki, on the other hand, is a young punk. I say that lovingly as I do enjoy watching him bounce around the pasture for the pure joy of life, nothing more. He was too young at fall breeding season to have an agenda. The world is/was his oyster, so to speak. Then he gets put in with a bunch of girls. Most are old enough to be his mother, too. What the heck is that shepherdess thinking? Why am I in here?

Then it hit him. Hmm. Maybe there is something to like about girls after all. Clumsy and not assured enough of himself to make things go smoothly, he courted the girls one-by-one. I remember the looks on the girls' faces back then, looking at me as if to say, "You've got to be kidding, right? This punk?"

So, now we wait. Approximately 145 days ago, Loki was seen to, ahem, cover one of the girls. Almost two weeks now, it was obvious after shearing that apparently Loki did both figure out which end was which and huge fleeces (even back last fall) not-withstanding, did figure out what this Ewe Dance business was all about.

Right now the Waiting Game is going on with the shepherdess. The girls are playing their cards very close to the vest even though they look like water balloons on toothpicks. When they lie down, bellies spread out on the ground around them. Ripples can be seen if you watch long enough - babies trying to move around or find room in cramped spaces. And as the girls move about, you'll see one suddenly stop, mid-stride, lower her head and wag her tail furiously. Those darned kids are kicking me again. Quiet down in there!

But just let me get the barn ready for the new arrivals and we get a day of horrific winds as well as the chance of snow again. The high temperature for tomorrow is supposed to be in the 30s F. I was just getting used to the 60+ F weather, too, darn it.

But spring is the shepherd's Christmas. We hope everyone does fine through the lambing and moms and babies all are healthy...

...this is when we get to see what colors, patterns, and "flavor" our best laid plans have made. We only hope Mother Nature will give her approval. C'mon, Amanda...I'll take three little girls this year instead of the two bruiser boys you usually have. Please? I'd really like to show my granddaughter what a lamb is.

5 comments:

Jennifer said...

LOL- I enjoyed your description! Thanks for sharing!

Tammy said...

Hi Kathy,
Way too funny! So spot on too. I've gotten that look from the ewes too, like 'seriously'? And the young ram lambs are so clueless those first few days. You should have lambs just anytime now, and I sure hope the weather stablizes for you. It's close to the 80s here now, which is way to warm for full fleeced preggie ewes, but makes perfect weather for the newly born.

I've only two ewes left to go now! I'm thinking this weekend or before. I hope before shearing on Monday.

Take care,
Tammy

Michelle said...

Dinah hasn't popped yet, and today is the beginning of possible due dates resulting from Braveheart's break-out. He didn't breed the ewe lambs (or they didn't take), so the only problematic ewe is Dinah -- who was Blackberry's intended. (Obviously my ram lamb was no smooth operator, getting his girl PG early.) I am praying for a black-based and/or gulmoget-patterned lamb from her so I don't have to do genetic testing!

Sharon said...

Water balloons on toothpicks! Great description. We military wives got used to "hurry up and wait." I hope someone has a black fleece for me this year.

Becky said...

I've been missing your posts! I guess my follow on your old blog didn't carry over to this one. Having not seen any posts from you for awhile I came looking and it forwarded me here. Glad to know you're still posting, and to know everything is ok. I will follow with email.