goats on the teeter-totter…the sheep won’t even consider trying that out!
big round lamb bellies
Posey stands for any massage…Sunshine is feeling a lamb inside right here!
My four ewes are getting oh so close to lambing! This is a first, for both lambs and shepherds at Gladsheim Farm. We are sort of stumbling around, trying to figure out all sorts of different things…not the least of which is determining exactly when they will begin labour…though in sheep-speak, you say “lambing”. Sheep gestate for 5 months but the timing is difficult to know for certain because our ram has been rather, ahem, private with his intentions. This means we aren’t exactly sure when lambing begins, but our earliest date is still 3 to 4 weeks away.
We have been spending a lot of our days down in the home pasture with the sheep, massaging their woolly bodies and whispering encouragement in their ears. Sunshine is very good at palpitating and both of us have felt lambs rolling inside the mamas. Oh, what a familiar feeling it is to feel life within…I surely empathize with their swelling bellies and their need to lay down in the afternoon sunshine, quietly chewing their cud.
Across from their home pasture, we have an Icelandic ewe on vacation here with her lambs. Sunshine’s ballet teacher went away and this mama came a-visiting. She is very quiet and my ewes seem to be watching her nurse her babes with longing…they line up at the fence to get a good view and bleat out questions at her every now and then.
This past weekend, the boys and I mucked out the barn. During the winter, we do a deep litter which means that rather than mucking out regularly like we do in warmer weather, we simply pile on fresh straw as needed. It works wonderfully to keep the ripe smell at bay (which is truly not that bad for sheep and goats) and also provides insulation. After four and a half months, it is very deep and took us most of a day to do a proper job. But the towering pile of composting manure is a pleasing site to me…soon-to-be gardener’s black gold. I already topped up some of the greenhouse beds with the manure and within 6 weeks or so, if I turn it daily, it ought to be composted enough for planting.
While the boys and I hauled load after load from the barn, Sunshine tidied up the coop and had a session of “chicken school”. She is our chicken lover and talks to them while carrying them about. She brought old Maisey up to the meadow pasture for a little walk-about. It amazes me that her hens don’t dash for the woods like they do for me…they are so comfortable with Sunshine that she sits beside them as they scratch and peck at the emerging grass.
I wonder what they are whispering about?
Meanwhile, Josh was busy this weekend building lambing jugs (birthing stalls) in the barn after it was mucked out, clearing brush and stoking the bonfire. It is true that a farmer spends half his day working on putting up fences, or repairing them…and I might add, clearing brush for more pasture.
These are our favourite spring days…together on the farm, outdoors in the fresh spring air, with animals to visit and a bonfire crackling.
Happy Spring, everyone! May this season bring you lots of beauty, growth and full hearts.