Friday, April 22, 2011

A shepherd's blessing

Bottle lambs find a special place in our hearts. They learn to recognize the sight of our coveralls and the sound of our voices. They come running when the gate rattles and butt our legs, vying with each other for the most advantageous spot to be first at the nipple. With three bottles lambs and only two hands to hold bottles, it is a bit chaotic when the lambs try to force each other off the nipple.

When Amber’s sister’s in law, Avalon and Jianna, came to visit, their big brother taught them how to bottle feed the lambs. Avalon fell in love with #62 and named him Max. She fed him, carried him around, and hugged him as often as possible during the five days of their visit. When they left, Avalon cried. She won’t see Max again; we don’t keep any of our own ram lambs for our flock. But her memories of a loving white lamb will remain with her forever.

I just wish that Max had been a girl. I love to keep bottle lambs. It isn’t smart. They might be bottle lambs because their mom couldn’t figure out how to be a good mom, or because she couldn’t feed as many lambs as she had – neither of which is a very good trait to add to the flock. But in general, if we have a bottle lamb that we bond with who also has a nice fleece, we keep her. Dave and I make the same connections with bottle lambs that Avalon did. We recognize their bleats. We can locate them in the center of the flock. We scratch their fuzzy heads and when they are small, we hold them next to our hearts to feed them. We don’t forget bottle lambs either.

A good blessing for a shepherd might be ‘May all your bottle lambs be girls.’

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Avalon has a tender heart for sure. When I showed her this post, she did cry again. But, that's OK. She bounces right back. It's important for her to know that Max probably won't be around the next time we are blessed by being able to visit you in Pelican. 8-)Gramps In CO