Saturday, February 14, 2015


                                           photo by Amber Walker

Saturday morning, I woke to my grandson Jasper's shouts.
"Grandma, there are two babies in the barn!"

I had just been out there, four hours earlier, and decided that no one looked ready to lamb. No one even looked as if they would lamb before Jasper and Amber had to go home on Sunday. Even thirty years of lambing isn't enough to allow me to recognize a ewe about to go into labor. You'd think I'd have learned something after all those years.

Of course, after the first ewe lambed, I expect new babies every time I go out to the barn. I look for ewes  with sunken areas in front of their hip bones. We have three old ewes who look like that, but I'm pretty sure one of them isn't even pregnant and none of them has lambed in the last six days. I look for ewes who are reluctant to get up when I open the barn door in the morning. Lots of them exhibit that behavior, but so do I when Dave turns on the light to dress in the morning, and I'm certainly not pregnant. I look for really big, obviously pregnant  sheep, but most of them are in that state.

That's why we check the sheep every three to four hours, because we can't predict when a ewe will go into labor. It seems, like Jasper, I'll just be surprised when I find new babies in the barn.

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