If you are here just for the prizes, go to the bottom of the post.....
Yes, you are counting correctly. There are three lambs in The Farmer's arms. For a couple of weeks now, there has been a ewe who has been "bagging up." This particular ewe was one of the two who had out of season lambs last September. We could tell she was going to have lambs soon because her "bag" or udder as it is mostly called was starting to droop and get larger and larger. The Farmer has been watching her - hoping everything would go alright.
Tuesday morning, I arrived at the barn to see if there was anything interesting going on. The Farmer was there, trying to figure out if what he was seeing was true. There were three little lambs and he thought they all belonged to this one ewe. We watched for a little while. Another ewe was trying to claim them. After a little more watching the behavior of the mamas and the three lambs, we decided that yes indeed, this ewe was the proud mama of three.
We penned her up and we'll be watching - hoping she has enough milk for all of the lambs. One of the lambs looks a bit smaller and dumber than the other two.
Our sheep don't often have triplets. There are some breeds and flocks that do breed for multiple births. Most of those flocks have Finnish Landrace blood in their lines. Finn sheep often have litters of babies and can have up to 7 lambs. That's not in our game plan. We don't mind twins but triplets can be a lot more work if the ewe doesn't have enough milk for all the babies. We'll see how this goes.
This ewe is the one we call "The Jumper." She can escape any fence, no matter how high. She is always on the other side of the fence which can be problematic - all the other sheep want to be with her. She is also pretty impossible to catch when we are trying to move the sheep in our trailer. There has been many a Tuesday when The Farmer has almost "shipped her." (That means sending her to the auction to sell her.) But then he thinks back about how good she is at mothering her lambs and keeps her another year.
This was not always so. When she was a teenage mother, she wanted nothing to do with her lamb. The lamb died. The Farmer kept her anyway. (The Farmer never gets rid of yearling mothers because he knows that the first time of being a mama isn't easy. Some sheep are naturals at it and others deserve a second chance. He's a patient man, mostly.) Then she started her jumping habit. She was living on borrowed time in his mind. The next year, she had a nice set of twins and did a fine job with them.
And so, The Jumper lives on in our flock. Today, I'm really glad we kept her. This summer when she is making trouble - urging the other 150 sheep to break down the fence and find greener grass on the other side, I might not be so in love with her. I'll say "What do you think? Should we get rid of her?" The Farmer will answer "Sure would like too." I'll answer back "Yeah, maybe." He'll say "But she sure does raise good lambs." And she'll stay on. It's happened many times...... I know...... We repeat the same conversation over and over. The Jumper will stay and she'll raise more lovely little lambs and we'll curse her out and life on this farm will repeat itself. And the neighbors will call "Your sheep are out - they're in our garden." Most likely it will be The Jumper who caused it.....
And so now for today's Blogiversary Giveaway! Here are today's prizes.....
Colorful Stitchery by moi
Kristin Knits by moi
Made from Scratch, Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich - This is a relatively new book about a young woman discovering the handmade, homegrown life.
All three books are donated by my friends at Storey Publishing.
The question today?: It's all about FOOD! I'm wondering what you think about the Local Food Movement? Do you buy local food? Have you ever heard of the Slow Food Movement? Do you raise your own food? Have you read any books about the source of your food? Do you only shop in large supermarkets? How many times do you shop for food a week? Do you buy fresh or frozen veggies?
Absolutely anything goes here about FOOD. I do not mean this to be judgmental! I know that this question could be a tough one but there is no wrong answer. If you don't mind, also add your general location - city, town, or region.
Leave your answer in the comments. You have until noon on Thursday to enter. Make sure you leave an easy way for me to get a hold of you. Good luck!