A Weird Spring

It’s the middle of May. We should be busy lambing.

We’re not.

In a few weeks the pasture should be alive with baby lambs scampering everywhere.

It won’t be.

Sigh. I know we made the right choice; I just didn’t think I’d regret it so much.

Because Melissa had been scheduled for neck fusion surgery during the winter, with 4-6 months of recovery, we couldn’t see her running around the pasture chasing sheep, a normal part of lambing. So we made the hard choice: December 17, our usual breeding date, was just another day on this farm.

In fact, we sold Erik, the ram, to a nice man who has been looking for Erik’s specific breed mix.

So there was no sheep sex on the farm.

No sheep sex in December, of course, means no lambs in the spring.

Melissa didn’t have the surgery, so we could have bred the sheep. But unless someone has a time machine handy, there’s no going back. Instead, I’m working hard on a manuscript and starting a freelance writing job. Melissa is Census Crew Leader Extraordinaire, and Farmer in Charge of Baby Calves. The sheep are out on pasture, hopefully grateful for a year’s rest.

Our friend Mary H., who helps every year with lambing, emailed yesterday, in the middle of a serious case of ‘lambie doodle’ withdrawal.

Melissa and I might be experiencing similar symptoms. And one thing that amazed me: When lambing comes, we stop all other activities. Life narrows down to nothing but the sheep. I never realized how important this ‘time off’ was until this year, when we don’t have it. There’s no break from the busy, no change in routine or focus. Who knew that could be so important?

So to help Mary, Melissa, and me get through this withdrawal period, here are some previous years’ lambie doodles:


So you’d think it’d be quiet out here on Rising Moon Farm without lambs, but the calves talk to us. The sheep baa as we walk by. Friends come every weekend to care for the vineyard and the air is full of their laughter.

My mom helps us in the garden and we talk about how she had no idea how to plant potatoes, yet when she dropped to her knees, she suddenly made a hill for five plants with a hole in the middle for water. It’d been at least sixty years since she’d planted potatoes, but her body remembered. My dad stops by with his bike and convinces us to take an hour off the farm to go biking. Kathy comes to tend the bees and entertain us with bee and bear and cat stories. The barn swallows chatter all day long, and it’s a happy sound.

So while we don’t have lambs, we’re not lonely.

May your spring be filled with equally happy sounds.

10 thoughts on “

  1. No lambs???!!! I’m sure many of your ewes will appreciate the break, and next year’s crop could be a doozy! But if you’re ever around Hammond, Wi, you’re welcome to a kid fix, I have 38 so far, and a few more does yet to kid later this month and into June.
    Enjoy your spring break, I’m sure it will give you a refreshed perspective on next year’s lambing season.

  2. Aw, how sad! Spring here would be incomplete without the little lambchops; I think my heart would break!

    At least for one year there is no lambing anxieties or unidentifiable goo on your jeans. But you know? I think I’d miss that too!

    Thank goodness for the calves to fillfill the cuteness quota!

  3. Oh, sadness..no lambies? You will be pleased to know that Martha the lamb is back out with her mother, her night in the bathtub did not turn her into a duck,(although we did end up adopting a duck that same week) and we are still bottlefeeding her…she spends all day and night with her mother and siblings, but comes to us for an extra drink 3 times a day. I love your updates! Thanks!

  4. 38 kids? Wow! They must be adorable.

    And glad to hear that Martha is back with her mom. It’s fun supplementing a lamb—the mom does most of the work, and you get to feel popular when you approach the flock and the bottle babies come shooting out, heading straight for you. It’s gratifying!

  5. Maybe without lambing the wool will be even nicer this year? I started spinning this spring, and a friend told me about the wonderful yarn available from this farm down in Zumbrota – “something moon”… I cracked up and told her I had quite a bit of that yarn in my stash. Now I am thinking I need some RM roving in my stash, too!

  6. The cute pictures only make me miss them more! The one you posted of me with 2 lambie-doodles – one “eating” my chin is probably my favorite picture in the world…. That was a long day – Mis will remember that day too – 3 still very pregnant ewes had jumped the spring gate & were totally where they were not supposed to be. Ahhhh – lambing…. My spring is just not the same…. Baaaaa!

  7. Lovely post Catherine. Your babes are sweet, but the fruits of your “freedom” this year will be sweet too. Relax, refresh, write, (re-write? hehe!), live and be in the moment!

    All the best to you. The tree frogs are my sound right now. LOVE IT!

  8. Twinsetellen—small, small world! And I have a little roving that I’d be willing to share…can’t believe I’ll be able to spin it all.

    Lotus…. no lambie doodles, no Mary running around making up names for all the lambs born…Miss you!

    Clare…thanks for the advice. I’ve hardly been able to come up for air. Writing deadline April 1, another June 1, now a revision of the first manuscript due July 15, then there will be a revision of the second manuscript due in August. I’d like to have a nervous breakdown but can’t seem to find the time.. 🙂

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