Some of you will recall our first lambing year.
Uffda. My heart hurts just remembering. It was a brutal "welcome" to farming brought on by our (read: my) blind optimism and enthusiasm for all things wooly. New to sheep, we said yes to a generous gift of an entire flock of bred ewes, scheduled to lamb in winter. It was the coldest winter that I can remember and the first lamb was born on a -15 F day in mid January.
Have I mentioned how inexperienced we were?
It was a rough season in so many ways. We set alarms for all hours of the night and tromped to the barn at midnight, three AM, and five. And still we lost lambs. Too many lambs. My heart just kept breaking.
And so the second year we did things differently (mostly just separating our ram to ensure a later lambing season). We went from losing more lambs that I care to discuss to losing zero the next year.
Things were off to a better start to be sure.
Since then we've only lambed in spring, making the loss of a lamb extremely rare. That's better for the lambs, the ewes, and also for my heart.
And so after the snow had melted and the red-winged blackbirds returned, this year's lambing began with silly Mr. Rowland...
...then progressed to elegant Ms. Anise (daughter of our herd queen Nutmeg). This was the first time Nutmeg singled, so Anise is already big!
And then we waited. And as we waited, winter quietly returned.
With five ewes yet to go, we kept up our vigil checking them often. And because it's cold again, we're checking them later at night and earlier in the morning, just in case someone needs help. It's not as often as that first winter, but more often than we were last week.
And so it happened that Pete came upon our ewe Buddy on Sunday, laboring alone in the barn in the afternoon. Sage ran to the house to collect Lupine and I (then head to the safety and birth-free zone of his bedroom), and Lu and I suited up and ran through the fresh snow to the barn.
One lamb was already born and mostly licked clean, but she was still in labor, so we hunkered down excitedly to wait.
Soon it was time.
A few contractions later and a second lamb had arrived! (Head's up to the squeamish: there is one birth photo below.)
Buddy set to work quickly, cleaning and rousing this one as well. Despite the cold she did it all herself, aside from Pete clearing the lambs nose to quicken her breathing.
And just like that our number of lambs for the year so far had doubled. These two newcomers aren't named just yet, though Lupine is leaning toward Bunny (for the girl), and Bumble (for the boy). That works for me. I'm just grateful that they're here.
Even now, in our fourth lambing year, the magic of watching babies emerge into the world never gets old.