This is going to require some back story as well. Betsy. None of the cats like Betsy. They never have. In fact, after all these years, it's still a shock to see three of the four cats together on the porch and no one chasing Betsy, especially Claire Bear.
While in the past Betsy has gone out of her way to take care of baby lambs, she has no affinity for Bullwinkle. Not even a curious passing glance. Claire Bear (black cat you seldom see on the blog...or anywhere actually) has never had any affinity for any baby lambs...until Bullwinkle.
Heck, Claire Bear doesn't even seem to have any affinity for the porch on a normal day and here she is sharing a dog bed on the porch with Bullwinkle...while Betsy looks on...from Bullwinkle's actual bed. Comby is wisely keeping out of the middle of what can only be called Crazytown.
Shortly after this picture was taken, Bullwinkle got up and gave Betsy a couple head butts. Actual head butts, not "hey let's play" headbutts. That was odd. He did it again a day or so later. Yesterday he tried to pop Comby. A sheep that doesn't like cats?!?
Comby isn't taking any guff off anyone, so before Bullwinkle could even make contact with him, Quick Draw had his dukes up...and I'm pretty sure Bullwinkle won't make that mistake twice ;-). Still, looking back at this picture...I'm kind of wondering if we have a little thug on our hands ;-o.
"Who ya callin' a thug, lady!"
"This is my mean face! Claire Bear taught it to me."
I'm pretty sure anyone with pink ears and a cute freckly nose with a funny cowlick sending hair every which direction can't be a thug...unless he's gone over to the dark (black cat) side. Nah, he's a sweetie. And a good sport. Especially if there are babas involved ;-).
I thought about titling this post "Saint Tim Saves Lamb Camp...Again" but since I hadn't shared "Saint Tim Saves Lamb Camp...The First Time" I figured there was too much back story needing to be caught up. Suffice to say, a huge thank you to Saint Tim (twice) for making sure we could all enjoy adorable lamb pictures, now including Bullwinkle, this spring.
I was thinking I could title this something about "Sheep Dreams" (can I have a show of hands for Dianne to revive her beautiful blog? ;-) but again, there is more to the story than just sweet Bullwinkle taking a good nappy on/in my lap and having a big dream about something, probably More Babas.
I could title it "Goodbye Dear Henri" but that's not the whole story either. The whole story is good sheep friends that get old and feeble, their sheep friends who understand and don't understand, and people who understand that sheep understand and don't understand. Good husbands who borrow equipment from good neighbors so they can bury good sheep while sad shepherds sit in the yard with sweet babies while grass grows, the sun sets, birds settle in for the night and bunnies hop across the driveway while good dogs sit and watch, having understood that we are all here to take the best care of each other that we can.
If you turn up your volume you can hear a little talking :-).
Yes, there's a lamb in the kitchen. I was hoping to hold of until the end of the week when things were hopefully going to slow down a bit (haha), but here he is. He'll be a week old tomorrow. Saint Tim called him Bullwinkle the first night and that seems to be sticking. I have no idea where he comes up with these names :-).
In the meantime, Lamb Camp has continued on. Tuesday, Auntie Reg and I went out to see Baaxter's FOUR new siblings and all the rest of the cute lambies at Foxglove Farm. Yesterday I went to Soay Sarah's of Shepherd Life fame and got mugged by took pictures of Mira and all her new cousins. I'll get some pictures posted as soon as I can.
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Oh, an update on Rockette 654. We moved her and her mom and sister back to a smaller jug and that helped. That's why we use small jug pens, then move to the nursery and then to the big farm. If someone isn't keeping up, you know and can fix it. We moved them back into the nursery yesterday and will make sure she's doing well before she "graduates" to the big farm.
I've had a few questions about the ear tags so thought I'd share a story from the weekend that might help illustrate how useful and important they are.
I was lamb sitting at Final Frontier Farm while Kathy had to go to the city. I heard a lamb crying in the nursery. She wasn't crying the "I'm lost and can't find my mom at the grocery store BAA!" It was a sadder "I'm hungry and no one loves me baa?"
The first thing I did was go look. She was easy to find, standing in the middle by herself while everyone else was gamboling about. I picked her up and felt her tummy...yep, not full. I checked her ear tag. Blue, triangle, right ear (Rocket daughter) 654 also known now as Rockette 654 :-).
I went to the record book, found her mother's tag number and also that she has a sister, Rockette 653. Back to the nursery. Found Rockette 653...fat and sassy and on the move (thankfully the numbers are easy to read ;-). Found mom, looked to see that she was okay and put hungry 654 next to her.
She nuzzled her lamb back to her udder, the lamb latched on for a couple seconds, but didn't stay with it. Now I know this is a lamb situation, not a bad momma situation. I am also now able to make a note for Kathy to check Rockette 654 when she gets back to the farm and she'll know exactly which lamb I'm concerned about.
This is not the lamb in question and is just another super cute lambie who just happens to be walking through a picture that shows (may have to biggify) how you could stand in the nursery pen (or big field once they leave the nursery) and from a distance, without stirring everyone up, note a tag number if needed.
I know they look cumbersome, especially on very young lambs. And yes, it hurts them for a second or two when they are put on, but I really believe just that second or two. I don't think the tags bother the lambs and sheep any more than earrings people wear and the benefits far outweigh the "costs" in providing care for a large flock.
Lambs love sleeping in feed tubs. I think sometimes it's because they are warmer, but this afternoon was sure warm enough, so maybe it's just extra fun to sleep there. The pink stripe down the back of this lamb's head is a mark to make sure she and her (also marked) sister don't get moved out of the nursery pen too soon. One of the sisters has a slight limp that is being monitored. Could be an injury, could be a selenium issue, could be... I really appreciate the knowledge shared by good shepherds. So much to learn.
"My name is Cute Lambie. It's kind of confusing because my brother's name is Cute Lambie, too, but whatever."
"Here I am with my tail up. Apparently that makes me even cuter."
"My sheep number is 622. I have a triangle tag. That means Rocket is my dad and I am supposed to have extra nice wool. You can tell I'm a girl because my tag is in my right ear. My brother's tag is in his left ear. His ear hangs down too, but our mom says not worry that it will pop right back up when we get a little bigger."
"My brother is white and his wool is a little longer than mine and kinda shiny. My wool isn't as silky, but it's really soft and being black makes me special to handspinners who like to knit sweaters and stuff. I don't really understand all this though because a bunch of my cousins have long, soft, shiny, curly wool, too, and they have rectangle tags. Something about their moms and dads and grandparents and genetics and "who knows what's going to happen"... The people who take care of us say it doesn't really matter 'cause we are all special."
Final Frontier Farm, Paris, Kentucky
There is obviously not much any knitting or reading going on right now. My days are busy taking care of future knitting projects :-).
Karen (kbdoolin) has been here this past week. We've been lambing and weaving our butts off. Well, mostly I've been lambing and she's been weaving (although I did get a warp for some dish towels wound and ready to thread up :-). She wove a beautiful scarf from some handspun Rebecca Boone and Woolliam.
The warp (long threads going from back to front on the loom - in this case Woolliam) ends that are leftover when you cut a project off the loom are called thrums. I usually save back a few thrumbs for tying yarn skeins and toss the rest out for the birds. Karen scattered hers in a nearby red bud last night and early this morning...
Within minutes the shelves were picked clean!
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Updated: We sure don't want to injure any birds or babies! See the comments section for more information.
So for the first couple of days, the mommas and their lambs are kept in small pens, also called "jugs" or "jug pens". From there they move into the "nursery" for a couple of days to get used to being mixed with other sheep and lambs while still being closely monitored to make sure everyone's happy and healthy.
Here's the little black lamb from the other day. She sure passes the test :-)