When last I left you, sweet Willow had given birth to triplets:
Two boys and a girl, these three were friendly, curious and quite amusing-much like their mother!
Less than a week later, I awoke at 3:00 in the morning with the feeling that I should check on RosyPosy. Before my flashlight and I had even made it to the sheep cottage door, I could hear the distinct, high-pitched "maa" of a newborn lamb. I arrived in time to watch Rose cleaning up her first little ewe lamb and then giving birth to a second. Twin girls for RosyPosy, and she was an excellent mother!
Now we had five lambkins out and about, and it wasn't long before they were running the farm!
I had begun to suspect that Mary was not pregnant. She had continually been marked at every cycle during breeding season, and now there was no udder activity to speak of. When she had been shorn, my shearer agreed that she was most likely open. No lambkins for Mary! However, I had been feeding her as if she were pregnant and she had grown quite large. I slowly began to decrease her grain intake.
A week or so before I was to begin weaning the lambs, I was sitting upon the ground giving Mary a nice chin scratch. When I had finished, she turned to walk away and....Udders!!! Mary was making milk! I immediately upped her grain again, and two weeks later....
Mary's first lambing had me a bit concerned. She had always been my most nervous ewe, coming to me as a yearling. When she birthed her first lamb, she seemed agitated and confused as to what she should be doing. While I usually clean off the faces and noses of newborns, I then keep my hands off and am just there for any emergencies that may come along. As Mary pondered this new little creature, she would head-butt it and then walk off, only to return and head-butt it again. It was all that I could do to not snatch the baby up! Of course, every time she walked away, I was treated to a view of the next little lambkin's head and hooves- perfectly positioned and ready to enter into the world! With one last head-butt, Mary began to lick the first lamb clean and I breathed a sigh of relief. By the time the second lamb was born, Mary was more than happy to tend to it as well. One boy and one girl- with a fiercely protective mother!
And so....it has been a very busy few months for all. Willow and Rose's lambs have gone off to wonderful new homes. Mary's lambs are about to be weaned. Hopefully they will find good homes shortly. Life is considerably more relaxing, in a bittersweet way.
All of this adventure...in my own backyard!
As far as my fiber adventures go, shearing always brings endless possiblities!
I'm also happy to say that I finally built the new firepit and am looking forward to lots of outdoor dyeing this Autumn.
And, thanks to a recent storm, I have LOTS of lichen gathered from off of fallen trees and branches. I will be starting a new lichen fermentation dyebath tomorrow. Let the twelve weeks of waiting begin!!!
It will be worth the wait!