Since the Pats weren't playing this year, I managed to have another source of entertainment last Sunday ...Lyra.
There was quite a commotion in the barn as I walked out to feed. I had put Shirley in the jug the night before as her udder had tripled in size and she was not all that interested in her dinner ...a sure sign that something is up. Sure enough, lying in the straw was a long-legged black lamb. Shirley was not happy. I quickly moved in to grab the lamb as mom blew and snorted at her, slamming her against the wall . A sinking feeling grew in my chest as I tried with no luck to make the mother realize that this little miracle was here to be loved, and was hers to nurture.
After a day of trying, tying mom, milking a swollen udder, and showing her time after time that it was okay...I gave up. If there is no bond within a few hours, I don't think there ever is one. I've been told that mothers can be forced to accept their lambs by putting them in a stanchion and forcing them to nurse. But where is the love? Where are the gentle nuzzles and sweet mumbles? Lambs crave love ...it is true. And why tie an animal and force her to do something she is clearly not happy to do, and create fear and distrust? This is why I tell people I am not a real farmer.
So the new "black sheep of the family", Lyra, spent two days in the kitchen, and now resides in the barn with Katie and Sam, two of last year's lambs. She is happy, she is not alone and she is loved.
My daily and nightly treks to the barn to feed her, a bit hard to adjust to at first, are now routine. Her happy little bouncing, to greet me and climbing me like her own mountain to conquer, show me that she is content in her environment. He mother, who resides just on the other side of the barn is still uninterested in her. No longer mean, just not sure Lyra is something she is supposed to care about ...I told her that it was okay. She is sill an important member of my flock, things just didn't work out.
Lyra, like any toddler is an imp. Her days are spent exploring, pesting others, eating, sleeping and pooping ...what a life. Last Friday I took her to my feed store, where she bounced up and down the isles and charmed everyone in her path. Then off to visit the creative ladies at MaineFiberarts. Knitting needles stopped clicking when she arrived in her green sweater. Confidently she explored the bags of yarn and papers that were at her level, then fell asleep in my arms as I chit-chatted with the ladies. Now isn't that a better life than being left in a stall with a mother that doesn't want you. I think so.
Three days after Lyra was born, Laverne, another early-bred ewe, presented me with a beautiful little white ewe lamb, Pixie. She is as beautiful as Lyra with her long legs, and fuzzy ears. This time, this mom took on her role is caretaker of the new life.