This morning I awoke to the faint sound of Valentine's voice - and a couple inches of new snow on the ground with more falling.
Valentine was indeed crying with loneliness. She could hear the other girls, and even see them if she stood in one corner of her pen, but was distressed at being all by herself in a strange place. I quickly did chores so I could sit with her for awhile. She quietly stood close and gave me sheepy kisses, happily taking proffered animal cookies. I think if I let her in the house with me she would be just fine!
But as soon as I left to go to the house, the crying resumed. Rick heard her as he was getting ready to leave, and was genuinely concerned about her stress level and the deleterious effect it could have on her health and pregnancy. We decided Valentine's health and pregnancy were more at risk if she stayed alone than Bella's health would be if I put her in with Valentine, so that's what I did. (There isn't a more conscientious shepherd around than Lois, so I'm really not worried about exposing Bella to any health risks.) Bless her fickle little heart, Bella let me catch and halter her without ado (I think she was distracted by Valentine's cries). Valentine seemed relieved to have another sheep join her. (As you can see, I got the hay feeder done!)
Actually, I think this will be a multi-faceted blessing. Bella has never been separated from her mother, and needs to be weaned emotionally. Since she's younger and a bit smaller, I won't worry about Bella being rough on Valentine, and maybe they'll even become buddies before Dinah and Rechel are introduced. It gave me a much-needed chance to trim Bella's hooves. Even after that "trauma," Bella actually sought my attention (I was the only familiar being in the pen!), so this will be an opportunity to bond more with her. And since no one's windows are open this time of year, all the yelling back and forth between the girls isn't TOO obnoxious (I hope!).
That's it for now at . . .