Monday, March 27, 2017

A LONG day means a LONG post

Last night I put Vienna in a lambing jug, as Brian and I both thought we had observed her with her tail elevated more than usual. At last barn check (nothing from Vienna), Brigitte and Bardot were bedded down under the heat lamb, cute as could be.
But I went to bed a bit worried about Brigitte. Even though I had seen her nurse, complete with head-bumping and tail-wagging, she looked gaunt and hunched-up compared to Bardot. At one point I milked out some colostrum from Sarai and gave it to Brigitte with a syringe, just to give her a boost. But was it enough?

This morning I hurried to the barn to check on her – and found her laying flat on her side, very still in the straw. Afraid she was already gone, I rushed in and saw the slightest of movements – and got a weak little bleat. I scooped her up and raced to the house to catch Rick before he left to take Brian to school.
Brigitte was too hypoglycemic to take anything by mouth, so Rick administered 25% dextrose SQ. I set her up in a warming basket and then went down and milked Sarai; Rick stopped back by the house and tubed her for me before leaving me to it for the day.

The dextrose and mother's milk had their effect; when it was time for her next meal, Brigitte had perked up enough that I decided to try a bottle. She was able to suckle; hurray!

Until early afternoon, my day was divided between necessary chores and preparation for our trip, and milking Sarai to feed Little Miss and taking her out on the deck to stretch her long legs.

To infinity – and beyond!
We had a visitor while out on the deck

Around 2:15 Brigitte bleated at me – the first time she had made a peep since her pathetically weak cry early this morning. I was elated, and decided to take her back to her mother and sister – while continuing the milking and bottle-feeding. Bardot got some attention, too:
She's looking great!
In the meantime, this was happening:

I watched that last scenario happen. It looked scary when she knocked the gate over on herself, but she just kept scratching her back! But she was obviously looking to lamb, so back into the jug she went.

When I went down to feed Brigitte at 9:30, Vienna was cleaning up lamb #1. I gave Brigitte her bottle (milk replacer this time; she wasn't impressed) and watched lamb #2 arrive. Two good-looking brown lambs, a boy and a girl:

Here are Bogie and Bacall, meeting the girls next door:
Off to give Brigitte another bottle at . . .

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Formal introductions

Well, well, well; by dawn's watery light it is clear that Blake is still batting 1000 at passing on the Agouti gene. (He's probably homozygous Ag, meaning he has two copies of that gene and all his lambs will inherit one copy from him.) Last night I could tell the frosted black girl was going to fade to grey; not until this morning could I see that the little brown one also has telltale white hairs. Both of them are gorgeous creatures IMHO, so that informed the naming inspiration. ;-)

Allow me to introduce Boulderneigh Brigitte,

and Boulderneigh Bardot (pronounced bar-doe, like the actress).
I edited Bardot's photo to better show her amazing fleece so it looks washed out. Both lambs have tightly crimped fleeces from ears to tail; I'm so pleased!

That's one down and one to go before we leave (pleasehurrypleasehurrypleasehurry).
"How about NOW, brown cow?"

"WHAT did you call me?!?"

Just telling it as I sees it, at . . .

Saturday Night LIVE!

We were gone most of Sabbath for church, followed by dinner with friends and family at the pastor's house. When we got home, I turned the impatient girls out on pasture – two of them looking larger than ever. That's the thing about lambing season and watching ewes. You think they are looking big and bagged up . . . and then they get bigger and more bagged up.

Blaise started boinging around the pasture like a wild woman, pausing to head-butt the other girls. She and Sarai came to the gate; Sarai hung out for awhile. That can be significant, so I kept an eye on her through the windows as she went back to grazing. When I happened to see just four ewes,

I looked to see if Sarai was back at the gate. Nope.
 Do you see her anywhere? I didn't, not immediately.
Look closer in the lightened photo below.
 Aha! She had climbed between the boards to get in the shed!
Sarai was communicating loud and clear, so I ran down to the barn calling her name. She climbed out and met me at the gate so I could usher her into the maternity ward. Then I exited stage left for several hours while we did chores and watched Pete's Dragon on Netflix.

When I went down around 11:30 pm, Sarai was in active labor. In order to keep an eye on her progress without disturbing her, I went in the barn where I could watch through an opening in the wall (I had plugged in the heat bulb so I had enough light to see). After 45 minutes of pushing on and off Sarai hadn't produced so much as a bubble, so I headed to the house to wake Rick. He agreed that it was time to do an internal check in case of a malpresentation like last year, and got up to collect equipment and supplies from his vet truck. I grabbed some towels and headed back down – to be greeted by the happy sight and sound of new life! Sarai was vigorously cleaning off a LOUD brown lamb. Judging by its petite size, we suspected Sarai wasn't done, but I was no longer worried and sent Rick back to bed. Sure enough, in due time she pushed out lamb #2, a bigger black lamb with frosting on its face. By this time I had checked lamb #1 and knew I had a girl (YAY!), so figured the bigger lamb was likely a ram. But no, Sarai gave me TWO girls – one of them the black-based ewe I have been wishing for! Hallelujah; how abundantly I've been blessed!

Here is little Miss Loud-Mouth:

And here is Miss Frosting Face:
I have two pairs of official "B" names picked out, but deciding can wait for now. Oh, and no one picked March 26 for a lambing date, but Diane was only one day off when she chose March 27. She picked March 28 for Vienna, so I'm hoping and praying that Diane guessed one day late for her as well!

Then I could relax and enjoy our trip away from . . .

Thursday, March 23, 2017


These girls aren't telling. They just keep stuffing their faces and crossing their legs (actually, they can't; their udders are too big). Rick is threatening to induce them; I'd rather not interfere. Yet. Ask me again three days from now if there are still no lambs.

As you can imagine, I spend too much time staring at sheep. Makes for plenty of blog fodder photos, though!

Oh, and I think I've settled on a pattern to start. A colorful Sheep Heid, made from leftovers. Maybe it will be my lambing contest prize!

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

At loose ends

My ewes are keeping me in suspense (will they or won't they lamb before I leave?); I can't decide what to knit next (MUST.HAVE.TRAVEL.KNITTING!); weather, work and Spring Break are messing with my routine and mental health mustang time; and undisclosed family issues are heating up again after a lull. Among other things. Somebody better bring a straightjacket!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, March 20, 2017

A reluctant welcome

Shucks. The calendar says Spring arrived today; I really wanted winter lambs. Actually, what I REALLY want is for Vienna and Sarai to lamb well before we leave next week, so I don't have to fret about something happening that our chore person can't handle – or between the two times a day that she is here. I have had to intervene enough times in my relatively short tenure as shepherd to know there is risk. :-/

So I spend time coaching them. "Hurry up and lamb, Sarai. And I would LOVE it if a little black girl with your gorgeous, roo-able fleece is in there."
 "You, too, Vienna." (On the 'hurry up' part; no chance for black lambs from her!) "And Babette, I hate to burst your bubble but you're not going to be the baby much longer."
"Say WHAT?"

"I want to meet a big, handsome ram – I mean, have a baby; why don't you ever let me consort – I mean, have a baby?"

"Someday we'll find the right ram for you, Blaise. Just forget about that for now; let me rub your chin."

"Okay. Oh, that feels good. Can't . . . can't keep my eyes open. Hmmm; maybe rams aren't all they're cracked up to be...."

That's it from most of the girls today at . . .