On Saturday morning we had plans to head to Nashville to share some of our egg abundance with our devoted customers there. Eric and I don’t like to be in a rush, so we got up a little early so we could still sit and have our morning coffee together before heading out for chores and then getting ourselves and the kiddos ready for a trip to the city. In those early morning hours, the full moon was on her decent toward the horizon, and in the quiet candlelit cabin we watched out the window as the earth’s shadow started creeping across the illuminated face of the moon. We watched until the moon dropped below the treeline, beyond our unobstructed view. Then we headed up the hill to get our chores done a little early and with the hopes of being able to watch the lunar eclipse just a little bit longer. I went about with my milking as Eric advanced the livestock into their next paddock. When I was about halfway finished, Eric was near enough to speak to me without hollering and asked “Did you see your new lambs?”
Enter Lunar and Eclipse. Two small but healthy ram lambs and the first of my Shetland lambs to be born this spring. They quietly slid into existence with the power of that full moon and lunar eclipse, at the dawn of a gorgeous spring day. I can’t think of a better start to the lambing season than that. Of the ten Shetland ewes that I acquired from Pairodox Farm (www.pairodox.wordpress.com, hyperlink still not working…) last fall, two of them were already bred. I’ve been watching those two ewes for a couple of weeks now, but with wool sheep in full fleece it is really hard to see anything other than wool! Good luck getting a view of a swollen udder or anything like that! And then this morning, once again while milking the cow, I noticed the second of the expectant Shetland ewes off by herself and showing signs of labor. I finished up my milking and got a little closer to the ewe, but not close enough to make her feel nervous, and watched. Eric finished up his chores and joined me to observe the ewe. We decided she was doing just fine and left to go eat some breakfast. After breakfast we went back up to the pasture and Chloe was still without lambs by her side and clearly laboring hard. We are “low intervention” when it comes to our livestock, but will certainly get involved in assisting a lambing or calving when necessary. We decided I should go and get some supplies just in case. By the time I got back on the scene, though, I could see Chloe with her head down and actively cleaning up a little black lamb. Whew. I was starting to get a stress headache at the thought of something going wrong with my favorite ewe (I know, I know. I shouldn’t have favorites) but she did her work just fine. We watched the second lamb be born and were witness to those magical first moments of life and the bonding of a special ewe to her offspring. Her lambs were quite big and I think she was just having to work especially hard to bring them into the world. Two strong and healthy ewe lambs. Hooray!Once it was obvious mama and lambies were doing just fine, Eric and Ira eventually drifted off to other chores and mushroom hunting. But I couldn’t pull myself away from the pasture… one of my favorite places to be anyway, but especially when there are lambs! I sat in the grass, taking in all of the sights and sounds of spring, and felt so peaceful and thankful.
Now, the rest of my Shetlands are not due to start their lambing until May but in just a matter of days, our big flock of Katahdins will begin lambing. Oh, boy, will that be fun! I’m not sure there is anything in the world as joyful to watch, or anything that says “spring” as much as a whole gaggle of bounding lambs in the bright green grass.