” A step closer…and I’m on you!”
Fortunately, along with the emerging lambs we are thankful for a sun which emerges from clouds. How blissful to walk in warmth with vitamin D liberally bestowed upon my winter weathered cheeks. I find many opportunities to shimmy out of my studio, down the stairs and in to spring’s glorious living room. Surely there is no more joyous sight than the primrose that crowd the mossy banks, than the insistent wag of a lambs tail as it buts mum for milk with its impossibly cute little nose.
However, the whole lambing business is something we have yet to experience fully. This year I am more aware than ever that we too will, before long have to tread the croft at dawn attending to problem births and ,god help us, having to do that skinning thing.
Fortunately, OUR farmer/mentor has unwittingly shown us an awful lot as he goes about his long and eventful lambing. However, this morning taught me what a lot there is to learn. I was walking back from the croft, saw Archie attending to a sheep by his quad trailer when he shouted me over. He was expressing milk from the sheep’s udder and wanted me to open the quad back, grab the lamb which was inside. He hauled the sheep in and I placed the lamb our side of it to feed. I asked him why he was expressing milk and he told me the sheep had mastitis and he needed to remove any bad milk/colostrum so that the lamb could safely feed. “How do you know the sheep’s got mastitis” I asked, “Oh, you can just tell?”. I quietly eye the udder looking for any sign of engorgement. ..”and how do you know the lamb is hungry?” ” Hell of a racket it was making and mum wasn’t anywhere near it” Still, I also know that lambs make a racket when they can’t find their mum, and then there’s that business of skinning a dead lamb and tying it pelt onto another so that a mum who’s lost her own will accept another lamb because it smells right.
I’m glad, for now to be waking at a reasonable hour and spending my spring making love LAMPSHADES and silk curtains. I’m quite contended to wait another year before experiencing a sheeps birth canal first hand.