Tuesday, May 21, 2013

...and so we wait.

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My little alarm clock went off at 5 o'clock this morning. A bit early, but I can't nearly refuse such a warm snuggle from a little bundle that I love so. A belly was filled, back patted, and the babe was asleep once more. I now had a choice to make, either snuggle up with my slumbering hubby or soak in a nice hot shower with no chance of kids interrupting. I chose the latter. A shower is a blessing to a mama of three, especially when it's able to be soaked up for all it's worth. Washing off the grime of the last two days is liberating.

Nothing exciting happened, but it was a good day. Laundry was washed and folded, dishes were not overflowing, and the dust rag was put to heavy use. The babe is teething and so a steady amount of playing, nose wiping, and cuddling was afforded to the youngest of the McNeil household. One can never have to many snuggles, I'm convinced of it.

The back pasture is looking absolutely lovely and lush. The clover all but reaches to my knees and you can hear the bees happily buzzing as they bounce from flower to flower. God has truly created nature is such a beautiful way and it has such purpose and order. While the kids were playing with play dough and the said babe was taking a nap, I decided it was time to give the water trough a good scrubbin' so the sheep could devour the clover that was perpetually taunting them from the other side of the fence. I like to refer to clover as sheep candy, they just can't get enough of it. As I was elbow deep in water trough cleansing I was thinking about how sad it is that we're going to go another year without lambs. I knew the ram we got was young, but I was sure he'd get the job done. That boy gave it all he had, so I can't say he didn't try. He was very, very, VERY persistent.

Trough was cleaned, put back together, and filled. Such an awesome thing to see a half filled murky trough turn into a sparkling tank of crystal clear water. Talk about a sense of accomplishment! Lunch time was approaching and so I quickly opened the gate and moved the sheep from the orchard into our back pasture. I didn't look them over too hard, no one was limping and faces were clear of fox tails and no runny noses. We were good.

I made lunch for the kids and it was actually quite fun. We all sat at the table eating and talking about how fun play dough is. Everything is exciting when you are 5 and 3, everything. Jude made fish that he was pretending were large mouthed bass and Ella made a dog and an angel. I decided to wander to the sliding glass door while the kids were finishing their meal and I stared at the sheep. Something seemed different and it made my heart race. I had no time to figure out what my eyes were seeing and so I went back to the kids and helped them clean up. Nap time was quickly approaching and I had things to do.

I am still trying to catch up on my house chores since being sick and so spent nap time working around the house. I totally forgot about the sheep. My grandma moved back to town today and we wanted to go visit, so as soon as the kids were awake and dressed I loaded them into the car and ran back to the house to grab my purse.

Time stood still and I thought, "I still haven't checked the sheep."

And so, I slipped on my boots and wandered slowly out into the field. I wanted to see closely and make sure my eyes didn't deceive me. Sure enough, I was not deceived. My sheep are pregnant.

"WE'RE GOING TO HAVE  LAMBS!!!", I yelled and shouted. I started to literally dance and skip in the field while fist pumping the air. The sheep just stared at me like I just lost my mind. I did, a little.

I have been thinking for the past two months that the ram wasn't able to do the job, that he was too young, and that my sheep aren't pregnant. I've been resigning myself to the fact that at least they'll help to keep the grass down and that they are still serving a purpose, even if we won't have meat for the freezer this Fall. I am so thankful to God that I've been WRONG this whole time. The ladies are really bagging up and so I give them a week tops before we have the first lamb drop here at the Shepherd's farm.

This will be the first animal born on our farm. The first product of a teeny tiny farm operation that is getting it's feet wet and we're wanting to dive in headlong. It's like a christening and I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I went from thinking we're going to have NO lambs to realizing that we'll probably have lambs in a few DAYS.

Wow, just wow.

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Now is the time to get ready and prepared. I got the pen in the barn covered in fresh straw and there's a water bucket ready to be filled. Grain is in the barrel just waiting to be served to a new mama needing some food after the birth.

I still need to get some iodine to dip the umbilical cord in so we can prevent an infection. I need to get some bands and ear tags.

I need to stop and pray that God will bless us with live lambs and that the births go smoothly. I only have one sheep that has lambed before, the rest are first timers. More than likely they'll be fine, but you never know.

I just can't wait for my children to experience this part of farm life. To see an animal give birth is so amazing. Not up there with human births, but it is pretty cool and miraculous nonetheless. Kids learn so much from seeing life in all it's stages on a farm. A parent hardly has to have 'the talk' with their kids when they live this way. It doesn't take much figuring out when your children are involved in the breeding of livestock.

In the morning I will move the sheep back to the pen that is next to the barn. It is a much better place for lambs to be born. I can't wait till the new lambs are born...and so we wait.


Have a seat, enjoy the conversation, and welcome to the farm.