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Waiting is the Hardest Part

For four days, I’ve had this Tom Petty song stuck in my head. Four days ago, the calendar predicted the arrival of our first lambs. No appearance yet.

The calendar is a fickle, paper thing. We have lambing predictors based on various back dates of your choice. Since I did not use a ram harness this year (which identifies the presence of mating attempts using crayon or chalk), my best date was the day that Mal was introduced to his ladies.

Apparently Mal took a few days getting to know everyone first. Oh sure, he did his job (note: Exhibit A).

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

But he took his time, and now we are all waiting. I’m not the only one; the heavily pregnant ewes now trundle a few steps before resting, dawdle by the fence for me to spend minutes or hours scratching under their chins, and belligerently yell at me for appearing without a treat. In short, this is classic time spent with a late-stage pregnant woman except there are six of them and they don’t speak English.

Today, I was sure Martha Jones was very close to lambing (and she still is, as I write this). She spent the day in the back section of the pen. She didn’t eat a lot, but just chewed slowly. Her body has grown so large that the effort of getting up is clearly something she has to consider strongly before doing. She almost staggered from the momentum of reversing her belly’s gravitational pull. She stared pointedly at me, as if I could change this condition. Maybe she thinks I’m responsible.

Oh, Martha...
Oh, Martha…

This wait spawns dreams. I suspect the girls are dreaming of youthful summers in lighter bodies, galloping with their siblings in green pastures. I dream of what I’ll find when I walk down in the morning. Yesterday I put a harness on a yearling to keep everything in place (we’ll talk about that at a later date) and I woke up from a dream this morning that her lamb’s little hooves were tangled in the harness. Active imagination; everything was fine and just in place when I arrived.

Lambing is all about faith. Sure there’s planning and experience and knowledge, too, but the longer I farm the more I realize that it’s all just an act of faith. Soon there will be lambs (one way or another), and once it starts they’ll appear in a landslide. Last year I was literally in the middle of watching one ewe lamb while another dropped twins, and some neighbors stopped by with their kids. I think the understated term was, um, hopping. Most were healthy and most births were low-complication. I have faith that this year will be the same or even better.

For now, waiting is the hardest part…

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