Friday, March 12, 2010

And Little Lambs Eat Ivy . . .

Since I have been a little busy lately with my extra job teaching the class at the college, I have been ignoring my blog to the point of embarrassment, so to avoid further red-faced neglect, I have resorted to enlisting someone else to do my work for me and provide you with fresh entertainment. I give you . . . . SISTA G & her husband MISTA P!

This is Kathy’s Sista G, with a lamb story for you. The preface of the story is that we live outside of Roanoke, VA on just over 9 acres, of which half is a bowl-shaped field. Currently residing in the field is a horse and 14 sheep. We have had the original two sheep (Rambo and Snowbird) for three years, and they begat all the others.

On February 5th, the day of the second big snowstorm here, one of the ewes (Love Ewe) had twins (typical for sheep) in the late morning. They both seemed fine during the course of the afternoon, but when our son came over just before dusk to see them, one of them was lying in the cold mud away from all the others, still and almost lifeless. He brought it up to the house and put it in a warm bath, and after a while, it started to come around, albeit still very weak. We dried him off, brought him upstairs, and tried feeding him some lamb formula in a baby bottle. He drank a little, but not too much. I dashed to the store to buy diapers (because you know what animals do that you can’t control), cut a hole for his little tail and slapped a diaper on him. He slept in our Jack Russell’s (Magnum) pet carrier, and the next morning he started to stand and walk a little. We named him Phoenix (since he rose from the ashes), and as the days progressed, so did he.

Then, on Valentine’s Day, another ewe (Snowbird – the original mama) had twins, and we noticed from the house that one of them never got up, so Mista P went down to check on it. He came back and said that its back legs were limp and wouldn’t work, so we gave it the rest of that day to see if it would recover. We also put Phoenix out there to see if Snowbird or Love Ewe would let him nurse – they tried, but he would have none of it, just crying the whole time. By the end of the day, we brought both of them back to the house, and put the new one in diapers, too. She was pretty pitiful – we named her Valentine, since she was born on Valentine’s Day.

After a few days, we could stand her up and she would try to take a couple of steps, dragging her bad legs behind her.

Phoenix even cuddled up with her several times.

Magnum just put up with the whole newfangled arrangement.

But, one week after she was born, she woke up without her front legs working either, and one of them was curled back. Her neck would arch back, too, and she was obviously in pain, so we had to euthanize her. It was a hard good-bye for me, “and that’s all I have to say about that” (pop quiz – what movie?).

Phoenix is now 5 weeks old - quite a handful, and a little spitfire! He hops around like a gazelle, and runs up and down the stairs in the house. He is starting to get on the dog's nerves, too, always wanting to nibble on his tail. He gets up on the couch with us and watches TV, very patiently staying up late with me every night during the Olympics.

When it’s a nice day out, we’ve been putting him out in the field during the day with the rest of the sheep and four other lambs - we have two more new ones, too. The newest lamb (Snowshoe, because it was born while we were at Snowshoe a week ago – I’m not a deep thinker) looks just like Valentine, so that’s a comfort. Anyway…Phoenix has been such a cry-lambie that all he’s done is pace the fence and bleat the whole time. He has such a Pinocchio complex - he wants to be a “real boy” instead of a “real lamb”. Saturday evening when we brought him back inside, he had cried so much during the day he had “lamb-yngitis”! Maybe that was his catharsis, because now, ever since Sunday, when we put him out there, he realizes that he is a lamb, and has actually been playing, hopping, chasing, and frolicking with the other lambs. Here he is with his twin sister (Tucson) and Valentine’s twin (Valentino).

He has been eating some grass, too (now that the snow has finally melted). Here he is with Hocus and her baby (Two-Socks).

In a couple of weeks he’ll be fully weaned and he’ll go in the field for good, even though I know he’ll run right over to the fence for some rubs when we show up there.

Our other sheep that I haven’t talked about are: Pocus (Hocus’ twin), Alpine, Cuervo, Coco (new lamb Snowshoe’s mom) and Little Cow – that should round out all 14!

It’s been fun and frenetic to be lambparents!!

(Thank you Sista G. And for those of you who were wondering, lamb chops are not on the dinner menu.)


Rosie Hawthorne said...

Sista G, bless you for what you do, too.

Sista G said...

Thanks, Rosie! That's actually "a kid'll eat ivy, too, wouldn't you?" Funny how sayings are...

It has been fun - Phoenix spent his first night out in the world - he survived just fine, but he is now in the house, in his diaper, curled up under my desk, along with Magnum.

Kathy said...

HA! You know how it is, an occasional sleepover with the neighborhood kids is fine, but there's no place like home and your own bed.

Russ said...

No chops, but what about rack 'o lamb with a nice Cabernet reduction sauce?

Sista G said...

Or my very favorite - lamb shanks that fall off the bone!