Lambing Season is Here

A couple of things.  First I wanted thank all that helped us with shearing this year and secondly I want to let everyone know that lambing should begin any day now.

Though the number of guests at shearing this year wasn’t as large as some previous years, it turned out to be a good crew.  I think we were successful in giving all a task and the job got done in a very efficient manner.  As I have noted many times before, shearing is much more than simply getting fleece off the animal.  In my mind it’s more about building and fostering a community.  Both were a total success this year.  My experienced crew was again ready and willing to teach the rookies, and the rookies were ready to learn.  I used to be surprised as to how folks that I ask to do, what many would consider difficult and dirty work, are so insistent on thanking me for the opportunity.  I’ve learned over the years that asking for help is just as much as a blessing as answering the call for help.  Though I may still marvel at it, I now recognize it as a wonderful truth of the human condition.  And that is worth celebrating.  This ever-growing community gathered, after the sheep were sheared and the fleece collected, to share a meal and visit. 
Farm Director Jan and I could not have asked for more. 

Next on the Drumcliffe Farm calendar.  If the rams have done their duty and the ewes were receptive, we should have new-born lambs on the ground any day now.  Technically March 6
th should be the target date based on when I brought the boys down into the ewe pastures.  Of course Nature has its own schedule.  My best prediction at this point is another week out.  Once we start, we should be blessed with new lambs through the middle of April.  A good time to visit the farm. 

Lambing is always a special time.  However I’ve come to appreciate more and more the time right now, just before lambing.  The ewes, especially the older ewes, sense what is happening.  Any other time of the year they may be skittish, stand-offish, or even belligerent.  The couple of weeks before lambing they seem to be the steadiest, as if they sense what is about to happen.  The classic relationship between the shepherd and the flock becomes crystal clear.  My presence each morning seems to calm them.  Ewes I normally cannot approach come to me for a scratch behind the ears, or a rub of the neck.  I won’t say the shepherd / sheep relationship is one of affection but I can easily define it as relationship of trust and dependence. The sheep look to the shepherd to fix what is wrong, to ensure that all is OK, to clarify what may be confusing, to put things right.  As long as they sense that I stand ready, lambing should go well this year. 

Farm Director Jan and I look forward to your visit to the farm during this special time. 

- Shepherd Jeff