Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Spring Lambs

Along with flowers, when spring comes, baby animals follow. In our case, most of the calves were born at the end of winter but lambs came with spring. Our small flock, of about 17 sheep, are small in stature and the males have horns. Their wool is white to shades of black and brown and liked by spinners. Hopefully come May, we can find someone who shears small flocks as that can be hard to come by. Some shearers work the Northwest now for big flocks and then head to Australia.

Most sheep raisers dock lamb tails which means cut off or put on a small band to have the tail drop off. This particular breed of sheep do not naturally grow long tails. There has been some controversy over whether docking the tails is necessary anyway. We bought a few sheep with tails and found out it didn't make them one bit dirtier, nor added to any lambing problems. In this flock, Rain's little lamb really does have a tail to wag.

When I was out getting photos, I heard what sounded like baby coyotes yipping on the hill behind our farm-- reminding me of the coyote mothers' need to feed their young. That took some of the enjoyment out of watching the lambs. At this time of the year, many things threaten the little ones. Because of predator losses, these sheep are allowed down around the house. I already had to fence my gardens because of deer and decided I liked the sheep this close when it means they are also safer.

A lamb's life is all about food from mommy, sampling new grass and playing together. They form lamb gangs; and while their mothers go looking for them, they are already ignoring them to be with the other 'kids.' The mother's plaintive cries can upset us too as we count lambs to be sure all are here.


Endment said...

Haven't been around lambs since we left California. Every spring my friend's life revolved around the lambs. They are beautiful.

redondowriter said...

I have always had a "thing" about sheep and lambs--and did actually collect sheep replicas when I was younger. Your entry and the photos are magical. I am thinking of Babe and those wonderful sheep! I have never actually been on a farm where they are being raised. Coyotes and wolves are problematic for the babies, I'm sure--just like coyotes are a problem even here in L.A. in the canyon areas. Did you read Tortilla Curtain?

Dick said...

I like your photos, too. We have similar cameras, mine by Nikon, a D70s. I also use a smaller pocket size Sony when the Nikon isn't convenient.

My Great Grandfather settled at Zena, Spring Valley, OR (near Salem) in 1845. My Dad's Dad was born there in 1854, so I have a long connection to Oregon although I have lived in Wash. State all my life except for awhile away at school.

Thank you for your visit to my blog and your kind comments on the photos. I do enjoy doing them and it really feels good to get comments. I will check back on your blog, too.

Paul said...

Little lambs do have a certain appeal. Youth, innocence and vitality all in one just as all newborns do. Youth touches something in our soul.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Rain-- Those lambs are so cute. How good to keep them close to the house and protect them from the coyotes. Do you raise them specifically for their wool?

dpr and his previous wife raised sheep for their wool. They learned to shear the sheep themselves. Would you ever consider trying that?

Mary Lou said...

My Grandmother's Brothers all Homesteaded in the Willamette Valley, the "Ranch" was right on the banks of the Big Puddin river. I remember going there and thinking it was the greatest place in the world. Even if they did not have indoor plumbing!!

Pam in Tucson said...

What lovely photos. Your sheep are wonderful! And the lambs are so sweet. Those are great natural Navajo colours! I love things woven from the natural wools. Are you a spinner?

Rain said...

My husband has sheared our sheep in the past and it's a hard job. The sheep never look quite the same either but he's gotten off the wool and if he has to, he will do it again. It's just nice to have it done and there are some old timers around who do small flocks-- it's finding them that is the trick

We both sell the wool and the lambs for meat. There is no way you can keep that many sheep who are reproducing. When we first had sheep, we ended up with over 100.. It doesn't take long. We are hoping to sell some this year for people who need smaller sheep to keep down grass or in small plots.

Rain said...

on the spinning, I have a spinning wheel and small loom, love Navajo rugs but have only made a few small woven items with my wool and nothing recently. If i had a big house, I'd have a big loom. I totally love them and nearly bought one some years back but I had to get realistic and realize it would take up half the living room