Sheep, Rain and Deepening Convictions

This challenging stretch of rain, cold and wind, deepened my conviction about sacrificing maximum production and what has become “the business of farming,” for raising sound and hardy ewes in a natural manner, with as little interference from me as possible.

We moved the ewes to that adjacent paddock with abundant shelter and they never used it. They grazed and slept on the hillsides - in the rain. And since the ewes did this, so too did their lambs. I brewed and stewed with worry through 48 hours of cold and steady rain, wondering why those ewes never sought shelter. Wondering if I should force them to move into it. Wondering if days of rain was going to erase a smoothly successful, but still raw, lambing season. Each time I went out and saw lambs curled up in deep grass, looking wet from head to toe, I cringed. I fully expected to pick up dead lambs each morning and evening. 

The rain stopped sometime last night and today was a deep grey and cobalt blue day, with patches of brilliant sunlight and calmness. A day of sunshine is all it takes to dry everyone off and warm everyone up again. A day of sunshine is just the break I need to loosen the knot of worry in my gut, even if only for today, since there is a forecast of rain over the next three. 

I toured around and through the flock this morning, scanning extra thoroughly for anything out of sorts or dead. Mid way through, I stopped to feed the first guardian dog I came across. I stooped to say hello to Lady and offer her a bowl of food and it hit me. A moment of intense gratitude and relief, mingled with amazement at these ewes standing all around me, and at this life. The feeling was strong and pungent, more so because it and similar moments have been sparse lately. It was a rush of soulful knowing; the kind of moment that solidifies your choices and why you do what you do. 

I am amazed how lambing happened as quickly as it did and that the bulk of lambing is over with rather than happening during this soggy stretch of weather. With lambing so recently occurred and still a few newborns arriving, we are not out of the woods just yet, but I’m sure appreciating the sun filled meadow while we’re resting here.