Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Little Lamb Who Made Thee?

I am joyfully anticipating lambing and the upcoming spring.  Green grass sprouting in the pastures, happy fat lambs racing to and fro.  Life beginning anew, bright sunshine and spring flowers.  The gentle warm kiss of sunshine as it lights upon on your face, the smell of leaves unfurling in the trees, the smell of grass being mowed, the snot, sneezing and headaches of hayfever.  Okay, forget that last part.  I digress...

Where was I?  Oh yes...the joy of springtime and new lambs.  One can forget just about any measure of discomfort with an lamb gazing in your eyes.  The trust bestowed as they lean into your caress.  

That sweet innocence, vulnerable, yet surprisingly resilient and strong. 

Reminds me of a favorite poem that I often repeat to myself while watching them scamper about the pasture.  This poem is what inspired the name of our farm

The Lamb, by William Blake.  

Little Lamb who made thee 
Dost thou know who made thee 
Gave thee life & bid thee feed. 
By the stream & o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice! 
Little Lamb who made thee 
Dost thou know who made thee 
Little Lamb I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb I'll tell thee!
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb: 
He is meek & he is mild, 
He became a little child: 
I a child & thou a lamb, 
We are called by his name. 
Little Lamb God bless thee. 
Little Lamb God bless thee.
~William Blake 

~Bless Ewe~

Sunday, February 2, 2014

King of the Trough

Gabriel was named after an arch angel. Other than one hen he dispatched to the pearly gates (she deserved it, attacking and annoyed him endlessly) he has been a Godsend to our farm.  Before he arrived we lost sheep and lambs to the local cougar regularly.  Since he has been on the farm we have not lost a single sheep or lamb.   

One of my favorite things is to sit and watch the interactions between him and the sheep.  He has favorites among the flock.  A few lambs are his buddies.  Some of the ewes remain leary of him and that will never change, as they were not raised with a guardian dog.  He is quite affectionate with many of the lambs that grew up with him.  He will groom them, lick them, lay with them and most of all he protects them.

When Gabriel first arrived at the farm he was hesitant to defend his food from the chickens, or his sleeping spots from the sheep.  That has changed.

Gabriel has a couple primo spots he has made his own.  One of them is in the middle of the round bale feeder.  He loves the hay and makes his bed in the middle under the tarp covering the feeder.  He is snug and warm.  Down side, when he is sleeping in the feeder, he does not allow many sheep to eat.  His favorites, yes.  The ewes he does not care for?  Nope...which has resulted in a few getting their noses nipped.

I feed the bred ewes and lambs alfalfa every afternoon.  As long as I am in the pasture, Gabriel hangs with me or Stewie.  The minute I am occupied with something else, like working dogs.  Gabriel will climb into one of the feed troughs, make his bed and then the game begins.

Gabriel "Listen ladies, this is mine now. Get lost!"

"Stewie can stay, the rest of you bugger off!"

Stewie settles in to share the alfalfa with Gabriel.  Always one to take advantage of favoritism, Stewie knows the drill.  

Stewie says "Nom nom nom."

All hail Gabriel, King of the Trough

Challengers appear.

The girls think they can move the unshakable rock.  It is a fruitless endeavor.  (Trust me the only way to budge Gabriel from his bed of alfalfa is to tip the trough over - don't ask how I know this). 

Brave Beulah, Stewie's mother, risks her nose and ears diving into the yum.  The girls stay back, timing Gabriel's response.

Alas, Gabriel knows better than to do anything with me standing there.  Wise dog.  His game is thwarted. 

Gabriel says "You suck, please go away."

"I love you, but you understand the minute you leave - I will bark, snap and growl, and they will scatter like the sheep they are." 

That's okay you big white goober.  You are worth your weight in gold.