Well, here is the happy family all together again. Last Sunday we spent hours sorting the sheep. We separated the lambs from the ewes, then looked at all of them, graded their fleeces and made the decision about which ones to send to market. Then we fastened the lambs in the barn and put the ewes out in the farthest pasture. Weaning is an unhappy time for everyone concerned. The lambs cry and the ewes keep calling to their lambs. We prevent the lambs from hearing their mothers by turning on a huge fan that makes lots of noise and a loud radio. Usually, I turn on a country music station, but that gets on my nerves pretty quickly, so this year the lambs were weaned to classical music. In about two days things start to quiet down and the lambs are eating well. Our plan was to take lambs to market on Tuesday and I did check the website to be sure there was a sale. It said no cattle sale and that as of July 1st all sheep and goats must have their scrapie tags in place before they are allowed off the trailer. That would make you think there is a lamb sale on July 1st---right? Wrong! We got up early, loaded the animals, drove in to the stockyard, and guess what? No one there. Closed. No sale of anything. Next sale in two weeks. Back home and unload everyone. Now what? I didn't want to keep the lambs in the barn for two weeks and if I let them out, all the bawling would start all over again when they saw their mothers. So, yesterday morning I opened their pen and led them to their mothers. They were all so happy, I felt bad all over again about weaning them.That Paul Simon song Mother and Child Reunion has been playing over and over in my head since then! So, now we will go through the whole song and dance again in two weeks.
This process is one of the harsh realities of farm life and raising livestock. I can't keep all of the males and selling them often pays for a year's worth of feed for the rest of the flock. I'm not enthusiastic about it, but I am resigned to it.
And, yes, those are all her lambs. Two black ram lambs and one white ewe lamb and none of them required supplemental bottles. I'd say she represented herself pretty well this year.