As mentioned before, Violet had her lambs and is happily wandering the pasture with her little flock of three in tow. Lily gave birth to four, so far bright and hearty lambs. Daisy on the other hand is a source of debate.
What if she’s not pregnant vs. She is definitely pregnant
Waiting another few weeks would undoubtedly solve the mystery, but I’m not that patient. I am a problem solver who spent the weekend working out the details to our solution.
Beginning today, the children have been divided into teams (Boy one/Girl two vs. Boy two, Girl one). Each team is equipped with 3 pregnancy tests. They work on humans, why shouldn’t they work on sheep?
The kids have never seen these sticks. They’re getting three because I’m guessing they’ll use at least one stick to pee on themselves. But once we explain the importance, and especially once we mention the reward, they should be good to go. The trick will be the need to have the sticks placed in the urine stream for five seconds. I began to worry for them. Should one hold the sheep while the other holds the testing stick? Should we find a way to restrain the sheep on a raised platform? Should they simply be on shifts lying quietly in the barn at night until the ewe forgets they’re there? . . . I was going a bit crazy until I remembered that this was not my problem; the kids can think for themselves. My part is to provide the testing sticks, the explanation, and the reward. How they get that five seconds of urine from an anxious, jittery, possibly pregnant sheep is something they can brag about in the future.
It’s not easy being the problem solver, team captain, chief cheerleader of unusual exploits. My heart is swelling with something somewhere between pride and satisfaction to picture one of them lying on the ground trying to baptize their stick and stay dry. There’s a lovely sense of primordial justice to the fact that this won’t be possible (the dry part).
Last night I realized that this little exercise needn’t be limited to our current crisis. Come August, September, even November, when there hasn’t been a ram in sight for ages (they won’t know the difference) they can be sent out as needed to check all the sheep. It ought to take hours of hit and miss attempts of catching and holding. There is nothing, I realize, to stop me from responding at will to a few weeks of feral behavior with my own little sense of fair play. It is a calming and beautiful thought.
Beginning with the commencement of our games today, once again, God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.
Canadian etiquette requires that Victoria Day weekend be spent in outdoor pursuits: camping, cottaging, gardening – anything outside. This somehow brings honor to Queen Victoria, who passed from this life in 1901. I wasn’t raised with Kings and Queens. Twenty plus years into this Canadian experiment, I’m warming up to them quite nicely. The holiday Monday that the monarchy extends to me each May is always well received. I don’t mind doing my part to hail to the Queen.
This year in Victoria’s honor, my husband got a new fence up and we moved some manure piles and spread them on the fields using our handy, dandy pitchforks. Boy two graduated to tractor driver so Boy one and I could throw brown treasure off the wagon. Extended family offered help, so the wood splitter got some action and a kitchen garden went in for me! Girl one began her lawn mowing career. Steering is an issue. Girl two put herself to bed at the end of the day but woke up to ask when work days were going to be over, because they were really, really long days.
I’m sure the Queen appreciated all that, although I don’t know which Queen. I’m guessing that Queen Elizabeth appreciates it in Victoria’s place, on account of the 1901 departure. but it might be that a whole group of them sits down around 3:00 to feel grateful to Canada. (*This just in: the holiday now includes celebration of the reigning monarch’s birthday.)
So in tribute to Victoria, with birthday wishes to HRH Queen Elizabeth, the best (and most daunting) part of the day was Lily, herself of royal blood, who finally had her lambs. The best part of the gift was the timing. Right smack in the middle of the morning in broad daylight. Kids got to see lambs born. (That tiny little sentence really doesn’t do the experience justice. It might deserve it’s own post on miracles, only I can’t write it yet due to the daunting.) The daunting part, was that Lily kept going past three lambs, right on to five. So far, they are all alive. The next few weeks involve a lot of frequent bottle feedings with lambs at different stages. Although fewer lambs would mean less work, for some reason the instinct for life is stronger in all of us than practicalities. My heart sinks every time I think one of them has died, and soars if they wiggle up and start stumbling around again. It will be unusual if they all make it, but since you never know which ones will make it, you knock yourself out for everybody, say a prayer, hold your breath, and wait.
One things is certain. Each of the five will receive a royal name. Since we name all the girls we keep by flower names, we must certainly dub someone from the group, Queen Anne’s Lace.