Meet The Lambs! A week of joy and loss.

Lambing season has been a much anticipated event on our little farm, but we were not expecting it so soon! We were not even sure if our sheep were preggers to begin with. Literally the day before our sheep (whom we call Big Momma because she's as big as a barrel) was going to be in labour, I had visited the sheep and looked at her with *final* confidence that she was indeed pregnant. Of course I was thinking it would be another month, not another day till two lambies would pop out!  I also thought it was strange, on my oblivious visit, that Big Momma was being extremely vocal about me being there. As I was thinking, "Man, she is NOT in a good mood today..." She was screaming, "HEY YOU,  I'M ABOUT TO BURST WITH BABIES CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME SPACE YOU HUMAN FLAMINGO?!?!?!" Nope, didn't get the memo. (gentle forehead smack) It's our first ever lambing season so we have (and already had) lots to learn.

The next day, a fuzzy warm Saturday, I got a call from my brother Victor and his wife Deanna, "There are two baby lambs running on the hill!" Naturally, I freak out. These lambs were both born females, and these healthy sisters were BOUNDING in the pasture on day one! Mike threw a big comfy bed of hay down and quickly did all the little tune ups in the shelter just in time for the farming-cuteness-overload phase. I mean, come on, do you see those stubby legged wooly sweet faced critters?! You'd be totally loco to deny their adorableness.

A shocking fact about this breed of sheep, Suffolks, are supposed to be born BLACK. I have absolutely no idea why these lambs are WHITE with ginger legs! Even Google has no answer for me! Albino sheep will have red eyes, so check that off the list... But there is a neighboring sheep farm and it's a possibility that one of their white rams sensed our sheep's breeding hormones, and in his hormonal insanity, jumped over the fence to breed her! I'm curious to see if their parental genes, for a black head and feet, will grow in as they grow. Let's just hope Angel (the llama) isn't racist.

Many firsts for us as farmers... First lambing season, first time burying a massive stinky sheep placenta, first tail docking (shortening their tails), but our first lamb death caught us off guard. Day 4 of life, we lost one lamb.  She was most likely lost to a group of coyotes. Our farm's neighbors reported that the coyotes were unusually wild in howling the same night she went missing. All the next morning Big Momma was anxiously crying out for her lost baby, but never heard a response :( . This is one of the sad risks and realities of farming. As much as we want to control and insure our animals a thriving life, there are risks that are always present. This has been the hardest thing to swallow in this farming journey. We're grieving this loss while celebrating her sister's life we still keep. It's been a close to home reminder that as much as I want to control a particular outcome, things can happen that are out of my control. Since I can't go back and time (and try to control it again), the best option is to surrender my cares, fears, and animals to my loving Father God. Let go of those "shoulda, coulda, woulda" thoughts, and know I did the best to my ability in this sad situation and learn from this experience. I've cried a lot.  Farming with animals has taught me more than I could ask for. Through raising these animals, I've experienced and learned from very tangible seasons of joy and loss, birth and slaughter, building and tearing down, labor and rest, stress and calm.

I've named the surviving lamb Ginger, because of her unique ginger colour that she and her twin shared. We have made extra efforts to fix all gaps in the fencing and locking the sheep in their pen at night, but as Ginger grows there is still a risk for her life. Health issues, predators, escaping... The first 10 days of a lamb's life are the most fragile and crucial for her life or death. With the unknown always ahead and the nature of seasons, I'll end on this verse in Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, that has increasingly grown in more relevance for me as I continue this farming journey:

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.

Keep on shining the good stuff,

-Victoria Rose Park

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