Waiting on the storm. That is what we are doing this evening. The weather reports threaten the coming of our first snowfall of the season and estimates are it will be significant. I like snow. I love the sound of snow falling, all other noises are muffled by the white blanket and there is a peace around the farm. Most of my animals enjoy the snow as well. The dogs love to romp and bounce and shovel up big gulps of snow in their mouths. They remind me of my daughters when they were younger, racing from the window to announce that snow had fallen. They remind me of myself, as a child, waiting in bed for the radio to include my school's name in the long list of closures. A snow day!
The horses roll in the snow and stand up cleaned and refreshed. The sheep rest in the field with a layer of white covering them, their insulating fleeces not allowing a single flake to melt.
And so we wait...will the reports be correct? Will I call in to work and tell them that I am taking a snow day? Will we lose power? Will my water sources freeze? So many unanswered questions. We must wait for the answers.
Breeding season is over for this year. All of my ewes are expecting, confirmed by blood tests and ultrasound. And so we wait...are my dates correct? Will all go smoothly? Will we have a ewe year or a ram year? So many unanswered questions. We must wait for another couple months.
This is such an exciting time, the little lambs growing inside their moms. Boys or girls, off-white or black? Only time will tell. It will be another month before the girls will be showing their growing bellies and udders, another month before I may be able to feel those little lambs kicking within their mothers' wombs. And so we wait.
This year I am the most prepared that I have been since beginning my shepherding adventure. We brought an ultrasound out to take a look at the ewes, an inside look. I wanted to know how many lambs each ewe was carrying. Charlotte has carried triplets the last two years and I was hoping that she would be given a break this year. She is carrying twins. This is good. My younger ewes are both carrying twins as well but my Annie girl looks to be carrying one extra. She has not had triplets before. This information will help me to plan diet and weight strategies. Last year my girls were a little more "plump" than I wanted.
I am fairly certain of the breeding dates and all of my girls are due within 6 days of each other. Two of them, Charlotte and Lilly share a lambing date. I will be needing more towels this spring.
We have some time to prepare, some time to imagine a field of eight or nine lambs frolicking and leaping, some time to spend with the girls as they wait patiently to be moms again.
And so we wait for the morning and the snow it may bring and the coming months and the new lives born to our farm.
To all my fellow shepherds, we wait together.
And sure enough even waiting will end...if you can just wait long enough.
I have always enjoyed the outdoors, the quiet, the excitement, the colors, the varieties of landscapes and animals and vegetation. I finished college with plans of heading west and working with wildlife and research. Plans changed and I began to work in veterinary medicine. This became my passion and I spent 10 years working at a large animal hospital in the NICU and ICU. Our young family decided to move after that and I spent a couple years with my little ones. Feeling the need to get back into work, I found a home in small animal veterinary medicine. 11 years later I am a licensed veterinary technician and a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner. I work full-time in a pain and rehabilitation center and it is a career that I am extremely passionate about.