01 July 2007

Back Home Again

Back in mid-April, you'll recall that we made the fateful error of leaving the farm for a weekend with ewes still pregnant. Naturally, as soon as our minivan was on the road headed for Michigan, all the lambs came tumbling out. In terrible weather. Had it not been for our sixteen year old homeschooled neighbor, Matthew (who'd thought he was only signing up to take care of the chores), a good number of lambs surely would've been wiped out.

One of those ewes, Bianca, rejected one of her lambs. Just like the previous year, she had twins --- one white male and one black female. For the second year in a row, she rejected the black female (earning her the nickname, BianKKKa). We told Matthew he could keep the little black lamb if he wanted to go to the trouble of bottle feeding it; otherwise, she would surely be lost. Matthew's younger sister did an excellent job of nurturing that lamb, and she grew up as a gentle little pet. Unfortunately, however, their property is not set up to keep a grown sheep. With the lamb now weaned --- but not large enough to butcher --- they were wondering if we knew of a potential buyer.

We immediately volunteered. For the price they wanted, it would be worth it even if we simply turned her loose in the pasture and then butchered her this fall. But we're hoping for something more valuable than that: with this lamb being so tame and calm, we hope we can keep her as a dairy animal. Icelandic sheep are wonderful milk producers, but our flock has always been too wild to actually milk.

We drove over and picked her up yesterday. Our plan is to keep her separated from the rest of the flock, so she doesn't go wild. We'll probably tether her and move her around to various places where she can graze. Stay tuned for details on how well she fits back in with the farm.

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