Friday, May 28, 2010
Sheep camp, week 4
It’s been another week of frequent rain and snow, but lambing is going gangbusters, and most lambs are doing really well. The vast majority of lambs do not need my assistance, but it is easier to warm up a cold lamb than it is to cool down a hot lamb, so I prefer this cool weather. Besides, my longjohns and Carhartt coveralls are so stylish that divas like me hate to put them away for the season.
The lambs run around in gangs, racing back and forth on hills, digging in loose dirt, bucking and leaping, and picking up more lambs as they run back and forth in waves, making the gangs bigger and bigger. Their mothers cry for them to come back and behave, but are ignored. If a ewe comes over to try and retrieve her lamb, she could end up with a gang of 20 hoodlums aimed at her udder, so the ewes pretty much stand back to do their complaining.
This week, I thought I’d share a few shots of my neighbors. The burrowing owl pair has picked their favorite burrow, and it’s the one in the two-track road to my camp. The size difference between the sexes is dramatic. Now that the female has a mate (last Sunday she suddenly wasn’t alone anymore) she is much more tolerant of my photography, but I’ll limit my visits.
The pronghorn buck has remained with the herd. Don’t know why, don’t care – he’s just part of our bunch now. It will be interesting to see if he follows when we move the herd in a few days.
I left a pen of five ewes at the house for some TLC when I left for sheep camp, afraid that for one reason or the other, these ewes would have a hard time out on the range. I’m pleased to report my favorite old ewe, which I raised on a bottle, had a beautiful single ewe lamb this year (she had triplets last year). Friendly is 14 years old, and has been my lead sheep for more than a decade. She’s a good old girl, and I’m pleased to continue her lineage. These ewes lay around eating alfalfa Jim feeds them twice a day. I suggested he start providing them some Vanilla Wafer treats (sheep love cookies), but he claimed he would feed them oats instead.