All through the night I thought about lambs.
Or lambing to be specific.
Every time I woke up to roll over or check the clock or to scoot over for a kid climbing in beside me.
Maybe I should have gotten up and walked to the barn to check.
Instead I was just grateful for the warmer weather, and lay in bed wondering who would go next.
It's been almost two weeks since our first farm babies were born. That left eight ewes to go.
Eight is a lot.
Before bed I asked Pete to check on the girls and see if anyone seemed close.
And Sage? He was adamant that he didn't want to go to town today.
He needed today to be a "quiet day on the farm".
Sage was the first out the door this morning, heading down to the barn to feed the bottle lamb from the first lambing.
"If you find any lambs -," I began,
"I'll run full speed to the house!" he said.
And he did.
Three lambs were born last night to one ewe.
One was stillborn, the other two were weak by the time we got to the barn.
It seems adrenaline is the new coffee over here.
So the morning was spent doing all that we could to help them get strong.
Something reminiscent of prayer.
Truly, we don't know if they'll make it.
We can't know.
And I'm thankful to be finding some peace within the uncertainty.
A soft, zen inner voice saying, "What is, is."
That's new for me.
A little Rescue Remedy, a couple of phone calls, and a heap of allowing.
Yeah. And lot less worry.
And so it's easier today.
Easier to let go of the one that didn't live.
Easier to think of what will happen if the weaker one also lets go.
Because the nature of life is death.
Some will make it.
And some won't.
Because I'm realizing that all the Rescue Remedy in the world won't change the outcome of this day.
As long as we keep doing our best, worry will only pull us down.
We have seven ewes to go.
Plus one goat.
And gosh, that's still a lot.
But today it feels a little different.
Today I'm starting to think that maybe we can do it after all.
And yes. What will be will be.
And with that, I'm off to the barn.
12 thoughts on “Zen in the barn”
We have recently started raising rabbits, and have been needing to find this peace too. Mama rabbits are notorious for being crappy mothers, until their second litter. They almost always lose their first. It breaks my heart every time it happens, but I’ve learned that there is nothing I can do!
Here’s my thoughts about it from a while back – my own “zen in the bunny hutch” – http://simplyelemental.blogspot.ca/2013/10/lessons-from-rabbit.html
SUCH a healthy outlook on farming–and life. I’m always working on this concept myself, attempting to do my best and then let go, and observe without attachment as life takes its natural course.
I’m so excited and proud for you Rachel! Excited for new babies on the farm and proud of your being able to let go of the worry that comes with them 🙂
Good luck hon!!
We lost three sheep this winter, rather suddenly. And we’ve lost a few ducks, chickens and a hog. It’s just how it goes with farming. It was hard at first not to feel guilty, like it was all our faults. In some ways, we were to blame because we only ave two years under our belts as farmers and didn’t recognize some of the signs of illness. However, as the days go by, I’ve come to realize that death is just far more present in farm life than urban life. It’s more raw and more real. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but sometimes it really sucks. Comiserating, or just relating in general, with other farmers really helps.
It’s all so fragile isn’t it. I think i would have sheep on the brain too of I had to worry about that many lambs. Thank you for sharing with us.
Working on it… It’s still a journey.
Lovely. Thank you for sharing. It softens the blow somehow, knowing that others have been down this road.
You sound really tuned in to those ewes, lovely. I hope the babies make it. Did you give them colostrum? You can get it powdered or frozen. I too tend to know when my girls are ready, and they seem to want me close?
They tend to separate themselves from the rest of the troop and go round in circles, getting up and down as if ‘nesting ‘. Then when they are really close they do what we call the ‘starry gaze’, they have their heads up and seem to be looking to the heavens for help. The lambs are usually out then within 20 mins. But no two are the same. If any are circling or restless we usually separate them and by that time I would be in the barn with a sleeping bag and a flask of hot tea!
Good luck with the rest. I am sure they’ll pull through with all the love and care you and your family can give.
I know how farming goes, on a very small scale. We have kept chickens (and a couple of ducks) for several years now. I cried my eyes out when the first couple of chickens died – some got sick, we’ve had a possum, maybe once a hawk, and my husband had to kill two because they were suffering with their illness. For two vegetarian animal lovers who treated their chickens like pets, not livestock, we took these things personally. But as the years have gone by, we have come to realize that yes, chickens will die. Sometimes for what seems like no reason. Or yes, a nasty possum did get one, but it was in the dead of winter and he was just trying to survive.
Something as large and cuddle as a lamb though – I’m not sure I would be as zen like about it as you.
Reminds me of my favorite saying “everything is as it should be’.
love the pic! good luck with the babes to come. = )
It’s a hard lesson, but if the weaker lambs don’t make it, the flock will be stronger as a whole.
Thank you for sharing with us.