Eight wooly blessings

Winter lambs | Clean.

Winter lambs | Clean.

Winter lambs | Clean.

Winter lambs | Clean.

Winter lambs | Clean.

Winter lambs | Clean.

Winter lambs | Clean.

Winter lambs | Clean.

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The past three weeks have been epic.

Since Pete's first cry of, "Lambs in the barn!" mid-January right up through today, it's been a wild ride.

 

When we took on this second flock – already bred and due in the winter – we thought we could do it.

Yes, winter lambing would be harder than spring, but we could handle it.

Even if it was our first experience.

 

 But lambing in winter turned out to be more than we ever imagined.

More struggles, more hardship, more middle-of-the-night trips to the barn. More below-zero days, more way below-zero nights, and more interventions.

Also lots more worry.

 

And yes. More death.

We lost some newborn lambs due to the bitter cold and also – likely – our inexperience. Despite our hardest work and best intentions and countless trips to the barn day and night, there were lambs that didn't make it.

Having friends who farm I knew there would be losses. But knowing didn't make it any easier.

 

And then – in the midst of it all – our llama got sick and died as well, despite our and our vet's hard work.

 

Seriously. The llama.

The vet suspected that he was old and that it was simply his time, but still.

The llama?

 

It was as though the universe was asking:

How much do you think you can handle?

Then you'll get just a little more.

And a little more.

And a little more.

 

I was ready to throw in the towel on 2014 all together.

But when I confided in my friend Mary what a hard winter it has been she replied, matter-of-factly in her no-nonsense Amish way, "Sounds like farming and keeping livestock to me."

In otherwords: what is, is.

 

Oh, right.

What is, is.

I would try to remember.

 

And then on Sunday morning we went to the barn to find that our last full-term ewe had lambed.

Her two beautiful, strong babies were nursing contentedly away.

 

And I realized: we made it.

 

We made it!

Our ewes are done lambing until spring, when our original flock is due.

We actually made it.

 

And indeed, most of the lambs did, too.

 

This morning as I tromped to the barn in the cold early morning darkness to feed our two bottle lambs I noticed a change within me.

I was relaxed.

I was content.

I was free of worry for the first time in weeks.

I inhaled deeply of this relief that I had been waiting for for so long.

 

Chop and Jagger.

Midnight and Spot.

Buddy.

Thistle.

Blossom and Thorn.

 

Today I'm counting my blessings in the form of eight healthy, playful, romping lambs and their good mothers, who all seem to be telling us that yes, maybe we can do this after all.

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “Eight wooly blessings

  1. Kathryn says:

    Wonderfully said. I have totally felt all those emotions and yes I think the universe sets a standard to see if you are ready to fully take on this whole farming thing. And you are! You made it!

  2. Knitting Mole says:

    That’s so wonderful!! 8 little babies home on the farm getting all the love they need from your clan 🙂 Congrats!!

  3. KC says:

    My goodness, you should look at a post from this time 5 years ago! How far you’ve all come. And so much lovely wool and life to hold and be present with. I would think of the few deaths as the universe’s way of sending you a helping hand. Maybe it was so that you wouldn’t have too much to in your cup. 🙂

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    Kathryn, thank you so much for your wisdom, patience, and mentorship during these past few weeks. Truly. I can’t imagine what it would have been like without your support! Thank you – from us and these eight wooly survivors.

  5. Danielle G says:

    success is so rewarding on the farm! i hope you have many more. we are expecting piglets and calves this summer and are feeling a bit in over our heads, truth be told.

  6. Xan says:

    What an awesome effort! You made it beautiful lady and now it is time for one huge exhale. You have been in my thoughts often these past few weeks and I have been sending you much love and goodness from across the mighty Pacific. Congrats to all your amazing growing brood xox

  7. Katie @ Life With The Crew says:

    Glad you can breathe deeply now – what a weight off your shoulders! Now comes the fun part right? Watching, petting, playing with these adorable little bundles of fleece? Great pictures of your daughter with the lambs – what a great experience for them. Thanks for sharing the lamb love!

  8. a little crafty nest says:

    Dear Rachel the Shepherdess,
    Eight. EIGHT! My goodness, that is full. Full barn, full hand, full love, full on. And perfectly timed, because I am having sheepish thoughts as of late. Could be our reality…I will be back for advice.
    xo Jules
    P.S. Any suggestions on readings? Sites?

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