Normal chore time is a frenzy of activity in the barn. The sheep hear me coming down the path and start yelling at me before I even open the door. Getting in the barn is sometimes a challenge because the girls are crowded around the door to greet me. They want to go out. NOW! So I have to work my way through the swarm as they simultaneously beg for scratches, yell at me to hurry up, and block my path to the pasture door. Right now as I am fighting my way through, greeting the scratch-beggars, I am also checking for new lambs and ewes in labor.
When it’s time to let them back in it is another tumult. I can’t even get the door completely open before they rush in en mass. They want their grain. NOW! Mass confusion as they run frantically from tub to tub, just in case somebody else has something tastier to eat. Then it is a mad rush to the water tub when it is hot out, or to the mangers when the temperature is comfortable. The bottomless pits stuffing, stuffing, stuffing their bellies. In the mean time I am trying to herd the lambs that got left outside in the frantic rush. Their mamas get so worked up at the idea of eating they leave their lambs outside and the lambs can’t figure out what to do. They run around the barnyard bleating for their mamas and evading my attempts to get them inside. (The little buggers are QUICK!) Once everyone is inside and the door is shut the mass confusion continues are the lambs bleat and rush around in search of their mamas. The ewes are busy chowing down occasionally answering their lambs with mouths full of food. It’s a real hubbub.
Tonight I had to go out to the barn to check on a first time mama who needed a little persuasion to allow her lamb to suckle. I have frozen my digits off many times doing night checks. Tonight was a lovely, mild night. Peaceful. The sheep knew it wasn’t chore time so they were quietly chewing their cud. I could see well enough by the night light so I didn’t turn on the main lights. The ewes were calm, the lambs were calm. And I got to observe some of the drowsy time scenes that always make me smile. Ebony was snoozing on her mama’s back until her twin sister, Ivory, decided it was time to play “king of the mountain”. Mumu just kept chewing her cud through it all.