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04 February 2011

Eleanore

Dear Readers,

For the longest time --well more accurately, until I saw the lamb-- I did not belive her to be pregnant.

That makes me sound a bit daft doesn't it.  Like someone didn't exact explain the birds and the bees to me properly.

No, really, I just thought that she was getting super fat. 

Well, I am not that stupid.  I knew she had been in with a ram and that well...you know...leads to lambs. 

But I did not really know what to expect.  And really, to be honest, I did not want to get my hopes up especially after the fiasco breeding with LaLa.  With Anica, I did not know what signs to look for.  I asked and asked and asked everyone to the point of ad nasuem I am sure!  Everyone has an opinion about everything, don't they?  Well, weather or not my ewe was pregnant certainly wasn't spared conflicting opinions.  I left it up to chance and went on my merry way.

I started, at Christmas time, to watch her more closely.  She began acting different as if she had a secret and she was not willing to share it with anyone - human, goat or sheep.  However, she developed a distinct preggo waddle and  Anica began to "bag up," meaning that her udders were beginning to fill with milk.  Where there is milk a lamb is usually not far behind. 

As the week passed, Anica also began spending more time away from the flock.  She spent much more time eating hay and generally just more time in the barn.  It was as if she was expecting something.  Part of me did not believe it to be really possible.  So for me, it was business as usual with a tender hopeful spot for Anica's lamb.

 Wolf and I had actually gone out of town that Saturday and came back early Sunday morning, around 3am.  Gosh, we were tired!  Naturally, we fell into bed after tossing the animals some much needed food.  After getting Surgie on a lead, I took him to do my cold nightly rounds.  What?  Farming is more true grit than happy accidents.

Reluctantly, I checked on Anica and she was acting as she had before, odd, but not distressed.   Nothing caught my attention, so I ambled off to bed, exausted.  We slumbered almost uneventfully.  At 6.30 AM or so, both Anatolians began barking non-stop!  This was extremely usual because the lord and lady of the land were gone and the 'Tolies usually remained quiet unless there were pigs about.  Wolf, bless his tired soul (5 days of work and then a 12 hour weekend job) even got out of bed and looked to see if there were hogs in the yard (Living next to a pig farm that is also a regular occurance, much to my chagrin).  Seeing nothing of importance, he sleepily returned to bed.

Thinking nothing more of it, I too slipped back into slumber.  We spent a lazy Sunday morning just enjoying our down time and had inteded to do nothing more than that all day.  I believe I even had a moment to grab some caffinee and sit down at my computer to write about how much we were enjoying doing nothing that Sunday, January 09.  Boy!  Were we in for a surprise!! 

Each morning, one of us gets up and does a silent head count of the pasture animals.  They are only about 4 feet from our back door and when the sun is out they can easily been see and counted from our back door and heard as well.  Often times they wait for us to get up, particularly if their hay is low or stemmy they let us know about it as soon as our feet hit the floor.

I sat down at the computer and got situated, has as Wolf said, after doing a very silent and long head count, "We have a BABY!!!"  I was of course completely perplexed.  There had been no long screaming, no overly loud baa-ing.  Nothing I heard was out of the ordinary.  I ran to the little window at our door. And there, she stood; black as coal, wooly, and beautiful.  My heart soared!  She had been greatly anticipated as the first ovine (that means sheep to all you non-sheepy people out there!)  to be born on the farm!  Oh she was beautful!

It intially did not register with either of us, what she was, but she was a surprise!

I immediately went into emergency mode.  I rounded up Mom and babe and put them in a jug (or bonding stall) and began checking the baby.  She was a girl!  YAY!  That means she will be helping us start our own small flock of Karakuls!  (Had she been a he, would would have reared the ram lamb until about 8-10 months and off to processing he would have gone.)  After briefly considering naming her Sunday, I named her Eleanore after the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT 500 in my favorite car movie Gone in 60 Seconds (that seems so slow now-a-days, doesn't it?).  Sleek, dark, and sassy she was.  Wolf and I were utterly thrilled with Anica's mothering skills and the beautiful, healthy, black ewe lamb she produced.

Thank you KD at Brook Besor farms for leaving your Karakul ram in with Anica those hot summer weeks.  Anica was bred just two weeks before she came to our farm.  Had we not found and purchased Jasmine and given her two weeks to adjust, Anica would have never have been covered, and Eleanore (our pride and joy of the farm) would not exist and we would not be considering also carrying the torch of the Karakuls.  Thank you so much.

Wolf and I are now also considering adding other breeds.  Karakuls, which are said to be the oldest domesticated breed and perhaps Icelandic sheep.  I look forward to seeing this gorgeous little lamb with wonderful fleece, develop into a stunning adult. 

Farming, for all it's difficulties and seemingly never ending hardship, is in moments like these rewarding in every aspect of the word.  I love it and wont trade it for all the stuffy desk jobs in the world.