The First Lambing
Do you know what I've decided is the perfect end to an emotional day?
Since relocating from the big city to Dorset, Little One and I have been enjoying so many precious moments together. We've grown accustomed to watching the sides of the road carefully for deer and pheasants. We've learned which days will distract us entirely with their big skies that go on forever. Owls keep us awake and we don't mind one bit.
It's been a shift that I'm so grateful for. Relocating into a new area during Winter could have been incredibly bleak but noting the changes that are coming with each month has been fascinating. The Gorse in flower with its cheerful pop of yellow against a vast stretch of winter barren land is currently one of my favourite sights but this week, something topped all of that.
One of the biggest shifts in measuring time is learning the activity of neighbouring farms. Our friends just started their first round of lambing. Tucked inside sheds and away from the cold that's rolled in this month, their Dorset Cross ewes began this year's round of lambs.
It's a humbling moment to watch a Ewe deliver a lamb onto the straw and nibble away the sack that once was so essential for it to thrive inside of her. Within the hour the lamb is wobbling its first shaky steps and thus begins a new journey for the little sweet thing.
Little One watched the whole process thoughtfully. There were lots of questions about mummies tummies and milk. We shared a cuddle as I explained how the lambs need mother's milk just as she once did and she placed her little hand on my neck in a silent shared moment of remembering. Thumb in, she kept her hand there for some time while she watched a little lamb grow in strength enough to take its first feed. It had been an incredibly tiring day for me and suddenly there was this moment and I found myself holding my breath, not daring to breathe out in case it moved on.
The shed was strangely peacefully despite lambs being born regularly. One decided to make its entrance backwards and was swiftly assisted but otherwise the ewes delivered independently with just a watchful eye of the skilled Shepherdess. The Dorset Cross lamb earlier in the year than the farm's other breeds and tend to have twins but occasionally triplets. The farm foster multiples on to other ewes to make sure that both mother and baby thrive with enough milk. Those that can't be fostered will be reared by hand which meant there was time for a little cuddle and bottle feed that utterly delighted both myself and Little One.
It's a strange thing to switch from the fast paced frenzy of submission deadlines, article pitches and the emails to the quiet shed full of sheep. Somehow though it feels like this was how it was always meant to be. I'll take the whirl of creativity mixed with life's most humbling moments anytime. I've been smiling all week.