Back to the Lambing Shed

A few weeks ago, I collected my daughter from preschool and noted her little handmade bunny ear head band. She informed me that they'd been learning about Easter. I asked her to tell me what she'd found out. Her answer?

"Easter is when there are bunnies and baby Jesus comes out"

It's safe to say we're not very good at observing the major holidays. Christmas was a decidedly low key affair a few months ago and I didn't get round to even a batch of Hot Cross Buns this Easter. We're a pretty Humanist family so I'm still feeling my way around how to approach what is, for many, a celebration and time to come together. My daughter's take home message from her first insight into Easter made me wonder what I was teaching her (and possibly if we might need to discuss her understanding of coming out because I suspect hers and mine are wildly different). 

One thing I have noticed since moving to a rural area though is the ability to observe the special moments in the year that signal change. We delight in the first appearances of wild garlic, the changing flora and fauna of our beloved cliff walks and then, overwhelming, the entrance of so many playful lambs. We watch with a smile as they skitter and dance about the fields and we notice the changing light as we stay out longer and later each weekend. 

I decided that as traditions and rituals go, visiting the lambing shed and watching the arrival of the new flock was a pretty good start in our own family's sense of festivity. You can't help but smile and feel warm inside as the little ones unsteadily find their feet and dive for the first drink of their mother's milk. 

I love the journey from the lambing pen where they learn to suckle to the slightly larger pens that get them used to space and independence. We drove past this little cluster today, already out in the fields taking on the weather and pottering around in pairs and little lamb gangs. They love to be together. It's utterly charming. 

 Lamb, just a few hours old

This visit, the lambs outside were basking in the late afternoon sun, all docile and sleepy in the sun's gentle heat. So sweet. 

 Lambs basking in the sun

I liked those making their first little bids for freedom, straining round gates to nibble something just out of reach. 

Oh and the hungry mamas, eating their fill. 

So all in all I think Dorset is helping us make a start on some defining milestones in our year that align nicely with the celebrations we sometimes share with our friends. As traditions go, I could live with this one I think. Even if I do start pondering how many lambs we can make off with before our friends from the farm notice.