Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Green Pastures

A couple weeks ago I finally got to do something I've been wanting to do for the last 3 years. One of our church families owns a sheep ranch, and while I've visited a couple times in summer and winter, I've never made it out during lambing season.

Well, this year my mom really wanted to go to, and I can't deny that woman anything (she just snorted reading this) so off we went.

First, let me say that lambs are about the cutest things in nature. Full-grown sheep always remind me a bit to much of octopi with their weird eyes, but lambs manage to pull off the look in spades. There's just nothing quite like staring into the face of a sweet, innocent little lamb to melt the hardest heart. And let's just say my heart isn't that hard to begin with.

You couldn't move without stepping in heart puddles.

We were visiting the Walikonis farm, situated about 45 minutes beyond what most of you would think was the end of the earth. It's a beautiful spot, and Albert Walikonis' birthplace. If you ever stop by, ask him to show you the little school house he attended (and of course, walked to uphill both ways) as a boy.

Albert Walikonis, our host.

Sadly, I don't have any pictures of Jeanne, our wonderful hostess, but she was there as always, making sure we had a wonderful time.

Of course, you never visit a farm without being put to work (just ask my niece and nephews---I wonder why they don't visit more often....), so we got to learn a little about the lambing process. Unfortunately, no mothers obliged by giving birth while we were there, which meant my mother was unable to dust off her labor and delivery skills. But we got to help with a few of the day-old lambs in the barn.

Well, the boys did. I mostly took pictures.

As soon as a lamb is born, it's penned up with it's mama for a day or so to make sure everyone's OK and knows what to do. I didn't notice any slow learners in this bunch!

Before Mama and Baby (or babies if it's twins) can be released into the field, they have to be "branded" with coordinating numbers. I'm sure they can tell each other apart, but it's hard for the rest of us!

Devon got to hold the baby while it got its number. He took his shirt off so it wouldn't get dirty. Good Devon.

He got a special thrill from the slimy umbilical cord dangling down his bare chest...

Good thing he took his shirt off!

All ready to go! Albert, our resident shepherd, herded the little family out the door of the barn to explore the great, big world outside.

The lambs have never seen grass before, but they seem to know what it's good for right off bat. Nothing like a sun-warmed nap on a warm spring day.

Lambs are little bundles of cuddle-love with everyone, but my mom seemed to find herself somewhat of a sheep whisperer. First, she was smothered in lamby love...

and then smothered in affection from a very friendly---and ram. I guess some people just have what it takes.

While I was stalking precious lamb pictures, the kids were tearing it up on the Walikonis' farm cart. A big thrill for a bunch of kids with no licenses.

Oh, it was a very fun day indeed, and I am so thankful I finally got to go.

I also think I need some sheep.

Green pastures, Montana style...

1 comment:

  1. Great photographs Tina! I've always loved little lambs. There's a sheep farm a few miles from where I live, and I always love seeing the little lambs in the spring.