Saturday, May 12, 2012

Everything's Better with Lambs

My weaving and spinning guild meets once a month, in various locations.  Today we met at a farm north of Reno, just over the California line, where a woman named Doris raises sheep.  She had a twenty-one-baby lambing season this year, and had promised that we’d be able to bottlefeed lambs if we wanted to. (Note: click on any picture for a larger image.)

My friend Sheila picked me up in her Prius and we set out; the farm’s a little remote, on a dirt road with tricky directions, so she was glad to have a navigator and I was glad to have a ride.  She’d picked up a bag of gluten-free bread mix for me, which was very thoughtful and much appreciated.  As we jounced over one of the dirt roads to Doris’ farm, we stopped to admire a goat.  There were other goats: in fact, there were many baby goats, who hop and skip just like those adorable videos you always see of baby goats.  I’m sorry I got no pictures of them; a dog was herding them and drove them away from the road and our car, which was a sensible, protective kind of thing to do.

After several more – and progressively rougher – dirt roads, we got to Doris’ farm and saw our first lambs, who were indeed adorable.  The babies came in various sizes and colors; some were in fenced fields with their mamas, but the bottle babies were in a barn. The adult sheep wore canvas coats.  We thought maybe they’d been recently sheared and this was to protect them from sunburn, but Doris explained that it’s to keep their wool clean.  They wear the coats all the time, and as their wool grows, Doris has to take off the smaller coats and put on larger ones.  Each sheep has four coats.

I didn’t get a picture of the grown-up sheep in their coats because I was so focused on the lambs.  I loved the lambs.  Of course I saw lambs in petting zoos when I was a kid, and probably even bottlefed a few, but I don’t remember being this enchanted with them.  I wanted to take them home.

The littlest lamb came when we called her and tried to nurse on our fingers.  During the guild meeting – held outside, in a circle, as people knitted or spun – I sat close to the barn door, and whenever the littlest lamb came to the barn fence and baaaaed, I got up and gave her a bottle (Doris had left several in the barn).

Sometimes when I came into the barn she’d just look up at me, with an expression that said “Feed me!” but would refuse both the bottle and stroking.  She was testing me, I guess.

Sheila and I both especially admired the black sheep and lambs, many of whom had white blazes on their foreheads and were even cuter than the white ones.  This lamb was a bit pushy, as you can see, and as befits the reputation of black sheep.

It was really hot outside, so Sheila and I each took a few minutes’ refuge in Doris’ wonderful weaving studio, which I wanted to take home with me (with several lambs inside), and which Sheila called a “womancave.”  Sheila did take home the guild’s seven-foot triloom.  She’s going to use it to weave a shawl and then lend it to me so I can weave a shawl. This will be much easier than weaving smaller triangles and trying to sew them together in any attractive fashion, a task which has proven beyond me.

It was a lovely morning, although all that outside time has kicked my allergies into overdrive, and I’m very sleepy and sneezy.  Completely worth it, though.  If you ever get the chance to bottlefeed a lamb, do.

And my, didn’t the cats think I smelled interesting when I got home!

1 comment:

  1. Every time we drive to our caravan in Abersoch we pass a chapel in Caernarfon that has a text on the outside - Feed My Lambs. I thought you might be interested to read a little about the chapel:

    Thought I had a photo, but can't find it. We're hoping to get back the end of this month, so will try take picture for you if we do.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.