Tomorrow morning at 4am, I leave Bedlam Farm for Gee’s Bend, Alabama. It’s been a wild few days here at the farm. Not what I expected when we decided to lamb last Fall. But thinking about it, things are rarely what I expect them to be. Whenever I thought about lambing, I just pictured cute little black and white things, hopping around the pasture. One big happy family of lambs, sheep and donkeys. Well, it certainly has its sweetness, but it’s not quite Peaceable Bedlam. Not yet anyway.
The donkeys are not as accepting of the lambs as we expected. Simon went after Liam this morning giving him a nip on the back. After that we separated them. The sheep are in the pasture with the pole barn so they can all be together and Zelda and Ma have a safe, dry place to give birth when they do. The Donkeys are in the north pasture and will stay there until the lambs are big enough for them to all be together. ( Right now, Liam is doing well, resting in the stall with Suzy.)
Then there’s the tail docking. Yes, I knew we would be docking their tails, and that it’s done all the time and is not big deal. But, I didn’t expect me to feel so bad for those little lambs when we did it. ( you dock the tails for sanitary reasons. The long tails accumulate feces and can lead to things like wool maggots and other problems). It only takes moments and lambs only seem to have only a little pain. And Jon is good at it from lots of experience. But when we docked Liam’s tail yesterday, I almost fainted. My friend Stephanie stood next to me reminding me to breathe. I don’t know if it was the blood, or the smell from the electric cauterizing docker, or just empathy. But today when I held Pumpkin and Jon docked his tail, I did better. I still felt horrible causing that little lamb even a small amount of pain, but I have a feeling it gets easier with each one. Especially when I see that an hour later they act as if nothing happened.
But all of this and the thought of Jon being here alone taking care of the new lamb and maybe being here without me when Zelda and Ma’s lambs are born, make it harder for me to leave. I’ve been so excited to go to Gee’s Bend and now a part of me wants to just stay here and help Jon and see the lambs change from day to day. But I know Jon has good friends to help if he needs it and that makes me feel better. And I’m grateful that I was here when Liam and Pumpkin were born.
With all that’s been happening here, I’ve had little time to think of my trip to Gee’s Bend. But now it’s time for me to get ready to go. I still have to pack and take care of a few things here at home. And I imagine once I get on that plane tomorrow morning, my head will shift from Bedlam Farm to Gee’s Bend and Quilts. But for the next four days, I’ll be reading Jon’s blog and looking at the pictures just like anyone else. Getting a little taste of home online.
Later tonight I’ll post this month’s Common Thread Give-a-way, after that, my next post will be from Gee’s Bend, Alabama.