Leaving Bedlam Farm

Liam and Suzy
Liam and Suzy

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.

10 thoughts on “Leaving Bedlam Farm

  1. I hope your trip is just wonderful. You got to see two of the lambs at least, and you know Zelda is going to just do her own thing anyway. You’ll be back before you know it and playing with the new lives on the farm. And I hope Simon gets over his angst over the new men on the farm. Glad Liam is ok

  2. Congratulations on the new babies! Have a wonderful trip! Jon and Red and friends will handle anything that comes along on the farm. No worries. Maybe you will have some new babies when you get back. Life is good!

  3. I have had you in my thoughts, these last couple of days,Maria. I am sure you have experienced so many emotions through out the “lambing process”. Many beautiful moments,
    and some, not so comfortable. I can so understand it all being so consuming, as you say. Although,a blessed experience, I think. Your lambs are so sweet,and will add another dimension to your Bedlam Farm.
    Safe travels to Gees Bend. Looking forward to hearing from you while you are there…..

  4. Hope you have a great time. Interesting to hear your side of the lambing. 🙂 I would have been the same. Looking forward to hearing about Gee’s Bend.

  5. I know you would fit right in at our house. I hope you enjoy your trip . You have the kindest and best husband to let you go . Learn lots of things and stay safe. My prayers will be for you to be safe, have fun and get to do lots of creative things. Maybe you can make a lamb quilt. May God bless you and send you safely there and then back to Jon to share what you learned. If you can, please pet that good dog Red for me and all the rest of the fur and wool gang. Even tell Jon I said hello. EA

  6. Having lived on a farm for the past 33 years, I can understand why it is difficult to leave your animals. Separating the sheep from the donkeys was the right thing to do and I’m certain that Jon will not hesitate to ask for help if he needs it. I look forward to hearing about your experience at Gee’s Bend. What an opportunity. Enjoy.

  7. Jon will do a wonderful job with the sheep and lambs while you are away, Maria. I’m so happy to learn that you have lambs and that all went well with the births. Safe travels and enjoy your time in Gee’s Bend!

  8. You might like to pull up THE HISTORY GIRLS blog to see Thomas Tusser on lambing–their entry a couple of days ago. The continuity of farming lifer is a magical thing.

    Have a wonderful trip

  9. Maria, I don’t know when you’ll pick this up, given your early morning departure. I woke up this morning at 5:30 with my Megs jumping up on the bed for a cuddle. Nearly twenty years ago, I took on the care of an injured Australian Shepherd male pup and at a later stage of my life, fell in love with the Australian Shepherd breed of dog. Aussies, as they are known, have their tails docked for the very same reason that newborn lambs have their tails docked as well. You’ve described the reason why. Traditionally, Australian Shepherds were and still are, sheep herders, just as Border Collies are, as well. The hair on the Aussie’s rear end is so thick, that no only feces but maggots would make their homes there. It is for sanitary reasons that docking is done. I would, as you experienced, have great difficulty in dealing with the docking. I also share in your excitement in going off to Alabama and Gee’s Bend. Follow your heart, your inspiration comes from there.
    Sandy P, in Southern Ontario, Canada where we had a mild frost overnight on May 5th.

  10. Those lambs are so cute! My son works on a farm that raises lambs and he says that when there is a flock with many lambs they will gather in a group, usually in the afternoon and “spring”. They run around and jump. They call it lamb springing. Bon Voyage!

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