Sometimes I get emails and comments on my blog suggesting that I’m more nurturing and loving towards the animals on our farm that Jon is. Jon definitely has strong opinions about animals and is not afraid to voice them even if they are sometimes unpopular. And since writing about animals isn’t really my thing, my feelings about them are known mostly through Jon’s photos and his writing. And it’s true that I love our animals and love taking care of them. But one of the things that’s makes me love them is that, for the most part, (unless one of them is sick or hurt or we’re lambing) they don’t require a huge amount of my time and attention.
I would have to say, between the two of us, in many ways, Jon is the more nurturing. (He chose to work from home and take care of his daughter after all, not something I’ve ever been drawn to do.) Generally, when Jon raises an issue about one of the animals, my response is “Oh they’re fine”. I tend to think everyone and everything is fine until it isn’t. Jon thinks ahead, plans and prepares. We rarely run out of dog, donkey and cat treats and never even get low on food. He’s always watching, seeing, noticing. When he thought Ma’s lambs were too skinny and might not be getting enough milk, he immediately called around to see where we could get some to feed them. By the next morning we had a half gallon of goat milk from our neighbor Jenna and a supply of powered lamb supplement on its way in the mail.
I knew Jon was dying to get a photo of me feeding the lambs the next day, and he did, but honestly, I wasn’t very good at it. I’ve bottle fed a couple of new born squirrels and kittens, but nothing as big as a lamb. For the most part, I held the lamb and Jon held the bottle. And as sweet as it may sound, I wouldn’t want to have to bottle feed a lamb 2-6 times a day for a month. It’s just not how I want to spend my time.
Lambing was more difficult, time consuming and emotional that I expected. I’m glad we did it, I loved experiencing it, and I love all lambs we have. But it’s not something I want to do again. When the lambs are grown we’ll have a flock of nine sheep. More than I ever expected to have or wanted really. My plan, before we had the lambs, was to give some of them back to Daryl, the sheep farmer who lent us Ted the Ram. And Jon would be alright with that. But I guess this is where my nurturing instincts kick in, as impractical as they may be. I can’t imagine sending any of our lambs to market. Especially after all we did to get them into this world. They may as well have not been born at all if we’re going to just send them to market. I’m no farmer and they’re too cute.
Maybe Jon and I both have the right kind of nurturing instincts to compliment each other. Although I still think he has more of it than me. I wouldn’t have been drawn to lamb without him. I think the love that we have for each other also has something to do with it. Maybe when you love someone, nurturing begins to come more naturally.