Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Sigh of the shepherd

Betty had the final lambs of the season. It's always fun when a mainly white ewe throws a little brown and white beauty as this girl on the left, shown here getting a secret tip from her cousin, one of Nellie's red girls.

There was a collective sigh of relief from shepherd, old goats and ewes. The rams didn't care. And now that we are having one full sunny day, they can finally experience the real world of the barnyard. If a word or two sums up lambing this year, it would have to be "Spots" and "Girl". Twelve girls and four boys with lots of deep chocolates, polk a dots and freckles. Everyone seems healthy and the gang of sixteen are now entering the stage of running circles around their Mamas, not to mention the old goats and pig...and me.

This year was the first season I've had to keep the ewes in the barn almost every day for two weeks at a time due to the heavy rains. The ground is still saturated and high traffic areas at gates need at least three days of sun to dry out enough to get lambies through. We're lucky to have this barnyard as it has lots of concrete thanks to it's old purpose as a milking barn. The challenge of the rains made certain tasks more difficult - more water buckets to clean and carry - but I wasn't chasing as many lambs to get them in the barn at night. Still, I bred double the number this year - it seemed like a good idea at the time, I really did have a master plan - but it was too many since I do all the work myself. My energy was really sucked away into the rain too. I have to admit I was depressed from lack of sun and when the rains just keep coming and coming...and coming, mud tripled over night, it made me down right cranky. I must say I enjoyed the spirit of The Bottomtums - leave to ducks and an old goose to remind you their is a silver lining in every puddle.

 I took time each day and night though to just sit in the stall and enjoy the new life. They didn't care about the rain - they were dry and warm in their large suite, running, jumping and suckling. And the sound of rain on the tin roof, with all my animals chomping hay - it was comforting.


Erica of Golden Egg Vintage said...

So 16 beautiful new babies then? I was wondering how many there were going to be. I kept trying to keep all those Mamas straight!
Their perfect!
Erica :)

Melly Testa said...

What beautiful beasts you tend. I live in Brooklyn new York, our neighbors across the backyard have two pIgs. They just built a pig pen in the backyard. I have yet to see the beasts use it but am looking forward to it.
Speaking of beasts, my cat, Arrow caught two mice this week. If you would like to see a shoRt video my husband and I made ples

Ase check out my blog.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~