Autumn surprises

We have had unseasonably warm weather in Ohio the past few weeks, where the temperatures held steady in the high 70's low 80's.  But, today the rain finally came and with it, so did the cooler temperatures.

I came out to the barn today to find a mama and her sweet baby ewe lamb dozing off and in the barn away from the drizzling rain.  I knew she was due  soon, but with the Ram running with the ewes since March, we were unsure of how the breeding season would go.  It was a pleasant surprise to find her sweet face when I rounded the barn door corner.  Typically, the ewes aren't exposed to the ram until the late summer/early fall when the ewes will go into cycle (heat) and then five months later, the lambs will be born (typically January).  But, we are trying things a little differently, and I wanted to see how the ewes would cycle and left Barry (the ram) with them all spring and summer. Not all sheep breeds will cycle out of season (meaning other than late summer/fall) but some can and will.  Katahdins, Jacob's and Icelandics can cycle in times, and so I let nature take its course so we could observe and see which ewes would cycle and give us fall lambs, and those that will give us winter lambs.   

It is days like today that I enjoy farming so much.  There is something magical about the ebb and flow of farm life that force us to slow down.  To observe. To simply be.  The weather dictates my schedule, and I like that.  I like that my life is so intertwined with it that it allows me time to pause, reflect, and "see" what is happening around me.   I watched the mama ewe with her lamb, and she watched me, unsure if I posed a threat or if I was harmless.  She stomped her feet when I got too close, warning me that I was closing in on her personal space and she wasn't having it.   After moving them into their own "nursery suite" I left them alone and watched from a distance.  Not everyday is simple and sweet like this, but I am thankful for days that are.