We are nearing the tail end of lambing season when it comes to the number of ewes we have to lamb. However, I am sure we are not to the tail end of lambing season when it comes to the number of days. It always amazes me just how long the last 25% of the flock takes in comparison to the first 75%. Yes, I know those last 25% should be culled but how much fun would that be?
It did occur to me last week that we had a time change. No, don’t worry we have not sprung forward and you were not late for church. That painful day when we lose an hour of sleep is yet to come. No, this week I discovered I was living on lambing time. To be honest, I think I have been living on lambing time for the past three weeks. This is the time of the year when everything revolves around the lambing barn, and not my calendar.
Two weeks ago I was asked to serve as a member of a farmer panel. No problem, the meeting started late enough in the morning I should be able to do chores and everything would be just fine. It did all go as planned until I made one last check of the ewes before I went inside to get ready. Ewe 3107 decided to start the birthing process. I quickly caught her up and moved her to the lambing barn and decided to wait to make sure there were no problems. I waited and waited and waited until the very last minute and sure enough she had a set of healthy twins.
I showered and dressed quickly, hoping the smell of lambing season was just permanently imprinted on my sinuses and not my entire body. I ran out to the truck and took off like a shot and tried to make up for lost time on the road. I skidded into the parking lot just in time and just as my low tire light went off. I bailed out and as I ran past the rear tire I could hear air hissing out. At least I had made it, so I called it a win. I must also send a shout out to the Blue Valley Telecommunication guys who took pity on their farmer panelist and changed the tire for me while I participated in the discussion.
Then last week I had a meeting in Topeka. The start time of this meeting was 10:00; again I mistakenly thought that I had plenty of time to get chores done and arrive on time. This time ewe 3169 was in labor when I started chores. Perfect, I thought, she can have this lamb while I do chores. Little did I know I was on lambing time. I caught her and moved her to a jug in the lambing barn and proceeded on with chores.
When I finished the barnyard chores I checked back in on her. Nothing, so I decided to continue on and feed the cows and the bulls. Upon completion of those tasks I once again peered into the lambing barn to check on her. Again, much to my chagrin, nothing and no more progress adding to my growing anxiety. I still had about 30 to 45 minutes before I had to leave, so I went into the house and waited. While I was waiting I consulted with Jennifer and Dad and both told me to be patient and go on to my meeting.
I decided to go out one more time and found nothing more had happened. I then went in and texted someone else going to the meeting and told them I would be late. Thirty minutes later I went out to the barn and found the ewe laying down, chewing her cud. Rattled beyond words I called my vet and he gave me the same advice my wife and father had given me earlier. With that I got dressed still wondering if the smell I could smell was just in my head or was real, which is not a real confidence booster.
I made it to my meeting more than 30 minutes late after starting out late and then getting lost. As I pulled into the parking garage the low tire light again went off, although this time the tire was only low and I did get to drive it to air after the meeting. The rest of the day I nervously checked my phone as Dad checked the ewe and relayed messages to Jennifer. Finally Jennifer came home at 4:00 and helped the ewe have twins.
It was a good reminder to a less than patient shepherd that it doesn’t matter what my calendar says during lambing season. I might think I have plenty of time built into the schedule, but in reality I am on the schedule of my sheep. No doubt about it, mid January the time changes from standard time to lambing season time.