Almost the Weekend

0° F and -10° wind chill. Life is hectic.

Lambs are being born — crazy early, due to my lack of organization last summer with our move. The barn is not ready for them, ditto. I’m problem-solving on the fly and haven’t lost any lambs yet, but anxiety for them is tapping like a pulse under my day as I hurry to teach classes, grade exams, and write mid-term reports.

Yesterday after work I waded out to the back field to drag a 12-foot gate back to the barn through the snow. Rick, my hay man, due to deliver hay in early December, showed up last Sunday while I was out and rather than put the bales in the hayloft as usual, dumped them in the sheep addition, stacking it almost to the ceiling for most of the stall’s 32-foot length. That evening when I saw them I wanted to burst into tears. The sheep were due to be in that space. Just what I needed! Another big chore!

I never ask DH for help on the farm but I could not move the hay elevator by myself. He came down the next morning and I threw open the door to show him the bales. “Holy crap!” he said, now understanding my distress. We got the hay elevator into place and both hurried off to our jobs. After work I moved about 25 bales to the hayloft between snow and rain squalls. Then the chain jumped off the track. I can probably fix it, but not in the dark. Maybe Friday afternoon.

However lambs are arriving, more are due, and the two unsold rams, now full grown, want to crush and kill them. With the hay commandeering the sheep addition, I have had no spare stall to keep the rams separate. Thus yesterday I spent an hour with a handsaw and a screw gun, hurriedly installing an improvised lamb creep in the barn stall. Then I dragged the gate from the back pasture to divide the space in two. Accommodations are tighter than I would wish, but the rams and lambs are safely on opposite sides of the gate.

After checking at bedtime, I got up at 3:30 to check again for new lambs. Not yet. I’ve got a long day of double periods and am showing my 8th graders the movie ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT tonight until 9 PM. Chocolate chip bread for movie snacks is baking in the oven. From the swollen look of the ewes, I think I may get 2-4 new lambs today.

Keep moving. The weekend is almost here.


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