April 23, 2008

Orphans

Orphans

Brother Tractor had put five orphan lambs together in a stall in the old part of the barn. Sometimes I'd find them asleep, piled on each other just like a litter of kittens. Other times, they'd run over to me, bleating. The biggest one kept jumping over the low wooden fence into the outer stall. Brother Curly Beard nicknamed him Houblon. I offered to hold Houblon while he was trying to feed two of the other babies. Newborn lambs are amazingly strong and sturdy, and he wriggled in my arms the way a human toddler would. He smelled like the barn: hay and manure and wool. His warm woolly body felt rougher than I expected, and he kept nuzzling my neck and my shirt, looking for anyplace he could suck. When Brother Tractor handed me a bottle for Houblon, I offered it to the lamb, and he sucked four ounces of milk down in just a few gulps.

9 comments:

bsouth said...

I used to feed lambs on a farm - it's so satisfying watching them guzzle down the milk with their tails going 19 to the dozen. I love your pictures and am looking forward to catching up on some of your archived material. Thanks for coming to visit me!

kathy a. said...

oh, cute! and fabulous!

and i love bsouth's description, tails going 19 to the dozen.

i guess the fact there are orphan lambs means some of the mamas didn't make it, either. sigh.

Songbird said...

I'm thinking about the lectionary passage for this week is John 14:15-21, in which Jesus says, "I will not leave you orphaned." Bless those brothers and the little lambs. I am so grateful that you are sharing these pictures and stories.

Linda said...

My farming friends are in need of some extra hands right now, so I'm going out early each morning to help with feeding and milking. This morning I was greeted at the front gate by two baby goats who were born just a few days ago. Their mother rejected them, so they're stayed in the front yard for easy access during the days when they have to be bottle-fed four times per day. They, too, suck the milk from the bottle in no time flat!

I can't imagine there's a better way to have started this day than so full of life, as it was on the farm this morning!

I'm loving these posts about the lambs! Magical!

Yankee, Transferred said...

You write and photograph so beautifully...have I told you that maybe once or twice before?

KathyR said...

The "awwww" factor is now officially killing me. And the picture with the two little lambs pressed up against the wall trying to check out the proceedings next door! Priceless!

concretegodmother said...

oh, my lord, jo(e); these lamb pictures are just too precious! i can't stand it! keep 'em comin'!

the lambs *are* incredibly strong. i remember feeding some youngsters from a large bottle (i swear it seemed quart-sized), and not only did they drain it in under sixty seconds flat, but it was also really difficult to hold the thing as they sucked really vigorously! made me feel sorry for the sheep mamas with all that zeal!

j said...

I had to laugh at my own startlement at seeing a monk in blue-jeans and a tshirt. For some reason, I had been picturing them in traditional brown robes tied with rough rope belts. Jeans seem much more practical for the barn, though. :-) Thanks for more beautiful photos and stories.

jo(e) said...

J: The monks do wear dark robes for most of the prayers services, although not all of them. But yeah, they wear work clothes in the barn.