Lamb Camp Day 3: . . . and the lambs came two by two

I forgot to mention at the end of my report on Day 2 of Lamb Camp that just before we all turned in for the night, a final trip to the Maternity Ward revealed yet another cute new lamb, still pretty gooey and wobbly. Favoring practicality over husbandry perfection, and confident that the ewe had no more lambs in her, the crew decided to go ahead and jug the newborn and wait until morning to work it. Lamb tally after two days: 1 set of twins on Friday, 2 sets of twins and 2 singles on Saturday, for a total-to-date of 8 lambs. Breeding schedule turning out okay so far.

Seven o’clock on Day 3, a quick weight check showed the late-night lamb weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces, “a ram that’s as plain brown as they come!” as recorded on the lamb card. As for its mom, she was “a very calm ewe,” just the opposite of snotty Colney the day before. With no other lambs imminent (i.e., the rest of the pregnant ewes were moving slowly, chewing their cuds lazily, and in no apparent hurry), the four women campers headed out to Jacksonville for a little sight-seeing while Steve kept lamb watch.

Ida and Whitney showed off their Britt Festival “home” and summer surroundings of 20+ years to Audrey, followed by a bracing short hike straight up to the Britt stage and outdoor hillside seating, stopping along the way for a group photo under a picturesque madrone tree.

Galice and her tiny and tinier Soay twin rams

Galice and her tiny and tinier Soay twin rams

Upon return home, we learned that Galice, the oldest ewe (12 years) we bred, had delivered twin rams, both tiny (3# 6 oz and 2# 2 oz), one with a umbilical cord issue, our only “problem” lamb of the year. Apparently his cord simply tore off, leaving a 1/2″ abdominal tear between his navel and his penis. Ouch! Steve neatly closed it with tiny suture clips, gave him a dose of antibiotic, and got him right back with his mom. [Author’s note: We were flabbergasted that Galice had two lambs in her. Thankfully the wee twin is doing just fine ten days later.]

Would you believe the big twin on the left came out back legs first?

Would you believe the big twin on the left came out back legs first?

About an hour after Galice lambed, Netley produced a black lamb (the sire is light phase, go figure) and a second lamb born in the jug. We didn’t even have time for a late lunch before Overton delivered a dark grey lamb back legs first, assisted by a very gentle little tug from Steve to confirm its head was coming out correctly, and then a much much smaller medium brown ram (5# 5 oz vs. 3 # 3 oz) about 15 minutes later.

At some point in the afternoon we took advantage of a lull in the lambing action for each of us to slip on one of our collection of Goorin hats for a group picture (see below) to send to Whitney’s twin sister, Natalie, the only haberdasher I know. Not sure whether the idea for the picture sprang from the procession of twin lambs all day, but for whatever reason, the truth is now out: I am a total sucker for Goorin hats. If you live near Boston, do stop by the Newbury Goorin store, and be sure to say hello to Natalie for me.

But I digress.

At about 4:00 in the afternoon, we welcomed our fourth set of twins that day, then I ran back to the house to put a chicken on the grill to roast. By the time we sat down to dinner with asparagus from our garden, a thawed-out cranberry and citrus relish left from Thanksgiving dinner and originally created by a nearby friend who is a retired professional chef (!), a plain parmesan risotto and a bottle of wine, all seemed quiet, but before we called it a night, Leigh delivered a ewe lamb. Try as we might, we could not conjure up a twin for her.

Throughout the day, Ida had regaled us with tales of her German Grandmother Knobloch, a southern Illinois farmer who started each day by “applying” her full hip-to-cleavage hook-it-up-in-the-morning corset. We of course marveled at how she possibly could have dealt with farm chores in anything other than a worn pair of Levi’s. The same grandmother apparently liked to use a word we had trouble tracking down [Author’s request: if you are of German extraction or otherwise know the word we are looking for, please send me an email and help me out on this one]. The word describes the concept of “nosy aunts” or an unwillingness to let something go, and sounds phoentically like “wunnafitzig.” Any ideas?

Speaking of Levi’s, if you get a notion to hold your own Lamb Camp, be prepared to exercise your washing machine. The last night of our Lamb Camp included load after load of laundry so the Campers would not be denied boarding passes because of “odor” issues.

Just before everyone turned in for the night, Whitney and Audrey confirmed their choice of names for a favorite lamb they were here to welcome into the world. Ida had already named a ewe lamb born on April 8th Glennda, after her husband Glenn, whose Big Birthday was April 8th. By naming convention, Whitney and Audrey were restricted to the names of towns in County Buckinghamshire in England (why we chose this county is a topic for another day). Whitney chose “Redland” for Darby’s big rock-star ram lamb, and Audrey chose “Flowers” for the petite ewe lamb she watched Patterdale deliver. In the official camp photo below, the girls are holding “their” lambs and I am holding Galice’s teensy twin ram lamb.

Official Lamb Camp 2015 Photo: Ida, Steve, Priscilla, Whitney, and Audrey

Official Lamb Camp 2015 Photo: Ida, Steve, Priscilla, Whitney, and Audrey

Before we left for the airport the next morning, we presented each of the Lamb Campers with her diploma. Ida was promoted to Dean of the College, while Audrey and Whitney received their novice degrees. Lamb Camp 2015 closed with announcement of the official 3-day lamb tally:

[table th=”0″ colalign=”center|center|center|center|center|center|center”]
2015 Saltmarsh Ranch Lamb Camp [attr colspan=”6″ style=”font-weight: bold;”]
Day, Total Lambs, # Ewe Lambs, # Ram Lambs, Sets of Twins, # Singles
1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 0
2, 6, 4, 2, 2, 2
3, 9, 4, 5, 4, 1
Totals:, 17, 9, 8, 7, 3
[/table] How much of this was luck and how much brilliant planning on our part is for you to decide, but I invite you to peruse the data in my final Lamb Camp post and decide for yourselves.

May all your lambing, informal or within the structure of a magical Lamb Camp, be as fun and rewarding as ours was this year!

For now …

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