A Close Shave

The boys all decided to gang up on Liam today, and since I had to run out there and break it up anyway I decided I might as well shear him. I learned three things. First, fine wool is much harder on the shears than coarse wool. Second, white wool against pink skin is much harder to cut without nicking the sheep than brown wool. Third, short sheep are murder on one’s back to shear. After shearing white, fine fleeced, extremely short Liam, my back and my shears are both pretty much shot. I did pinch his skin in a few places, but not badly enough to draw blood. He’s got worse dings from the other guys than from my shearing.

It was Liam’s first haircut. I think he was a bit shocked.

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“Oh my goodness! What happened?”

I think he looks like a Dall sheep now, without his fluffy fleece. His soft, crimpy, beautiful fluffy fleece. I kept cooing over it the whole time I was taking it off, but Liam didn’t appreciate my compliments. At least the fleece will be some consolation for my crippled back and the unrelenting scent of lanolin still ingrained into my hands despite extensive scrubbing.

Aside from the little upset with Liam, everyone is doing well. The lambs keep themselves busy exploring around the pasture. This morning the Adventure of the Mysterious Hole in the Ground was particularly exciting. They spent a good long time pawing and sniffing around the hole, which I believe was an old collapsed mole tunnel.

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“Do you think there’s buried treasure here?”

After thoroughly investigating the hole in the ground, they ran in circles for a while before deciding to go bother Duchess while she was trying to flirt with the boys. Obviously these pictures are from before Liam got his impromptu haircut.

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“I’m too busy to play with you guys, why don’t you go play by your mothers?”

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“OK fine, you lambs play with that tray if you must. Stay out of trouble; I’m just going to talk to the guys here.”

Duchess retains her wild popularity with the guys, and still acts like she’s perpetually in heat. I told Mira she was not allowed to become a flirt like her mother when she grows up.

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“OK. I won’t wait till I’m grown up, then.”

That’s… that’s not what I meant. Sigh. The trials of motherhood. I’m sure I was never this much trouble as a lamb child.

Mira’s doing very well, except that she drinks her bottle too fast and gets choked, which isn’t good. I can’t get her to slow down, and I’m worried she’ll get milk in her lungs. It would help a lot if milk wasn’t her only sustenance, but she Will. Not. Eat. Grass. Or solids of any kind, for that matter. She’s too old to live on nothing but milk and I’m very (veryveryvery) tired of cleaning up runny mustard poo, but when I take her outside, she’s too fixated on playing or climbing on me to worry about grazing.

Obviously I can’t teach her how to graze like her real mother would have, so in desperation I left her outside on her own with the other sheep today when I went to teach my class. She was still crying when I left, but when I came back she was out there with everyone else either grazing or giving a good impression of it, so hopefully that helped. I’m not sure what else to do to get her to start grazing; the other lambs seemed to just pick it up automatically.

Until she gets the hang of it, I suppose I’ll just try not to worry so much. Liam is a good distraction. I couldn’t help laughing when I turned him back out with the others. To think the little white ram sired a humongous dark ram lamb and the big dark ram sired the ewe lamb so tiny and delicate she looks more like a fairy creature than a lamb.

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“I don’t see anything funny. What are you laughing at? Does my hair look dumb? I think the other boys are laughing at me.”

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11 thoughts on “A Close Shave

  1. A Dall sheep is right!! What a sweet face. You needed a sling to ‘hang’ yourself from to shear him. My back hurts for you! I think that was a good idea leaving Mia out to figure it out, like hey, what are the other kids doing? Eating? You can eat that stuff??? hahaha

    • Mira didn’t think it was a good idea, but I was approaching my wits end with her. She can’t live on nothing but milk all her life! The other sheep are pretty accepting of her, so it wasn’t like I was dumping her with a bunch of strangers.

  2. Baaxter had the same trouble and someone suggested having him drink from a shallow pan. That worked perfectly. I used a ceramic pie plate. Only took a couple times before he figured out his milk was in there and then he’d slurp it up. Still pretty fast, but a shallow pan spread it out enough that he couldn’t choke himself.

    • I’ll have to try that! Of course it would have to be a saucer for little Mira’s meals, she’s only drinking 4 oz at a time. The glass bottle you let me borrow slowed her down for a few days, but now she’s choking herself again. :-/ Was it hard to get Baaxter to drink from the pan?

    • Hmm, I’ll make a note of that… 😉 He is a sweet boy, but it’d be a bit hard to hide him in the middle of all your black sheep, wouldn’t it?

  3. Ah, so we have another Liam fan too? Our entire family is in love with him. Now he looks as if he’s back to lambhood with that tiny self and short cut.

    Christopher is asking about Barney: where is he and how does he fare? Noah got the giggles yesterday at dinner about Prince Bran and Will Scarlet: he said that if you name them after outlaws you have to “*expect* mischief.

    We are all glad Mira is growing so well. She’s a mess, which in Georgia lingo means she’s silly-sweet-wonderful.

    Very best from in town,

    Natalie

    • Liam still is technically a lamb, he won’t be a year old until April. How such a sweet little ram could sire a huge troublemaker like Bran is beyond me. Barney is doing fine, he’s finally forgiven me for shearing him. 🙂

  4. Poor sweet Mira . . . I hope she is learning to eat now. It must be so frustrating to know what she needs to do, but not how to get her to do it. It sounds like being a shepherdess, like a parent, is an ongoing learning curve! I do hope she’s happily chomping away now. 🙂 Best wishes, Lisa

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