Friday is my morning to sleep in, since I have an appointment from midnight to two ack emma the night before, but last Friday I was up by five fifteen, not because I wanted to be, but because I could hear a ewe somewhere on the hill saying something about discomfort and unease. It was too dim still to see more than an assortment of white spots against the dark hillside, but I could see that one spot was separated from the rest, so — muttering under my breath, because the girl who usually cares for the sheep was up at the barn milking and so couldn’t be sent to investigate this mystery — I pulled boots and a vest over my jammies and went out to see what was what.
It was Rosemary, last year’s bottle lamb, now a well-grown ewe and trying to birth a particularly large, beefy ram lamb. All I could see was two big feet, and I could hear the thermos of tea in the kitchen calling to me, so I told her she had thirty minutes to make business happen and went back to the house. Earl Grey and milk and a leisurely half hour on the front porch made me feel better, but not Rosemary. Those feet were not moving, or if they were they were going back inside.
We have helped reposition a poorly laid calf, but never a lamb, until now; we’re here to tell you, the lamb is a heck of a lot easier. Two little girls and one medium-sized woman, and five minutes of concentrated attention, that’s all this one took. From our home birth days we diagnosed the problem as shoulder dystocia and a cervical lip, which sounds way more dramatic than ‘stuck lamb’, but we got’er done, and that’s what matters. A lovely boy, name Johann after my father, who died the day before.