So we started out 4 years ago with a new shiny red (they go faster when they are red) ride on mower-it even had a stubbie holder! The geese were named after the engine (Briggs and Stratton) and it was mine. Now I have little time to mow and more farm toys to consume petrol we thought a move to a more sustainable means to manage the lawn would be good. “Sheep!”-the man of the house suddenly yelled in my ear on a Saturday morning. “Lets get sheep to mow this area and we can eat their lambs!”. Ever the meat eater in the house-he is continually looking for a way to raise his own food. Several months later and several substantial dollars lighter-we had a wonderful sheep and dog proof fence, which was the envy of the neighbourhood. Next we needed a barn-of course every farmer needs a barn! But that is the story of another blog…
Back to the sheep! Dolly, Raelene and Lady Baa Baa arrived from a wonderful farm just down the road who breed Wiltipoll (weird name but lovely looking ladies). “I have some good news for you Nina”-said the sheep breeder “I think Raelene may be pregnant!” A little earlier than we had hoped as we wanted to cut our teeth on friendly ewes before handling rams and “tupping”! Never mind it is generally a simple affair to manage-“get a pair of binoculars and hide behind a tree to watch how the labour proceeds”. A little disturbing for me to spy on a pregnant ewe but I am new to this game and thought I should heed the words of a sheep breeder.
One month later and 2.30am in the morning, the other half shot up in bed and exclaimed “I can hear sheep!”. Wearing flannelette Betty Boo pyjamas, gum boots and a flash light-I stumbled out into the paddock to check on Raelene. There she was under the red cedar tree in the early stages of labour. Looking like she had things under control, I stifled the urge to get hot towels and went back to the house to keep an ear out for any further developments. Dozing with two fearless house cats on my knee, I could hear soft bleating after an hour that sounded just like any new mother talking to her newborn. Minty had arrived safe and well.
Well we are officially sheep farmers and we gave each other a pat on the back for getting over that first hurdle. We could go back to planning the rest of the farm activities……but just when you are feeling relaxed…..While walking through the paddock with our little flock of sheep we both took a second look at the back end of Dolly. “Does she have udders all of a sudden Dear?” As a seasoned sheep farmer I confidently predicted a month to go before we had another addition to the flock. One week later while walking to the barn to check out progress with the unpaid farmhand (the most unruly sort you can get) I happened upon a sheep in labour! Running back for the binoculars and staking out on the deck to watch all of the proceedings we have #2 (best not to name this one I think). So now we are are five and if I was a betting woman-I might be putting some money on a trifecta!