Describe normal…?

What is NORMAL anyway? Does ‘normal’ change with time? How do we define, categorize, and treat that which is NOT normal? Normal can be a highly personal concept—and almost everyone, from certain perspectives, can be seen as normal . . . or abnormal. Right?

I suppose I had a very NORMAL Easter Sunday… or, perhaps it was very ABNORMAL?!?? I worked all week preparing [cooking and baking] for a very traditional Polish Easter ‘feast’… as a back-up ‘plan’. Planning(?) an Easter family dinner w/my sister (who’s been staying w/my mom), who also had her son’s graduation to attend – and the uncertainty if she’d be back in town, well, you know.

Nevermind. My other sister (and husband) were in the midst of moving into their new home and would NOT be ‘home’ visiting. Toss into the equation a few pregnant ewes, bottle babies, chores (yes, even on Sunday) and milking twice a day doesn’t allow much time for off-site ‘visits’.

So how did my Easter Sunday go??? My kids, Matt and Katie, were home for the weekend (YAY)! When we got home from church on Easter Sunday morning, we were greeted by Bella’s triplet ram lambs!!!! I ‘skipped’ breakfast due to all the shepherding obligations (stripping teats, dipping navels, making sure babies latch-on and get a drink, provide mama with molasses water, take care of afterbirth, clean stall/replace bedding, etc.).

Hank, my brother, came over and we (Katie, Hank and I) made our Polish soup. My sister/mom never did come to dinner. My brother John had dinner at my mom’s house instead. Afterwards, Dennis, The Hubs, and Matt visited his mom [my mother-in-law] and Katie and her girlfriend Megan (who had dinner at our house) visited my mom et al [and brought them pierogis].

…and I stayed home, did chores and ate a ham sandwich!

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Bella and her triplets, less than 24-hours old. The large lamb (in front) weighed about 7-1/2 pounds while the two ‘smaller’ ram lambs weighed about 4-1/2 pounds each. Boys, boys, boys!

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Shetlands come in a variety of natural ‘colors’ and patterns!

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This little guy has two brown dots/eyedrops at each eye… otherwise, he’s all white!

So, I ask you, what is NORMAL?

He is risen!

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First 2014 Spring lamb has arrived!

As of late, every morning – before chores – I check my prego Shetland ewes. I play a bit of a lambing game, not knowing for sure and for certain WHEN breeding occurred. [They make ram breeding harnesses that colors/marks the ewe's back-side when the ram mounts her, but, I don't use one.]

Normally, I set-up my breeding pens in the Fall and unless I’m lucky/actually observe the ram breeding the ewe,  I guesstimate lambing dates for Spring. The normal gestation period of a female sheep/ewe is approximately 147 days, ranging from 144 to 152 days. With a small flock, I know my sheep well. As the approximate lambing date approaches, I look for typical ‘signs‘ and behavior of ewes soon-to-go-into-labor. The ewe is then moved into individual jugs or small pens in the barn to lamb. BTW, I’ve also experienced lambing in the back forty… surprise!!

Yesterday morning [at 4 a.m.], I was greeted by our first 2014 Spring lamb, a single white ewe lamb [Dove X Ceylon] weighing in at 7-pounds. When I invaded her privacy, mama was doing a fine job drying her off! I suspect she lambed about an hour earlier since the afterbirth had already passed. I dipped the lamb’s umbilical in iodine and stripped the mama’s waxy plug from her teats, expressed a few squirts of colostrum-rich milk and pointed the newborn lamb in the right ‘direction’.  A slight distraction from my routine morning chores. I TOTALLY love an unassisted natural birth! WOOT!

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Ramble N White Dove (Dam)

 

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Romyldale Ceylon (Sire)

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Dove and her ewe lamb – three days old.

Happy Easter!

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Essex Young Farmers

LOVE me a farmer!!!

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Dream Job: Cheesemaker

Parish Hill Creamery: Westminster West, VT

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Kelley Mooney’s spiritual lyrical adaptation of ‘Hallelujah’

Easter blessings!

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How to blade shear a sheep!

Study. Practice again and again.