As a farmer, the days of observing and sometimes helping bring new life to the farm are what we live and plan for all year! Monitoring nutritional needs, purposeful grazing and health conditions are some things at the forefront of my mind before breeding season.
The care of a pregnant animal is both science, observation, and learned skill. With the Icelandic sheep, being the extra hearty stock they are, their needs for additional kelp and a well-balanced mineral go up. For my dairy cows, keeping them on low calcium hay until after calving is critical to reduce the risk of milk fever. And then the babies come and you get to see a little of the rewards of your labor. Ease of labor, healthy babies and a quick recovery for mom…….that’s what farmer's dreams are made of!!! Lambing and calving time is no joke! Your sleep is minimal and you take on an interesting aroma at times! But through a hazy fog of thinking you carry on...... being the biggest cheerleader and advocate for your livestock.
I was chatting with a fellow farming friend about a birthing situation and I became very aware that each year of lambing, calving and farrowing brings new experience, challenges and successes. We are never the expert but only the student, continuing to grow and learn through this journey of farming. But maybe that is what is so motivating to just keep going…… knowing that there is so much more to learn and experience.
This year's lambing started at a beautiful spring weather stretch but quickly turned back to winter. So the new babies have gotten to experience the first days of spring and the moody last days of snowy winter. Midway through lambing my milk cow, Lily calved a handsome bull calf that we named “Blue”. So milking has begun with a milk share with Blue. My handy husband, Gene, built a little stall for Blue to stand right next to his momma as she gets milked each day. It has been working beautifully so far. Gone are the days of wrestling the calf and trying to milk at the same time. I am very thankful! Thanks honey, you 're the best!
So now we wait for the spring grass to get tall enough to rotate the sheep and cows through pastures. Watching the lively lambs grow as they graze and bounce along with their fellow friends and mom, bring great joy to my heart. Now the planning for the next season of breeding, processing and selling breeding stock will begin. To farming there is a rhythm, a beat that is familiar with each season yet unique to each year.