Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Cold weather can mean hard times on the farm. Most of our lambs are born at night, in the shelter of the barn. Nonetheless, a sizeable few make a daylight arrival. No problem on mild days; in some ways it is better for them than the barn. On days like these though, it is a risk and a challenge. Our daytime temperatures have been below freezing, with wind-chills hovering near zero. A lamb born healthy can get pneumonia in minutes. A lamb that needs a little extra care may be frozen solid by evening when we check the fields one last time before closing the barn. We lost two lambs last week. One, a weak twin that never thrived after being born outside in a patch of grass not quite covered by snow. The second, I found frozen in the pile of leaves his mother had left him in while she came in for the morning feeding. As I took away the small bodies, both ewes were calling, crying out to their lambs, not understanding where they went, or why they wouldn't come.

A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.

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