Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This is a graphic story about a rather repulsive experience involving the birth of a lamb, but it is necessary for me to tell. It is my growing up. Please feel free to skip this blog if you feel uneasy in reading it.

They pushed, they prodded, they stood back looking for new solutions. No matter what they did, she didn't move. Before they had walked down to the creek bottom, Dad explained that the ewe would die if she didn't get up. He knew since sheep sometimes just go down and die for no reason other than what he considered stupidity.

Little did I know that when Dad opened the door of the truck that cool morning in spring many years before that the two adorable lambs peeking out at us would teach us hard lessons.

As I've mentioned before, a mother sheep will sometimes not accept a lamb and will often hurt the baby, if it is not removed immediate. Thus, my bottle-fed baby, Pamper. How could a mother turn away from her baby? This little girl struggled to be a good mother to ths lamb who begged for the warmth of another. How could a mother turn away?

One of the ewes was about to give birth. It was an event. Brenda and I had often sat in the field watching a cow give birth. Always, it was an exciting time. Now, I sat in the corner of the pen while Dad and, I think my sister, held the ewe trying to calm her. There was a problem. Our neighbor, Hollie, was called to help. We girls quietly sat aside wanting to leave but yet glued to the spot. The lamb was born. In the process of birthing, the ewe had pushed out her uterus. Nothing was to be done but to push it back and have the vet stitch her. She would not live. I was but a small child, and it was the way of the farm.

"We can't just let her die." My son and nephews were intent of saving the ewe who refused to get up. They went to the creek bottom to save her only to find that she would not cooperate. Two legs would be pushed up. As they encouraged the other end of her to also stand, the legs already standing would go down. Discouraged they returned to the house visibly shaken. They could not save the ewe despite their efforts, their sweat, their tears. It was the way of the farm.

Yes, I was exposed to things that most kids cannot imagine. I learned about birth, about death, about trying, about disappointment. Maybe more than anything, I learned early the cycle of life and the beauty it held as well as the horror. I am a farm kid. It was the way of the farm on Neff Road.

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