I love what I do for a living, but I must admit that there are many days where things do go exactly as planned. I think it's part of working with living systems - animals, weather and other factors create lots of variability from one day to the next. Every so often, however, I have a day that goes better than I expected. Yesterday was one of those days!
After so much rain (we've measured more rain in the first 4 days of March that we measured in March and April combined in 2007 and 2008), I enjoyed yesterday's sunshine immensely (as did the sheep). When I arrived at the ranch yesterday morning, I discovered a ewe that was having difficulty lambing - the lamb's head had appeared, but I didn't see either front leg. Reaching inside the ewe, I found one leg, but the other was pulled back, which can create problems for both the lamb and the ewe. However, timing my pull with the ewe's contractions, I was able to deliver the lamb. He took his first breath, and I left his mom to clean him up. A pretty happy ending! As big as the lamb was, I assumed he was a single.
As I walked through the rest of the flock I discovered 2 more new babies - both singles - and another ewe that was just going into labor. The rest of the new lambs were bouncing around in the sunshine. By the time I returned to the ewe I'd assisted had her first lamb cleaned up and was now cleaning a second! A few minutes later, I watched the second laboring ewe deliver twin ewe lambs!
As the morning progressed, I was treated to a flyover by the largest flock of sand hill cranes I've seen so far this year - they seemed to be enjoying the nice weather, too. After days of rain (which we desperately needed) and nights of worrying about the lambs, the two sets of twins, the sunny day and the wildlife displays combined to lift my mood - what a great day!