Friday, April 6, 2018

Sleeping Easier

As I write this at shortly after 8 p.m. on the evening of April 6, we've received over two inches of rain in the last 24 hours (which is quite a bit for us in early April). More rain (heavy at times, as the National Weather Service says), is due to come in overnight and early tomorrow. This storm has been quite warm; rain has been falling over the crest of the Sierra Nevada all day. We've been warned of the possibility of localized flooding.

Had this weather happened three weeks ago (in the midst of lambing), I'd be up a good part of the night checking on newborn lambs. As it is, with all but our youngest lambs now at least three weeks old (and the oldest almost seven weeks old), I'm not too worried. The first week or so of a lamb's life, at least for us, seems to be the critical period. After that, the lambs (and their mothers) seem to have things figured out. By the time the lambs are 4-5 weeks old, they're starting to nibble on grass, as well. Additionally, the grass has started growing rapidly - pastures that we grazed just three weeks ago have regrown enough to graze again. As a consequence, the ewes are producing milk at maximum capacity (and nutritional value) - which means the lambs are getting plenty of groceries!

Every year, we reach the point where my degree of worry  changes. I still worry about the lambs - and we still check them twice a day. But their behavior and vigor eases my concern. I take tremendous pleasure in watching the lambs romp and play. Even during the cold storms of late February and early March, as soon as the sun comes out, the lambs are racing around; a warm storm like this doesn't slow them down a bit. I know when I begin to sleep better that our year is transitioning from lambing season to other tasks - irrigation season begins next week!

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