Sunday, September 16, 2012

Spring is everywhere

Spring in Tasmania is a beautiful time of year.  Daffodils are pushing up through the paddocks, flowers are forming and trees are covered in blossom. For a city girl, there is nothing more joyful than seeing the sheep starting to have their lambs.  The paddocks are dotted with little specks of white and black, as new lambs nestle into mum for some protection from the early spring winds.  It amazes me that lambs become  independent so  quickly.   As soon as they arrive, mum cleans them up, then tripping over their long legs, totter along beside her, trying to suckle.  Incredible though it sounds they head but her nipples, to get the supply of milk going, then settle in for a quick feed. Time is of the essence as mum moves on regularly.  Often she settles them into a hillock in the grass, then leaves them to go and feed.  The lambs seem to know that to remain safe, they must huddle down and settle to await her return. The reunion is beautiful to see....little lambs standing bleating "muuuum, muuuuum" then when the time is right, a deeper reply that signifies the return of mum.  Watching the lamb run across to mum is guaranteed to bring a smile to my face so,  long as the lamb runs to the right mum.  She sniffs to check them out, so if they don't smell right, look out.  A lamb is easily bowled over by a head but from a temperamental ewe who is not prepared to feed the wrong baby. There have been a large number of twins born....while the Merino cross are cute, it is the little dark Black faced Suffolk lambs that I love.  Almost charcoal black, their color, will over time settle, so that as adults they will have the traditional black faces, with black stockings. Even from a few days old, the lambs will play.  Watching two young lambs meet each other for the first time is special.  They approach each other slowly and sniff nose to nose.  Once they become acquainted, King of the Castle, and Tiggy seem to be the favorite games.  With legs too long, and tails flapping, they gambol across the hill tirelessly....only stopping if mum calls them in. Sitting quietly on the hillside, watching the lambs in the sunshine is a favorite way to while away the afternoon.

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