Lanolin Under the Covers
I am keeping my word. Yesterday, two people contributed to the writing. As long as one blog reader sends a single dollar, you'll get a post the next day. It might not be huge, it might not be great, but I'll keep the flame going here if folks feel it's worth a dollar. Details in the gray below this post. Here is a story from last night (and a prime example of why I rarely travel.)
It was unseasonably cold, or rather, it was perfectly seasonably cold for upstate New York, but since it’s nearly June, I was taking it personally. It was a chilly, wet evening. The kind of dusk that could kill you in a cotton shirt exposed overnight in the wilderness. I mean, we’re a few weeks away from Litha for goodness sake! I am in the process of writing a Holly King and Oak King play for the kids at the gathering, for the festival of HIGH SUMMER.... and it’s a shrammed rainy evening in the 30s?! No thank you.
Anyway, it was chilly for post-apple blossom season and the new lambs were restless. I knew that the older ewes and goat wouldn’t let them in their shelter yet. (For as smooth as the introductions went, there’s a real seniority to shelter space.) So I prepared the smaller shelter on the hill with some hay and hoped they would find it on their own.
I was outside around 8Pm, doing my last rounds with the animals before tucking in for the evening. Night was falling and I had just finished getting the horses back in their paddock and closing the chicken coops—and I saw the three lambs all in their little shelter! I smiled so big, seeing how well they were figuring out their new life here and went inside to my tea and yoga, content everyone was situated for the night.
My body is still catching up from the weekend roadtrip/lack of sleep, so I was in bed early. I’d lit a fire in the wood stove with whatever kindling/lawn scraps I had left and it was mostly for morale purposes. The house needs a warm hearth on nights like this, as it's the only source of heat, and it makes a difference falling asleep by a crackling fire downstairs with a warm blanket as opposed to up in my colder bedroom with wet air circulating through the open windows (I never sleep without a window at least cracked, in any season).
Anyway, I was just getting comfy near the fire, curling up on the daybed with Friday and blankets and the sound of the stream outside and gentle popping of the embers... so ready to fall asleep, when I heard it...
A panicked lamb's bleat.
Then two more lambs, bleating back in response…
Then it kept happening, over and over, for 3 minutes straight.
I knew what it meant. It meant that somehow, one of the new kids got stuck/separated/confused after dark and was scared. It was either trapped in a place it didn't feel safe or somehow, got outside the portable fence.
Maybe there are farmers that would hear that and go right back to sleep, deal with it in the morning. I got up and got dressed again. I put on a headlamp and headed outside.
Sure enough, the little guy somehow got outside the electric netting and was too scared to crawl back under due to the shock. He was pacing outside the fence, up and down the hillside, his two mates bleating from the opposite side of the fence in the dark. The other ewes and goat were all in their shelter, watching without pity.
It took about 5 minutes of careful pacing and herding on my own (I knew having the dogs chase him or trying to tackle him would end with me soaking wet and muddy and the lamb possibly injured or panicked). Instead I herded him towards a corner of fence, and when he made for a leap past me - I NEARLY caught him mid air! Instead hooves flew by my face and I turned around to see him once again trying to muscle his way through a bit of woven wire.
At this point, I just grabbed him while he was trying to push through the (non-electric) section of fencing. I picked him up and carried him to his buddies and gently placed him on the right side of the fence. He instantly shut up when he was back with his friends. The goat watched this all like an off-duty cop, but gladly didn’t leap over the fence to help.
When I got back inside it was nearly 10PM. I was muddy. I was tired. I stripped out of my clothes and slunk right back into bed, the fire now down to red coals and the dogs unbothered. Both Gibson and Friday are of the age where me taking over their gig after dark is a welcomed reprieve. I curled up under the heated throw blanket and fell asleep. The last thought I remember having is how nice it was to smell lanolin again on my hands.
This morning all the lambs were dry, inside the fence, and excited for breakfast.
Onward to piglets.
I am going to keep writing here regardless if you support it or not, but if you'd like to encourage more frequent posts, you can venmo me a tip at jennawog. I decided that as long as one person sends a single dollar, I'll write again the next day. Seems fair to me.