Nan with her lambs

We’ve had a busy weekend. Saturday morning Linda and I helped Nan, one of our Romneys, who had twin girls. We had our friend Taryn helping us on Saturday, doing rounds, checking on ewes and lambs, and cleaning the barns. Sunday morning, Lolo found Billie Jean having twins when he arrived at 5 am. Thank goodness Billie Jean broke our run on girls, because I really wanted a ram-lamb from her to be a “Romnesian” sire for us. Billie Jean lacks the spotting gene, which is important for recessive color genetics. Billie Jean had two nice boys, one with a distinctive dark spot on his flank. This is not related to the “spotting” gene, but is common in “B-factor” sheep, who are white but carry a copy of a recessive color gene.

Billie Jean with her lambs

Monday morning Emylou was our second East Friesian to lamb. Emylou is from one of my best East Friesian lines, big, beautiful white girls with excellent milk production and a tendency to have quads. So, when she started having lambs at just before 6 am, Melinda was expecting a litter. And we got it, by 7:30 she had a whole family. Two black boys and two white girls. And Emylou, such a good mother, loved all four of them equally.

Oh my! such a big family!

Monday night we had a hilarious video clip when Lisa, who works from 4:00 to 11:00 pm keeping an eye on the barn at night, was carefully prowling in the dark around the barn. She goes in to the drop-pen in the dark, with a flashlight, so she can check the ewes without stirring everyone up. She had been watching Cinder, one of our black Corriedale ewes, who was in early labor, but Lisa didn’t expect a lamb for a while. Lisa appears on our lamb-cam, in the other drop-pen, creeping very slowly, playing her beam around, to sneak a peak of Cinder from a distance. Then her beam hits Cinder, and there is a lamb almost out! Lisa plunges toward Cinder, reaching through the hog panel to pull out the lamb. It was a huge white girl, weighing in at 14.5 pounds, the largest lamb so far. A white girl is just what we wanted–we have been hoping for a few white Corriedale ewes to add to our flock.

Lisa reaching through the hog panel to pull Cinder's lamb

Over the weekend, my friend Patty was visiting on Sunday and we had a burst of classics-inspired lamb-naming. Since Nan’s twin girls were born on leap-day, we were searching for appropriate names, and decided to look for a goddess of eternal youth, because those born on a leap day are often said to be eternally young, because they only have a birthday every four years. We found Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth, whose name means “youth” in Greek. Searching for a name for her sister, we settled for “Hera,” Hebe’s mother. Not perfect, but nice names. The next challenge was to name Billie Jean’s two boys. We started with “Spot,” for the guy with the spot, but that is so boring, we started jokingly calling him “Spoticus.” Went looking at Wikipedia and learned that Sparticus was a Thracian gladiator, and the leader of an uprising of Thracian slaves against the Roman republic. Other Thracian slaves did not provide suitable names, but the most famous other Thracian was Orpheus, a Thracian in Greek mythology. So: Spoticus and Orpheus.

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