Life is here at long last. My 12 ewes have come up trumps. There are full udders and busy mothers. The good sun, the good God has brought forward the spoils of nature. It is lambing season for my ladies.
ith the seasonal change and good weather, I have become the shepherd I had set out to be. We have moved the 12 ewes into the shed and with that move, we have set our intentions to deliver the young of this season.
One has lambed already, delivering twins. With the weather the way it is, we have not kept them in, they are out amongst the growing grass in the fields.
I spent the early part of this week cleaning out the shed, setting up pins that will hold them.
I cleared out the old straw and dung and replaced it with new dry stuff.
Their home for the next few weeks must be made right and I did not want to do anything wrong. I have known lambing seasons for seven years now, but never my own, never as the owner.
There is risk in this act, not all may make it — disease, breach births — but I have a hope. I dream of lambs in the fields, lambs that will thrive and suckle, lambs that will know the summer sun.
Lambs that will turn a few pounds for a man. As I cleaned the shed, I thought of all that was before me, but I was happy in that fact. I was making a new path, a path into being.
The sun has come and in the warm days, we can feel our natural calling to be farmers. It’s a special feeling.
The commercial herd are thriving thick and fast in the paddocks beside the house. They are out now and only severe weather would bring them in.
We keep a watch over the girls, my family and I. Each day has become a new day, a day where a man can find what life has in store for them.
We are feeding them on hay now, hay from last summer and a few nuts to keep them sated. My pins are ready, my straw secure.
I know there will be lessons in this season, but then what season has not brought lessons. There were years where I grew in a night of telling.
To the farmers who have begun lambing, to those yet to start, I wish you all the good luck of the season. Despite everything there’s life and lambing to be had.
I look forward to the days ahead. I look forward to the lessons that this season will bring. In them is contained a season’s worth of joy. Here’s to all the work that’s ahead. Here’s to it all.
I’m ready. I hope you are too.
John Connell lives and farms in Co Longford.