At this time of year I blog about the first lambs, if only as an excuse for gratuitously posting cute lamb photos. This year, the lambs happened, the photos were taken, and then… nothing.
Finally, I am catching up.
At the time, right at the beginning of May, things were a little busy. I was doing some gardening – a bit of weeding, planting a few trees, that sort of thing. I’d even hired a few tools to help: a one-and-a-quarter tonne excavator and a one tonne dumper. Forty trees is heavy work.
The books tell you that a pregnant ewe’s udder will fill just before lambing, but “just before” means somewhere between two hours and two weeks. Calypso was already drifting into week three and looking so wide we even wondered if it might be triplets, though that is very rare with Soay sheep.
Finally, on the Friday, Calypso moved on to picking out a spot well away from the other sheep, so this was it, lambs coming at any moment. Every time I went past on the way to where the trees were going, I checked on Calypso and confidently told my partner that today was the day.
On Saturday, Calypso got serious about a spot well away from the other sheep, so this was really it. (The trees were going well, but the small and manoeuvrable trailer chose that moment to have it’s suspension collapse.) Every time I went past with another batch of trees, I paused and checked, and yes Calypso really, really meant it today.
On Sunday, as the last of the trees were headed for their new homes, Calypso held down that isolated spot, just to show what really serious meant. I had no doubt, and firmly predicted that the lambs (got to be triplets, or maybe quads, because how much wider can a sheep get without exploding?) would arrive today, or maybe tomorrow, unless she’s just messing with us and has Wednesday in mind.
By the end of the day, Wednesday was starting to look like the favourite.
On a whim, we went out to do a final check at ten on the Sunday evening, arriving just after the first lamb. Then we went back to the house to consult the books, Google, old photos, anything that might hint whether we ought to be expecting more.
At about half ten, we inspected again, just after lamb number two arrived. As ever, even a ewe that’s grown as wide as she is long, knows that twins are the limit.
Say hello to a pair of ewe lambs, Speckles and Spot.