...for Breeding Season to begin.
S'more Courante This is the time of year when I want to throw the girls in with their designated boyfriends and just get it all over with. But no...later March or Earliest April is NOT the best time for lambs to hit the ground at my farm. I'm still working at my seasonal job...the world is still cold and frozen or cold and mud...and the grass won't show up for another month. I tried it once, and it wasn't worth it.
So I hold out a little longer. Sometime after Thanksgiving I'll match everyone up. After that I keep an eye out for "evidence" in the pens. Guesses and suspicions get scribbled in my sheep date-book. And I long for that run of three tolerable warm days after the first of the year to tear down the breeding groups and put the rams into some sort of squeeze pen. I don't want them to kill each other with space to fight, or freeze to death from lack of room to bed down properly.
Why do I do all this work? By January I've forgotten. Sometimes the only reason I keep going is because it would be a crime to let these sheep starve in the dead of winter. Keep it all going until spring when I can sensibly sell out.
Nature has her tricks, though. About the time I start crying at the slightest provocation during the daylight because I've been sleep-deprived from doing 2am barn checks since the beginning of April, there comes a perfect lamb. And if it's not perfect, the next one might be. One whole year...to create this promise of hope that carries enough momentum to perpetuate my love of being a shepherd.
early October As it happens, my ram situation is still in flux and might change dramatically before Thanksgiving. My original published breeding plans have been thrown out the window. I'll need the next few weeks to come up with new ones. But time to reflect and consider is something I have.