It was Easter 2020. The first holiday after Covid, to some extent, infiltrated the USA.
The first holiday where most of North America was asked to not gather and instead get used to this thing called “shelter in place” - a term that is no longer scary, but was at the time.
My cappuccino self was hating being home.
Working in Corp America and adjusting to full remote work for my company & my teammates across the world was not an easy task. While I worked remote part time usually, they did not and it was a huge adjustment operationally. Add on extended time off school + distance learning. Can I get an Amen from parents nationwide who were ready to lose it during the spring of 2020??
Plus, no Starbucks while going to the big city for work once or twice a week, spring break plans to Scottsdale cancelled, restaurants and my beloved coffee shops closed... and to top it off we had a winter blizzard Easter weekend.
There went the spring time church outfits (to watch church online ... but hey, I could sport a blouse and heels in my living room) and Easter baskets hiding outside. Not only were we unable to gather with our loved ones for our traditional Easter gathering, but I was forced to get a frozen pizza in the oven or put my big girl pants on and cook a ham and get out the crystal for a fancy Easter dinner myself. I chose to reach for the Waterford and show my sons the value of getting the china - even just for ourselves - to celebrate Easter and Jesus (#goodmom).
That Easter evening, my farmer and the boys brought Easter dinner to the original farmer (my father in law) at the farm and returned with news of the first spring baby lamb born.
How nice I thought......
An Easter lamb, born during a pandemic, in a snow storm...there’s some Biblical lesson there to teach my children (lamb + Easter + sins made white as snow through the blood of Jesus) . You know... since I was sheltering in place with the end of the world upon us and all, I was going educate my sons in any way I could on Biblical truths! (#greatmom)
However their story did not stop there....
Due to the blizzard it was hard to get to the sheep
barn, the mother was a first timer and wanted nothing to do with the lamb. In fact, the newborn hadn’t been cleaned by her much, she refused to go near it/feed it and it seemed that the lamb had a broken leg.
The Cornfield farmer in me kicked in ... and I looked at my farmer who shrugged and said that the poor little guy won’t make it, but hey, it’s survival of the fittest right now due to the conditions and if it survives the night, maybe we can go in the morning and help give it some milk or try to keep it warm after the blizzard ends - and see if the mother will take it or we can introduce it to another mother once the other babies are born soon (that’s a thing!) .
At first I agreed.
There’s a fine line between getting involved emotionally with farm animals. They are not pets. Those lambs will live for a year or so at the farm and then be sold at market or possible kept for breeding (the females) or end up in my freezer. You cannot get attached to these lambs. I knew that. They are not pets. They deserve to be cared for and kept healthy of course....but they are not pets.
i repeat - they are not pets.
Scroll up now and look at the photo above.
Needless to say, this guy became a pet.
Back to the story:
My cappuccino self poured a Waterford crystal glass of Pinot Grigio (i was trying to get into my chilled/spring wine collection) and started to think how I could turn the pending decline and ultimate, probable passing of this unwanted Easter lamb into another lesson about redemption and sacrifice and Easter (#smartmom). We all sat down to watch a beautiful theatrical performance of the story of Jesus and Easter on tv (shout out to Sights and Sounds Theater streaming their past performances on Easter = incredible) .
But the sad faces of my sons... and the look my farmer was giving me pushed me over the edge.
I slammed that glass of wine and got up, took off my fuzzy slippers and pulled on my boots. I reluctantly grabbed my farm winter coat from the back of the closet (that I thought was done being used for the season) , grabbed a few “supplies” and headed out in the blizzard. It was a long 2 mile drive to that farm. It was dark. It was snowing, it was cold. But it was Easter and there was a newborn baby lamb in need. I was on a mission.
The original farmer was concerned and I think very glad to see me. I think he was, as a seasoned sheep farmer, weighing options of trying to care for this lamb who would not survive likely without the colostrum / first milk of his mother and with a broken leg in the blizzard.
As much as it pulled at one’s heart strings, it wasn’t a pet and a farmer must be smart and realistic. Plus he couldn’t do much on his own due to the elements and frankly a whole slew of pending lamb births were soon coming... but I knew I could help.
I trudged through the snow and pushed open that heavy old barn door like a cornfield-farmer-rural woman champ. Ma Ingalls had nothing on me...
Then I saw him. Shivering in the corner. He was covered in snow that was blowing in through cracks in the pen where the farmer was able to get the mother as she was in labor. She was stomping her foot, standing as far away from the sad looking creature as she could. She was not sheared because she was not intended to have gotten pregnant. She was not one of the usual breeding ewes from what I remember at this point, so she had no clue what was happening.
I hopped into that pen instantly and picked up this lamb still covered in frozen/dried after birth (usually the mother cleans the baby immediately) and noticed the oddly wobbling leg. Definitely broken.
The original farmer happily agreed to allow me to take the lamb home to our house. I immediately posed it as a learning opportunity for the boys and he agreed (probably sighing in relief).
I had no clue what I was doing.
I put him in a box, he was wrapped in a towel and immediately brought this creature home. We washed him in warm water. I had powdered lamb milk (yes there is such a thing) with I believe some sort of colostrum / first milk supplement that the original farmer gave me. I also had a syringe and tube because, you see , you need to put this tube in its mouth, down its throat and literally feed him directly into his stomach. Something to do with sucking and air and ensuring the nutrients get into their stomach.
Apparently this can be fatal because it can get into their lungs. I hate this - i don’t get it - it’s way above my head, but I’m still learning and haven’t killed any lambs yet ...so I must be doing something right - there you have it.
After a successful tube feed and warm water bath in the laundry room sink, this creature stopped shivering, he actually opened his eyes and put his head up. We were all in love.
We used a narrow box as a pen (the photo is just of him in it initially, to ensure he fit. We made a nest of warm blankets in it, but he immediately snuggled into the hard enclosed space and wanted to nap).
After a quick nap he enjoyed looking around and being pet by curious red headed boys.
Within a half hour, he was alert, warm and most importantly, as a guest in my cappuccino house... he was clean.
TO BE CONTINUED......