- A new lamb just born at the Oregon State Sheep Research Center
Who doesn’t love sheep, and especially their little baby lambs? Well, it’s lamb-birthing season here in Oregon, the surest sign that spring is soon to come (though we might finally get those dreaded dreary weeks of rain before then. It’s been an unusually mild and dry winter.) Oh, and did I mention the crocuses are starting to bloom here?
I witnessed my first live lamb birth today at the Oregon State Sheep Research Center
, just a few miles down a rural road from us. It’s a real rite of passage here, as school groups and families folk to the farm every late February to witness the births. Those ewes really pop those babies out within minutes, remaining standing to lick their newborn lambs clean immediately after the birth. Makes you realize childbirth is a much more instinctive animal, and less medically catastrophic, event than we humans have made it out to be. Nor did these ewes require any human assistance in guiding the lambs out of the birth canal. Once a leg slips out, the lambs basically climb their way out.
Speaking of sheep, I’ve been cleaning grass seed, hay and dirt out of a bundle of freshly shorn wool, in preparation for an intro to wool spinning workshop I’m doing at the OSU Craft Center
. The process reminds me of friends picking the stems and seeds out of a mound of kb before they roll a joint. But really, the repetitive back-and-forth of carding wool with brushes and then spinning is its own kind of drug, inducing a meditative state. I hear they teach mental hospital patients to spin. Hope it quiets my mind too, though frustration and impatience often sets in when I set out to master a new technical skill.