Sunday, July 28, 2013

Identity Crisis

Agnes came to me in early June from a friend's farm in Kentucky, Wandering Ewe Farm & Fiber Mill. My friend found her frantically racing around the pasture trying to get a ewe to claim her as well as her first meal.  With no four-legged volunteers stepping forward and the clock ticking down, my friend called me.  She knows I have a soft place in my heart for ophans, which I call "bottle-lambs."

After talking to her, we decided it best for the lamb to come here where she could be nurtured and loved, fed and played with.  Keep in mind a newborn lamb is usually around 5 pounds.  I keep my bottle lambs in the yard to facilitate bottle feeding every 4 hours the first week.  Agnes was supposed to buddy up with Iris, a Bluefaced Leicester cross, who was a couple of months older. But I got to noticing that Agnes, instead of sleeping in the wooden shed, was sleeping under the porch on the big dog pillow with the Corgi.  Somewhere along the line, this lamb started identifying with my Welsh Pembroke Corgi.  I didn't quit catch on to this in the beginning and just thought the Corgi sensed Agnes's helplessness as a lamb.

Then someone who has raised sheep for 40 years came to buy Iris.  After standing and watching Agnes for a little bit, she said, "That lamb has an identity crisis.  She thinks she's a dog."  So I started paying more attention.  My dogs dislike cyclists on the road out front and run around the house barking.  Agnes runs around the house with them baaing.  When the dogs sit on the porch waiting to be fed, Agnes stands there with them waiting for a hand out as well.  She curls up with Michaela the Corgi on the big pillow underneath as if her life depends on this dog.

I'm not sure what the dog is thinking.  As a Corgi, her instinct is to herd sheep.  I see Michaela putting all the other sheep in their place, but Agnes isn't herded.  At least not yet.  The day is fast approaching when I will have to return Agnes to Wandering Ewe Farm.  I know this will be hard on all concerned.  How does one tell a sheep that it is time to be put out with the flock?  She will be sorely missed.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ponderings of a Hoosier

Last night I heard the sure signs of the waning of summer, coon dogs on the track of a coon.  I am always astounded at how fast summer comes and goes.  I call myself a "truck" farmer as the minute the farmers start turning the soil in the spring until the last ear of corn is off the stalk, I like driving around and watching the progress of every field.  I am astonished at the speed at which corn grows.  The seed breaks ground and falters a day or two and then slowly starts its journey towards the sky.  At about knee high, the farmers come through with a shot of nitrogen and whish! the corn starts shooting upward.  What other plants are there that grows 8-10 feet in twelve weeks or less?  I know of none.

The stalks stand stately in the field like sentries watching for the signs of fall so that it can begin the change of color from green to brown, drooping and growing the ears that are like golden treasures on each stalk.

The corn is currently tasseling and that saddens me because fall is not far behind when the tassels start popping atop the stalks.  The brilliant emerald greens that stand on Indiana soils are the brightest we've had this year.  Crops have been stunted the past few summers, starved with drought.  Our reward is a typical Indiana summer this year with moderately hot days, some cooler days, rain and all that makes this Indiana.

I have only strayed a few miles from where I grew up and often wonder what it would be like to live somewhere other than here.  My roots are deep.  For 25 years, I have walked the path from the house to the barn, watching the crops of a morning and the stars at night.  The quiet of evening often rewards me with the hoot of an owl.  In the spring, the "spring peepers" sing their chorus of songs and reward me with the first sign of spring.  Are there spring peepers elsewhere?

I have heard it said that 'home is where the heart is' and wonder if I am destined to spend my life here on the farm.  I know the sounds and sights and neighbors.  I have to wonder as I look out and wonder what is next in my life.