It has been a three year tradition at Swan Bay Farm to celebrate the birth of our lambs. People seem to be surprised that lambs are born in the winter, but if you are going to sell them at Easter that is the way it has to be. Also the ewes (mom sheep) come into season when the nights start getting cooler at the end of August. Sheep have a 5 month gestation period, so it is not unusual to have sheep born on the coldest, most stormy days of the year. It is a pristine time to be born, no bugs, just cool crisp air. Best case scenario, I go outside to feed the sheep in the morning and one, two, or sometimes even three little lambs are up following their mama, looking for a little snack of sheep milk. Sometimes I have to put on my sheep midwife hat (and gloves) and deliver lambs. Most of the time it works out fine.
The first time I had to deliver a lamb, I could see that the mom sheep was laying on her side having a rough time. I knew that lambs come out front feet first, which makes the lamb as narrow as possible in the shoulders, but what I saw was a foot and a nose. I quickly called up the woman I had bought the sheep from and asked her what to do and she told me that I knew what to do, now go do it. I was not so sure she was right, but somehow, when she gave me permission I got the courage that I needed to deliver my first lamb.
This is not the "How-to" you were expecting. I had to reach inside of the mom and find another foot, and gently start coaxing the lamb out, front feet first, head and shoulders, the belly and back legs. I put this GIGANTIC lamb next to his mom who immediately started to make quiet little baa-ing noises to him and started to lick him. I named him Heffer. It looked like he would be ok. As I was watching this tender bonding moment, the mom sheep made a funny noise and squeezed out another little tiny black girl lamb, half the size of Heffer. Her name would be Midget. I never imagined in my life that the title of sheep midwife would be added to the things I could list in my obituary, but it is.
The first year we had Lamb Celebration Day, I decided that since it is always cold when the lambs are born we should serve hot chocolate and (since I love people with food) lamb cookies. Here is the recipe:
Lamb Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup butter 1 cup sugar
2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Mix thoroughly butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in flour, baking powder, and salt. Put into a zip lock bag and chill at least 1 hour. Roll dough 1/8" thick and cut into a sheep using a cookie cutter. (of course if you don't have a sheep cookie cutter you will have to change the name of the cookie). Place onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until very light brown. (Makes about 4 dozen 3" cookies)
Let cookies cool then frost and decorate however you like.
This recipe is for a quadruple batch of sugar cookies. You can do the math if you are making less cookies or save the rest of the frosting for a cake or more cookies later.
1 stick butter flavored Crisco
2 Tbs Clear Karo Syrup
1/2 cup water
2 pounds confectioner's sugar
You can also take this frosting recipe, divide it into some bowls, and add food coloring mixing until evenly distributed. Hand your child a little paint brush for each color and let them paint the cookies with the colored frosting.
Now for the Announcement: something for you to look forward to.... On Sunday, May 5th we will be having Sheep Shearing Day. Our very special sheep shearer, Hoyt Emmons, will be arriving about 2:00 to remove all of the sheep's wooly fleece. He is a wonderful teacher and will explain to everyone everything you might want to know about this yearly event. The wool will be used to make yarn, clothing, and felted items for a whole year, until it is time to shear again. There will be more details as the time gets closer.