First, it is Easter Sunday, and it has been snowing all day. Second, I am sitting in my kitchen watching a vignette play out in black and white. From my kitchen window, I have a perfect view of the barnyard.
There are only two sheep out there on this cold snowy day. They are, of course, the two Icelandics, Gretchen and Heidi. They love the cold weather because they have that beautiful 18 inch long double coat that keeps them toasty warm. If only we could be that lucky! Snuggled up next to Gretchen like little bookends are the twins, Grace and Gustav. They are trying to keep warm, but their coats are not quite as warm and comfy. They are 50% Black Welsh Mountain, and by their nature seem to prefer it inside the barn on really cold days. It is nonetheless beautiful to see how Gretchen, a pure white Icelandic ewe, dotes on her two little jet black lambs. From this distance, she bears a striking resemblance to a very large sheepskin rug, but with eyes and horns. Every now and again the little ones jump up on top of her and walk up and down on her back. Sometimes the two of them are up there balancing on her back. She obviously doesn’t mind. In fact it is completely the opposite. She relaxes, closes her eyes, and raises her head in contentment. Other lambs have jumped on her back, and we have seen that same look of contentment. Gustav and Grace are now exhausted, or so it would seem. I can see one stretched out on top of her, enjoying a moment of rest.
Heidi has only just returned to the barnyard with her little ram lamb Hagar. Not so little really. Hagar was 12 pounds at birth, and Heidi had a very difficult time. He is also a Black Welsh Mountain cross, and he looks pretty much the same as Gretchen’s twins with his soft, black poodle like curls. Heidi too is enjoying the freedom of the outdoors after being cooped up for the last 6 days in the lambing pen.
There is probably around ten feet separating the two mothers. Hagar, who is brand new to the scene, just did his little sideways lamb dance over to where Gretchen is lying, looked her in the face, and then bounced all the way back to his mother. This little maneuver was repeated over and over again. Gretchen is the only other sheep in the barnyard that looks exactly like his mother, and I think it confused poor little Hagar. Eventually he got it and ended up snuggled next to his mother.
Just a final word about Daria. When I went into the barn this morning, I was curious to see how Daria and her little one were doing. To my surprise and amazement, I found Daria circling around the lambing pen with Darius perched on her back. Not just perched, he was standing! He remained standing, precariously balanced like an acrobat at the circus while she continued to circle. He is only two days old, but apparently he has inherited his mother’s strength, resilience, and most of all stubbornness. They are going to make an interesting pair when they return to the big barn, a force to be reckoned with I’m sure!