In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lamb island

We have been watching for lambs for almost a week. Leroy and Arnold, the shepherds, left the rams on the island on December 21st. Arnold says the due date will be five months minus five days from the time the rams are dropped off. But maybe the rams were a little slow this year, or maybe pregnancies take as long as they take. 

The sheep go off on their own to give birth. On Wednesday we heard a lamb bleating somewhere, then yesterday we saw this mother and her two lambs. They were about two hundred yards from the house, near a wall that Greg uncovered last summer, when he cleared that area of spruce.  Behind the wall is a forest just to the south of us, where the lambs may have been born.  Twins and even triplets are not unusual. 

The flock of sheep that stays around this part of the island -- a shifting number between a dozen and two dozen -- has been hanging out near the house lately. They lie about in the lower orchard, then amble up to the front yard, back orchard, side yard, finding delicate spring taste treats everywhere they go.  Three of the seven rams are often with the ewes, though they sometimes wander off on their own.   

McNutt's is one of the sheep islands along Nova Scotia's southwest coast. To read more about the wild island sheep as part of Nova Scotia's heritage and history you can search this blog under the phrase "wild island sheep."  Harry Thurston has a lovely essay on the wild sheep of McNutt's Island. It was first published in Canadian Geographic ( "Nova Scotia's Sheep Islands," June/July 1990) and reprinted in his collection of essays called The Sea Among the Rocks: Travels in Atlantic Canada, Pottersfield Press, 2002. 

No comments: