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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

One fine day

The flock of wild island sheep that visits our house has eleven lambs now, four sets of twins and three singles. 

The ewes are good mothers. They keep very close to the newborns, mother and baby resting together after the trauma of birth. As the lambs get older, stronger, and more independent, the ewes keep an eye on them but only occasionally interfere with their fun. 
The lambs cavort about with enormous energy but then they need to lie down and rest.

There are still some pregnant ewes lying about, so we expect a few more births in the next few days.  Last night a ewe gave birth to twins in the area between the two parallel stone walls south of the house, the same area where the very first twins were born. The ewe and her lambs stayed over there until this afternoon, then moved to the front yard, and eventually rejoined the flock when it came up from the lower orchard. 
The Major, whom we admire greatly for his gentle dignity, is with the flock more often than not. Most of the lambs bear some of The Major's markings -- black stockings or feet and black faces, and one pair of twins both have the beginnings of The Major's curly horns. The white lambs are beautiful, but the ones with markings are even more adorable. 
The newborn lambs seem so frail compared with the now-jaunty lambs who were born a week ago.The older lambs -- ranging from a couple of days old to a week old -- are full of fun and energy.They are remarkably relational. They initiate play with each other, racing around here and there in little groups. One lamb kept looking at its mother, wanting to go off and join the gang, but not quite ready to leave her. They do, though. You can almost see them gain confidence each day. Not that they don't still need their mothers. They will be nursing for a while yet. 

I think sheep have no depth perception. If I stand behind the picket fence or if I am inside the garden, behind the fish net fence, they seem oblivious to my presence.  We move slowly and quietly and they usually let us go about our work without getting too worked up about sharing the outside with us, as long as we don't actually come toward them. 
I'm continually amazed that we have the great good fortune of being able to watch the lambs so often during these enchanting first days.  

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