Manyfold Farm Lambing Shift

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One of the perks of living in Serenbe is the neighbors.  I am surrounded by a diverse and wonderful community of people.  Rebecca and Ross live just a couple of houses down from me and I was thrilled to discover that they own a sheep farm only 4 miles from Serenbe called Manyfold Farm.  Another amazing Serenbe neighbor, Ali Harper Wittorf, who is an accomplished photographer, has photographed Ross and Rebecca on their farm and has given us a beautiful and profound glimpse into their world.  I hope you’ll take a moment to view her photographs; you won’t be disappointed.

I was fortunate enough to arrive in Serenbe just in time for lambing season.  I have volunteered for a shift each week for the next month and a half, and let me tell you, I am as happy as a pig in a poke… or should I say a lamb in the fold?

Volunteering for lambing is an experience not easily described.  It’s the kind of thing you have to experience firsthand, but let me give you a glimpse.

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My shifts are on Tuesday nights.  I returned during the day to get these photos, but the night is a magical time.  When I first arrive, I walk down the hill to where the expecting Ewes are.  I am greeted by a hearty bark from Oak, the great Maremma Sheepdog.  He is formidable… until he recognizes me as friend, then he is as cuddly as a polar bear.

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He works hard all night to protect these beautiful animals.  
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I imagine the flock feels safe with him around.  He protects them from coyote and fox.

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When I arrive at night all alone, I feel safe because I know Oak will protect me.  I look around at these amazing creatures and breathe in the peace emanating from the flock.  Have you ever heard a hundred sheep chewing their cud all at once in the peaceful, cold night?  It is a profound experience, and one that tickles at the corners of my imagination and consciousness.  
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But it’s day time now and Oak is taking a much needed nap from his long night.  Babies were born, after all, and there were hours where he was the only protector on duty.
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This baby is only hours old.  ”Are you my mother?”

7 manyfold farm baby lamb hours old

“Where you are mama?”
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“Maybe if I just rest awhile and look super cute, she’ll find me.”  

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And of course she does, and she gives a comforting nudge.

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This baby was born on my watch.  I got to hold her and she melted my heart.  I tagged her ear, cleaned her umbilical cord, and returned her to her watchful mother.

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Mom cleans her and encourages her in the right direction for much needed nutrition.

12 manyfold farm mother ewe and baby lamb

All is well.  Baby is strong.

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This baby was born only hours earlier.

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Oak is tired but always alert.  He will jump into action if need be.

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He watches me go, happy to have received some good head rubs.
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As I leave the pasture, I notice the cows in the neighboring field.  It is a beautiful scene.  I am happy and look forward to my next shift.

  1. Linda Corbin
    Linda Corbin02-13-2013

    Your photos are so cute and getting to participate in lambing looks like such fun and good medicine for the soul ! I can get kinda green w/ envy here!
    I have followed you for quite awhile and am so glad things have calmed down and you got to put some new roots down. I hope life continues to smile on you and all your new friends & neighbors – human & animal!

    • Carla Royal
      Carla Royal02-14-2013

      Thank you for your kind words, Linda. Yes, you’ve been following me quite awhile! I am finally home. It is wonderful to put down roots, at last. But I wouldn’t trade all the adventures I’ve had. :)

  2. Mufidah Kassalias
    Mufidah Kassalias02-15-2013

    Lovely photographs, Carla. I especially like the second image. Serenbee sounds like a truly wonderful place to live. What a find! :-)

    • Carla Royal
      Carla Royal02-15-2013

      Thank you, Mufidah. I feel very fortunate. After a decade of being a gypsy, I am finally home. :)

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