Manyfold Farm Lambing Shift


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.  
5 manyfold farm great pyrenees sheep protector

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.

10 manyfold farm newborn lamb

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.

11 manyfold farm newborn lamb and mother

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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