Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lamb stew

I know it's spring in Northumberland - not so much because of daffodils' blare, nor that the chill air is rinsed in gold before you breathe it in, then out, then in again. Nor even because a woodland close is carpetted blue in stars enough to wish for winter's end a thousand times and more.

How I know it's spring is that a friend made me lie on top of a sheep while she did squishy things at the business end, pulling out three long and slimey lambs. They lay there tumbled, bloody in the straw while their triumphant mother licked them clean and woolly, persuading them to breathe. Sprawled across the ewe, trousers wet with sheep pee and waters from the floor, I enquired: "Can I get up?", and glancing at my three-year-old just stopped myself from warning: "This - this here - is what happens if you ever kiss a boy."

36 comments:

Wife in Hong Kong said...

Love the link to "How to lamb a sheep" - could come in useful in Hong Kong. I lived in the Hebrides for two years, along with Katy Morag, and loved lambing. But then those horrid black hooded crows (hoodies) would come and peck out the eyes of the weak ones and I would weep for the ewes who lost their lambs to nature, or the butcher, so I wasn't really tough enough. Better off in HK probably.

TexasRed said...

Seems like a fair warning!

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Ewww I was just eating my lunch!
No, seriously though that must be quite an experience. Did she have her camera handy? ;-)

Granny on the Web said...

Sounds a fun way to spend the morning!!!
When I was about 13 and my Dad had acquired his first sow; come the time for her delivering and she was muttering and restless, he got me to stay there with her as he had to go off to work. So I sat, and out came one by one 13 little pink piglets which I had been instructed to wipe with straw and put under the lamp away from the sow so she wouldn't squash them. aI was do proud and so excited I just couldn't wait till Dad got back, and dashed to the next farm so the wife could come and look at what I, me, alone, yes ME. had done.
My Dad was chuffed.
Love Granny

Londongirl said...

Hi, having been tied up with work etc for far too long I've just found your blog and love it! I'm going to go back to the start and read it right through. It's a treat, makes me laugh out loud-just like another blog I recently came across. (That's The Johnson Diaries: Life on the Edge at www.nora-johnson.blogspot.com). I'll certainly be adding you both to my blog roll.Take care.

Arcadian Advocate said...

For those of us who can lamb sheep in our sleep it is very good to read an outsiders view on it...

Arcadian Advocate said...

oops that should read outsider's ... with an apostrophe.. !!

Expat mum said...

Aaahh - you wouldn't get that in London now would you?

sunshine said...

At 3 kids are so literal -- she would have assumed all she had to do was kiss a boy and she would have three adorable, fuzzy new pets!!

Cath said...

This cracked me up.
You should have said it. You will regret not saying it...

*still chuckling*

family affairs said...

What a good idea. Enough to put anyone off. I no longer need to move to Outer Mongolia with my children. We're moving to Northumberland. Lx

womagwriter said...

Thanks for the link -brilliant. I had to help my cat kittening once, luckily no KY jelly was required.

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

perfect. just perfect. and what a wonderful idea in educating on the imperatives of No.

Parisgirl said...

Love it!
You know when it's Spring in Paris when the air becomes more difficult to breathe!
WV was reLAMBlo. How Big Brother is that?

rosiero said...

Good job you didn't - she'd think she'd got to kiss a lot of sheep when she grows up, instead of frogs.

Honorary Northerner said...

As the mother of 2 teenage girls, one 17 and 1 14, you DEFINITELY should have said it!!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Something my mum never told me.

I trust you enjoyed the lambing?! You know where to come if so..

CJ xx

Pig in the Kitchen said...

i think you could really confuse the three year old on lots of levels. you did best to keep mouth closed.

Pigx

billatbingley said...

Sounds much safer than when I was present at our first daughters birth. In those days I wore a knitted tie, and at the final push, wifey grabbed the tie and nearly throttled me. When I got home the only way I could get it off was to cut it!

MoaningMum said...

Hmmm....sure beats queuing outside a jewelry sample sample sale early this morning in the freezing cold before parting with so much money as to still be physically sick about it 12 hours later. Bring on the NATURE i've had it with inner city living!

Miriam said...

My God, this post has just about everything in it! Lovely poetry at the start, then that link to the "Step by Step Lambing" site, and then the funny ending. Fair do's to you, I couldn't do that after lying on a sheep! mimi

Dick said...

Reading this made me feel exactly as I did when I ate too much Caramac as a child.

silverpebble said...

I feel for the ewes. When 'squishy things' were happening round my way back in June, something in my brain decided it just wasn't right. I wanted to be shoe shopping. I tried to get up off the 'birthing couch' and leave, saying, 'I've got to go'. Hubby and midwife had to insist I stay. I think it's hard to select a good pair of heels when the baby's crowning. I wonder if, at transition, the ewe just wants a worzel and a trip to the shearers.

lifeblog said...

Now we can read you in Sweden too!
In Swedish!
Thank you very much!

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Maddie Grigg said...

You've been away for too long. Baaa!

mutleythedog said...

The same thing happened to me - but with squids... big squids...

cheshire wife said...

Well you can no longer tell your daughter that you found her under a gooseberry bush!

scaryazeri said...

It is your sense of humor I keep coming back for.
Must get the book. :)

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

I think that just might work for a 14-year-old too!

Lucy Diamond said...

Hello,
Just wanted to say I loved your book. I laughed, I cried, I vowed to visit Northumberland... I thought it was fab. Thank you!

Mopsa said...

Loved the lambing link; wish it had attributed the writer (or did I miss it?). My ewes are about to pop, any hour, any minute. Fancy having another go?

Sarah said...

My Dad persuaded me to roll up my sleeves and untangle unborn lambs, once, a long time ago.
(Don't worry, he was a farmer, not a gameshow host.)
I remember looking at his broad, shovel-like hands and thinking 'Oh, poor ewe!'

Swearing Mother said...

Hey Wifey, you're blogging less than me these days, wassup?

I know you must be really busy on the international book scene and all that, but am really missing you.

mutleythedog said...

Me too! Also I have that rubber item you requewsted...

le @ thirdontheright said...

hee hee hee - you do make me laugh - le