6:00am- Feed the bottle lambs, fill water buckets, give grain to the lambs, fill hay racks
5:00pm- Evening chores
Shear the sheep, check fences, clean pens, prep fleece orders.
These are normal chores. Normal routines. Normality with myself and my flock.
Right now, normality is an illusion. The world right now is not normal. Things have changed. We struggle to source our preferred brand of grain because the feed store cannot get reliable shipping. My favorite weekend of the year, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, has been cancelled. Prospective buyers of my lambs who were interested in starting flocks are not returning calls. Life as a shepherd, though seemingly so on the daily, has not remained the same. The sheep continue their daily grazing, blissfully unaware of how the world has changed around them.
Still, we are thankful. We are thankful that I work for a farm where we can source a little bit of whole corn to stretch the grain a little longer. We are thankful for social media that allows us to continue to interact with fiber customers. We are thankful for a steady market for our lambs with the local Arab community... even though I'd rather they go to breeding stock than meat.
I keep reminding myself that it's ok to be upset about the things that aren't going as planned, but I also keep reminding myself that this is temporary. The struggles of my small flock pale in comparison to other peoples' situations. Warmer weather is coming and we won't need to feed grain in a few weeks. Maryland will be back next year. Lambs will find homes soon enough.
I hope that you, your families and your flocks are healthy and safe!
Emmaline Long, main owner of Orchard View Farm, has a passion for Lincoln sheep and loves educating others about her breed and farm, She currently serves as the Vice President of the National Lincoln Breeders Association.