Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It Takes a Village

I woke up at 3am worrying about our new lamb.  Was she safe?  Was she warm? Did coyotes hop the dutch door in the barn and attack her?  As awful visions entered my mind, I reminded myself to pray.   And then I just kept repeating, "Faith over fear... faith over fear."  I've gotten better, but I still struggle with that...

Dawn couldn't come soon enough, and I couldn't wait to check the barn.  So I left with the kids early this morning so we could stop by the farm on the way to school.  I had the kids wait in the car, just in case; and I warily walked to the stall where our lamb spent her first night with us.  My heart was beating so hard, but when I peered over the dutch door and saw her looking right up at me, a beautiful warm feeling rushed over me and all was well in the world again. And I smiled so big...  that smile I can't help - but love so much... and my eyes filled with tears of relief and gratitude.

iphone photo of our new lamb her first morning at our farm

First time she let me pet her

After I took the kids to school, I came back to spend some bonding time her. She is just so scared and skittish.  She still lays down most of the time, but if you get close to her, she gets up and runs around the stall.  Her feet hurt, but still she runs.  I want her to know she can trust me and that I love her.

Her wool is dirty and matted into dreadlocks, but around her face and neck, she feels so soft and warm.  She seemed to like being pet, and I feel like she was listening to me as I assured her that she was safe and here to stay.

I noticed that she didn't eat much of the hay we left her the night before, and that concerned me.  The vet wasn't coming until Friday, but I'd be sure to ask William (the ex sheep farmer / horse farrier) when he got there at noon to look at her feet.

And there was the issue of her name.  Since I've always wanted a lamb, of course I had a name already chosen.  Lulubelle.  But somehow, this lamb wasn't Lulubelle.  It just didn't work for her.  For some reason, the name Hope kept coming back to me.  And she looked like Hope to me.  Much more than Lulubelle that's for sure.  Also, I love the meaning... especially right now - at this time in my life and also during difficult times in many of my friends' lives.  It seems we all need hope right now- afterall, who doesn't?

So somehow later this morning, the most wonderful group of people ended up joining me at my farm... there was Martha (my best friend & horse trainer), Pastor Scott (who had come to talk with me), Kyle, Kyle's friend from church who wanted to check on the lamb, and of course Beth (my new partner in crime). :)  We all gathered around the barn and talked... our hearts so full. ♥  New friendships were made, we laughed about how it all happened, and we rejoiced at the happy ending for this lamb and how it was really a beautiful new beginning...

Then at a little after noon, look who showed up... in a tiger striped jeep!!  Beth and I just kept laughing and smiling...  you just couldn't make this up if you tried.  William, or Billy as I like to call him... pullin' up to the barn in his Fred Flintstone mobile. lol...  We were all cracking up. :)

After taking a look at the lamb, William told us that he thought she was around a year old and that she indeed had been neglected.  Her tail had never been docked (which was fine with me), and her wool was a mess as we could see. Her feet were very overgrown and in pain.  He confirmed our thought that she was a Katadhin sheep. As for being pregnant, he said her teets were waxing, so it was possible but that she wasn't due anytime soon.

He also confirmed that she was wild and scared and indeed needed some bonding time but that he was sure she'd end up being my best friend. ♥

Before we knew what was happening, William had recruited Kyle as his new sheep wrangler / farrier assistant.  It was hysterical...

But when they started to try to catch her, she ran around frantically and then tried to jump out the top of the open dutch door.  I closed it and then had to walk away because seeing her scared made me so sad.

It didn't take long, and William announced that her feet were done and in good shape now.  Her feet still seemed sore and she continued to hobble around a bit, so I will be sure to ask the vet to check her feet on Friday.

When William began to leave, I asked him how much I should write him a check for.  He thought about it for a second and then he looked at me and said, "No charge."

Wow...  I just can't believe how many people have touched the life of this one lamb...  and how many lives have been touched and will surely be touched by her story.  As the six of us gathered at her door, watching her in her light filled stall, I wondered what the world would be like if we all showed each other the kind of love and compassion that so many people have shown to this one lost lamb...

What if?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lamb of God

Day one with our new lamb.... this happened.  ♥

Dreamer the horse and Hope the lamb - Florabella Collection

Dreamer the horse and Hope the lamb - Florabella Collection 2

Kyle (who originally found our lamb on the busy road) shared the above photo, and below is part of what he wrote... His words really touched me. I can't help but think our families weren't brought together by this lamb by accident...

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. (Matthew 18:12-13 ESV)
"This photo is the gospel.
This real story demonstrates how we can be found and placed in a family we never dreamed possible. How we can find shelter in the wings of one much mightier than our own ability of strife. How we can find new friends that can protect us from harm...harm we may have never knew was a threat.
Jesus loves me...this I know."

Lost Lamb, Found Lamb

There is something about sheep...  I've always wanted a lamb.  There's something just so beautiful and special about them, and I've been trying to convince my husband that we should have one since the day we bought our farm.  I have only ever asked for one thing for my birthday... a lamb. And on Christmas, Sasha asked Santa to bring Mommy a lamb in her letter to him.  But until today, all I ever got was stuffed animal lambs (and I have quite the collection).

Today, I am so happy to say I finally have a lamb... well actually, a pregnant lamb.  And the story is quite an incredible one.

I don't usually take Sophie and Oliver to school (I take Sasha to her school), but today Michael and I switched so I could join a few of my new mom friends at Monday morning prayer/devotions.  On my way into the school, I overheard a couple new friends talking.  Cathy was asking Kyle if he'd found a home for the pregnant sheep he'd found, and he proceeded to say no and went to show her some photos on his phone.  I asked to see them and immediately blurted out that I had a farm and had always wanted sheep.
Kyle after walking a mile with the lost lamb
Kyle then told me the story of how he found her...   (He was on his way to church Sunday morning, when his son told him he saw a sheep on the side of the road.  They were on a busy road and in a town where there really isn't much livestock, so Kyle was surprised to see that there really was a sheep on the busy road.  Kyle's family went into church, but Kyle set out to see if he could help this sheep.  After chasing her quite a way down the road and cornering her (and getting kicked in the face), he was finally able to catch her.  He threw her over his shoulder and walked a long way back to his truck where he secured her, and then he went into the church to try to figure out what to do with her.  There he met a guy named Mark, a visitor from out of town, who said he lived next door to a large sheep farm where he was sure the sheep could live.  So Mark took the sheep with him all the way to the sheep farm, but the sheep farmer rejected her because she was of a different flock... oh and then he told Mark that the sheep was pregnant.  Not knowing what to do with a pregnant sheep, Mark put her in his garage with some water and some borrowed hay.   He then proceeded to try to find her a new home or to find her original owner... but to no avail.  So this lost, pregnant sheep spent the night in Mark's garage.)

Lost sheep in back of Kye's truck.  Makes me sad to see something tied to her neck like that...

Mark set up a temporary pen with borrowed grass and a bucket of water while he looked for a home.

After talking with me, Kyle called Mark with the good news... but there was one problem... my husband.  How, after promising him I would quit with the Lucy antics and crazy animal rescues, would I ever convince him to let me have a pregnant sheep?  So I asked my friend Beth to join me for coffee so we could hatch a plot.  Plotting and scheming is a specialty of mine, and oh so much fun...  So we grabbed our coffee and sat outside to talk. Here are just a couple of our ideas:

1.  "Hi honey... good news and bad news.  Bad news is that we're rescuing a sheep!! Good news is that she's PREGNANT!!"    (lol)
2.  "Oh my, look what just showed up at our farm!! Lucky day!"
3.  "I really want to have another baby, but if you let me get this pregnant sheep I think the lamb will suffice!"

Or, I could wait until Michael left to go out of town the next day and just sneak the lamb in and ask for forgiveness later (I've done that before).  OR I could just carry the lamb over my shoulder to the barn and hope that he'd see me out the window and laugh and lovingly say, "Oh Lucy...."  (haha that was more like a dream than a plot).  :)

Finally, we decided that I should just take my chances and be honest.  So I called him from the coffee house.  He sounded really busy, and I chickened out.  Beth said, "You should have just sneaked it in really fast right before you hung up... like "ohbythewayhoneyIgotapregnantsheep...bye!"  Haha, I just love Beth- she's definitely my new Ethel. ♥

William the Farrier/Sheep Farmer
Beth and I were laughing so hard, when up rides this crazy looking character... an older guy with bandanas, jewelry, tattoos, red cowboy boots, and a super confident swagger. Something told me that I needed to talk to this guy, so without even thinking as he walked by, I said, "You look ready!"  "I was born ready", he said back with a smile, and then he went inside to get his coffee.  Beth and I then googled "How to care for a pregnant sheep" and joked about how I would need a Great Pyrenees dog to protect the sheep from predators and how the heck would I explain that to Michael. I also called a livestock vet who said she didn't have an available appointment until Friday.  Then our new friend came outside with his coffee... he walked by our table and came to talk to us.  He said his name was William, but I told him I would call him Billy.  I asked him if he rode anything besides his Harley... he said yes- that he was a horse farrier and that he rode horses. He had a strong accent, and when we asked where he was from, he said the Pyrenees Mountains where he grew up on a SHEEP FARM!  Beth and I just couldn't believe it...  what are the chances?  So I accepted one of his business cards and decided to drive home to try to convince Michael that this sheep was meant to be ours... with the way it all went down, how could we possibly not take this sheep?
Our sweet new lamb on her way to our farm.

Mark Sutton of the band Brother Trouble with ourlamb
Well, she must have really been meant to be mine, because Michael
was surprisingly easy to convince... and an hour later, Mark drove up to my house with the sheep and a bale of hay.  Kyle, being the sweetheart he is, met us here.  After realizing that the sheep would easily escape the barn at our house, we decided to take her to our farm (just 5 minutes away).  They helped me get her all settled in with water and hay.  We talked for quite a while, and I could tell that they were both so happy with this lamb's new home.  But I could tell that the lamb wasn't in good shape.  She could barely walk, and her feet looked horribly long to me. And when she did walk, she walked on her elbows half the time.  She had a rope and a dirty torn sheet tied tightly around her neck and dragging on the ground.  The first thing we did was cut that off... we tried to pet her, but she was so scared and just ran from us (she's fast!).  She was dirty and in pain... and pregnant.

And the vet couldn't come until Friday.

I could tell I also needed a farrier, so I called mine who wasn't available till the end of the week either.  I knew this sweet lamb couldn't wait that long...   Her feet needed tending to, and she needed a vet- or at least someone who knew about sheep.  After all, I didn't even know what to feed her, if she was for sure pregnant, if she was healthy or how old she was!  And that's when it hit me...  William!!  I'll call William... he's a farrier and also used to be a sheep farmer!  He was happy to hear from me and said he'd be at my farm tomorrow at noon.  Wow, there are no accidents... this was meant to be.  Truly divine.  I thought of Willow...

Later that day, we brought the kids to see the new addition to our farm.  I had been calling her Lulubelle, since that's what I'd always imagined I'd name my lamb.  Somehow though, it just didn't suit her... I'd need a new name.  We decided not to go into her stall and freak her out, so we watched over the dutch barn door...  and one by one, the horses came to greet our new sheep.  Dreamer (one of our latest rescues I haven't even written about yet) seemed to really be interested in saying hello.  I can't believe what I just witnessed... it was one of the most beautiful moments I've ever seen.  I can't wait to process these photos. ♥  Let's just say, God is everywhere... and I not only felt, but I saw the Holy Spirit in our barn today.  I feel so blessed...