A Gang of Lambs

If you have never seen a ‘gang of lambs’, then I assume you have never seen a ‘woolly mob’. We are currently in the midst of one and the same, especially around recess (that would be when the lambs are let out of the pen in the morning) and bedtime (that would be right after the lambs and their moms have eaten dinner – the ewes at the manger, the lambs sneaking a weaning drink before mom catches on).

With lambs on my brain, and spreading out over the pastures of our farm, I have to admit this is another blog with a sheep theme, as in ‘sheep phrases’. What can I say? I am surrounded by bleating lambs searching for their mothers. “Where are you. I can’t find you?” …then more bleating, “Which one are you?” It runs in the species. They aren’t very smart…but they sure are cute. I promise the lamb blogs will stop … as soon as our lambs stop being so darned adorable. Should be sometime early fall.

Because I have time to think and play with words in my head when I clean stalls or go about the farm counting sheep, I know that even the weirdest truisms must have some basis…in truth… and observation. There is one common phrase, however, that still makes me scratch my head. This is the act of ‘counting sheep’ to go to sleep.

I ‘count sheep’ because I don’t want to be caught off guard if a cougar decides to start whittling down my flock. But, I don’t get tired counting sheep. In fact, I’m not quite sure why counting sheep would make anyone feel like falling asleep. I more likely get aggravated as the little darlings refuse to stand still. Did I count 37 or 38 lambs? My count needs to be 38 or I will have to re-count. No, I’m not getting sleepy. Let’s be clear, though, while I don’t count sheep to fall asleep, I do sleep well when I have counted 38 lambs for certain!

Now, for my own descriptive phrases. The way I see it you take an urban girl, put her on a farm, and she might come up with her own phrases, but this time the analogies draw from her city upbringing. I think 38 lambs racing around the orchard or up the hills of the pasture could be seen as a ‘gang of lambs’, although I know it is not a very pastoral description. Lamb owners are nodding their heads about the ‘gang’ thing. They know what I am talking about. Okay, this is more a description of a scene than a truism and will likely remain here in this blog without further dissemination, but, trust me, those lambs running around are a mob waiting to happen!

While the mob is on the run, one can also witness ‘leaping’ lambs. There are no other farm animals I have watched that make this move (except alpaca prias, if you consider them a farm animal). The lambs will run and then, as if they can’t contain their enthusiasm, will give a giant vertical leap into the air. It’s a pretty funny, LOL (laugh-out-loud) move. What’s even funnier is the specific animal husbandry term for this jump. These lambs are ‘gamboling’. Imagine if we had called our place Gamboling Lamb Farm? The other term I have heard is to ‘sproing’. Sproinging Lamb Farm doesn’t work that well either. For the former I have visions of Las Vegas; for the latter a recovery center for athletes.

Whether to count sheep or watch them play in the fields, it’s worth a visit to a farm every so often just to clear your brain. There is active play going on with no words, or laughing, or yelling. The joy is in the running and jumping, the falling down, the going fast. There is no reason to run and jump in the pasture. I suppose for the lambs, it is hard-wired into their little brains to practice escape, but this gets mixed in with the game and then it becomes just a tangle of legs and a race for the highest point. And on and on it goes until the lambs tire and forget what they were doing, because there is grass underfoot and, oh, they must have come out here to eat, and, oh, where is my mama? And it reminds us we were young once, and we may have even seen the world through the eyes of a lamb.

Photo: It is almost impossible to take a picture of leaping lambs, so I thought I would show them playing king of the castle on our fallen apple tree

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2008 Scottie Jones

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