Entertaining Angels: The Lamb in the Living Room

 

I’ve written on this theme a couple of times before–Hebrews 13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” That’s pretty much an ironclad rule for me, and although I can’t say I bat a thousand, my average when I get to the plate is high enough to make it worth my while. (Note well that in the foregoing sentence, She finally deploys a sports analogy, correctly, coherently, and consistently. Or so She believes. Perhaps there really is a first time for everything. If I messed it up somehow, please don’t burst my bubble.)

Today’s little angel entered my life last night. I was winding down and had donned my PJs, when I remembered that I’d forgotten to feed our two outside cats. So I took some Cat Chow outside, and as I was filling up their food and water bowls, I heard a terrified-sounding little voice floating up at me from the barn.

It takes a while, if you have sheep (or probably any livestock), but after a few go-rounds, you can actually distinguish the brand-spanky new lamb bleat from yesterday’s, or last week’s, brand-spanky new lamb bleat. There really is a difference, and when there’s a new one, you need to check. And pretty soon you find that you can distinguish the “I’m a happy little lamb with a loving mom, and lots of yummy milk!” conversation (the mother usually responds, quietly, with what’s sometimes called a ‘nicker’), from the “I’m OK, but I’m lost and I can’t find Mom anywhere, please help!” rather panicky-sounding little noises (usually accompanied by great bellows from the equally distraught mother), from the “I’m in real trouble, and perhaps getting a bit desperate” fading and terribly sad little sound with no response at all.

Last night, it was the third sort of sound that I heard. So I went down to the barn, to discover that a young mother had just had twins. As sometimes happens with twins, especially with the younger moms, she’d dropped the first one, and then it must have occurred to her, somewhere in the dim recesses of her sheepy little brain, that she wasn’t done yet, and she wandered into another corner of the barn to have the second one. By the time it appeared, she’d apparently forgotten the first one, which she hadn’t cleaned up, and the little black lamb was lying on the barn floor shivering and pretty flat. I cleaned her up, and then tried to get her back with Mom and sib. It didn’t work, and Mom seemed determined to fling her firstborn around like a rag doll, something I just can’t abide.

It was late, it was cold, and I just wasn’t in the mood to argue.

So I brought the little cutie into the living room , and set up the Pack ‘n Play I keep around for just this purpose. (I have a system: Plastic garbage bag covering the pad on the bottom. Layer of “wheat” litter I use for the rabbits (in case she nibbles it). Layer of hay. Ratty old towel. In she goes. Cover with flannel sheet or comforter.) She’ll settle because it’s dark and she’s warm.

Until she’s hungry. Up every 90 min to two hours to feed her. So far so good, inasmuch as it is possible to be so under those circumstances, and to be, let’s not gloss over the fact, not smelling too good, neither.

She is very cute. I hope she’s OK. Sometimes, Mom really does know best, and more times than is possible to ascribe to coincidence, she will reject a baby with a congenital defect. They really do seem to know. Sometimes, if it’s not serious, it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes, the baby won’t survive. Still, we have to try.

She is particularly fond of Mr. She, and has taken over his favorite chair. I suggested to him that he might have to move to the barn in exchange, but he wasn’t so down with that idea. Fortunately, they’ve come to terms and discovered to their mutual delight, that it’s possible for them both to fit in there together.

I’m not over the moon with joy to have a lamb in the house (first one for two years), but I have to say, there’s something very soothing about sitting here with a little woolly creature snuggled up on my lap administering sloppy wet kisses to my hand every few minutes. I know she only does it because she wants a bottle, but still . . .

Her name is Pnight. The “P” is silent. She’s my second pet with a silent “P” to its name. For, let’s not forget, my sheep are pets. (Or as Mr. She says, “we run a welfare program for the sheep and goats,” which amounts to much the same thing).

Hope she makes it.

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  1. Weeping Inactive
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    How cute! “Welfare program for sheep and goats” – LOL! I love it! I hope she makes it too, She.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Cod bless her.

    • #2
  3. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    Yesterday there was a thread in the PIT about the silent P. One bit.

    https://youtu.be/nQLv7zrJk9U

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Awwwwwwww . . . that’s so nice of you!

    • #4
  5. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Ah, the Writers of Ricochet.  It’s not just what they say, it’s how they say it.

    • #5
  6. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    You had a post long ago about nursing baby lambs, if I recall correctly. And I replied how I grew up on a small farm in Ohio where we raised sheep and my Mom would do the same sort of thing – nurse the orphans with a coke bottle and big rubber nipple. Thanks again for the memory and for this nice story.

    • #6
  7. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Darn you, She.  I wasn’t going to give you any more compliments for awhile (too many makes me sound insincere), but I can’t help myself.  You’re just a damned good writer, one of the best I’ve ever read.  I bet your husband fell in love with you because of your prose. 

    You make me feel the way I once felt when I would run up against a really good pool player. 

     

    • #7
  8. She Member
    She
    @She

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    You had a post long ago about nursing baby lambs, if I recall correctly. And I replied how I grew up on a small farm in Ohio where we raised sheep and my Mom would do the same sort of thing – nurse the orphans with a coke bottle and big rubber nipple. Thanks again for the memory and for this nice story.

    Yes, that’s right.  I remember too!

    You can still buy the big nipples that fit on the coke bottles at Tractor Supply.  I usually use a baby bottle (for humans), just because the venting system on the newer ones is so good.  It lets air in somehow as the baby/lamb empties it, so you don’t get the effect that the lamb is sucking the bottle inside out, which can happen with the old plastic ones, or have to keep removing it and letting air back into the bottle through the nipple, which I found myself doing with the coke bottles.  It’s just easier.  But they all work.

    Thanks everyone, for the nice comments.

    • #8
  9. She Member
    She
    @She

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Darn you, She. I wasn’t going to give you any more compliments for awhile (too many makes me sound insincere), but I can’t help myself. You’re just a damned good writer, one of the best I’ve ever read. I bet your husband fell in love with you because of your prose.

    Thanks @kentforrester.  I think you’re gilding the lily, but I love it!  (Mr. She did tell me I wrote the best undergraduate Chaucer paper he’d ever received.  That was several years before we were a “thang.”)

    You make me feel the way I once felt when I would run up against a really good pool player.

    I admire pool players so much.  For me, it’s like chess.  I just can’t think that many moves ahead. And I just don’t know how a person figures out what looks to me like an utterly impossible shot which zings the ball right into the pocket.  That it can be done at all is amazing; that there are people who can “call” which pocket they’re going to put the ball in, is impossible.  It just can’t be done.  But there are people who can do it.

    • #9
  10. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Lovely story, it reminds of James Herriot’s book, “All Creatures Grunt and Smell”, or was it “All Creatures Great and Small, probably the latter.

    • #10
  11. She Member
    She
    @She

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Lovely story, it reminds of James Herriot’s book, “All Creatures Grunt and Smell”, or was it “All Creatures Great and Small, probably the latter.

    This made me laugh. http://ricochet.com/130100/archives/reflections-on-a-childhood-hymn/

    • #11
  12. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    How long until the lamb is ready to head back out to the flock?

    • #12
  13. She Member
    She
    @She

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    How long until the lamb is ready to head back out to the flock?

    Depends on the weather.  If it stays terribly cold, it could be several weeks, because she won’t have mom to snuggle up with.  If it’s fairly temperate, maybe a couple of weeks.  I might use the sunroom we had put on the South side of the house last year as a temporizing measure, if I can get her out there on warmer days.

    There’s also a calculation, until she can go 8 hours between bottle feedings, that I don’t want to get up in the middle of the night (perhaps more than once) and gear up and go out to the barn in the cold to feed her.  So there’s some self-interest there as well.

    • #13
  14. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    So adorable! I have an animal adoring obsessed close friend with lots of cats, birds, fish and dogs. Now she is raising polish chickens. All because someone gave her a cross-beaked polish chicken to care for (hand fed with an eye dropper daily).

    And her husband has not left her. He even had a garage retreat made for the polish chickens when it gets freezing out, over 90 in the summer/spring and a complete enclosed structure outside for nice weather.

    • #14
  15. She Member
    She
    @She

    Sweezle (View Comment):

    So adorable! I have an animal adoring obsessed close friend with lots of cats, birds, fish and dogs. Now she is raising polish chickens. All because someone gave her a cross-beaked polish chicken to care for (hand fed with an eye dropper daily).

    And her husband has not left her. He even had a garage retreat made for the polish chickens when it gets freezing out, over 90 in the summer/spring and a complete enclosed structure outside for nice weather.

    Some of the Polish Chicken breeds are spectacular.  Good for her!  (And hubby, too!)

    • #15
  16. She Member
    She
    @She

    She: It takes a while, if you have sheep (or probably any livestock), but after a few go-rounds, you can actually distinguish the brand-spanky new lamb bleat from yesterday’s, or last week’s, brand-spanky new lamb bleat. There really is a difference, and when there’s a new one, you need to check. And pretty soon you find that you can distinguish the “I’m a happy little lamb with a loving mom, and lots of yummy milk!” conversation (the mother usually responds, quietly, with what’s sometimes called a ‘nicker’), from the “I’m OK, but I’m lost and I can’t find Mom anywhere, please help!” rather panicky-sounding little noises (usually accompanied by great bellows from the equally distraught mother), from the “I’m in real trouble, and perhaps getting a bit desperate” fading and terribly sad little sound with no response at all.

    The most hilarious (hilariousest?) iteration of what the UN calls “simultaneous translation” of this sort of thing occurs at shearing time, when the mothers are shorn of their fleeces, and when, for some reason, the lambs completely lose what passes for their minds, feign madness, and completely forget who they belong to.  At that point, I imagine the conversation as follows:

    Lamb:  Mom!  MOM!!  Where are you?  Help!  HELP!!  Someone has kidnapped my mother!!!!  BOLO!!!

    Mom:  (Ambles over and nuzzles her baby.)  You damn fool.  I’m here.  Right here.  Patting you on the nose.

    Lamb:  Get away from me!!  What have you done with my mother?????  MOMMMMMMMMM!!! BAAAAA!!

    Mom:  Well, how about if I turn around and introduce your nose to my other end?

    Lamb:  Oh.  Never mind.  There you are.  Where’s lunch?

    They’re so funny.

     

    • #16
  17. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Darn you, She. I wasn’t going to give you any more compliments for awhile (too many makes me sound insincere), but I can’t help myself. You’re just a damned good writer, one of the best I’ve ever read. I bet your husband fell in love with you because of your prose.

    You make me feel the way I once felt when I would run up against a really good pool player.

    Yes, and she makes it appear so effortless.

     

    • #17
  18. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    She (View Comment):

    Sweezle (View Comment):

    So adorable! I have an animal adoring obsessed close friend with lots of cats, birds, fish and dogs. Now she is raising polish chickens. All because someone gave her a cross-beaked polish chicken to care for (hand fed with an eye dropper daily).

    And her husband has not left her. He even had a garage retreat made for the polish chickens when it gets freezing out, over 90 in the summer/spring and a complete enclosed structure outside for nice weather.

    Some of the Polish Chicken breeds are spectacular. Good for her! (And hubby, too!)

    She thought her husband would put his foot down about the chickens. Particularly the Rooster. After all they support a lot of animals already and recently moved into a smaller home on a 1/2 acre for their “growing old” years. Surprisingly he didn’t object to another breed joining their large pet family. She was hoping he might this time and is very grateful he encouraged her.

    Did I mention she also has horses at their ranch a few miles away?

    • #18
  19. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    One of my favorite farm girl memories is waking up to find a lamb in a box tucked in behind our coal stove in the living room! They were so adorable and soft, and they smelled so good.

    I’ve fed lots of bum lambs with the soda bottle/big rubber nipple and they are enthusiastic little suckers!!

    Sometimes, my dad would skin a dead lamb, and put the skin on a rejected one, then match it up with the bereft ewe, who’d sniff the coat, and welcome the baby to her milk. By the time the coat dried up and came off, the mom and baby were attached to one another. It was an amazing thing to me.

    Good luck with your lambs! It’s so satisfying to work with animals, it’s hard to explain.

    • #19
  20. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Oh, I forgot another thing that my students loved about the whole Groundhog Day goofiness:  I’d have them count how many weeks it was from Feb. 2nd until March 21st (Spring Equinox or First Day of Spring) …

    • #20
  21. She Member
    She
    @She

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    Sometimes, my dad would skin a dead lamb, and put the skin on a rejected one, then match it up with the bereft ewe, who’d sniff the coat, and welcome the baby to her milk. By the time the coat dried up and came off, the mom and baby were attached to one another. It was an amazing thing to me.

    I’ve heard of that.  I’ve never had to do it, for which I’m thankful.

    Good luck with your lambs! It’s so satisfying to work with animals, it’s hard to explain.

    Thanks.  Yes, I think you’re right.

    Please may I just put in a good word for the “sanitary cycle” on so many washing machines these days.  Used to be you could only get one on the most expensive, but now they are much more ubiquitous and affordable.  (Even though sometimes, pace Greta Thunberg, the towel, or sheet, or whatever it was, needs to be thrown out.  And I do.)

    Another marvelous invention is those disposable puppy pads.  The pads, I mean.  Disposable.  Not the puppies.

    • #21
  22. She Member
    She
    @She

    She: Hope she makes it.

    She did!  Here she is today (June 20), so 4 1/2 months old:

    • #22
  23. Al French of Damascus Moderator
    Al French of Damascus
    @AlFrench

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Darn you, She. I wasn’t going to give you any more compliments for awhile (too many makes me sound insincere), but I can’t help myself. You’re just a damned good writer, one of the best I’ve ever read. I bet your husband fell in love with you because of your prose.

    You make me feel the way I once felt when I would run up against a really good pool player.

     

    I would have thought so, too. Then @she posted that bikini shot from her youth on PEI. He had more than one reason.

    • #23
  24. She Member
    She
    @She

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Darn you, She. I wasn’t going to give you any more compliments for awhile (too many makes me sound insincere), but I can’t help myself. You’re just a damned good writer, one of the best I’ve ever read. I bet your husband fell in love with you because of your prose.

    You make me feel the way I once felt when I would run up against a really good pool player.

     

    I would have thought so, too. Then @she posted that bikini shot from her youth on PEI. He had more than one reason.

    LOL.  I’ll pay you your five bucks later . . . .

    • #24
  25. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    She (View Comment):

    She: Hope she makes it.

    She did! Here she is today (June 20), so 4 1/2 months old:

    They grow up quick!

    • #25
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