Monday, June 4, 2012


Today is one of the saddest days we've had on our farm. Today we lost our very first lamb baby. The one we arrived home on Mother's Day to find in the field. The one we waited for with much excitement. Our very first lamb from our very first bottle baby that we raised last year. And the worst part about it is that it was our fault.

Yes, I saw the cherry tree branch wilting, and yes I knew that they are poisonous, but somehow my brain didn't put the two together when I was out in the field yesterday. I saw where the chickens had pecked the bark all the way around a young cherry tree. They wringed a few plumb trees too before we moved them to a new area. Now the trees are in the process of dying and dropping leaves. Wilting cherry leaves produce arsenic, but healthy leaves are safe for the sheep to eat.

The baby lambs have just begun to nibble on green things as they walk through the field with their moms. Apparently, our older lamb nibbled on a wilted leaf yesterday morning. By the afternoon she was down with a stomach ache and bloated. I didn't know what was wrong. My friend Margie came with her years of experience and knowledge and helped me give the lamb some baking soda and mineral oil hoping that we could get her to pass any blockage. Early this morning I checked on her and she was worse. Bloated bigger and clearly in pain. I held her and gave her more baking soda and oil, but it didn't help. She was gone in less than an hour.

Bill and I both cried and cried. Losing birds is sad, losing lambs is torture. I asked him if he wanted to continue raising sheep. The way I feel today makes me wonder if I can go forward. But Bill wants to keep working on it. We've moved the sheep to the other side of the fence where no cherry trees are. That's the only thing I can think of that it could have been. Thank God the other three are okay.