17 March 2010

A Lesson on Lambs

There is a new addition to the Camont family.....LAMBS. Two very precious, very new lambs.
Kate knows a couple who owns sheep, so we drove north toward their farm into the Lot region of France, where the soil and landscape is quite different from the heavy clay around Kate's place.

On the way, we ran across two ancient Shepherd's huts built on the edges of a field.
This one in the distance is the bigger of the two, and was probably used for a
little refuge from the sun for a shepherd as he babysat his fluffy white flock.

The second hut was smaller and had a few inches of water still left in the bottom-
most likely once a spring.

The stonework is incredible, so precise and STILL STANDING in pristine condition. Does anyone know the artist Andy Goldsworthy? He creates structures like this one, and others with sticks, ice, stones, raindrops etc. They are temporary in that he builds them in places where they will be destroyed by natural means like melting from the sun or being carried away in the tide.

The old farmhouse is built right on a river and at one time was a working mill. The white
building to the right is the old mill house, but is now just another barn. Walnut, chestnut
and pine trees cover the property and create a wonderful, homey nest in the valley.

Happy sheep in their large, shady pasture.

First task? Getting the sheep in one place to snatch up a young one.
Sounds easy right? Just put food out and they all come running.

Craig, the owner, caught the first lamb. It is a beautiful little girl and a
local Gascon breed with black circles around its eyes.
Maybe this is mommy? Perhaps she's just a little angry?

No one knows who will be next, and they're all on guard, watching, waiting.

One little lamb, all alone and no one to play with.

Kathryn has arrived! And 2 days into the Camont experience she gets her first taste
of what it feels like to hold a warm, woolly animal in her arms. When we got the lambs home, I wondered why their knees were dirty and discolored...well, here you have it.
Drink up.

Craig demonstrates how to position the lamb. Sitting on its rear end, the little one is incapacitated and can't move from your grip. This is the position that
is generally used for shearing sheep as well.

And of course, no farm is complete without a dog. This Australian Sheep dog, with its
brown and ginger coat, is not only a rare color but also the best dog I have ever met.

Such a proud new mom with her new baby lamb.
Can you see the resemblance?

Thanks Craig, and good luck to Kate Hill in her new endeavor.