My daughter and I are in Vermont for her graduation, and last night we arrived at a lovely bed & breakfast run by two accomplished men who live full, worthy, elegant lives. When one is not seeing clients at a local health clinic and the other is not directing the news at a nearby TV station, they are both in their renovated farmhouse fixing blueberry coffee cake for their guests, tending to their strawberries, and delivering lambs.
Behind their house is a pasture full of sheep, and this morning at breakfast we learned such interesting things about them: 1) After they’ve given birth once, ewes typically have twins or triplets. 2) If you want to know when sheep are ready to lamb, touch their udders; if they’re rock hard, the time is nigh. 3) When a lamb is born, it has a layer of brown fat to provide it with just enough energy until it can find its mother’s teat. 4) Sheep have distinctive bleats, and one here, it seems, had such an aggravating baa that our hosts finally sold her, though they felt bad about doing it. Unfortunately, they sold her to a neighbor who uses their pasture.