Year before last we brought my dear mother here to the farm from a nursing home for her final journey. We knew her time was short. As we approach another anniversary of her arrival here and her passing and another year of weaning our lambs from their mommas, I felt compelled to share something that happened during my mother's short time here.
On July 28th 2018, the day before she left this life, John and I were weaning the lambs from their mothers. The window of my mothers room looked out over the pasture where we were. In the process of separating the sheep, I looked up (my heart and mind during those days were never far from her) toward her window and room. At that instant, I couldn't help but feel the magnitude of what we were doing...separating the babes from their mamas.
To WEAN: accustom (an infant or other young mammal) to food other than its mother's milk. accustom (someone) to managing without something on which they have become dependent or of which they have become excessively fond.
We knew my mother was shutting down and that it wouldn't be long. At this moment I felt the arms of mother nature comforting me. Yes, it brought tears but in that moment I felt my mother communicating with me through nature as if to say, it is a fact in life, it is real, and it is happening. Sooner or later we must say good bye.
This year weaning will be no easier then it ever has for us. We don't like separating them and for several years we didn't. What we observed when we didn't wean is healthier lambs (less stress) but the mothers will drop from exhaustion trying to feed their babes and combat the heat. Either choice is difficult and we make our annual determination based on environmental factors (heat, humidity etc) and weigb in the added stress...because it is real! This year we've had such extreme heat I'm thinking not, for now.
I will never, ever, take this process lightly. I never did. Especially now. Nature speaks to me all the time. Many of her messages bring me to tears. This one...well, it really got me and will stay with me.