Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lessons my sheep have taught me -- part 1

Today I spoke at a Ladies Morning Out, to a beautiful group of women -- many different ages, some with children, many without. I told them stories about our sheep and goats and about organic farming and natural dyes. I'd like to share some of those stories with you over the next few days.

Let me tell you about Tiny Tim, a very small Nigerian Dwarf goat. Tiny Tim was born 2 weeks premature. When he was born he was so tiny that he couldn’t reach under his mother’s udder to get the milk that he needed. He was unable to stand and instead crawled, like a puppy to the udder to feed. We gave him his first meal with a syringe, dribbling warm colostrum and milk down his throat and stroking his esophagus to encourage him to swallow. He had an incredible will to live.

Tiny Tim was Sarah’s special baby for a few months. Twice we had to revive him when he almost died. He had a problem. He stayed tiny. He never grew. So when the other lambs and kids were growing steadily, he stayed the same.

Once Sarah was picking wild strawberries, with Tiny Tim at her side. He was no more than 10 inches tall – the size of a Chihuahua. Tim was grazing in the patch of berries, when a coyote ran out of the woods at him. In seconds, our Great Pyrenees, Missy, was baying and running after the coyote and Tim was safe.

Tiny Tim taught me about bold trust. He would walk down to the pasture with the herd to graze, but when he wanted his milk he walked up the hill, all by himself, and pawed at the back door to get his bottle. He was never afraid. One day after his lunch bottle, he laid down for his nap and died. He had a heart defect and that’s why he stayed Tiny.

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