Olive’s enthusiasm

Regular readers might recall that a few weeks ago, we packed up our Romney ewe Fern with her lamb Oyster, and our CVM ewe Gabby with her lamb Olive, and headed over to the Amana Colonies Woolen Mill for a Maifest display. Through the two day period, we met and spoke with many visitors who came to get a closer look at our sheep and their wool.

Olive still looks very much like she did in this birth photo, just a little bigger!

Olive still looks very much like she did in this birth photo, just a little bigger!

I mentioned in the blog dated May 4 that Olive especially came to enjoy the dandelions that many of the children picked for her. Honestly, I had all but forgotten about Olive and the many children who fed her dandelions that weekend. I’ve been busily selling our lambs and arranging for our ram shearing, so these things have taken priority in my mind, and the Woolen Mill display had faded nearly away.

Yesterday, I played host to a relatively new alpaca breeder. This woman lives nearby and was put in touch with me via a mutual friend who saw us at the Woolen Mill. After exchanging a few emails, we had made plans to meet and talk a bit about fiber production. Since she has two young girls, I invited her to bring them along – children usually do very well with our lambs!

Shortly after their arrival, we decided to take a walk into the lamb pasture to show them our sheep. I was armed with graham crackers, mostly for the adults still nursing their babies, since the lambs have no prior experience with the treats. I knew that one or two might try a bite, but it usually takes the lambs a bit of time to realize that we are offering something edible. I knew the ewes would be interested, however, and their desire to nab the crackers would then keep the lambs nearby, too.

What I didn’t expect was Olive’s reaction to our presence. As soon as the four of us walked into the pasture (two adults and two little girls), Olive hopped up and ran in our direction, calling and calling to us in her excitement. Now, I knew this wasn’t a greeting meant for my ears – I am in that pasture at least twice each day and I have never gotten this enthusiastic greeting. No, this was all for the little girls leading the way. Olive was obviously remembering that every small human who came to our pen at the Woolen Mill had offered her dandelions – and she loves dandelions! I’m sure she hoped that these two children, too, would have something good to offer.

As soon as she got to us, Olive was looking the girls over for food. The two girls were armed with bits of graham crackers, and although Olive had no idea what the girls held in their small hands, she was willing to take a bite and try it. Obviously, if children had offered her dandelions before, whatever they held now couldn’t be all bad! As she chewed up her first bit of cracker, I could see her face light up – she liked them!

After that, it was all about trying to feed Olive graham crackers while trying to keep the adults at bay. Things can get pushy with graham crackers in the mix, but Olive was one determined lamb – there was no way she was going to let these adults get in the way of what she considered to be HER children holding HER crackers! She squirmed and pushed and always found a way in near the girls and their small fists holding the bits of graham crackers. Honestly, we were all smiling by the time Olive had had her fill.

Even now that a full day has passed, I am still smiling at the memory of Olive and the two little girls. I suspect this will not be the last time that Olive makes the connection between children and good things. I think Olive may be joining our ewe January as a member of the flock who enjoys visitors – an eager ambassador to those who want to meet our flock; particularly if they have young children or come armed with graham crackers!

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  • Bev says:

    I’m still smiling at the image your post helped create in my mind. Olive is so incredibly cute. I know if I “met” her I would be wrangling for a way to purchase and keep her!

    • Dee says:

      Actually, we’ve been trying to keep a Gabby daughter for years, and it seems that every year, someone has come along and bought her. This year, however, a number of factors came together in Olive that has kept me telling everyone that this girl is not for sale – no matter what! She is physically very similar to her dam, Gabby, but with several important improvements: she is genetically resistant to a terrible disease of sheep and will pass resistance to every one of her lambs (whereas Gabby only passes resistance to half of her lambs), she carries genetics for brown coloring (Gabby is all black-based), and she is a bottle lamb who is very attached to people in general, and me specifically. With all of that, there is no way she is going anywhere! Olive is staying!

  • Bev says:

    I’m actually glad you are keeping her! I know she will be well taken care of and loved.

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