Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Black spots

This morning, most unusually, Jeremy the cat x Gloucester Old Spot pig made a nuisance of himself around the sheep shed. He's never done this before, never shown an interest at all in the lambs and shied away from our rather forward sheep.

Most strangely of all, he tried several times to gain admittance to the fox-proof area undercover. He's never done that before either, despite the abundance of rats in there at times. They know it's fox proof too. Jeremy was really, really interested - not in rats - but in what was going on inside.The only difference between this and any other morning was that Belinda had been confined to quarters because she'd gone into labour. Jeremy seemed pretty anxious about this and paced up and down outside, craning his neck to see what was happening. We had enormous hopes for a black lamb from Belinda and the odds were pretty good given that she is black herself. The highlight of the lambing season so far has been Annaliese's black lamb and Belinda had witnessed our delight over her. Belinda's had a single lamb, so big she had to be helped out with a lot of straining and effort aided by us. At first sight of it's pink feet and white legs I thought we had a white lamb again and couldn't quite fathom it. Then Belinda produced this:
The background music to the birth was slightly different too. There were the usual birds singing in the spring morning, the other lambs bleating and their mothers answering and the far away lowing of cows on the hill. Throughout the whole process there was also a cat meowing and crying to come in.
The ewe lamb is a stunner, as big as the two week old lambs already and standing almost immediately. Out of a totally black ewe by a totally black ram she should have been... well, different. She has a lot of white patches and two round black spots on her white hip. Just like Jeremy...
We're sure Belinda and Wilberforce spent some quality time together, and we don't want to doubt her, but... Wilber's thrown a lot of small lambs this year, and this girl is quite large. As far as cats go, so is Jeremy. We haven't had a chance to bring up the question of her lamb's parentage to Belinda and she herself has been too busy to comment. It's a delicate subject. She may never tell.