All That and No Mint Jelly?


I spent about two hours yesterday chasing lambs to dock their tails. I finally tackled this one behind one of the sheep shelters. It was all very dignified.

If we were some of those real farmer people, we wouldn’t be chasing lambs around. We’d corral them into the barn and corner them in a stall. We’d dock their tails lickety-split and go home to sip iced tea out of Mason jars on the porch instead of spending the better part of an afternoon chasing them around three pastures.

But we’re not real farmer people and we don’t have a barn. So we looked up in a book how to dock tails and we chased them around three pastures till we captured them one at a time. (Boomer was not actually helping.)

We managed to get the mamas and the other sheep (and Jack–

–he hates it when I lump him in with the sheep as if he’s ONE OF THEM) separated so we didn’t have so many interfering woolly bodies in the way.

(Annabelle’s not a sheep, either. She hates it when I don’t point that out.)

Only the babies can go under the gate, so we had to keep trying to herd them back to the right pasture.

Lambs pretty much only want to be your friend if you’re bottle-feeding them. Annabelle used to take walks with me! But these lambs? All they care about is their mama. Their mamas don’t really care about me, either, but I do have a fantastical bucket, so I got my bucket of feed and sat down in the sheep shelter. I lured one mama at a time into the sheep shelter with my bucket and pounced on whichever baby made the mistake of following her in there.

52 swooped in and docked their tails while I held them. This worked pretty good at first, but the last one got the system figured out, which is how I ended up belly-flopped on top of a lamb on the ground behind the sheep shelter.

You dock lambs’ tails using this little doohickey.

It has four prongs that spread out. You stretch one of the little orange bands around the prongs then slide it up the lamb’s tail and release it. It cuts off the circulation and the tail eventually falls off. It only hurts for a short time then the tail goes numb, so the lamb isn’t in any longterm discomfort.

It’s healthier for them to have their tails docked–a sheep with a long tail is susceptible to attracting maggots and flies. They would be in more and lifelong discomfort if their tails weren’t docked.

I didn’t even know sheep were born with tails until I had sheep.

Mamas comfort babies right away.

The babies wanted even less to do with us than before.

I think they were a little mad.

Especially this one.

That’s the one I tackled behind the sheep shelter. I was picking stuff out of my hair all afternoon, so I’m pretty sure I looked like this:

I gathered some flowers to add to our Easter dinner table before I went home.

These old-fashioned daffodils are growing in our meadow. We don’t know who planted them or when. The forsythia is growing along the creekbank.

Then I cooked and baked and prepped until I fell into bed so that I would have today’s meal ready as much as possible in advance because we are driving to Ohio to look at a possible new addition to our farm.

NO! I can’t tell you! It’s a SECRET.

Maybe I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Happy Easter, if you celebrate! Either way, have a lovely day!

P.S. We are having roasted leg of lamb (NOT ONE OF OURS!) with mint jelly (finally, I deserve some), garlic mashed potatoes, green beans (home-canned, from last year’s garden), scalloped corn (from the garden, too!), cornmeal yeast rolls, old-fashioned chocolate cake, and lemon cake pie. With flowers picked from the meadow bottom and dyed eggs from my chickens for table decoration. And maple sticky buns for breakfast!

You? What are you serving/doing today? Anything secret? YOU CAN TELL ME.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on April 4, 2010  

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30 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 4-4

    How do you have the energy to chase lambs all day and cook all night?
    I’m making a ham, that’s it, a ham. Possibly scalloped potatoes. Did I mention we all have the flu? Don’t know if anyone will feel like eating. Anyway, Happy Easter!

  2. 4-4

    Today I baked an ollalieberry pie and a lemon glazed cheesecake. I also made a rainbow jello (very pretty and verrrry yummy), deviled eggs and sauteed mushrooms. Tomorrow I will make the chicken breasts stuffed with Monterey jack cheese and ortega chilis (super yum!) I usually make butterhorn rolls but I just had surgery and need to take it easy.

  3. 4-4

    We’re sick with colds here, so only those well enough to go went to church; we don’t have a lot going on here, but I enjoy reading what you are doing in your neck of the woods! Can we at least have a hint as to what the big secret is?!

  4. 4-4

    Oh, Suzanne, the coffee went! Lovely first picture :lol: :lol: So who had the camera and went chasing you to see you sprawled? It couldn’t have been 52 :no:

    I’m making the Pineapple Cheese Casserole & Marinated Vegetable Salad from the forum recipes, ham, dilled garlic potatoes, asparagus. DD is bringing dessert, so we’ll see what that is!

  5. 4-4

    Happy Easter all, i hope you guys feel better soon. im making a glazed country ham. i had to soak it for the last two days to get the curing salt out. the first time i bought one i didnt read the instructions and well you can guess what the end results were. too salty to beans, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and fresh strawberry shortcake. i hope you get a calf, the milking kind. thier so cute when they have the cow bell around thier neck.anyway i know it will be great suzanne so far you have chosen the best, happy easter to you and yours…..

  6. 4-4

    We are docking lamb tails today, too. Already gave our oberhasli kids their CD/T shots this morning and plan to work some in the greenhouse. I love being a farmer! Happy Easter everyone.

  7. 4-4

    Happy Easter to Everyone!!
    I’m working today and not sure what sort of dinner my hubby will fix but I can tell you I had a fantastic Day Before Easter. Had two of my grandkids with us so I had tons of help dying Easter eggs and baking sugar cookies and then homemade lemon buttercream frosting for them. I get up at 4 am and while the rest of the house was sleeping, I made the Easter baskets and when I go home today at 2:30, we’ll take the kids home full of eggs, chocolate and butter cream!

  8. 4-4

    What a fun thing to do. Dock tails then pic flowers I lvoe it!! I wish I could do that but sadley I am working at the job that pays me 12 horus today!! But will have ham sandwichs this evening when I get home!! :happyflower: :pinkbunny:

  9. 4-4

    Happy Easter everyone! Hope everyone feels better soon

  10. 4-4

    Happy Easter, Suzanne :sheep: :pinkbunny: …and Happy Spring, too :sun: :happyflower: :purpleflower: :happybutterfly:

  11. 4-4

    Happy Easter, everyone! Have a great day!

  12. 4-4

    Happy Easter to you and your family! I think you’re driving to Ohio to look at an alpaca. Yes, I think that’s next. Hee hee!

  13. 4-4

    I get to work today!

  14. 4-4

    Secrets!!!:hissyfit: Can’t we go with you?!! :happyfeet: Glad to read that you are able to go after that belly-flop. ;) Hee, hee, no family here so not much going on, but I’m having fun playing with these little emotioncons. It is a perfectly beautiful Easter day, and my place is awash with yellow and white with dots and dashes of blue. Even the birds are yellow.

  15. 4-4

    Happy Easter Suzanne and everyone! I am making a brisket with mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, green salad, and carrot cake for our Easter dinner. The brisket has been in the oven since 6:30 am and the house is beginning to smell really good! :eating:

  16. 4-4

    nothing going on here DH working on a wood shed, and me…..??? maybe McDonalds. Thats sad

  17. 4-4

    I planted 3 rows of potatoes and some onions and going to Charleston to the in-laws! Have a Happy Easter! :chicken:

  18. 4-4

    The sheep are beautiful. You sure do fall gracefully! Made the lemon pie/cake yesterday. Wanted to eat it as it came out of the hot oven. Can I have it for breakfast? Too long before dinner. Blessed day to all.

  19. 4-4

    My husband is working on a new pen for the chickens this morning; then we’ll head to his folks where his 5 brothers and their families will join us. I’m bringing homemade peach pies, pizza bread, and a ham and cheese bread.

  20. 4-4

    I am working at my second job. I did the afternoon and midnight shift yesterday. Came home for a few hours sleep and then head back for a single shift in about 20 minutes. Come tomorrow I start my week at the factory for 40 hrs. Happy Easter to everyone on the board.

  21. 4-4

    Homemade chocolate sheet cake with this amazing icing… here’s the link if that’s ok, if not, nevermind, : It really is good. OH yes and scalloped potatoes, salad, ham, veg, olives stuffed with feta….

    Pioneer Woman used to be my fave webplace to find ideas and recipes. Since finding yours, tho, I have changed my mind.

    Happy Easter!

  22. 4-4

    Poor little lambies but you gotta do what you gotta do! Ham, potato caserole, broccoli, asparagus, salad, rolls, wine and strawberries, melon, blueberry cake and cinnamon rolls. There’s just 6 of us and my one daughter and boyfriend will eat at his sister’s earlier in the day. Lots of leftovers lol.

  23. 4-4

    We put the boys, Westies, in the back yard and my husband took me out to lunch in the big city. Ate outside on their deck and listened to the birds and the gulls. Lovely day. By the way, I made the Lemon Cake/Pie yesterday also, but I served it with Blueberry sauce. Had some frozen left, yummie.

  24. 4-4

    :duck: I’m assuming 52 took that picture. He needs to do that more often for “Suzanne in action” shots! LOL! Happy Easter to all. :duck:

  25. 4-4

    Happy Easter – loved the story!!! Ya’ll are farmer’s in training! Hope you had a great day with family and the farmer animals.

    Now tell us a little about your visit? Who/what/when and where?

  26. 4-4

    I LOVE the little mad lamb! It looks like a gremlin in the face. :) Happy Easter!

  27. 4-4

    Oh poor little lambies!! I know it’s better like you said, but I’m such a smush about animals. I definitely could NOT be a farmer. :no:

    Give them extra head pats from me tomorrow – if they let you get near them LOL. :sheepjump:

  28. 4-5

    I read somewhere about a lady who had a hard time rounding up escaping goats. She changed it by ringing a bell every time she fed the animals. So they learned to come running when she rang the bell. All your farm needs is more Cow Bell. :yes:

  29. 4-5

    Leg of lamb roasted in red wine, garlic mashed, fresh lemon asparagus, spring salad with mango,scallions and avocado, fresh baked yeast rolls, and apple pie for dessert!

  30. 9-24

    I can remember feeding the baby lambs on my Uncle ranch in Colorado. All bottle fed. And the tool you used for the tails. Well you use the same thing on the critters that you can castrate.
    No pain, they just fall off. Helped my dad do that to some of his pigs, on his farm in Arkansas.

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