Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Tiny Tail For Mother's Day


Where's my mommy?

Once upon a time there was a beautiful lady sheep named Annette who gave birth to an itty bitty set of twins—one boy and one girl. Annette was not new to motherhood, but she was new to the idea of twins.

When she found herself in a Bonding Suite with two newborn lambs instead of just one, she became a little frantic. And in the ensuing confusion, she stepped on the little girl's tiny leg with her big strong hoof and hurt it very badly.

Annette eventually calmed down, and she allowed the twins to nurse. But the little girl could not stand up on her own, and she needed someone to hold her steady at the milk bar. To make sure she received enough milk, she was also given supplemental bottles.

The twins curled up together when they slept, and the little girl quickly became strong enough to stand up and balance on her three good legs. Things were looking up.



But then, either because she smelled different than her twin since she was getting most of her milk from a bottle rather than from her mother, or because she was obviously weak and injured, Annette began to reject her baby girl. She refused to let her nurse, and pushed her away with her nose when she came near, often knocking her down in the process.

The little girl would not give up, though, because deep down she knew that this was her mother, and that they were supposed to be together. But Annette continued to push her away, and soon the little girl was only getting her milk from a bottle.

When the day came for the three of them to leave the Bonding Suite and graze in the fields with the rest of the flock, the little girl stayed close to her twin brother and felt safe.



They soaked up the sunshine together and contemplated the enormous world around them. When the little boy cried out because he had lost sight of his mother, Annette would rush over to him and they would go off together. But the little girl couldn't keep up, and her frightened cries went unanswered.

Now the farmgirl who tended to these sheep had a very large heart and a love for all creatures that was so fierce it often outweighed logical and rational thinking. For instance, she did not for one minute think (as most other farmers would) that this tiny lamb, who would probably never grow up to be a productive member of the flock, should not be allowed to live.

Instead, she held the woolly little baby in her arms, smothered her with comforting kisses, fed her warm bottles of milk, and racked her brain trying to figure out what in the world the two of them should do.

And then an idea came to her. Late that night, when she went down to the barn and saw that Alison, another beautiful lady sheep, had just given birth to a big baby girl, the desperate farmgirl decided to try something crazy. She put Alison and her big new baby and the little injured twin all in a Bonding Suite together. And to her great surprise, the little girl rushed right over to Alison's milk bar and began thirstily helping herself to some much needed colostrum. And Alison let her drink!

Alison, who was no doubt a bit wiped out from just having had a gigantic lamb, kept sniffing at the two babies and looking from one to the other with a rather confused expression on her face. And while she nuzzled and murmured sweet nothings to them both, it was quite clear that a jumble of thoughts were running through her tired head: "I'm pretty sure I. . . I mean, I see two, but. . . well, I just don't have any recollection at all. . ."

And although the sight of the big lamb and the tiny lamb together reminded the farmgirl of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in the movie "Twins," her crazy plan appeared to be a success. And the little girl was determined to make this work, because nobody was knocking her about, the milk was tasty and plentiful, and she had secretly always wanted a sister instead of a brother. Plus she had a wonderful new mother.

But after 12 hours, despite several little things the farmgirl did to help trick Alison into thinking she really did have twins, she came to her postpartum senses and concluded that she had most definitely given birth to only one baby, and the jig was up. The injured little girl had been rejected once again.

So the disappointed farmgirl, not knowing what else to do, put her back out into the grassy field with her twin brother and the rest of the flock. But when she walked down to check on her a little while later, she found the itty bitty baby girl sitting all alone in the tall grass because all of the other sheep had sneaked into the adjoining pen without her.

And in that instant, the farmgirl made a decision that she knew would change both of their lives forever.

She picked up the abandoned little lamb (whom by this time she had named Caraway), held her up in front of her, looked straight into her beautiful blue-gray eyes and said, "Okay, here's the deal, Cary. From this minute on, I am going to be your mother. Now I can't guarantee that we will all live happily ever after. And I'm not sure if your injured leg will ever work properly. But what I can promise you is that I will always love you with all of my heart.

"We'll just take it one day at a time, and do the best we can. I will spend as much time with you during the day as possible, and at night you will sleep in the barn with the other sheep, because they are your true people, and you are still a valuable member of the flock."

And for the farmgirl, that was that.



But little Caraway wasn't quite sure what to think. In less than a week she had already lost two mothers.



But she looked around, didn't see any other options,



and decided that the third time must be the charm. So she dutifully trotted behind her new mother as they headed down the driveway to check on the other animals.

Now while the farmgirl was comfortable and happy with her decision, she knew that she had just undertaken a difficult, time-consuming job.



So she immediately hired a nanny. There wasn't any actual nanny work on his resume, but he had a lot of babysitting experience, he seemed to be a likeable fellow, and he was the only one who applied for the position. Fortunately he and little Cary took to each other right away. Now that that was settled, it was time to get back to work, because there are always lots of things that need to be done on a farm.



Cary was carefully placed in the Multi-Tasking Baby Buggy, and the three of them set off for the garden where they spread some organic fertilizer and planted two different kinds of summer squash seeds.

The next day, after taking care of chores in the barn, they all went back into the garden and picked lots and lots of arugula. Then the nanny stayed outside while Cary and the farmgirl went into the kitchen and turned that arugula into some delicious pesto. Cary was quickly proving herself to be a very agreeable and patient baby, and she only peed on the floor once.

As decided earlier, Cary slept in the barn with the other sheep, and while she enjoyed curling up with her woolly flockmates, she was thrilled to hear her mother's voice calling out to her in the morning.

The third day they did all sorts of chores around the farm together, and then Cary had a nap in the barn. When she awoke, her mother was there to greet her, and because it was a rather chilly day, they went up to the house for a warm bottle of milk and a hot cup of tea. Then the farmgirl said she had to do some typing on the computer. But since it was Mother's Day, she wanted to spend time with her new baby, so the two of them went into the farmgirl's little office.

After a few minutes of inspecting everything, Cary curled herself up between the leg of the chair and her mother's feet and promptly fell asleep to the tap tap tapping sound of her mother's fingers dancing on the keyboard.



So what happens next? None of them know. But what they do know is that you should cherish every day, accept whatever comes along, and always love your mother--no matter who she may turn out to be.

The End.

January 2009 Update: Baby Cary is all grown up and doing just fine! You can catch up with her farm adventures here.

May 2009 Update: Baby Cary turns three years old! You can see how she looks now, plus some of my never before published favorite baby pictures here.

May 2010 Update: Cary is four years old and doing fine! Catch up with her—and see some never before posted baby pictures—here.

May 2011 Update: Wow—Cary is five already! Click here to see how Cary looks now, along with more never before published favorite baby pictures.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the big hearted foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres—and she wouldn't trade the experience of having a lamb in the living room for anything.

84 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the incredibly beautiful story. Here's to ALL mother's of ALL creatures.

    Nickiemom

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for that wonderful story. Happy Mothers Day, Farmgirl.

    ReplyDelete
  3. what an incredibly sweet and heartfelt story - ay, just so lovely. cary is a gorgeous and lucky little lamb - can't wait to see how her life goes ;) thanks for sharing this sweet story, farmgirl ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy Mother's Day. Thank you for such a beautiful story. I hope cary has a long and happy life.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a lovely story. She's such a cutie. Kudos to you for giving her the chance her wooly mother wouldn't. Happy Mother's Day.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a great story, Farmgirl! It sounds like you'll be busier than ever. But in a good way (isn't it all good, though?) Happy Mother's Day to you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is an incredible story and expertly told. Annette, from one twin mother to another...I do understand the frantics but feel sad at the same time. And giggled when mom no. 2 woke up from postpartum relaxation..know that as well. That's when life kicks in! I hope that there is a farmgirl like you around to take care if needs be. Raise my glass to you and Happy Mothers Day!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just to prove there's more than one way to mother ... lovely, lovely storytelling. It kept reminding me of the no-doubt-thousands of times I insisted my grandmother tell her own childhood story of the lost little duckie ...

    ReplyDelete
  9. That was a great story (and moral), Susan! Thanks for posting it.

    Happy MOther's Day - hope you have a fantastic day :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy Mother's Day to you, Susan!
    What a great story, and so well told.
    xxx
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mary Lou/Texas5/14/2006 4:33 PM

    WOW!!! That is such a sweet story.
    I want it read to my grandsons. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Now, turn it into that children's book. As I read the story, I turned pages with pictures...in my mind...with an imaginary child sitting beside me looking at the pictures and feeling all of the emotions. Then...again imagined... the child wanted to read it again. You do have a winner. Happy Mother-ing Day to you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for the beautiful Mother's Day story! I raise my glass to you. Please keep us updated on your new little charge.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sorry for repeating what everyone else said, I didn't read the other comments until after I posted. I guess we are all on the same wavelength. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. :'-)

    I'm such a sap...darn you! (sniffle)

    Happy Mother's Day Susan... I look forward to the future adventures of Cary.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dear Farmgirl,
    I'm an adoptive mom, too (and also adopted!) and I send you and Caraway lots of hugs. I'm sharing this with my two little lambs today- a great Mother's day tail-- ooops-- tale.

    Chefpeggy

    ReplyDelete
  16. My heart goes out to you Farmgirl and your adopted baby Cary. What a beautiful tail for Mother's Day. I'll be anxiously awaiting updates on your beautiful little girl's adventures in her new world. Happy Mother's Day!

    Felice, Portland, Maine

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, what a wonderful story, and I also think it was so very well told from your heart. Bravo! I had my daughter and grandaughter (we read it to her), read it and they thought it was great. Happy Mothers Day to you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. With tears in my eyes, I thank you for that beautiful and inspiring story.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Happy mother's day.
    Sniff.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You are making my heart grow 3 sizes too big!
    Happy Mother's Day! That is a wonderful story, and is one lucky little lamb.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oooooh I'm so overwhelmed with happy mothery cuteness! Thank you for the sweet story. May you enjoy many wooly cuddles.

    ReplyDelete
  22. this is the most heartwarming and touching story! Happy Mother's Day!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm sitting here crying!!! Literally crying like a baby. I have such a huge heart for animals too and I would have done the EXACT same thing you are doing now. Call me crazy, but I've been watching today on animal planet, the "Growing Up" series or marathon and I just want to go out and get one of everything! But, for now, I'll have to enjoy your pictures and dream of the day when I can have land and can care for animals...and I'll have to keep petting and caring for my one doggie, Ditters, who is definitely spoiled rotten. Thanks for the beautiful story and happy mother's day!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh! That was wonderful! Thank you so much ...
    Happy Mom's Day!

    Denise in TN

    ReplyDelete
  25. V. Schroeder5/15/2006 12:12 AM

    Thank you for writing this which is a tribute to all kinds of mothering. Your little Cary had a tough time, but now is rewarded with a very special Mom. Thanks for giving us a peak.

    ReplyDelete
  26. awwww... that's adorable! :)

    What a sweet little face she has too!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Susan, what a wonderful story to read on Monday morning. So beautifully told, thank you so much for sharing it. And I love to see Lucky Buddy Bear as a babysitter, can't think of a better job for him. And: ALL creatures on your farm are lucky indeed. Have a good and smooth day, angelika

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a lovely Mother'S Day story. You have my admiration and best wishes for your furry new charge.

    ReplyDelete
  29. awwwwwww! i mean really, just awwwwww!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Mary Lou's got the right idea. Turn this heartfelt story into a children's book. I LOVE the photos of that gangly little lamb and the sentiment, and I can't wait to see what will happen next to you and your new baby. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. You are the best! I'm coming out of lurkerdom to tell you that your story was just sweet and awesome and something I could totally see myself doing. Who could turn down that adorable, snuggly cute lamb? :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh FG, that is so touching and sweet and I love the photos. Belated Happy Mother's Day......sniff, sniff.....

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh goodness, that was beautiful. So beautiful that I'll forgive you for making me cry in the middle of my lunch. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh, Farmgirl! I just cried my eyes out. Maybe it's because I am the mother of the very best three-legged dog on earth. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  35. What a wonderful "tail" of a "mother" and her lamb! You should make that story into a children's book.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Such a wonderful story! I'm so happy for Cary that she has such a wonderful Mom to take care of her.

    And I'm looking forward to seeing how the little gal grows up!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Cary is the best ! That photo of her in her buggy is awesome (and I thought my dogs in the wheelbarrow was cute)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Absolutely adorable story and pictures!!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful story. It was actually the first post of yours I have read, I will certainly be reading much more :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. That is one of the m ost beatiful stories I have ever read, Farmgirl!

    You should make that into a children's book ... it's an important lesson for all of us to learn!

    Give Cary a big hug and kiss for me!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Beautiful, Beautiful Story. It does need to be a children's book!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I still think that you should write a children's book about the sheep, Bear and the llamas. It's such a touching story. If I had some land Caraway could come live with me as the first of a starter flock. Lovely heartwarming story!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I am going to pile on here and thank you also for such a wonderful recounting of Cary's adventure to find her mom. She is one lucky lamb.

    ReplyDelete
  44. What a beautiful story! You made my heart feel so warm!

    ReplyDelete
  45. That poor little doll is so lucky to have you, and you to have her, too, I suspect. Even though I knew what to expect, you had me weeping buckets. You're a good, good person, Susan.

    ReplyDelete
  46. hey susan
    hello from france
    oh dear me i miss the farm sweetie
    also bear the nanny

    what a beautiful story

    miss you and the furry ones

    ReplyDelete
  47. hey susan
    hello from france
    oh dear me i miss the farm sweetie
    also bear the nanny

    what a beautiful story

    miss you and the furry ones

    ReplyDelete
  48. Sniff. You made me cry! What a wonderful story. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Oh my - I hadn't read this one until now. It's a beautiful story and I have to agree with the others - what a fantastic children's book it would make.

    ReplyDelete
  50. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Yes, this story has made me cry as well. I shall include your blog as one of my favourites in my blog.
    Lots of hugs and kisses to Cary.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I just sent this link to a friend and said "if this doesn't make you misty, you're just not human." :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. That was a beautiful tale. I love sheep and am looking forward to reading more of your writing. I hope that your little darling is flourishing under your care.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Amazing narration. My eyes were moist at the end. Looking forward to more incidents about Cary.

    ReplyDelete
  55. What a beautiful story. In a former life, I raised a calf on a bottle/bucket because his mother fell and broke her leg. There is nothing more rewarding or at times more heartbreaking than raising "our kids" be they, the normal 2-legged variety or our special 4-legged friends.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Larry in San Diego7/19/2006 2:36 PM

    I'm very proud of you! I really enjoy your stories and pictures. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Thank you for that! I was all teared up at work! So prosh!

    ReplyDelete
  58. How cute! My eyes are dryed out from crying with joy.

    :'-)

    ReplyDelete
  59. Wow. Amazing story. Thank you for taking Cary in, even though she may end up being "productive."

    ReplyDelete
  60. What a great story! I love that she got a nannny:)

    ReplyDelete
  61. i like you.
    you're exactly the kind of city farmgirl i would be.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Oh, I have read this at least three times and I just sob through the whole thing, especially watching how she's grown. Oh.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Oh my, I'm sitting here crying like a baby lol. That was so beautiful and she is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. :)

    ReplyDelete
  64. Thank you for sharing with us the wonderful tail (tale). You really have a way with words. Although I do not live on a farm, or lived in a country or had a lamb, your description and photos really made me think that I was there at that moment. If I was the little baby lamb, I would thank you with all my heart and would think that I would be the luckiest lamb on Earth! I would be looking forward to you and Cary's adventures. If only you there were links to other later adventures that Cary had at the bottom instead of just more about Cary. Your blog is very interesting and since you update it often, I look forward to reading more of your life in the country, your delicious recipes and looking at your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  65. You have no idea how badly I needed to read that right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  66. A heart-warming story that made me cry. A moving "tail" beautifully written. A joy to read and cry over!
    Sara from farmingfriends in the UK

    ReplyDelete
  67. Great story! I am also a shepherdess
    (I have a flock of 42 jacob sheep) and your story reminders me of this spring, I had a set of twins rams born from a old and skinny mother who could not feed them, so I took them both in the to house and gave them a warm bottle of milk, one of the brothers didn't make it...But the other one did and over the next few days we had lots of other ewes lambing and I tried to give him to about 5-6 other moms but now of them would take him, so I adopted him, I moved my bed to the living room floor (so my real bed wouldn't get peed in...) and he slept next to me for a month (February) and I would make the trek to the barn (with him close behind) ever 2 hours (thru the 6 foot snow drifts...) to check on the other ewes/lambs.
    Then one day a ewe called Isis had a lamb, but he died-there was something wrong with him, I think...
    Isis had a full udder and I was running out of milk to give the lamb so I tried to get her to take him, at first (2 weeks) she hated him and we had to keep her tied up and I had to hold her still for him to nurse, then one day she just let him nurse so I untied her and she still let him nurse, so she went out with the rest of the flock and to this day she still loves him. So he has 2 mothers, me and Isis, and he loves them both very much and both of them love him very much too.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Susan, I can't believe this! Thank goodness Cary was born to a farmgirl like you! How heartbreaking to be rejected twice like that, and how wonderful that you've raised her instead. Poor little poppet.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  69. oh my gosh....i haven't read the story yet but cary is sooooo incredibly adorable..i just want to pick her up and nuzzle her!!

    ReplyDelete
  70. hello, Godblessyou! :)

    i was just browsing through the google search results for "baby and mother animals", and clicked on your site to see what this interesting story was all about... :)

    ....what an inspiring true story with lots of lessons in it!

    a joy to remember! :)

    greetings from philippines!

    ~ela

    ReplyDelete
  71. This little lamb has just made my day!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Great story! I happend across your site looking for info on feeding "stock molasses" to new mother ewe after lambing. But I am not sure if store bought molasses is okay? Any thoughts? We are very new to this, my daughters 4-H project, and she is due here anyday, want to be prepared. - Spring in California

    ReplyDelete
  73. Hi Spring,
    I buy dried molasses in 50-pound sacks at the feed store which I mix into the animals' grain, as well as into the water troughs of pregnant ewes (as a way to give them some extra calories). Storebought liquid molasses should be fine - look for sweet molasses rather than blackstrap. Best of luck with your lambing! : )

    ReplyDelete
  74. Sheila
    Hi from one Farm Girl to another, you did exactly what I would have done and have done in the past with any of gods creatures. They are so innocent and deserve to be treated with love and care. Will keep checking in and seeing how your sweet little Cary is going and look forward to seeing Cary grow up on your pages..Thanks so much for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  75. What a great story! Reminds me of our story with a little preemie calf all of 35 lbs. She was in the house for several days, we bottle fed her for 3 months until she was able to get it from her mom. She went through several critical issues but managed to survive them all and is now a full-grown cow with (sadly) only faint recollections of our bonding)

    ReplyDelete
  76. Lauren Holladay8/21/2009 12:50 PM

    Wow! 2 1/2 years later, your story touched my heart. What a wonderful mother you are Farmgirl. My husband and I just love your stories and blogs. God bless you dear.
    Mark and Lauren Holladay

    ReplyDelete
  77. Loved the story! I've bottle-fed a few little woolly lamb-babies myself and they sure are heart-stealers! :)

    ReplyDelete
  78. Olá,
    Quero te dizer que tenho uma filha chamada Susan,e as Susan's,são ótimas!!!
    Adorei a história da baby Cary,me emocionei c a trajetória deste bebe ovelha,sofri c a rejeição que ela teve que enfrentar.Voce escreve muito bem!!!!
    Parabéns pela sua fazenda,é linda!!!
    Susy Pavlov

    ReplyDelete
  79. I enjoyed this story too much ... I wish I had my very own Cary! She's so sweet. And for the record, I would have become Cary's mom, too;and I probably would have made up the bed in the guest room for her! This is why I could never be a real farm girl!! Thanks for sharing ...

    ReplyDelete

January 2013 update: I know word verification is a big pain, but it's the only way I can stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I get every day. I don't want to require commenters to be registered Blogger or Open ID users because I know many of you aren't. Thanks so much for your understanding!

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

If you're waiting for a reply to your comment and have a Blogger profile (it's free to create one) you can check the NOTIFY ME box that is below and receive all follow up comments to just this specific post via email.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!