Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Counting sheep...

From farthest to closest: Sassy, Champ, Zoey, and Shawn.

I recently had a fun visit with a family who frequents the market and are involved with Gar-Pal (Garfield/Palouse) 4-H/FFA. There are several animals kids can raise in the program. For this family, sheep get the nod. I got to meet their lambs, as well as a few others who are kept on their property. Here are a few things I learned from my visit:

  • These kids work hard! Caring for livestock is no easy task.
  • 4-H is for younger kids; FFA is for high school.
  • Lambs weigh about 10 lbs when they're born in the early spring and reach 135 lbs or more by fair time in September.
  • Lambs must be fed twice a day in addition to grazing. Their diet includes grain, grass, hay, and alfalfa.
  • Lambs are typically a bit skittish (except for Champ – to say he LOVED the camera is an understatement - see if you can pick him out of the photos below).
  • Lambs are often twins. In fact, the four lambs pictured here are two sets of twins.
  • Apparently, Woolite--you know, the soap that gently cleans clothes--gently cleans lambs' wool, too (now, that's just too funny).
  • I'm told that training the lambs for fair includes “countless hours” of walking with them (30-60 minutes per day). In Palouse, you can see these dedicated kids walking their lambs in and about town. I'm told folks still pop out of their houses to snap photos of this not-something-you-see-everyday activity.
  • 4-H/FFA strives to teach kids respect, responsibility, and commitment - now, that's a good thing.
So, here are my new friends:

On a side note, if there's a talent scout out there who happens upon this blog and is looking for a lamb for the movies, I'm pretty certain Champ would fit right in to Hollywood:) 

-The Grocer's Wife