Within two days, I lost my job. I never thought that covering one crop conference in northwest Missouri would create such an upheaval, but it did. I was relieved of my duties. To make matters worse, my husband took over my job. He became the head lamber at Showtime Farms.
There is only one way to receive that unique title made up just for our farm, and that is to supervise the delivery of the most lambs. And in two days, enduring negative January temperatures, my husband delivered three live lambs — solo.
For years, each of us had a role. His was head nutritionist. He would purchase and stock hay and feed. Mine was head lamber. I monitored ewes and assisted in deliveries. It all changed this year.
Meetings and travel called me away during the busiest time on our farm — lambing season. As I sat in the conference room, texts and photos followed of a new lamb on the ground. During the lunch break, I couldn't wait to call for more details. I peppered my husband with questions. Were the lambs rams or ewes? Big or scrawny? Which ewe did they come from?
When I returned to my seat, I thought, “It was only one; you’ll be there for the next one.”
You can’t always be there
Day 2 of the conference and another text — twins out of a family favorite show ewe. Last year, she had three and lost one. Naturally, I was concerned. There was a flurry of more texts and questions; he answered each one.
My husband works off the farm. Early-morning and late-night lambing make for long days. I knew this just added to his workload. Then I did what many farm wives do — I began apologizing for being absent from my role. I felt guilty.
Looking back at the text messages, in a matter of three days, I apologized three times. To each one, my husband responded, “You are fine.”
He understood that not being there was hard for me. I have the required skill set when deliveries go wrong — knowledge of anatomy, tiny hands and patience. But I love being there when things go right, running back from the barn, yelling at the top of my lungs, “We’ve got babies!”
Still, I cannot be there for every birth. My own work will call me away, and that will have to be OK. I need to realize despite our “set” roles on the farm, it is a family-run business where we still help each other out. And in some cases, award promotions.
So, this year, my husband is the head lamber at Showtime Farms. Delivering lambs in subzero temperatures, he deserves it. I am just hoping he doesn’t expect me to be the head nutritionist; stacking hay and loading feed are so laborious. I’m more the cute, cuddly lamb manager — perhaps that should be a new role.
Click on the slideshow to see a few new arrivals at our farm and some facts about lambs.