great grass = great lamb

News and notes from John and Sukey Jamison of Jamison Farm, Latrobe PA

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fancy French Chef Visits Farm

When the ewes and lambs are on our pasture in the Spring, it is an amazing sight. The ewes are happy, continually eating in the cooler parts of the day. The lambs will form a group of ten or twenty running around in circles, then jumping off the top of a mound, or just jumping straight up in the air, just for the fun of it. The eyes of both the ewes and the lambs are extraordinarily bright; the fleeces of the ewes are shiny. Their bodies and their disposition reek of what my Sainted Extension Agent Bill Kelly called "Spring Tonic" garlic and onion grass. Ruminants on dry feed just do not have this. They may be fed and healthy, but they do not look happy. Our sheep are happy.

Jean-Louis Palladin wanted to see the newborn lambs in the barn. I warned him about the questionable flooring material but he gallantly walked forward, subjecting his blue Italian Suede Loafers to the slag of a sheep barn. There I was in my boots and coveralls, he in his European city attire. He picked up a two day old lamb, commenting about how plump it was. Now, I was almost in tears. The FFC (Fancy French Chef) knew exactly what was happening. The mothers were doing so well on our plentiful spring grass that even the new lambs were showing great condition. He said, "These will be beautiful."

So, as we left the barn, Jean-Louis and I were facing the hillside where most of our flock was grazing. As I was looking at this always bucolic picture, Jean-Louis turned to me and asked, "Ow many sheeps on the hill?" I answered, "With everybody, over 600." Without comment on that answer, he then asked, Ow many mommies?" I said, "300-400" Then, with a concerned look, the chef asked, "Ow many daddies?" Figuring out how many of the rams we had moved, I answered "Four Rams." With his face showing the astonishment and respect only a Frenchman would understand, his eyes twinkled as he dreamily but boldly pronounced, " Ooh La La.!"