Dink the ram finds a new home

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The cycles of a farm provides many reminders of how fast time passes. Though it seems just a couple of months ago that we finished lambing, a new lambing season will be soon upon us.

Returning to the farm one surprisingly warm sunny day recently, we commented on how nice it was to see the ewes lying in the front pasture, chewing their cud, obviously content, nearly all of them so full-bodied with lamb they aren’t doing anything quickly these days.

Dink can’t stay

Read more about Doris and Dink:

Adventures of Doris the Dorset

Doris the Dorset continues her Houdini act

Doris, the Queen Mother of the flock

A lesson about the love of raising sheep

I commented on how Dink, the friendly ram lamb of Doris the Dorset, has won over my heart. With that look of disdain that comes over my hubby at such times, he firmly reminded me that Dink will not be staying. Just a few days later, Dink traveled across state lines, with a new farm to call home.

Gift from a reader

One day this past week, I received an email from editor Susan Crowell, letting me know a Farm and Dairy reader from Pennsylvania was trying to reach us to inquire about our Dorsets. I knew, even before reading the name, who it would be.

Shortly after our barn fire, we received the nicest note from a Dorset breeder named Catherine. A long-time reader of my column in Farm and Dairy, she said my news about our fire prompted lots of memories for her, and she knew exactly what we were going through.

She shared with us her own horror story of losing a beloved, circa 1836, bank barn to a fire in 2002, along with 110 of her ewes and lambs she had spent years developing.

She said they had managed to save six ewes and the ram on that horrible day, and even without their 40-by-70-foot post and beam barn, only its beautiful stone foundation left as a reminder of what once was the heart of their farm, those remaining sheep have prospered.

Because of her kindness and empathetic heart, she wanted to gift us two ewe lambs when we had our barn ready to accept them. Doug made the trip last year and brought five of her Dorset ewes back, and they quickly became favorites, joining the others we managed to purchase to rebuild our flock.

Dink’s new home

So, last week when we learned she had lost our phone number and wanted to reach us, Doug called her. They discussed Dink, our ram lamb that was available, and she decided to make the trip from Hickory, PA to our farm.

On the afternoon we were expecting Catherine to arrive, Doug received a call from our local school principal, “Something that had not happened to me for quite a long time,” he tells with a chuckle.

This couple had made it to our small town but were having a hard time finding our farm. Doug drove his truck to the school to meet them and lead them to our place off the beaten path, and I finally got to meet the shepherd of some mighty impressive Dorsets.

The friendly ram lamb we call Dink, had been born to Doris, the ornery ewe we got from a flock in Indiana. Doris the Dorset presented us with two tiny twins this past winter when we thought all our lambing was done for the season, a vet check even confirming for us that particular ewe remained open.

Always full of surprises, Doris did her lambing outside on an incredibly frigid winter day. Dink was the sole survivor, and even as a grown ram, remained friendly and easy-going.

Houdini talents

After conversation confirmed this ram is not related to any of Catherine’s Dorsets, she began putting the stories she’s read in the Farm and Dairy together in her mind. “Oh, no,” Catherine said with a laugh, “I’ve been reading all about Doris…..do I want the offspring of the escape artist Doris the Dorset? Thanks a lot!”

We struck a deal, and Dink loaded up to leave the Buckeye state. Doris stays on, and it is quite apparent she plans to bless us with at least one lamb fairly soon, so we will get to meet Dink’s replacement. Still, it was kind of sad to see the friendly fellow go.
He was just beginning to prove his Houdini talents inherited from his mama. Here’s hoping Dink enjoys being the lead ram on Catherine’s farm. And I find myself thinking one more thing: I hope Dink was still in the back of their truck when they made it home to Pennsylvania!

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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