Life of a family, death of a lamb

Photo by Sue Schlabach of 129 Twig and Vine, used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.5)

The WordPress folks regularly feature a variety of blogs at their very own blog. Sometimes they do so to highlight skillful merging of design and function; such was the case with 129 Twig and Vine, which Cheri Lucas Rowlands wrote about yesterday. Boy, am I glad she did, not necessarily for the blog’s design (which is lovely) but for its content. Sue Schlabach—artist, spouse, mom, and much more—uses her blog to share a wonderful mix of photos and text, some of which touch on themes highly relevant to my own blog.

As just one example, let me recommend her post, “Death of a Lamb.” Here’s how she describes the start of a day late last August:

Oh E.B. White. You came to mind immediately yesterday. A day so long and multi-faceted that my memory of it now breaks it into chapters.

More of E.B. White to come. Stay with me.

Chapter 1

12:15 a.m.  Lights out. We’ve just finished watching the sad and slightly disturbing movie, “Margaret.”

2:30 a.m.  R gets up, can’t sleep.

2:35 a.m.  I go ask him if he is sick, needs anything. No, just wide awake. I slowly fall back into restless sleep, interrupted by strange dreams.

Chapter 2

8:20.  Drag myself out of bed but leave R with hopes that he will get some more rest (he fell asleep after 4 a.m.) It’s a beautiful morning, with fog burning off early. Three lambs dash from the barn when L (the 10 year old) lets them out, but the fourth saunters slowly into the field. The others rip into the grass quickly and he just looks off into his own private space.

R hears us remark our worries about lamb #4 (Oscar). He can’t sleep anymore and comes down to see. We brew tea to help ourselves wake up. I am very tired, but R is crushed under the weight of his bad night.

Chapter 3

9:00.  After breakfast Oscar has moved from where he first stood to further down the meadow near the other three. He is lying down. We approach him and he doesn’t move or run. He is shaking.

Time to call the vet. She tells us we can bring him in if we can put him in the car (a 25 mile trip). Otherwise she has appointments until noon and can’t come to us until 1 or 2 p.m. We look at each other and decide we can’t risk that Oscar may die between now and then. We have to take him in….

The piece is a touching example of Schlabach’s work at its best. Check out the full post—and find a link to E.B. White’s gently, profoundly humane 1948 essay, “Death of a Pig”—here. Both are great reads that I can’t recommend highly enough.



  1. Sue Schlabach 129twigandvine

    Very touched by your share of this story, which remains the favorite blog post I’ve ever written. Really. So I appreciate that you dug deep enough to find it and brought it back to the surface. That was a tough day and writing about it helped us all start to feel we’d honored sweet Oscar. Be well. Eat well!

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