The Farm in Diggers Valley

Damian, just after he was born

Damian was born on 17th July 1996 in the afternoon. By the evening he had a little brother and by the next morning he had lost his little brother and nearly his own life. His mother was an idiot who kept lying down in hollows in the ground from which she couldn't get up again (and her condition wasn't aided by having far too long a woolly coat). Somehow both lambs ended up in the river.

Damian, still swimming by the following morning in the midst of some flotsam, was hauled out of his watery almost-grave and adopted by Ruth. (His mother by this stage was quite fed-up with the whole procedure and would have nothing further to do with him.)

Thus we named him Damian Watersheep Down (In The River) and he came to live with us.

Damian and Cattin on a cushion, together

As it was the middle of a cold winter and because we lived at the time in a large and falling down round-barn with a gradually rotting floor, Damian was mostly allowed to live inside. He slept a lot in front of the wood stove and as he became more active and the weather warmed, he was moved to his own bedroom. The pitter-patter of tiny hooves in the middle of the night is only entertaining the first time!

Damian, mid-leap through the air
Damian on Tokerau Beach with Ruth

We were determined to provide Damian with the same varied upbringing any small boy might expect, thus he went most places with us. He never did swim in the sea, but he occasionally did so in the river, mostly when he'd become quite muddy and wasn't quick enough to avoid being thrown in for a wash.

Damian being bottle-fed by Ruth

Sometimes I wondered if we were going too far.

This was the feeding position, adopted by Damian as he grew bigger. It allowed lots of contact, which for a first-time lamb-mother was very nice, although rather full-on at times!

Damian, after being shorn for the first time
Damian, being shorn for the first time

The first "haircut". There was some protest and running away beforehand, but eventually everyone took their correct places.

Damian, as you will see on other pages, eventually grew up and became a sheep. We were delighted to see that he had a firm grasp on his own reality, even if we did not; but we believe that our nurturing care of both the body and the psyche of our small "boy", allowed him to develop his whole potential and to go out into the world as a balanced and happy individual.