Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 1-15

sunset over the barn

Lows and highs, ups and downs...that’s been the story of the week. While this is always true, the past week seemed to change course without direction and then the pendulum would swing wildly in some sort of over-correction to the other extreme. 
Well, then...
we know we are not dead
And, that's a GOOD thing!

The week started off with the coldest weather of the season. Coming on the heels of the snow last Saturday, every trip outdoors was like a trip to the Arctic. Maybe 5* doesn't sound cold to you, but it is unusual for us.

snowy Mbrk


melting icicles

...and just like was over. By Thursday, we were out of our coats and coveralls as it suddenly felt like March. Complete with howling winds.
Gus was so hot he "melted"

But, not so Friday evening we were under a winter weather advisory and it looked like Saturday morning would start off with at best the dreaded “wintry mix” or the worst...ICE. There was a tremendous icestorm tracking across the country, its exact track unknown early in the week.

The weather, combined with the fact that I fell victim to “the crud” (the miserable head cold that’s been going around) on Sunday, made it far less difficult to cancel our anticipated sales run for the week. But, that’s always a hard call to make. This time of year cash-flow is all one way...OUT. No sales means no income. And, well, NO income needs no further explanation. But, we can’t recklessly endanger our customer-friends!

In the end, the weather wasn’t as bad as predicted and while there were a few icy droplets in the trees and on the fences, the roadways were perfectly fine. I know, we ended up going to town for lamb milk replacer first thing Saturday morning.
frozen raindrops

But, I’m getting ahead of myself...

Like I said, it was a week up ups and downs.

“The crud” laid me low. Knocked me down...way down. I was out of commission for three days before I finally started feeling better. I managed to get my barn checks done, but little else. I even skipped grocery shopping and the Boss did the feed run.

Thankfully, I was feeling better in time to make my healthcare appointment. After feeling “off” for what seemed like FOREVER, it was amazing to see that all the lab work finally connected the dots and I was given a protocol that has the potential to completely change the way I feel. There’s no real way to express the relief  I feel that this is not just “in my head”. So, a big THANK YOU to Lisa and her team at  Femme Care. I’m looking forward to a whole new me and the opportunity to learn about health from a little different angle.

But, in keeping with our theme...”the crud” made some sort of comeback and presently I’m left wondering if it’s finally time to head to the doctor or just continue to ride it out with home remedies. The most worrisome part of this is that the Boss is beginning to show symptoms...

...and we simply cannot be sick this week!

He’s got the Farmers’ Market Annual meeting to run.  I have a “pet lamb” who needs me ‘round the clock. And, the big week of lambing season is upon us. So, hoping for the best, we will muddle through somehow.

And, speaking of lambing season...

...and still we wait...

After last week’s great start, you guessed it...this week has been one of our worst. Ever. We’ve lost two ewes and at least three lambs. *sigh*
checking out the ewes at breakfast time
I think  they are plotting

barnyard antics have begun

The prolapsed ewe apparently had other internal issues. Our only guess was that metritis set in after the prolapse and didn’t respond to the antibiotics. She got sicker and sicker and despite my best efforts and a last moment rally, she ended up dying along with any lambs that were inside. This was a disgustingly smelly mess that had to be cleaned up at the beginning of the day.

I figured that if the day started with a job that had me literally retching that things would simply have to get better. 

I was wrong...
the full moon is said to bring on labor...

As the next two ewes started laboring, all seemed well.  The first ewe dropped twin ram lambs and at first they seemed healthy enough, although one never seemed very lively. Since I was not there for the actual moment of his birth, I cannot be sure of this, but, it appeared that he had been stepped on and may have had some sort of internal damage. ...and you guessed it, he succumbed the next day.

The second ewe dropped a little ram lamb and acted as if she was laboring with another. We waited. And waited. When I did an internal check, I discovered an enormous twin. An enormous, mispresented twin. This lamb was mispresented in the worst possible way, with its head turned all the way back over its shoulder. Often, this calls for a cesarean for the ewe or dismemberment of the lamb. Either way, the possibility for any sort of good outcome was slim at best.

To make a long, tragic story somewhat manageable...the outcome was not good. Not good at all. Actually, the worst. (the details may seem gruesome, so feel free to skip down a couple of paragraphs)

Despite my best efforts and the Boss’ help, I got the lamb out, but, it died in the birthing process. Like I said, it was enormous, well in excess of 15 pounds. That was not good for mama-sheep, not in any way. But, she was taking care of her other lamb and we dosed her with antibiotics (a precaution whenever we go “inside”) and pain meds (I had to have my entire arm inside her trying to get the lamb re-positioned). All of that was too much for the ewe’s reproductive organs to take. And, in the morning, her insides were on the outside. Very much on the outside. And, once again, I was more than a little grossed out. (I must be getting weak in my old age)

This time, the Boss had to put her down since there was absolutely no way she would recover. Then he had to dispose of her remains. And, all of this happened before breakfast.

Now, I had an orphan to deal with. We had hoped that the first ewe (that lost the lamb) would “adopt” this little guy. Fostering on lambs (or any other livestock) is an iffy proposition at best. I rubbed him with a rag I had used on the ewe and her lamb. I gave both the lambs the same oral nutritional supplement. Then I stuck him in with mama-sheep. He went right for the teat. (yay) He sucked. (yay) ---maybe this will work---Then, Mama sheep figured out he wasn’t hers. (boo) Mama sheep butted him across the stall---blam! Okay, let’s try this again...

After several attempts it became evident that this whole fostering thing was simply NOT going to work. (whole lot of boo’s here) and, now I have a “pet-lamb”. For the record, I really didn't want a pet and the term doesn't mean quite what you might think. Read THIS one.

All of which explains why we were out heading to town for lamb milk on a Saturday morning while there was a winter weather advisory in place. Honestly, this was never my intention. Really.

Last week, I stopped by the Farm Bureau for a bag of milk replacer. (just in case) The lady in front of me also wanted the same thing and they just told her they didn’t have what she wanted. She simply got something else and went her way. Since we’ve been dealing with this store for years, and I know the cashier, (and personally, I wanted what I consider to be the superior product) I asked if perhaps they had it at one of the other stores in the county. They checked, they did. I asked them to get me a bag. They said they would. It should be in the store Friday. I hate to say I didn’t put much stock in that, but I figured worst case scenario, we would drive to Fairfield (a town about 20 miles away) and pick it up ourselves at the first of the week.

Friday, with all its sheep crises, came and went without a call about my milk replacer. I had a little bit in the freezer from last season (“always be prepared”) so, we were ready for any emergency. But, just barely. When it became obvious that the orphan couldn’t be fostered, the Boss decided we would head to Fairfield after breakfast.

However, when we came inside from chores, there was a message from the Farm Bureau that our replacer was in the store waiting for us! And, we’re up again. Yay for the Farm Bureau! I guess I should apologize for ever doubting.

bottle baby 2017

With the bottle lamb eating well and thinking I’m his “mother”, I reckon the week ended on an up note.
another positive...
I think I've figured out how to recreate Whole Foods yummy sourdough bread
(more on my winter food focus another time)

Here’s to a week of successful lambing, a complete recovery for me and some sort of miraculous healing for the Boss! (who insists he’s not sick…he just doesn’t feel good)

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 
even the old, dead queen anne's lace is pretty in the sunrise
Thanks for stopping by. Come “visit” us again real soon.


  1. I am so sorry for your losses. At least the little lamb has a mommy in you...:) I know it is a horrible time with you being sick and all, but I guess it is nothing new for you guys. On a side not about your sickness, please take care. I am going on 5 weeks of sickness. I went from pneumonia to the flu, bronchitus to strep throat. I have been sick since December 17th! So please go to the doc. I SO believe in the natural stuff and am back to my garlic and elderberry syrup, but sometimes you just have to go. (SN: My immune system was kind of trashed form an RA med, I was told would not do that, but whatever).
    Please take care!!! xoxo

    1. Thanks for your concern, Barbara!
      I am so sorry to hear that you have been so sick. This season has been a hard one for sickness, it seems. And, I'm sorry to hear that you've suffered ill from medication side-effects.
      I'm not against going to the doctor, but I do hate to go unnecessarily. Fortunately, I am feeling considerably better. But, now I have a sick husband...
      Take care yourself!

  2. Sorry to hear you had some losses. Hopefully the rest of lambing goes well! I also hope you are feeling better. -Jenn

  3. I do hope that things pick up after that very shaky start and that this week's lambing goes well for every single one.

  4. Oh my goodness Barbara - I do hope things work out better this week. It is never easy to lose livestock - but these things happen. I hope you and the Boss start feeling better soon! God Bless!

    1. Thanks, Tracy!
      Things are looking better. If I can just get the Boss on the road to recovery.
      Have a great week!

  5. So sorry to hear about your losses hopefully things will get better. We have just a few sheep and one very pregnant ewe ready to deliver any day. We are hoping and praying for a safe delivery especially since she is due to have triplets, I am a bit nervous.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I truly appreciate your kind words.
      Things are looking up. There are four new babies just this morning. Looks like there may be some more before the end of the day.
      I hope your ewe does well! Our very first experience with lambs was a ewe with triplets. They all did fine, although we did end up supplementing with a bottle.
      Best wishes! Have a great week.

  6. The picture of the sunset is amazing... it looks like volcano..

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