Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Other Side of Farm Life

I usually avoid posting sad news. Strange. I can handle posting things I am angry about but not so much the sad. Truthfully it has been pathological in me since I was a kid. When I was sick, I hated my mom to tell people I was. I remember once hiding behind the curtains when her visiting teachers came and making her promise NOT to tell! And one time, I didn't tell her I had an ear ache because I didn't want her to tell anyone. I suffered in silence until my ear drum eventually burst... I was thinking about that aspect of myself when I was thinking about this post I think I have to write. A sad one. I hate people to feel sorry for me. I don't know why - I think it is a vulnerability issue - although I have no problem being vulnerable in other ways.... like blathering on like this about my own inner process. I didn't want to write about this sad side of farm life.

Anyways, we have sad news. Our wee black lamb died yesterday afternoon. After originally perking up after her traumatic birth, she slowly got weaker and weaker. I walled Brida and the two lambs into the sheep shelter alone that night to make sure they could get to each other. In the morning when I checked on her, she was very weak - couldn't stand. I brought her in and warmed her up, milked Brida and tried to get her to eat but she wouldn't take more than a tiny bit. When she warmed up, she started panting and got weaker and weaker. Finally she had a big bloody poop that was more blood than poo and died while Kaetlyn was holding her. We were all very sad.

Andrew dug a grave and Dean and I buried her with some snow drops and violets, wrapped in an old t-shirt. I planted catnip and violets on top of her wee grave. Death. Its the other side of farm life.

I called the vet and described what had happened. He said that for her to die so quickly that it was not infectious but something that happened during birth. Which is good as it means that the other lamb is not at risk. So far he continues to thrive, glued to his mama's side and bounding around their pen, greedily nursing.

And so the milking begins. Brida's udder is HUGE!! And her teats are huge, too. I see what the shearer saw in her when he recommended her for a milk sheep. I guess it was just too far along in the weaning process by the time I got her in the summer - small bag and centimeter long teats. Already I have a pint of colostrom in the freezer in case some other baby needs it. And it is super easy to milk her because she has so much and her teats are so big.

So we are grateful for our brown boy now named Basil - which could be food or a real name. I think he would make someone a great ram - especially with Renauld's good genes. And I think brown is my favourite colour of icelandic sheep and he is a rich dark mild chocolate brown. And we are missing our sweet black girl who didn't live long enough to get named. At least in her last hours of life, we held her and loved her and she died feeling our love around her.


Caroline said...

So sorry to hear this sad news :0(

Mary-Sue said...

tooooo bad!!! darnit! so sorry for you all!!

Sarahstottle said...

aww that's too bad! It really is sad.

katie said...

yeah! i really liked the black one!

sheila said...

Poor little lamb. It IS sad when animals die. When my cat Tarzan died 5 years ago I was still crying when I thought about him 2 years later.

What a life you lead, Andrea.

Jo said...

We have 1,500 lambs from last year (we call them weaners), and they had their first shearing last week. The weather bureau has issued an "advice to graziers" so we have them in the most sheltered paddock on the farm and my husband goes out at night to see the mob are in the best postion in the paddock for protection from the cold, winds and rain. Unfortunately 3 were dead yesterday after two inches of rain on them, but guess they were the weakest and probably would have died anyway eventually. Animals are like people and some are born not as strong as others. When you live on a farm you have to take the good with the bad!