Monday, April 26, 2010

Little Bits

My Dad is a big person and not just in stature (although he is clearly shrinking from his almost 6'). He's a big strong man but that is not what I am talking about. He is the kind of person who fills up the room when he enters it. He does things in a big way. And often he gets all the glory. But I wanted to mention my Mom here.

When she comes to visit, she contributes in more subtle ways. She washes dishes, cleans cupboards, helps with meal preparation and washes the floor. She finds little things to clean that haven't been cleaned in awhile (since the last time she was here?). So the end result is that when she leaves, there isn't one big thing (like the chicken coop or rabbit hutches) but there are lots of little touches everywhere that remind me of her being here and make me feel loved by my mom. Her contributions allow me to work outside a lot, help my dad, run to the hardware store 15 times a day (it felt like it some days!) and still have the house run smoothly. Right now I am spending a lot of time in my garden and with the animals and my house looks like it.... (the chicken coop might be tidier...)

This time, in true 'Mom' fashion, she sewed me some new oven mitts and 2 pot holders. She made them out of old jeans and she felted an old sweater of Dean's to use as the insulation. She sewed on little sheep for decoration made from scraps of fabric (that I had used to make Kaetlyn and Rebecca matching outfits when they were 5 and 6). So long after the cleanliness fades away (pretty much all gone now except for the nice clean cupboard doors), I will have a bit of my mother's love to use everyday. Very Mudsy - as the twins would say.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Draga's Day

You might remember that last year Draga's lamb was stillborn. One wee black ewe lamb in the middle of the night that had obviously died inside of her sometime before.

This morning I noticed that Draga's water had broken - goop coming out her back end. (in fact for the last 2 months I have spent a lot of time staring at ewe vulvas...)

I notified some friends who live close by and soon there was an audience. Draga, always a very cooperative and friendly sheep eventually walked right into the lambing pen like she knew what to do. However, she would only lay down briefly, give one push and then stand up, looking for a lamb and licking like crazy. I let her go on like that for about an hour. Then I got in there and began to feel around. Nose and feet were in the right position but she just wouldn't lay down long enough. I finally got her to and with the help of one of our friends who had worked in a vet's office we got the lamb out. A beautiful ewe lamb at just the right weight - 6 lbs and black and white spotted, too - just like Draga. With a lamb at her feet, Draga was licking even more enthusiastically but she still didn't quite get what to do. She licked my pants and my hands and my feet and the boards of the lambing pen. And occasionally the lamb. I brought Zeus in and he set right to work and showed her what to do.

Then within minutes another amniotic sac burst and her sister slid into the world with no help from me. She is black and white, too only she has the badger face like Draga. They look very similar to each other. Instead of white legs with back feet like Draga, they have black legs with little white feet. So cute! And perfectly healthy. They each found a teat before too long and without any help.

Here they are.... as yet unnamed. They are valuable as milk sheep as Draga, her mother and her grandmother have all been milked. And Renauld has excellent fleece. I hope we can find a place for them to live with people who are interested in those kinds of genes - fiber and milk. Spotting and badger face are both rare markings, too. Anyways, they are very sweet. As I type, they are already pretending to eat hay with their mother.

Lamb Number One

Lamb Number Two

Less than an hour old and already being cute!

With Mom

And here is Zeus all flaked out after all that hard work but still not far from his lambs.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


As Sarah would say, 'why not post'? Normally I would be going to bed about now but I had a nap and I'm not tired yet. It has been almost 2 weeks since Mom and Dad left. They were here for one day short of 5 weeks. It was an action packed 5 weeks. Mom sewed herself an entirely new wardrobe for Trinidad (and, I discovered the other day when I went to use it, went home with my Fabricland card!).

They were here for so long, we really got used to them being here. Although I don't think I could keep up that pace for much longer. And for the last 10 days or so of them being here, Bethany and Owen were here, too. Although, as I told Bethany, it didn't count as a Bethany visit because her and I didn't really get to spend any time together and I didn't get to spend enough auntie time with Owen, either. It was harder for Andrew and Rhiannon once Bethany got here because they had to share a room. They are both the baby of the family, really. Andrew was 7 when Rhiannon was born. Although neither one is particularly tidy, they are both particular and are used to having complete control over their space. Rhiannon was known to break down in uncontrollable sobs because Andrew left a towel on her bedroom floor.... what is that right beside it, you ask? Is that HER towel on the floor?.... well yes it was.... but that is besides the point, according to Rhiannon. Rhiannon had a list of rules for Andrew to use her room. Which basically amounted to 'don't exist in my room'... They made it through, though and I am sure it was good for both of them... right?

Laura came for Easter weekend and Eryn and Tyler's engagement party. So then the house was really full. It was very fun having everyone here for Easter. Eryn's party was nice but Eryn was very stressed out. She worries too much about Tyler's family and her family getting along. Tyler's family seems very nice and I am sure that Laurel (Tyler's mom) and I will make wonderful grandmother's together! Eryn's older sister, Sarah, my step-daughter, came down for that, too. It was very nice to see her after so long!

Laura was supposed to do a family photo shoot of us on Easter Sunday. But it was a disaster. Rhiannon had not been getting enough sleep, sharing her room with her brother for almost a week by that point, not having as much of my attention as she is used to, a breakfast of chocolate.... It was the makings of a disaster. Eryn messed up her hair that she had carefully arranged and she lost it and then she was embarrassed and ran away and it took me about half an hour to find her. I was so upset. I wanted to cry. I so wanted to have family pictures. But that was it. Kaetlyn and Nadia had to go to have Easter dinner with Nadia's parents so our window of opportunity passed. The last time we had family pictures done it was 2000 and Rhiannon was 2 weeks old. Laura took some nice pictures of Drew and his bike and Rhiannon and I with the animals but the elusive family picture slipped by. I will remain jealous of all of the rest of you who have beautiful family photos done by Laura.

Laura left on Monday and then the rush was on to finish things up around here. Dad put the finishing touches on the chicken coop. I painted the inside floor and the inside of the nest boxes and the outside of the end that had to go up to the fence. On Wednesday, Dad, Andrew, Dean and Tyler levered and rolled the chicken coop into place right up to the outside of my chicken yard. The next morning we attached the fence and cut a hole for the chicken door. Dad also finished another rabbit hutch in the last couple of days.

Mom, Dad, Bethany and Owen rolled out of here just after 1pm on Thursday afternoon heading for Williams Lake. It was awfully quiet around here - the hush after the storm. Slowly we (who am I kidding, it was not a we project, it was an I project) started putting the house back together, washing bedding, reorganizing furniture.

Then Rhiannon and I decided that we would sleep in the chicken coop. So we took out the thick foamy off of her bed, her duvet and a sleeping bag and Jodi and made ourselves a very comfy (although a little short for me) bed in there. We hooked up the light, took out some reading material, water bottles and kleenex and snuggled in. We had a great sleep and it was very fun! For the next couple of days we called it the guest house. Rhiannon's friend stayed over night the next night and they slept in there, too.

In the end, I had to force the chickens to go in there - carry them one by one out of the old coop and put them into their new deluxe quarters. I left them shut up in there for 2 days and in the meantime shovelled out the chicken yard and demolished the old coop. Now they are loving it. And it doesn't look so much like a guest cottage...

The coop is beautiful - beyond words. I loved sleeping in it that night because I could feel in every board, every detail, the love of my father. I know that he made me this most beautiful coop because he loves me and I can feel it inside my coop and I can see it every time I look out my kitchen windows. It is a hard thing to put into words but I feel in it the best love that my father has for me. Thanks Dad and I love you, too. I'm really going to miss you for 18 months!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

One HUGE baby!

Well, it turns out that instead of having twins at 6lbs each, Brida decided to go for a mega baby at 10.5 lbs!

I knew she was in labour last night and this morning at 4:30 when I got up, her water bag was hanging out. After an hour and a half and no lamb, my dad came out and helped me and we pulled him out. One leg was back but even when I got both of those in place, his head was enormous. My dad had to push back on the perineum while I pulled on the legs. In the end, I was pulling for all I was worth and even when his head was out, it was still work to get the shoulders out. But he was full of spunk and squirming around as soon as he was born. you can see that Zeus was right into his job, too.

We helped dry him off, trimmed his cord and weighed him. And of course, brought him in the house to show everyone.

I think my Dad rather enjoyed being a part of the whole process.

So, now when will Draga deliver?!