Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Way of the Farm

Last Wednesday was a hard day. I had tried to sell Mila and Blue all summer and fall. At one point it looked like I had them both sold. I was so excited to have our first ewe lambs on the farm - who wouldn't have to be eaten. But alas, the sales both fell through. I would love to keep them but I simply can't as long as we rent here and have limited space. If I kept them, then I would have 7 in my permanent flock. If Brida had triplets, Draga and Eirina had twins and Lifa, Meela and Blue all had singles and all the lambs survived, then I would have 10 lambs and have to feed 16 sheep. Overcrowding would endanger the health of my whole flock. I am keeping Lifa because I need/want another white sheep.

I had to face facts. It was pretty easy to sell them as meat. The slaughter guy came last Wednesday. It was the hardest one yet. Basil was hard but I always knew that was his destiny. These we really hoped to sell alive and to think of them going on. The hardest part was Draga. That ferocious mama was ready to take out the slaughter guy. She knew her babies were in trouble. I tied her up where she couldn't see what was happening and then I sat with her in the snow and stroked her face and told her how much I appreciated her babies and what a great mama she was and how well she grew them and that I was sorry we couldn't keep them. She pushed her head against me and took my comfort.

I have their hides hanging on the fence and this week I am going to start tanning them. It seems only right and respectful of their sacrifice to do that.

And she really did a great job of raising them. They weighed out at 46lbs and 39. And that is awesome and the biggest spring lambs I have raised so far. Of course, Eclipse is still on the hoof until closer to Eryn's wedding.

And that is the way of the farm. As much as I love my sheep, they are not pets but farm animals. The sale of those two sheep more than pays for a winter's worth of hay. Thanks Mila and Blue!

1 comment:

bum.by.the.sea said...

that would be emotional for me..that's why I don't think I could run a full-out farm. Bunnies, sure, as long as some one else butchers them! I like reading about your farming adventures and insights though. I think it's cool that you're so connected with your sheep, too.