Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gotta Love a Wether!!

Today's weather was quite cold; coldest of the year so far. All water buckets were frozen plus the small trough that I have at the big barn. I found a frozen egg in the chicken coop too. Its still stuck to the ground:) It was only 20 degrees this morning and should be colder tomorrow morning. In honor of this winter weather, I took a group picture of my wethers.

I love my wethers, everyone should have a wether to love and hug. They always have the most incredible fleeces!!
I love this face......I know Ira's eyes are in there somewhere!!!
Gotta love a wether!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Very Sad and Frustrating Loss

I need to write because I am frustrated, I am upset, I am pissed, it has been a really crappy week and today topped it all. I was contemplating writing about this about maybe someone reading will understand or maybe give perspective to a really bad situation.

Approximately 4 years ago I bought my beautiful mioget ram Yankee. He was going to be my foundation ram for my new Shetland flock. I was very proud of my choice and he was just beautiful. That first year he bred all my ewes which resulted in 3 ewes, a ram, and a cross-bred ram which became a wether. I decide to keep the ram as I had inspirations for him as I knew I wanted to get more ewes that year and therefore I thought I would not have to buy a new ram as I already had 2 now. Samuel, as he was named, was turning out to be a nice boy. My flock was starting to grow and just over a year ago I was reading about the polled shetlands. I really liked having TJ, my polled Cotswold. TJ has a wonderful temperament, easy to get along with, doesn't destroy fencing like my 2 horned rams were doing so I decided to go with the polled Shetland ram......I fell head over heels for Jed who is just as mellow as TJ.

The decision now was to move Samuel out. He was not aggressive with me but had had a few altercations with Yankee & TJ resulting in some cuts. I tried to sell him but to no avail and yet I could not gather up the nerve to take him to auction so he stayed.

This Tuesday morning Samuel and Yankee had a very bad run in. I found Yankee on his side by the back of their barn. At first I honestly thought he was dead. I got him propped up on the side of the barn and realized he was almost in an unconscious state. It was about 5:45 in the morning and that side of the barn is dark so I was having a hard time seeing. I could tell Samuel was not giving this up and I had to led him to the back pasture with grain to get him away from Yankee and me. Once he was back there and gated off, I ran to get my flashlight. Yankee was in bad shape. Quite a few gashes on the face and the blood was sickening. I checked Samuel's face and he was just as bad though he was standing, Yankee was not. I attempted to get Yankee up to stand but by the second attempt it was not working. I did the rest of the chores and then was finally able to get him up and hold him up by the rear to get him into the barn. I had to go to work and prayed all would be okay, though my heart was just not feeling it.

He was alive when I got home, though still in the same place. I gave him water which he drank and some hay though he was not interested. I could tell he was just really hurting. I tried to get him up but he just couldn't hold himself up. Front legs were not broken, back ones appeared fine. I was thinking a possible fracture to the hip, leg, maybe nerve damage, internal injury?? It was a bad fight. It had to have happened early Wednesday morning because they were fine the night before when I checked on everyone at 9:00 pm. This morning he had moved some, but not enough to indicate he actually got up. He ate some grain and drank but his eyes were just sad and confused. Samuel was still staying in the back gated pasture. I called the vet at lunch and they gave me some leads on where to go. I stopped to get some meds after school and headed home.

Yankee had moved himself to the outside of the barn but it was not good. He had obviously fallen as he was muddy, face, and sides and his leg was back left leg which was sticking out from underneath him was very broken, a break that I knew could not be fixed. And his eyes told me now was the time, and I knew it too. I will never know what happened though I think he fell and landed wrong and because of his weight, it broke but perhaps it was broke in the fight and I just didn't notice it but I know I checked his legs. To see such a proud animal go down like this just breaks my heart. Sure he was a shit when he wanted to be and I will never deny he made some big messes out of my fences and once busted out a wall in my barn but he still was my big shit. Within an hour, I held Yankee in my arms as he was humanly put to sleep.

So much to learn, mistakes made, decisions to be made. Oh, hobby farming and raising animals is very rewarding and wonderful but this is the hard stuff, this is the reality that all the pretty pictures don't show. It does take a lot out of your heart. I know I get stronger with every experience and I understand more about the nature of animals and what it takes to raise animals. I was not prepared for something of this magnitude. It was one of those things you hear people talk about but its not suppose to happen to you. I want the best for my animals. I do my best, I try my hardest, but sometimes it just plain sucks.

I have decide that I will be taking Samuel to auction was soon as I can find someone to help me take him as I do not have a trailer. I can't keep one horned ram that occupies a very large area of pasture with a nice barn nor can I keep him knowing what happened to Yankee. I just can't. The area can be used for so many of my other animals and other purposes. My inspiration was to breed Shetlands. I still will but as beautiful as the horns are, I just can't breed for them. I love the polled Shetlands more. I know that not all of them are as docile as the ones I have but they are what I truly prefer. I have learned this and perhaps I learned it the hard way. This was a heartbreaking experiencing, it was a learning experience one that I pray will never happen again. Things happen for a reason. Today I am trying to make sense of why.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Service Call at Home

So, the weatherman said it was going to be quite chilly last night, dipping down into the low, low 20's, so of course it would be the perfect night for my furnace to decide not to kick on at 4:oo am!! I was all snuggled in bed with my snowman flannel sheets when the first alarm clock call went off. I heard the furnace kick on, then the blower go on and then the blower kept running. No second click for the igniator, no third click for the propane to come threw the lines, just the blower blowing cold air. How excellent!! So I crawl out of bed leaving 3 dogs and countless cats to keep sleeping on the warm bed. Down to the basement, shut the furnace off. Wait a few seconds. Turn the furnace back on. Wait for the furnace routine to start. And of course the igniator does not glow which means it has crack in it. I am getting good at this as this would be the third time the piece of crap has broken. The first time was when I was newly divorced and had to call the heating guy out of the phone book and he charged me $175 for that call. But I watched him repair the furnace. So a couple of years later when the same thing happened, I was one up on it. That time I called the friend with benefits and he got the part and installed it. But since I am a seasoned pro with this igniator part I decided to handle it myself today.
Of course, I made the proper phone calls to my Dad and friend with benefits to make sure I was doing the right thing. Took the piece out myself. Had to go to 2 stores to find it but I got lucky because I took the receipt and the part with me. I showed the guy at the second store the receipt which had the part # & my furnace model # on it and the price of $45 for the part. He of course had the part but the computer was showing a price of $65. He said because I was so nice he was just going to charge me $45. Little did he know that I had gotten all my swearing and ranting and raving out at 4:00 am so I was feeling "more relaxed" by 11:00 am. Got home and within 10 minutes I had installed the part and the house was warming up!!!! Sometimes I just "crack" myself up! Of course, I did give myself a pat on the back:) I think my dad & friend with benefits was even impressed with me!
So, since I had to take a sick day from school ( first one this year, down to 172 sick days left:), I decide to be festive in the morning and grade papers after watching my soap opera ( Young & the Restless dieheart).

Cute snowman goes out onto the front porch..........
I tried to get Cubbie to come out of the barn to help but no go on that one!

Of course, I love that darn chicken coop so I put a snowman on the front........

and a Christmas wreath on the back window. I hope the girls appreciate my thoughtfulness!

The sheep were feeling all snuggly too as it was only in the mid-2o's by noon.

I put the snowman birdhouse out for the birdies.

Mooshie was looking a little fluffy....I need to get her & the other LaManchas goat coats. Anybody have a pattern to make one?

Little Squirt took a nappy after playing outside with Dixie while I was putting up some decorations.......looks like a good idea to me.....especially because its warm in the house now!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Special Day.......its a Birthday!!!

November 30th, 1967............41 years ago. Gee, can I really be that old? Time sure does fly when you get up there in age!! Today I got to spend my special day with my family. My niece Gracie & nephew Bobby came over with my sister Jen and of course my mom and dad! Its been about 2 months since the kids were over so they were excited to see all the animals. The chickens were first on their agenda.
Bobby was very excited to find green egg!! He wanted to know if he could take it to school for show-n-tell on Friday. I told him we should take a picture of him with the egg to show everyone at school. I am going to send him a letter to tell what kind of chickens lay colored eggs and his first grade teacher can read the letter to the class.

I told him we should get a picture of him holding the chicken but he was too nervous to hold one so I had to help out:)

Gracie got a lot of love from the beagles when we got into the house.....the boys get very excited when guests come to the house!!

And then we got to have birthday cake!!! Very yummy triple chocolate with vanilla frosting made by Mom!! They got me a new turtle neck, a pair of sweater tights (the no feet kind:), a new snowman towel, and a sheep wall hanging. Mom & Dad got me 2 new books to read and a new L.L. Bean lined raincoat!!! Yippee, no more wet shirts!!
I noticed while I was typing this that my hair looks much grayer in the picture....I am definitely going to have to change those light bulbs in the kitchen!!
So that's the big B-Day!!! Until next year........
PS.......thank you Tracey for my B-Day card & sheep plaque...its already hanging up:)
And Happy Birthday Melanie......November 30th is such a great day!!!!