In the ten years we’ve lived at Thistle Cove Farm, I’ve slept in (without being sick) only a couple of times. And…every time I’ve slept in I’ve usually regretted it; this morning was no exception. It’s been coolish and raining and perfect sleeping weather. Abigail, the Jack Russell, woke at pre-dawn because of a strange (as in doesn’t belong to the farm) cat on the front porch. Nothing would do except for me to trudge downstairs and let Abbie (and now Shaddie, the Ridgeback) give chase. Grandma Gracie, our older Aussie Corgie mix, thought the whole thing silly and stayed put.
After a good chase, bathroom excursions and a drink of water we all trudged back upstairs where we claimed positions on the bed.
The next time our eyes sprung open it was 9:30 and animals all over the farm were screaming their discontent and telling the world of their immanent starvation due to nutritional needs not being met. To quiet your fears it should be mentioned that two years ago I paid our equine vet perfectly good money to stick his arm up a filly’s rear end for a pregnancy check. Smudge, said filly, was growing and growing and growing…I feared she had gotten pregnant and, if so, should/could/would not have a baby at such a tender age herself. Of course, the vet was here on a day when so was half the valley…all men of course and all standing around as if they had nothing better to do than expect a good laugh at my expense.
And, without going into further detail, a good laugh was indeed had by almost all. Although I do admit it was some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I’m a person who believes life and death are in the hands of God and don’t like my beliefs challenged by making stupid mistakes…although are there any other kind? So much of life is messy and, like most folks, I prefer it nice and neat in all the right compartments and a two year old pregnant filly is definitely the wrong compartment!
I’m pulling on clothes, can hear Dave talking to someone and then he runs upstairs to tell me I’ve got a lamb down. Our friend, JC, is at the back door and gives me the bad news…the lamb is down and stiff but still breathing; panting actually. I run to the pasture and find the lamb just as reported. The little fellow is stiff and, pardon the expression, dead weight. JC carries him to the front yard to put him under the shade of a tree and I head down the road to see Clinton, a neighbor who has been shepherding and farming all his life. He was born on a sheep and cattle farm and has forgotten more than I’ll ever know. I find Clinton on his tractor in a back field and wait until he makes the turn to come back to me. While waiting I amuse myself by playing with cats, enjoying the beautiful day and praying. I say amuse myself by praying because if you’ve heard the expression…”if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans” you’ll understand what I mean.
Clinton hears the symptoms, asks me a couple of questions and then says, “sounds like tetanus to me. Have you castrated recently?” Ummm…yes, last weekend and we cut, didn’t band. We also gave all appropriate vaccinations at that time. Clinton tells me it’s fairly unusual to have one get tetanus like this but it can and does happen. Even though it’s never happened to one of my lambs before, it’s happened now. At least that’s our best guess and Clinton’s worst guess is better than anything I know for sure.
I came home to give more shots in an attempt to save the lamb’s life but it doesn’t look good. I hate losing an animal even though I understand we, all of us, are terminal as soon as we draw that first breath. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Still, it rankles me to lose to death. I don’t like it and fight against it even though death is more certain than taxes.
The good news is the ewe with bad scours is turned out with her lamb and both are doing well. The kittens at the barn are eating well and seem to be adjusting to being weaned too early by their mother. Dave’s foot is doing somewhat better, dogs are healthy, horses and rest of sheep are fine, I’m good…all in all I’ll take it.
As the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 3 said, “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted…”
Nope, farm life is never static, rarely dull and always something happening at Thistle Cove Farm.