Sunday, March 27, 2011
We've been sick around here since last Wednesday. Joyful. Joyful.
Have I mentioned in the blog that we've been raising bum lambs? I keep meaning to take some pictures to post- but then I forget or Chris erases my memory card. Bum lambs are never a money making proposition. Typically they're "free" lambs that the producers are willing to give away in order to not have the hassle of messing with them. :-) We all know that there's no such thing as a free lunch, don't we?
So... to make a long story short... milk replacer is $47 for a 25 pound bag. Ouch.
We've been raising two lambs. One is a cute little ewe lamb with a spotted body (she'll grow out white) and really sweet little wool cap. She's also squirrelly as can be... we like her anyway. The other lamb was a twin whose momma had big teats. Big teats make it hard to nurse because it's hard to get their mouths working properly to get milk- especially if the ewe is engorged. His twin died and the producer (our 4-H leader) told us that we could take him (since we were looking for a companion to our ewe lamb).
The ewe lamb (Lily) is an easy lamb. She picked up on bottle feeding within about six hours of arriving here. She's gained steadily and started on feed well. The ram lamb (Leon) is not bright! He took about a week to catch on to bottle feeding. I don't know how many times I drenched him with a turkey baster to get some food in his stomach (all the while cursing that I didn't have a tube handy to just tube feed the sucker).
We banded Lily's tail when she was about a week and a half old. Leon had to wait because he still wasn't eating well and I didn't want to stress him. When he FINALLY was thriving Chris and I headed to the pen with the elastrator, intent on castrating him and banding his tail (to make the tail short). What a happy day for Leon- we realized he only had one testicle descended- so no castration that day.
About the point we'd invested in our third bag of $47 milk replacer a vet friend of ours came over to anesthetize Leon and try to manually work the testicle down. That didn't work. So, she took him back to the clinic and they operated to surgically castrate the lamb (which she assures me shouldn't cost more than $50). At this point we decided to use Leon as a market lamb for the fair because he was WAY too expensive to put in our freezer. On the plus side- he was gorgeous.
You all know where this story is going. Well, if you raise livestock you know where it's going. Bright and early on Friday morning Chris went out to feed. Leon was dead in the pen. Yep. Now there won't even be an expensive lunch- and I still have most of that last bag of milk replacer.
*random thought for the post- did you know that the word "elastrator" isn't in the spell check dictionary. How can that be? I've included a picture on the very rare possibility that the rest of the world doesn't know what an elastrator is.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
This morning Sam broke one of the fence rails on a fence that Chris uses with his Breyer horses. It's pretty major drama. For the past two hours he's been stomping around the house and complaining about Sam. Now I notice that the house seems to have picked up a new decorating theme. The signs are everywhere. Sigh.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
It's been a while since I've posted regularly. I'd like to change that. Writing helps me work through the things that confuse or bother me, gives me a platform to share joy, and helps me record the important events in my life.
Reading back through my blog reminds me of what my children were doing at any given point in time. It reminds me of how far I've come and how far I still have to travel. It brings to mind the wonderful memories, and relives the sad times. It's a small slice of my life- and it looks like that life was seriously impacted a little over a year ago. If you look at the blog it seems like that life may have just flat out stalled- because there are so very few blog posts.
I have had stalled times. I've also had times and memories that I haven't felt able to share and I haven't put forth the effort to record something else in their place. Today, I'm pledging to change that. I may write drivel, it may have no deep meaning and even less literary merit- but I'm going to write- and I'm going to write regularly.