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Monday, June 15 2015


"Everything works out in the end, so if things are not working out, then it is not yet the end."

This is one of my favorite quotes from a delightful movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. On days like this I have to play that quote over and over again in my head. Let me tell you what stress is:

Stress is a Tropical Depression bearing down on your farm, bringing with it lots and lots and lots of rain you don't need. Stress is trying to move an entire farm during hurricane season. Stress is your husband being deployed to the border one week before he is due to retire. Stress is finding out that they retired his police dog on paper last week so she is not allowed to go to the border with him! Stress is the hot water heater going out. Stress is the air conditioner deciding that it may or may not work if it gets too hot outside. Stress is having to juggle 8 dogs in a hot house during a Tropical Depression that will probably become a Tropical Storm by tomorrow. Stress is also having a murder trial set for tomorrow.

Now that we have set the stage, let me tell you about my day:

Other Half returns home from a 12 hour shift. He has been asleep for about an hour when I go outside to feed the livestock. Release the barn door to allow all female goats, sheep, and babies outside to eat. Everyone races out except Brand New Mother and her Babies, and Maa, one of my oldest and most loved ewes. Note that Maa is in hard labor. Note stringy yucky tissue hanging out of her back end that normally occurs only after the babies have been born. Look around. See no babies. Maa is calling for her babies. She is certain that she has given birth. I look again. Nope. No babies. She considers taking babies which belong to Brand New Mother but decides they are not her missing babies. Brand New Mother shuffles her toddlers outside before Maa changes her mind.

I race back into house. Wake up Other Half and inform him that either something has taken her babies (highly unlikely) or babies are stuck. I do not know how long she has been in labor and am deeply concerned that I will lose her. Call Dear Friend Cathy, veteran of difficult goat and sheep births. After discussing the issue, we decide the best course of action is to pull the babies out ourselves.

Fortunately Other Half has always wanted to be a large animal veterinarian and thus he is equipped for such tasks. (He really does come with a most remarkable set of skills!)

I hold Maa's head while Other Half sticks a gloved hand up there and finds Baby#1. He pulls it out and we are both certain it is dead until an eyelid flutters and it lets out a cry. SCORE! Baby #1 is still alive and it's a girl! While her mother is cleaning her off, Other Half pulls Baby #2, who is also a girl! This baby slides out easily.

Baby#1 was apparently the log jam, thus, her name will be Jam.

Baby #2 looks just like her mother, Maa, therefore today I named her Baa.  Not original but when you're in your 50s you just want names that help jog your memory. Five years from now I might need help remembering this baby marked so like her mother is Maa's daughter. Yes, I do write all this stuff down somewhere. That's why I know that in all likelihood I will change both names later so I could name them Peppermint Sassafras Lollipop today and it would be okay. Actually, if her sister's name is Jam, I might just call her Jelly.

We get the babies settled and start filling water troughs in preparation for Tropical Storm complications. My phone rings. I juggle the thing to keep it from falling in the water. That would just be the cherry on the sundae of my day. The district attorney's office is calling to inform me that my murder trial has been re-set. YES!!! (almost as good as having two ewe lambs in one day!)

I am still hoping that all the weather predictions are wrong and this storm hits somewhere else. Anywhere else but here. Actually, that's not true. I really don't want to wish ill will on anyone. So many people in this state have been hit hard by flooding recently. Nowhere in Texas wants 8-10 inches of rain tomorrow.

So keep us in your prayers. More lambs are due. I've already decided that if I have a ram lamb born tomorrow I'm naming that sucker Tropical Storm Bill.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 09:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  14 Comments  |  Email
Comments:
Yay! for live lambs! And good luck with the storm.
Posted by Patty on 06/15/2015 - 10:09 PM
To answer all the questions about the stuff hanging off Maa's back: that's hair she is shedding off. Dorpers are hair sheep instead of wool sheep so they actually shed their "wool" off. It tends to come off in large ragged patches. The wool patch on their backs are called 'rugs.'
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/15/2015 - 11:01 PM
Congrats on two nice ewe lambs, Maa doing okay, and both of you being that much closer to turning your keys in. Tell Bill to mind his manners. What is going on with Aja? Does she get to retire to North Texas too? You haven't said much about her lately. Inquiring minds want to know.
Posted by Peg H. in Wisconsin on 06/16/2015 - 12:24 AM
Yes, Aja does get to retire with us! I'm not sure why they retired her before they retired him but I'm still happy to get her.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/16/2015 - 05:19 AM
The ups and downs of having animals. This ended well with 2 new ewes. Send the storm to California. We need the water. Only 1 more week for the Hubby, that is great. Jan
Posted by Jan on 06/16/2015 - 09:29 AM
So how are you doing with the nasty weather? I hope everything is OK. We've been praying for Texas.
Posted by Patty on 06/17/2015 - 08:34 PM
Tonight is a bad time to ask that. I had to work today and because of the heavy rains was forced to put the two ewes with babies together in one stall. Not sure what happened but one of the babies (#2) isn't looking good at all. Not sure if the other mother butted her or what happened. Just sick over it. Feeling completely overwhelmed and helpless. More mandatory Inservice classes that I must attend this week . A murder trial. The rain bands left over from a tropical storm. And 8 under exercised dogs on the mud. I haven't lost the baby yet but she doesn't look good and I feel responsible because I had to cram too many animals into one area because of flooding. I just sat on a bucket in the barn and cried.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/17/2015 - 09:16 PM
So sorry to hear of your hard day, and that baby #2 isn't doing well. You did the best you could in a bad situation.
Posted by Sharon on 06/17/2015 - 09:51 PM
Things are a tad brighter now. Many thanks to Sue in Wyoming, veteran of a lifetime with sheep, and Dear Friend Cathy, who talked me off the ledge after my meltdown. Baby had dexamethasone and penicillin and goat milk. She is now eagerly taking her bottle and perky. She may be blind. Not sure yet. She can come to me for her bottle but doesn't seem to have the finesse that her sister has. More like a boat coasting to the dock and bumping against it.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/17/2015 - 10:33 PM
I keep B complex on hand for those occasions. It definitely perks then up and helps with appetite too. B vitamins help convert food into energy. I'm glad your lamb is doing better and hope it isn't blind. Now if you can just dry out for a bit...
Posted by Patty on 06/18/2015 - 10:00 PM
The more I observe her the more I'm convinced she has a head or neck injury. She walks cautiously with her head extended and eyes partially closed. At first this led me to believe she was blind but I've eliminated that. When given dexamethasone she gives the appearance of returning to normal but when the dex wears off she reverts back to stiff walking like Frankenstein. Tonight I observed her go from slightly below " normal " to complete loss of balance staggering in a circle and collapsing. I picked her up and returned her to her dog crate and she stood for a long time, stiff with her neck extended, before she finally layed down to sleep. Her appetite has been good. She seeks out and asks for her bottle . She is peeing and pooping.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/18/2015 - 10:32 PM
Her mother has completely rejected her now. Because of her condition we opted to bring her into the house for closer observation. The vet prescribed B12, B1, and dexemethesone.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/18/2015 - 10:35 PM
Jelly took a turn for the worse and died this morning.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/19/2015 - 09:31 AM
I'm so sorry. ((Hugs))
Posted by Patty on 06/19/2015 - 10:09 AM

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