Monday, April 20, 2009

email to a friend

Yes, I had a great time visiting your blog, .....................Thanks!
Sorry I haven't written...
We went to the old house back at 5:15....went 1/2 mile down our road...and were met by the raging colorado know the one they shoot the rapids those big rubber rafts,....
The water was churning brown and filled the low water crossing with curling waves and currents....argh!
A semi truck went thru from the other side...and stopped...killed their engine to push so much water....We told them we were going to wait for the stream to go down.
And we waited and wiited...and waited....the way we watch is to put a rock at the edge...and wait to see if the water no longer touches it.
After an hour the rocks were out of the we moved them rained and rained....we sat and sat....The second hour the rocks didn't move...waves curled around them.....the stream didn't go down.....
After three hours....the waves didn't touch the rocks....not down enough not to worry about killing the engine in the middle....or washing down stream....but It was three hours!!!!
It was dark!
If we killed in the stream and made it to the other was a two mile walk to our the dark....with kittys out there...and no gun.
We plowed more water over our hood than I had ever seen before...but we got across and the roads weren't washed out between us and our house. Our pyr came bounding down the happy to see least she is white...easy to spot.
Boy...that town house is looking better all the time.
There were no flood rain in Arkansas....two hours away.....we only had an inch according to the rain gauge....darn low water crossing!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

tea party! lamb?

Here we are in the middle of the woods. Heh....
I meant to announce the last lamb on the ground. Well, we think it is the last one.
Count, three ram lambs, two ewe lambs.
Saving that first ewe is a little more important now.
I just looked, and we had a small horny ram lamb in with the girls on the 11th of January.
I thought it was late in the season.....but the first part of January could have meant some ewe was willing.
Let's count....Jan to Feb to march to april....the ewes if bred would only be three months along. Too early to see an udder. Oh well. I'll look next month.
On the subject of lambs, I had a nice lady call me about needing a bottle lamb to share barn space with her lonely angora goat bottle baby.

If there is anyone out there with a bottle ram they would like to foster on another shepherd....let me know. Last year I had several at the end of the season. I was really happy to have my favorite goat mom adopt one.

We are waiting for a call from the Ukraine yoday. Telling us that our future daughter-in-law is coming to America in a couple of weeks. That would be nice.
On the subject of weddings....we are planning that one the end of June. Any lambs born around the 11th of June would only be a couple of weeks old.
I know I am counting the lambs before they are for sure....But, I won't leave lambs here.... With or without the themselves. Since we have no neighbors, I will need to place any pregnant ewes in May. So, if you are planning for an expansion of your feeding pastures, and want to adopt a lamb or two with their mom or not.....let me know. I may need a list of lamb sitting shepherds for the end of next month. Not panicing yet....just thinking ahead out-loud.
Can't shear here yet. We expect frost tomorrow. Then it is supposed to warm up for storms the end of the week. Been the coldest winter here since we arrived. Global warming...haa! I'm hoping for a few warm days before winter arrives again. Just think about our poor cold ancestors in the last little ice-age!
Well, best wishes for fat healthy lambs on your ground....the prettiest you have ever had!
Even four lambs can have jumping lamb races at my house. How about yours?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

spring spring, seeing double

Well, it's been a week since our first lambs arrived. May I say, like mother, like daughter. We all have been hit by this latest cold spell. Sunday started out OK, then the winds came up and the temperatures dropped like the proverbial rock.
Like her mother, the Sunday before, Chocolate Torte decided it was time. Like the yearlings, she chose an inaccesible spot, where no one would bother her. This was a steep hill, with a mud ledge under a tree. In the full force of the freezing winds, new mommy proceeded to lay down and push out first one ram lamb, then before we spotted her, a second ram lamb. My yearlings usually have singles. My yearlings are wild as the winds too. Grabbing the wet muddy lambs and setting them down at the bottom of the hill didn't seem to work. Mom ran baaing around the barn, complaining that her babies were stolen!
I thought perhaps I could catch mom by her long tresses and drag her to a pen. So, I laid the lambs on the hay in the barn, and went to catch mom. All the other ewes thought it was fun to run over to the helpless lambs in the chase. I stood my husband by the fence panels, and carried the second and vocal wet lamb towards mom. She backed up. I decided to chase mom with the wet dripping lamb. That worked, I got mom and a lamb into a pen, and closed the gate.
Then I went to get the first lamb. He was still wet, but was obviously first. His legs dangled and stood out at odd angles. I put him next to his younger brother and went to get the bose.
When I returned, the second lamb was up and chasing mom in the required yearling round and round....trying to get fed. The first lamb was still laying in a heap. No efforts to stand. Perhaps she had rolled over on him during the second birth on that ledge. I decided to try a warm bottle, since his legs and feet were icy cold. I pried open his cold mouth and stuck in the nipple. Nope that wasn't happening.
Here is where Suzie saved another lamb.
Of course, mr i-am-cold-and-weak was the flashy one. I grabbed him and went into the house. Suzie had showed me how to tube. I had the tube marked, I remembered it took two, one to hold the lamb on his side, the other to thread the tube down past his lungs and into his stomach. He seemed to suck the tube into position. I fed him as much as I thought would help. maybe 4 or 6 ccs.
He was still cold, but seemed to hold his head up. I warmed his legs, then took him back to mom in a towel. I figured if he could crawl out of the towel on his own, he might get better. A half hour later, mr second born was eating, and mr first born was laying on the hay under mom's good-scented parts. I grabbed him again. This time I tried a warm bottle. He sucked that dry in seconds. We sat by a footstool, and I propped some of his legs into an upright position. By the end of the movie, he could stand if I propped his rear. Finally he stood alone for a few minutes. Back to mom, he was wobbly on the bumpy hay in the jug, but after more watching, he decided he had found the important parts.
Thank goodness for Suzie. For her teaching me what to do....for sending me the right equipment. For a good result. This is Milkyway and Coco's second day. The winds are dying down. The freeze warning lifted at 9 am. I have 4 lambs on the ground, and one more ewe to go.
Tell me again why we do this?
What fun?
Happy spring, from an aging shepherd, who is very glad she isn't having 86 lambs this spring.
Who says you can't teach an old shepherd new tricks?
Peeps, even count, two and two.
Happy lambs to you all.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


They came out of the barn into the sunshine three abreast. Each lamb at mom's side. The side they nursed on. Mom was alert to any danger. She checked all the fences for signs of danger. The lambs scooting to keep up with mom's long strides. Around the pen in front of the barn with their jug, the lambs didn't seem surprised at the bright spring sunshine. They followed at mom's side around and around...for the first 15 minutes, mom didn't get a bite of grass. She led the lambs from one part of the great outdoors, to the other....then back inside the barn....only to come right back out. Those lambs are going to sleep soundly later, when mom settles down. Finally mom moved the lambs into the close end of the pasture. At every sound, her ears went up alertly, the threesome moved back and forth between the close barn and the fresh grass. The lambs will learn to explore more on another day. The oldest, Suzie Q, would leave mom for about 5 feet on her own, and then jump back to mom's side in excitement. Twinkie seemed lost in examination of a blade of grass...or perhaps a bug on the grass. Both were content to follow mom wherever she led.
Yesterday morning, another frosty morning, the girls played jump around the jug racing with each other to see who could get back to mom fastest. The sight made me laugh with pleasure, and tears ran down my cheeks.
I told you so....I told you so....
Of course, I didn't follow my own advise either. Saturday night was stormy and cold. Look! I told you Shetlands like to lamb in the worst weather. In the morning, I was cooking breakfast, and send my husband to check the barn. He yelled, I turned off the bacon and ran. "Two new lambs!"...My feeble mind went to the worst...."are they alive"? Yes, the second lamb was still wet from a recent birth. She was the flashy one. Smaller than her sister, who already knew where to find breakfast. The new ewe was shaking with the cold morning, so I ordered a kitchen towel, and lamented that I had not ordered lambing supplies yet.
I have a real micro management problem with lambs nursing. In recent years, I have found that lambs learn what to do, if I just leave. So I left, and came back. Then I left and came back. This went on for too many hours. Yes, I saw the youngest seem to nurse....her tail wagged. But, as the hours went on, she stood close to the corner in a crouch, and her sister slept. About 10 hours after their birth, their shepherd decided this situation was not getting better. I don't remember how many lambs we have birthed over the past years....somewhere around 460 or so. But those lambs were always mine. These lambs were for a friend. I called the's Sunday...even an hour away....I can't get medicine. The vet was at his girlfriends....don't bother your vet about something small like a lamb....only a cow could pull the vet from his weekend visit.
I called my friend Nancy, two hours away. She returned my call, and said she didn't have the supplies I needed either. "Call Suzie," she said. "You know her, you gave her some sheep last year." Nancy couldn't find Suzie's phone number right away. I want to last year's emails and tried to find Suzie's number. Finally Nancy called back...."She will be outside milking her goats ruight now....but call and leave a message." I did as I was told...Anxiously, I finally got to talk to Suzie. Suzie is a goat mom, but helps anyone she can with problems. Yes, she had the Bose, and Thiamin, I explained that I was unprepared for a problem, and unsure wheather the lamb was brain damaged, or needed selenium.
Bless Suzie. "How long does it take you to drive here?" "About two hours...I'm on my way" I said as I went to get the keys. My dear husband, just as stressed at my bummer lamb, offered to drive. After all, it was getting dark, and he doesn't trust my night driving. Before we walked out the door, the phone rang....It was Suzie calling back.
"Bring the lamb." "It will get the medication two hours earlier."
I grabbed the screaming lamb from mom, and jumped in the truck. The drive is long enough without a little lamb that you are worried about, especially one that cried periodically. Fortunately, we found the house right away. Suzie's husband checked the lamb for sucking, Suzie checked her pupils for signs of damage. Suzie's young daughter...a pro with livestock....held the lamb while we gave her Bose, Vitamin B and a squirt of E in her mouth. This lamb was early, her teeth hadn't errupted yet. This likely caused her to fall behind in the eating catagory. We checked the lamb's plumbing....she was offended. Then Suzie got out the goat colostrum and tubed my baby. I have tubed my baby kittens....but never a lamb. I watched, squirming more than the lamb. After walking around the pen in the middle of the kitchen floor....the lamb looked better already. Her eyes seemed brighter, and she wasn't hitting the sides of the pen. One more tubing, and the lamb seemed ready to travel home. The movement of the car sent Twinkie into a soft sleep for the more than two hours home. After all, she had a full tummy now too. Would mom accept her back? Would she now be ready to try nursing? I held the lamb in my arms and ran back to the jug in the barn. Mom heard her baby cry and cried back immediately. Twinkie ran to mom's side and put her head under the long wool.
We went back to the house and to bed, too much excitement for us old folks tonight. Dinner was forgotten on the stove. Oh well, the dogs like pork chops.
The moral of the story? Don't do as I do...Do as I say. Even with two lambs on the ground....I needed some supplies. Lambs love to come at odd hours. Thankfully, Suzie spent hours saving our little lamb. She was overjoyed, when I called the next day, to hear the lamb was all was I.
Two on the ground...maybe two to go...wonder if we will live thru this spring. Maybe i'm too old for this excitement. Got to go watch the lambs again.