Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ewe and Me

I had to go back to work today.  My aides were valiantly holding on without substitutes while I tended to my lambs.  I thought I could make it work if I supplemented little Sandy with a bottle and held mom still while he nursed for a while.  Poor little guy, he is uncoordinated a bit and his tongue can't grasp the Pritchard's teat long enough to suck on the bottle.  The tongue slides all around his mouth.  I had to squeeze gently so the milk would fill his mouth.  I worried all day and rushed home as quickly as I could.  Sandy seemed to be okay and was happy to see me but not screaming for food.  Was mom letting him milk?  We filed down his sharp teeth with a tiny file the night before.  Was it helping?  I didn't have long to think  about it as I saw, half way down the long barn, a lamb standing next to her mother.  She was very muddy but looked as if she had been on this earth for a few hours.  Mom leered at me like "don't you take my baby away."  She walked toward the back of the barn and the baby toddled after her.  I picked her up and noticed she was cold and wet with mud.  Sheep don't always pick the cleanest places to have their lambs.  I took the hefty ten pound or so ewe lamb with me and gave her the newborn Nutri Drench, got her clipped and dipped - trimmed the dirty cord and dipped the stub in iodine to prevent infection - and put on one of my larger sweaters.  I set her down where mom could see her and went about taking dogs outside to pee, etc., and change my clothes.  I set about finding mom, who was calling to her baby but keeping a safe distance.  Some people do this so easily, but it's never been easy for me to catch a great big sheep.  They run fast and are very powerful.  The next hour or so is a blur, mercifully.  I toyed with the idea of letting the lamb go to find her mother and live happily ever after.  I decided against it when I thought of lambs getting into trouble, or worse, in the past.  I was losing my light, and the leg crook kept sliding off her leg which was covered with wool.  I decided to do it the old fashioned way and put corn out. While everybody was mashing around the corn I found her in the mob and got her ankle with my crook.  l  dropped the crook and picked up both her back legs with my hands.  Having chased her for so long I was not letting go but she was determined to kick me in the face with those back feet.  It must have been quite the scene, with my arms flying in and out in time with her leg thrusts..  I finally, in desperation, pulled her down and laid on top of her while wrapping the rope around her neck  I am sure she thought I was going to kill her.  At this point spouse came in from work and helped me open the maternity pen gate.  Panicky mom was reunited with her baby, who she had been calling to but was not willing to surrender to confinement.  Now she is loving it, with cracked corn, warm molasses water, fresh hay, etc.  Now mother and child can get to know each other and the baby will be sure to get her belly full whenever she wants it.  I served dinner and did chores and suddenly it was ten o'clock at night.  Now it's almost eleven.  I think I'm too tired to go to bed.  Some chamomile tea with milk and honey and I'm going to give it a go.  I'll say a prayer and ask God to take care of my barn until morning.  He might have to.

1 comment:

skeindalous said...

The Lord is often referred to as our Shepherd. The efforts you go through for your flock remind me of how He works for, searched for, cares for us! To most people The Lord is my shepherd is a quaint figure of speech. But you bring it to life for me.

Hope you sleep well tonight!