A rather unusual Sunday morning...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunday morning began unlike any other Sunday here at Sunnyside.  Since our precious Ellie has pneumonia (she's a very sick little girl ~ but is slowly improving) we had decided to forego our usual attendance at church & take it easy at home.  Well that is to say that all except Dave & Eli were going to take it easy at home ~ they went off to a swap meet  with a couple of the other deacons from our church.  They were up early leaving before daylight & I briefly considered getting up & getting going with the day, but because we'd already decided to take it easy I curled up again with our sleeping daughter ( when they are sick we let them sleep with us) & went right on back to sleep.  I woke up to a bright blue sky & the knowledge that I had my first real sleep in of the holidays.  

I'll admit I didn't wake in the best mood.  The knowledge that we had a poddy lamb in the 'incubator' that in all likelihood hadn't made the night never puts you in a cheerful mood.  I really hate finding dead animals. Knowing that on top of it all I had to do all the sheep & animal chores while I'm still struggling to get over this terrible flu really made me have to work very, very hard on having a happy ( OK semi-happy) attitude.  Thankfully God is good & being refreshed in His Word always makes my day feel better ~ even if it was a little later than usual.  

I was pleased to find the poddy lamb was still alive.  No better than it had been, but alive none the less.  Thankfully no dead animals to deal with (although it certainly wasn't healthy & is in fact dead now).  It did mean we had an extra bottle to make though & an extra 'baby' to feed.  After feeding the lambs & the children, showering & baking some morning tea,  lugging a very heavy bucket of soaked grain down to the pigs & giving our darling  cow her grain treat ( which I know I shouldn't do because it may mean her calf is big & we don't really want a big calf, but she just looks at me with those big brown eyes... ) & letting the chickens out I only had the sheep rounds left to do.  By now it was rather late morning & I decided to race around the sheep as quickly as possible before enjoying my morning coffee (cold of course) with some freshly cooked banana/apple bread (this is one recipe I have to share sometime because it is just delicious).  

I'll admit there is something exhilarating about jumping on a quad bike & flying down to the paddock.  It clears your head & enjoying God's creation & breathing in the clean, fresh country air somehow makes life seem so much better.  Often after a busy day I'll enjoy going for  a ride just to clear my head. 

 I dutifully headed down to the 'maternity'  paddock to see how the 'mama's had made the night.  I headed around one side of 'treasure forest' & was doing my usual scanning of their tail ends to look for anything strange when I saw one mama with a big bulging behind.  She had a lamb at foot though, so rather confused I thought I'd better go for a closer look to see what was causing the bulge.  As I ran her down ( no I didn't run over here I just rode next to her until she fell over & then jumped on her ~ we just call it 'running her down' ) I could see that there was definitely something going on there ~ something not so nice.  Something that would require me to intervene... (shiver).  Slowly I plucked up my courage & inserted my freshly showered arm ( meanwhile kicking myself for walking straight past the pair of gloves I'd set aside for this very purpose since I'd decided that nothing was going to go wrong that morning).  I quickly located a leg & a head & knew I'd have my first solo turn in pulling a lamb (if you are a facebook friend you know I only pulled my first lamb this past week).  I pulled the leg until I felt the 'pop' (just like I'd been taught) & then attempted to locate the other leg.  I was quite bemused as I fished around & around trying to work out what was wrong with the lamb's anatomy.  Up to my elbow (yes, freshly washed elbow)  in sheep & finally I realised that stuck inside this poor 'mama' (who tried to run away mid examination requiring me to sit on top of her back which left me in rather an awkward position) was not one dead lamb, but rather two.  Eventually I found the missing limb after a whole lot of swishing & managed to pull the first lamb out.  Getting the second one out was easy after that.  I followed with the necessary internal examination to make sure that I surely hadn't missed any more lambs ( which considering she had one at foot was rather unlikely) & let her go on her way.  

As I jumped back onto the quad I briefly thought about calling Dave & telling him he was never to ever leave the farm again ~ well except for church & work :)  He's the chief lamb puller around here. Fortunately for him he'd left the mobile at home.

I checked the other lambs & ewes on that side of the forest & was thankful to find no further problems there.  I rounded treasure forest ( it being located in the middle of the paddock) & headed for home ~ with my eyes always scanning for little lambs & ewes with problems.  I was quite surprised to see a big ' rock' in the middle of that side of the 50 acre paddock.  I'll admit I wasn't thinking properly ( call it the result of the flu I've had or maybe the lack of morning cold coffee) & even though I knew there was no rocks located there I still thought it a strange thing.  As I got closer it became obvious that my 'rock' was actually a ewe who was down.  Shaking my head in disbelief  that I had another thing to deal with (we only have 150 ewes lambing here ~ can't they stagger their medical problems??) I stopped right near her.  This poor mama was labouring & was stuck down on her side & I knew looking at the meconium covered little head & legs poking out that the lamb needed to come out & quick.  This time I didn't have to sit on top of her as she wasn't going anywhere.  The poor mama though was groaning at intervals & I kept apologising to her for having to intervene.   I made quick work of removing the lamb & flung it to the side.  As some of the afterbirth began to come I thought I'd leave her labour for a few minutes before further attempting any 'examinations'.  I turned to the lamb & was surprised to see it breathing.  I quickly bundled it up next to it's mama to keep warm (because as is typical, lambs come on the coldest of winter mornings).  I decided to do the 'check' on this one & put my hand in a little further.  As I felt around I was surprised to find another lamb deep within her body.  Slowly I let her continue to labour until it was a little closer to me (Oh the poor girl she was really groaning ~ who says that labouring is easy on an animal??).  As I managed to grab the slimy, but very live lamb & pull her out I couldn't believe the morning that I had.  There I was covered in sheep products ( I hate to think what) & knowing I had to do another 'check' before I was free to leave her & yet, I couldn't help smiling.  It's not every morning that you get to help newborn life come into the world.  It's not every day that you can say that you saved 2 ewes & 2 lambs from death.  I may have started my day with a frown, but I sure was smiling now.

 I checked later on in the day to find the mama & both twins were up & walking!!! YAY!!!

5 years ago I was a city girl.  I had a garden & a dog & some chickens.  

Now I am a country girl.  I have a a farmyard full of animals, a garden ( poorly neglected at the moment ), a farm  & I pulled 4 lambs ~ YES 4 LAMBS ~ in one morning.   

This life the Lord has given us isn't always easy, it isn't always nice & sometimes it's really, really messy, but  we are so thankful that we are here & we are living it & God knows best!!!



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1 comment:

Cassandra said...

I haven't had the um, pleasure of pulling any lambs and believe it or not I am actually a little jelous reading your post ;-)
I am praying Ellie feels better soon!!
Blessings to you all

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