11/21/08

The Accidental Shepherd, Part 3

Daisy and Edie gradually settled into their new life with us- Edie still missed her mother but had attached herself to Daisy, (much to Daisy's chagrin) following her around like a big puppy. Daisy finally got used to not being in our living room with us all the time, but she still looked for her bottle LONG after it was time for her to be weaned. (My fault...) She would sniff around at the feed and hay we put out for them, then go rooting around my backside for the bottle she knew I had hidden in my coat pocket. Edie, on the other hand, was devouring everything we put in front of her since she had already been weaned for some time.



One day while going about my chores I glanced toward the sheep pen and saw Daisy, but not Edie. This was unusual since Edie was Daisy's shadow, so I walked over to the pen. Edie was laying on the ground- her belly was bloated and she was unable to get up. I dropped the water buckets I was holding and ran to the house. I called Hubby at work and he could tell from the sound of my voice something was wrong.

"It's Edie... I think she's foundered herself and I don't know what to do for her." I said, my throat feeling tight. The nearest vet was 30 minutes away, and I told Hubby I didn't think I could get her loaded up (by myself) and get her there in time.

He remembered a very helpful man that worked at our Farmer's CO-OP who also raised sheep, and said, "Call and see if he knows what to do for her."
Thankfully the man was working that day, and once I explained what was going on, he affirmed what I already knew- she had eaten too much and, not being able to belch it back up to chew it, it was backing up dangerous gasses in her belly. He said, "We have something called Probios, but if you're in need of something quick, just give her some baking soda mixed with water and some Pepto Bismal."

Huh? Okay... I'll try anything at this point!

I thanked him and hung up the phone, then ran to the medicine cabinet and the pantry to mix up a miracle cure for my sweet little Edie.

I ran up the hill with my little drenching syringe. I found Edie with her head on the ground, blinking her eyes and scared out of her wits.
I whispered in her ear, "Edie, don't you die on me.."
I pulled back the corner of her mouth, put the syringe tip close to the back of her tongue, and squirted.

She coughed, sputtered, spit, swallowed.... and then belched.

And belched again.

After a series of very unattractive belches that were music to my ears, she was able to raise up... and then she began to chew!! And chew.... and chew...

Within a half an hour, she was back on her feet again. And from that day on, the days of unlimited grain in the feeding trough were over. Another lesson learned the hard way- at least with a happy ending!



Not long after this, I was at the mall when I ran into a good friend from high school I hadn't seen in several years. We spent a few minutes catching up, and then she asked me, "So where are you working now?"

A little embarrassed that for once in my life I didn't have a big title or job description, I said,
"Oh, I just... work at home.... taking care of our animals..."

"Really? What kind of animals?"

"Oh, just some chickens... and sheep..."

"Sheep? Does that mean you're a shepherd now?"

We both had a good laugh over that, and after talking a few more minutes, we parted ways.

But as I walked to my car, I thought about what she said...

I guess that does make me a shepherd. A real, live, modern day Shepherd Girl. I never expected at this point in my life to be taking care of two little spoiled lambs, but things were different now.... they needed me.

Needed ME.

And in some ways, I need them just as much.
And I wouldn't trade that feeling for anything I've ever accomplished in my life before now.

The End!

(for now!)

11/17/08

Pumpkin, anyone?

The final installment of my Accidental Shepherd story will be posted in a day or so, but I thought I would take a break from all the drama to have..... a giveaway!

I finally tweaked the prototype enough to suit me and now have some pumpkins I can be proud to send off to a new home, just in time for Thanksgiving. I want everyone to enter, even if you've never left a comment before.

I have three pumpkins, each a different color, and the winner gets to choose their favorite- the other two pumpkins will then go up for sale in my ETSY shop . To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me which one you like the best. (If you win, you can always change your mind!)
Here are your choices:

Pumpkin #1-





Pumpkin #2-




Pumpkin #3-


The deadline is this Thursday night- I will draw a name Friday morning, and announce the winner sometime that afternoon. Good luck, everybody!!


Also- I want to thank two wonderful bloggers I've just recently met who have each given me an award.. (I'm not worthy!!)

Sweet Lanny from It's the Dirt, who gave me this-

"Marie Antoinette- A Real Person, A Real Award"


And dear Miss Stephanie from The World of Princess S who gave me these-


Thanks to both of you- I think your blogs are wonderful, too!
I'll get busy passing these on as soon as I put an end to everyone's misery over delaying the final chapter of The Accidental Shepherd!!

11/13/08

The Accidental Shepherd, Part 2

* A little footnote about the last post where I said we had planned on not getting any animals for our new farm until we had the money to build fencing - a few of you commented on how it always seems the animal comes first, then the fencing... I have to say that's been our experience, too, but in this case we really had good intentions in putting it off.
And you see how those intentions worked out- we wound up with a lamb in our living room, watching the nightly new with us. (LOL)

In case you missed part one, go here to read it.

After Daisy's first six weeks of life, it was becoming apparent that she would not be able to live inside our house much longer. We didn't really have any game plan for the future, but we were quickly realizing that she was in fact, a barnyard animal. We discussed what we needed to build for her and how to secure it, and how close we could put it to the house so she wouldn't be so isolated and vulnerable; I mean, she came to live with us when she was 3 days old, so we were all she'd ever known. But none of this made me feel very good about the situation, and her being outside all alone was almost more than I could stand. We had no other sheep to put her with, and even though Smokey was her buddy, I couldn't cage him up with her full time.

Then Hubby said, "If Cody has some more lambs, do you want to see if he'll sell us another one for a companion to her?"
Brilliant!! (Why didn't I think of that?)

So, the call was made and yes, he had 1 more he would be willing to sell. The next evening, we set off with money in hand and a dog crate in the back of the suburban. This was going to be great! We would have another sheep not only for companionship, but also for protection since Daisy had never been outside at night before, and a lamb that was used to being in a barn would show her the ropes. Sounds like a winner to me.



Boy, were we in for a surprise....



After the money was exchanged, the new lamb was loaded into the dog crate headed for her new home. Since she had never been away from her mother, she did not take this situation very well. In fact, she bawled all the way home. VERY LOUDLY. I looked at Hubby and said, "how long do you think this will go on?"

He said, " Ah, she'll be okay when we put her in with Daisy."
Okay. I'm fine with that.

Once home, we carried the crate up to the new pen we had built. (Daisy had already been spending the afternoon in it, so she was used to her new surroundings.) We carried the crate inside the pen, opened the door, and...... encountered a major problem. The new lamb was still bawling, and Daisy was horrified. You have to remember- up until that point, Daisy had no idea she was a sheep, or even what a sheep was. So her introduction was a little on the traumatic side, to say the least. And when the poor little lamb finally saw something she recognized (another creature with black wool) she made a dash for Daisy, at which time a very scared Daisy took off in a blind run, ramming into anything in her way. The insanity that followed cannot really be described, so use your imagination.

Once the dust settled, we had two very banged up lambs, both of them bawling like babies, and the two of us scratching our heads and wondering what in heaven's name we were going to do.

We brought Daisy back inside so she could calm down, and left the new lamb in the little pen we had built. After Hubby and I went to bed, I lay awake listening to the new lamb until I had heard all I could stand. I raised up and looked at the clock. 1:30 a.m.

I knew there was only one thing I could do. I got up, put my coat on and went up to the pen with Daisy in my arms. The new lamb had literally been crying- her eyes were wet. And now her bawling sounded like a weak baby's cry. It was about 35 degrees outside, but I laid down in the straw with Daisy on one side and the new lamb on the other. I stroked their heads and talked to them. Daisy quickly fell asleep. In a few moments, the other lamb did too. All night long I held them. I began to think of all the stories I had heard about shepherds long ago and I wondered if any of them had ever done this before. Then I thought of THE Shepherd. How he had brought comfort to me during so many sleepless nights. It wasn't long before I too fell asleep in the straw, with a lamb under each arm.


Things slowly improved as Daisy got used to her new companion. There was such a difference in size- the new lamb was a large, healthy, robust lamb raised on her momma's milk; Daisy was a scraggly little runt raised on powdered milk by a very inexperienced mother. Even though there were only a few days difference in their age, they almost looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in "Twins".

Hubby asked me, "What are you going to name the new lamb?"

I said, "I think I'll name her "Eatie" because she eats all the time!"

Hubby said that was a very fitting name, so we changed it to Edie.


Little did I know the way she earned her name would almost become a tragedy......



to be continued!




Daisy and Edie at 8 weeks old in their pen.

11/11/08

The Accidental Shepherd

The following is the story of how sheep came into my life unexpectedly and found a place my heart forever....

Hubby and I finished building our house here on the farm in November of 2005, and once we got settled in we began discussing which animals we would like to raise and keep on our little farm along with all the chickens I imagined we'd have. I talked about getting goats; my Dad has had a wide variety of them down through the years, (mostly Nubians) so I did have some experience with them. Hubby dreamed of having a draft horse grazing in the field like the one his Dad used to plow his garden with. Whatever we decided on, however, would have to wait a while because we weren't financially able to start building fences or animal housing at that time.

One day Hubby called me from work and said, "Would you like to have a lamb?"

Dumbfounded for a second, I asked, "What for? You mean to eat?"

He laughed and told me that his co-worker's son was raising sheep for his FFA project and had a lamb the mother had rejected. Not having anyone at home to bottle feed the little lamb, he was asking around to see if anyone wanted it before they "got rid of it."
I asked Hubby what "got rid of it" meant (as if I didn't already know) and without hesitation I told him to tell the man we would take it.
Hubby said "Are you sure? It will need round the clock care for a little while." Yep, I was sure.

And so that afternoon, February 7th, 2007, Daisy came into our lives. Had I known what a healthy lamb was supposed to look like, I would have probably given her up for dead. I look back at pictures of her then and realize she looked like a crumpled-up dish rag. But at that moment, I was in love. Hubby and I both were fascinated by the soft, black carpet of wool on her back, and her big, fuzzy ears. She spent the first few weeks of her life in our living room on a very tight bottle schedule and getting way too much attention. She learned quickly how to climb up on her back legs and peek out of her gigantic wooden crate and cry for me. During the warm afternoons I would take her outside and she would walk with me step for step. She also got to be real good friends with
Smokey, who was a little intimidated by her at first. Not because of her size because she was WAY smaller than him, but because of the way she smelled. She didn't smell like a dog, so he kept sniffing away to try and make sense of this odd little creature that hollered "Maaaa!" every time I got a little too far away.










When she was 6 weeks old, we began to realize she would have to go outside and soon. She had outgrown her crate and was not a happy camper when she was in it. We knew we couldn't just put her outside alone- it wasn't like she was a dog that could fend for herself.


That's when Edie came along....





*Chapter 2*


After Daisy's first six weeks of life, it was becoming apparent that she would not be able to live inside our house much longer. We didn't really have any game plan for the future, but we were quickly realizing that she was in fact, a barnyard animal. We discussed what we needed to build for her and how to secure it, and how close we could put it to the house so she wouldn't be so isolated and vulnerable; after all, she came to live with us when she was 3 days old, so we were all she'd ever known. But none of this made me feel very good about the situation, and her being outside all alone was almost more than I could stand. We had no other sheep to put her with, and even though Smokey was her buddy, I couldn't cage him up with her full time.

Then Hubby said, "If Cody has some more lambs, do you want to see if he'll sell us another one for a companion to her?"
Brilliant!! (Why didn't I think of that?)

So, the call was made and yes, he had 1 more he would be willing to sell. The next evening, we set off with money in hand and a dog crate in the back of the Suburban. This was going to be great! We would have another sheep not only for companionship, but also for protection since Daisy had never been outside at night before, and a lamb that was used to being in a barn would show her the ropes. Sounds like a winner to me.



Boy, were we in for a surprise....



After the money was exchanged, the new lamb was loaded into the dog crate headed for her new home. Since she had never been away from her mother, she did not take this situation very well. In fact, she bawled all the way home. VERY LOUDLY. I looked at Hubby and said, "how long do you think this will go on?"

He said, " Ah, she'll be okay when we put her in with Daisy."
Okay. I'm fine with that.

Once home, we carried the crate up to the new pen we had built. (Daisy had already been spending the afternoons in it, so she was used to her new surroundings.) We carried the crate inside the pen, opened the door, and...... encountered a major problem. The new lamb was still bawling, and Daisy was horrified. Up until that point, Daisy had no idea she was a sheep, or even what a sheep was. So her introduction was a little on the traumatic side, to say the least. And when the poor little lamb finally saw something she recognized- another creature with black wool- she made a dash for Daisy, at which time a very scared Daisy took off in a blind run, ramming into anything in her way. The insanity that followed cannot really be described, but once the dust settled, we had two very banged up lambs, both of them bawling like babies and the two of us scratching our heads and wondering what in heaven's name we were going to do.

We brought Daisy back inside so she could calm down, and left the new lamb in the little pen we had built. After Hubby and I went to bed, I lay awake listening to the new lamb crying out until I had heard all I could stand. I raised up and looked at the clock- 1:30 am.

I knew there was only one thing I could do. I got up, put my coat on and went up to the pen with Daisy in my arms. The new lamb had literally been crying- her eyes were wet. And now her bawling sounded like a weak baby's cry. It was about 35 degrees outside, but I laid down in the straw with Daisy on one side and the new lamb on the other. I stroked their heads and talked to them. Daisy quickly fell asleep. In a few moments, the other lamb did too. All night long I held them. I began to think of all the stories I had heard about shepherds long ago and I wondered if any of them had ever done this before. Then I thought of THE Shepherd. How he had brought comfort to me during so many sleepless nights. It wasn't long before I too fell asleep in the straw, with a lamb under each arm.


Things slowly improved as Daisy got used to her new companion. There was such a difference in size- the new lamb was a large, healthy, robust lamb raised on her momma's milk; Daisy was a scraggly little runt raised on powdered milk by a very inexperienced mother. Even though there were only a few days difference in their age, they almost looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in "Twins".

Hubby asked me, "What are you going to name the new lamb?"

I said, "I think I'll name her "Eatie" because she eats all the time!"

Hubby said that was a very fitting name, so we started calling her Edie.


Little did I know the way she earned her name would almost become a tragedy......




Daisy and Edie in their pen at 8 weeks old






*Chapter 3*

Daisy and Edie gradually settled into their new life with us- Edie still missed her mother but had attached herself to Daisy, (much to Daisy's chagrin) following her around like a big puppy. Daisy finally got used to not being in our living room with us all the time, but she still looked for her bottle LONG after it was time for her to be weaned. (My fault...) She would sniff around at the feed and hay we put out for them, then go rooting around my backside for the bottle she knew I had hidden in my coat pocket. Edie, on the other hand, was devouring everything we put in front of her since she had already been weaned for some time.



One day while going about my chores I glanced toward the sheep pen and saw Daisy, but not Edie. This was unusual since Edie was Daisy's shadow, so I walked over to the pen. Edie was laying on the ground- her belly was bloated and she was unable to get up. I dropped the water buckets I was holding and ran to the house. I called Hubby at work and he could tell from the sound of my voice something was wrong.

"It's Edie... I think she's foundered on feed and I don't know what to do for her" I said, my throat feeling tight. The nearest vet was 30 minutes away, and I told Hubby I didn't think I could get her loaded up (by myself) and get her there in time.

He remembered a very helpful man that worked at our Farmer's CO-OP who also raised sheep, and said, "Call and see if he knows what to do for her."
Thankfully the man was working that day, and once I explained what was going on, he affirmed what I already knew- she had eaten too much and, not being able to belch it back up to chew it, it was backing up dangerous gasses in her belly. He said, "We have something called Probios, but if you're in need of something quick, just give her some baking soda mixed with water and some Pepto Bismal."

Huh? Okay... I'll try anything at this point!

I thanked him and hung up the phone, then ran to the medicine cabinet and the pantry to mix up a miracle cure for my sweet little Edie.

I ran up the hill with my little drenching syringe. I found Edie with her head on the ground, blinking her eyes and scared out of her wits.
I whispered in her ear, "Edie, don't you die on me.."
I pulled back the corner of her mouth, put the syringe tip close to the back of her tongue, and squirted.

She coughed, sputtered, spit, swallowed.... and then belched.

And belched again.

After a series of very unattractive belches that were music to my ears, she was able to raise up... and then she began to chew!! And chew.... and chew...

Within a half an hour, she was back on her feet again. And from that day on, the days of unlimited grain in the feeding trough were over. Another lesson learned the hard way- at least with a happy ending!



Not long after this, I was at the mall when I ran into a good friend from high school I hadn't seen in several years. We spent a few minutes catching up, and then she asked me, "So where are you working now?"

A little embarrassed that for once in my life I didn't have a big title or job description, I said,
"Oh, I just... work at home.... taking care of our animals..."

"Really? What kind of animals?"

"Oh, just some chickens... and sheep..."

"Sheep? Does that mean you're a shepherd now?"

We both had a good laugh over that, and after talking a few more minutes, we parted ways.

But as I walked to my car, I thought about what she said...

I guess that does make me a shepherd. A real, live, modern day Shepherd Girl. I never expected at this point in my life to be taking care of two little spoiled lambs, but things were different now.... they needed me.

Needed ME.

And in some ways, I need them just as much.
And I wouldn't trade that feeling for anything I've ever accomplished in my life before now.

The End!

(for now!)







11/6/08

It feels good to feel good again.

I want to say first of all how much I enjoyed everybody's sweet comments on my Birthday post, and your well wishes for the (ugh) "under the weather" post.... I'm feeling much better now and have spent the last two days cleaning my house and doing laundry- both of which have been woefully neglected for the past week. I even felt good enough to wash my poor little dirty farm buggy. (It helps that it's 73 degrees here today, too.)

I've been feeling guilty because I haven't felt like spending much time up at the barn with my babies.... (stop laughing, Juri.) Sarge and all the rest of my feathered friends will eventually get over it, as well as Daisy and Edie, although they are all in the process of pouting just to remind me of what a sorry sack I am for being sick.



From my sewing room:
I'm still tweaking my prototype pumpkin... I wasn't happy with the stem the pattern called for so I've been experimenting with a new one. Hopefully a pristine pumpkin or two will be emerging shortly, and I can feel good about giving one away!

(I'm probably the only one who feels this way, but a new fat quarter stash makes me smile...)



From my kitchen today: I'm making chicken salad from a leftover rotisserie chicken. (I heart leftovers, don't you?) For those of you who are wondering about how the Crisco on the roast turned out- it seemed to help, because even though I bought the "cheaper" cut of roast, it came out of the crockpot very tender on top, where as in the past, the part of the roast not in the water got sorta dry and tough. I don't know that I'll do it again, because I usually use the bag-n-seasoning way of cooking a roast- I think it's much more flavorful than a crock pot. Oh well, trial and error, I guess...
I've got a lot of blogging to catch up on, so I'll be dropping in at your place soon!