Saturday, 4 April 2015

Another Day at the Office

No lambs were born last night. Ewe 0009 had twins the night before, in a heavy rain storm, and when I checked on her at 5 a.m. one lamb was dead and the other was cold but alive. I torture myself with "what if" scenarios where I came out earlier, or it wasn't raining, and the twin lived. Alas, that's lambing for you. And ewe.

But the low pressure system has pushed off, and it's set dry and warm for the next week. And there are more healthy live lambs than the dead kind, so we're doing something right. The view from my bedroom window looks like this -

Don't think just because I'm lambing that my other jobs take a back seat. All the animals still need feeding, Kitty needs riding out, the dogs need their training sessions and walks, and I'm still on call for jobs like goose retrieval. Quincy is doing the hard work though -

There were two out in the middle of the lake to retrieve -

Now that the trout pond has refilled, the Canada geese are trying to take up residence. The gamekeepers have to disturb (ie shoot) them to keep them from breeding on the fishing lake. When the guys shoot one, I get a call to come and pick it up. Quincy loves this job. Spud too. They're both big enough to tackle a dead goose. Now I have three geese to breast out and cook up for the dogs' dinners. The rest of the carcases I will put in the crow and magpie traps to feed the call birds.

When I got the "goose call", I was finishing an application for a part time library job in Hereford. I miss library work, and we could sure use the income. Now that's sent off (fingers and toes crossed!) I will deal with the geese, bottle feed Gregor's lambs, feed the other ewes and Kitty, and organise the Easter egg hunt for the family's children and guests tomorrow. We hide chocolate Easter eggs in the pheasant pens so the children can help "collect" them. Later in the year, the children visit us on a hatch day to see the chicks.  Except for the chocolate egg hunt, I'm freed from egg collecting duties while I have lamb delivering duties.

I do my admin in between farm jobs. On top of everything, my income taxes are due this week. As I sit at the computer, I have two wet circles on my right thigh where a lamb peed on me when I tubed him, and sticky patches of colostrum on my other leg, plus a slash of red marking spray (I've been numbering the lambs). I'm about to add goose blood to the mix.

An office job sounds pretty good, don't you think?


Just after I put up this post, I saw Ewe 00026 with a little ewe lamb at foot. I gave her some time to deliver the twin, but when nothing appeared, I investigated -

A big ram lamb was coming out backwards so I pulled it out and tried to revive it -

Sadly, he was dead before I pulled him out. I never stop being upset when this happens. 

After I moved ewe 00026 and her remaining lamb to the orchard (and the Land Rover broke down again) I poured myself a conciliatory glass of wine. No more admin tonight. I will watch and appreciate this new little life making friends instead -

"Oh Hi, You must be new here. I've got kids around your age!"


Sara Rall said...

I love the view out your window; so many adorable lambs!

You can't hardly see the dog for all that goose; is she strong enough (and high enough off the ground) to carry it to you over land as well, or only in the water?

I think covered in various sorts of grime is the ideal way to do taxes; can you imagine a life where all you do is desk work and you never get dirty? How awful.

Barbara said...

It's a beautiful life you live. Happy for you.

Jennifer Montero said...

Sara - Quincy and Spud are both strong enough to sort of carry/drag a Canada goose to me. They usually swim it in holding onto a wing, then readjust and get a better grip on it for "land travel".

I suppose having all that grime there while I'm doing taxes, reminds me what I'm doing it for. And hey the sheep were actually in profit this year!

Jennifer Montero said...

Barbara - Would you think I'm churlish if I wanted a day off from life, just now and then, to lay in bed with a book and eat takeout? :)

Seester said...

A few days ago I made Remy's brother take a dead millipede (which had hitched a ride in a 6-pack of bottled water from his mom) out to the compost because I didn't want to touch it.
Today I was debating fixing my manicure myself or walking across the street where they do a polish change for just $8.
Our lives are so similar!

(By the way, if you need a break from all the blood and poo, you're always welcome to visit me! I've got satellite TV, Netflix, Amazon streaming, and 3 dozen take-away restaurants in 3 blocks of my apartment!)

Anonymous said...

I clicked the first pic and was amazed at how organized
you are.
A spot of lawn became the nursery.!
You rock!
Happy Easter

Hazel said...

Glad to hear the sheep are in profit :)

I'd love to offer you a house swap for a weekend off (my dozen hens, handful of ducks, 3 cats and 2 dogs would be rest and relaxation compared to your menagerie) but I'm not sure the chaos you'd come back to would be worth the break!

Rebecca Raye said...

Just love reading about your life as I sit in my office job. I weekend farm, chickens, pigs, and turkeys. Nothing as intense as you.

Thanks for sharing your life.

Janice Bendixen said...

Jen, so sorry to hear about the lost lambs. It made me want to cry. I think you deserve the entire bottle of wine. (Or, if you're like me, BOX!) But glad to hear you're focusing on the positive. I would be a wreck having to deal with a dead little something. Thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

If it wasn't because I would probably be more in the way and therefor a lot more work I would come and "house sit" for you! - did anyone say "internship"??


Jennifer Montero said...

Hazel - House swap accepted. I will leave it in chaos for you. Add your own chaos while you're here.

Jennifer Montero said...

KJ - We also happily accept interns!