Health and well-being of the farm requires vigilant care.
So many potential problems. Scours, pinkeye, parasites, hoof rot, mastitis. Broken bones, birthing problems, predators.
That's not even considering the problems potentially affecting our garden and hay fields.
Fly strike is a problem for sheep and other animals in the hot days of summer. Flies lay eggs in warm, moist areas, larvae hatch and eat the flesh of the sheep. It can lead to death if not watched and treated quickly.
The only way to see if your sheep has it is to examine those warm, moist areas.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, most of our sheep would rather die than be touched by me. I speak sweetly to them. I offer them a pat and a bite of non-genetically modified, chemical-free grain to try to win them over.
To no avail.
They see me coming and roll their eyes wildly and stampede from one side of the barn to the other. Patrick and I corner them and then I lunge, throwing all of my weight, grabbing a handful of wool, trying to hold on. Dust flies. Sometimes I go for a ride (sure am glad I raked out the barn first). Finally sheep submit. We lift up docked tail, check for larvae, spray alcohol, just in case.
Not a sheep had fly strike.
Thank goodness. Have to say that I did not relish the idea of cleaning out sheep bottoms.
Just to insure that everyone stayed healthy, we gave the sheep some grain heavily laced with diatomaceous earth. Even let the goats and the cattle have some of the stuff. DE is theoretically an organic dewormer that takes care of parasites. The animals couldn't care less about the organic dewormer. They were thrilled to have an unusual treat of grain since they are grass-fed.
After our chore the sheep headed out to graze with the little lambies. They did not look me in the eye. But I think I heard them murmuring to themselves about the indignities they have to suffer at my hands.
Oh well, I care about them and want to do my part to keep them healthy and alive.
Yesterday evening Philip and I were invited to the home of some new friends. We gave instructions to the kids and headed into town. What a delightful evening!
We toured Ken's in-town garden and I was so impressed. Lovely. Absolutely beautiful. Dahlias and sunflowers towered. Eggplant galore. Tomatoes staked and producing wildly. Herbs of all sorts. He even had parsnips growing! I love parsnips and have always wanted to grow them, never have tried.
It always pleases me to see people use their space, whatever space they have, to produce something edible. You don't need to live on a farm to produce something to eat, even if it is simply a few herbs to add to your salad.
I should mention that Cynthia and I share a love of cooking. Boy, can she cook!
Lobster bisque with sherry, beautiful flower bouquet from their garden.
Crab cakes with remoulade sauce. Cucumber salad. Curly-cue carrots cooked in mint water. (All the veggies from their garden.)
Homemade pound cake with ice cream and locally grown blackberry and peach sauces.
We had such a good time. It felt like a vacation. We stayed too late, had to get up too early, but never mind. None the worse for wear. I told the goats all about it this morning, and said hello to the sheep. They weren't that interested.
But I hope to make carrots sometime using her method. Cut them into cute little curly-cues, or just julienne them as I think I will do. Boil them briefly in salted water with fresh mint leaves. Thats it. The mint gives such a unique flavor to the carrots.
I mentioned to our friends that I lost my sage plant. They divided theirs with me and I will now go and plant it. And will remember the flavors of such an enjoyable evening with new friends. It definitely contributed to my health and well-being.