Tuesday, July 6, 2010

C'est la vie

The brief cool front is long gone. We enjoyed the nights that dropped down to 48 degrees! Now the temps are soaring into the mid 90's and we are toasty. The grass on the lawn and in the field crackles when you walk on it. The clover is burned up in the sunny spots. I watered a couple of things in the garden this evening, but thankfully things look reasonably strong, due to the deep mulch.

Today I picked some cherry tomatoes, more beets, onions, green beans, a couple of eggplants and our first big tomatoes. The potatoes are ready to be dug so I will start that project tomorrow, maybe. We all enjoyed eating apricots that Rachel and Rose gleaned off our neighbors' tree down the road.

I noticed that our young pear tree is loaded with lovely pears this year and so is the damson plum. They won't be ripe for a month or so.

This morning after milking the goats, Rachel and Maggie moved the goat herd and all the cattle, minus Priscilla, Tenderloin and Coco into a training lot. We are training them to respect electrical fencing so hopefully in a week or so we can begin managed intensive grazing up on the upper fields. After they did that, Maggie assisted me in giving a shot of high powered dewormer to Tarkheena, one of our Jacob ewes. She has been looking rather peaked the last week or so and I noticed that the backs of her eyes were white, a sign of anemia and parasite overload. We lost one of the older ewes last week, and I think that parasites were the culprit. The very wet early summer was terrible for parasites. Not to mention the the flooded barn.

Thankfully the good aspect of the drought and heat is that it cuts down on parasites, who especially like to live in moist warm places. Our efforts on the barn have appeared to be successful for the moment and that makes me feel a bit more on top of the problem. Now I have to watch the flock very carefully to see if any other of the sheep show signs of distress. I see Tarkheena out grazing this evening, so that is a good sign.

Rachel Thomas and I were chatting on the phone this evening about the loss of one of their doelings. We wondered that many of the books we read about sustainable farming and homesteading don't spend much time talking about losing animals to illnesses or accidents. We lost a duck the other day to bully ducks. A chicken got caught in the new electric mesh fence and was strangled. I had to deal with the dead poultry myself (I cremated them) and had to ask for help from friends to take care of the very large dead ewe, as the ground is too hard to dig a big hole since we are so dry.

Before Philip died things like a dead ewe or moldy cherries on the tree bothered me a lot. After Philip died, those things seemed so trivial, I found it much easier last week to shrug my shoulders and say, "C'est la vie." Or rather "C'est la morte."

Don't get me wrong. Not that I am rejoicing that we lost that ewe. It made me sad for her little lamb to stand by her dead body and cry. But now the lamb hangs with the rest of the flock and adjusts.

And even though we aim for all organic, I asked Jason to run to Tractor Supply to buy the Ivermectin to dose the weak looking animals to give them a chance to live. And we work all the harder to get the pasture rotation and fencing up and running.

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