Even The Sparrow - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 266119

Home on the Range

Even The Sparrow 
Feb. 1, 2012 3:58 pm 
Updated: Sep. 4, 2012 5:37 am

I find Cletapotamus' sophistication astounding.
He is a never ending source of entertainment, as well as an incredible Livestock Guardian. This is his "Superdog" pose. All he lacks is a cape, a phone booth and the ability to become airborne.

I don’t know if its because it’s winter or if it’s because our friend, the Executive Chef, was here to spend a month, but I am really excited about food. First of all, I know that we could not even afford to EAT dinner at one of the establishments he is qualified to cook for, yet, he comes for a month every year and fixes us dinner every night, plus helps me with special treats. Every year he calls and asks us to think of what we want him to show me how to make. Unbelievable. I wish I was a better student, but perhaps its best that I am not. I am not known for my powers of self control and a person can only endure so much growth, if you get my drift.
Last night's dinner was just stupendous. I took 2 of the meatie chickens we raised, out of the freezer. After picking rosemary, thyme and some garlic I chopped it up and stuffed it under the skin, like he did. I sprinkled kosher salt and some more herbs over the skin, tossed a quartered onion in the cavity with some leafy celery, poured some fresh made, melted butter over it and set it in my well soaked clay baker. This is something that is worth the purchase, even if all you ever do with it is make chicken. It just makes the most amazing, moist and flavorful chicken you ever had and the drippings make an amazingly flavorful chicken stock. Mine is by Romertopf and is a large one, able to easily hold 2 chickens. I dropped some red potatoes in...sadly I was out of carrots, so we had to do without. I will be stocking up on baby carrots next trip to town and canning them, as we will NOT go without again! Next year, I will be canning the carrots out of the garden as well as leaving some in the ground with straw, to store. I have heard leaving them out they get even sweeter. I don’t know this for myself, so I will have to find out. The really wonderful thing about this meal, is that if my garden doesn't fail again this year, I could prepare this without any purchased ingredients. We grew the chickens, the rosemary and thyme and should be able to supply our own onion, carrots and potatoes next year. The butter of course, is my own. This is the kind of eating I would like to do for a lifetime cutting our grocery bill down to an absolute minimum, things like salt and sugar.

Randyman had company for dinner. I think he might be guilty of bribery from time to time.

Setting everything in the pot made for a really easy to prepare supper and gave me 2 hours free to myself as I finished cleaning the cabin across the way today.
During this time, I checked on my apple cider vinegar that I am attempting to make. It has no more bubbles coming up, so its not still fermenting. It smells strong enough to just about knock your hat off, so I think its doing very well. I strained it and covered it again and will wait and see what happens. I can’t wait and I hope it grows a ‘mother’ so I can keep some going. Real raw apple cider is supposed to be really, really good for you.
I threw all the bones and veggies left from last night’s chicken dinner onto a baking sheet with some onions and peeled chicken feet. Yes, chicken feet. They are supposed to be the ultimate in making great chicken stock, and they have lots of good stuff in them, like natural glucosamine chondroitin and collagen. Our friend says they make a fantastic stock and I have read it on the chicken boards as well, so when we had the meaties processed, I told them we wanted the feet. So in they went.

After some web surfing, I found an awesome site called GNOWFGLINS with lots of great tips on real food. I was inspired to start using my sourdough again, so I took what I had saved out of the freezer and rehydrated it. I need a new container as it looks just like my jars of buttermilk culture, only with bubbles. It would be a disaster to mix them up.
Later in the afternoon, I went to check on the sheep, as Madge, the only purebred looking Dorper, seems to be preparing to lamb. Her bag doubled in size in one day. All the sheep ran to see me but her...she laid down looking very uncomfortable. Then she acted like she was begining labor.
I went to get my camera.

I came back with my friend “D” and her camera. Madge, the ewe, decided to put things off for a good long while. I conned her into following me into the lambing shed so I could feed the other animals. Just after dark, Randyman showed up and agreed to put the camera in the shed, which meant moving 500’ of cable and walking along the top of the 100 year old 8’ high rockwall with it in the pitch dark, with lose stones, but he survived. We finally got it all hooked up.
With all the commotion going on, I had no time whatsoever to fix some dinner. I am glad I canned all those meals last month, as we pulled some venison stew off the shelf and heated it up. It tasted wonderful and was a lot quicker than if we lived in the city and ordered 'fast food', which was good, cuz we were both hungry from skipping breakfast and lunch. Sometimes we get so busy we can forget to eat, but I don't mind. I can surely live off the 'fat of the land' for awhile.
Randyman and Cider went to bed, I watched Madge. She seemed to be in labor, but nothing was happening. Nothing. She would get up, lay down, push. Nothing. She’d rest. I figured maybe she was just positioning babies. I left messages on all the internet sheep boards I knew of for info. The general consensus was “wait”.  By 10 p.m. She was in obvious distress. She was pushing a LOT and still no signs of a baby, waterbag, or anything else. I was concerned it had just been going on too long, as nothing about her delivery seemed very normal to me. By 11 pm, I had gathered up some surgical gloves, a bottle of betadine and some super lubricant.
I sat with her for awhile before she decided she really would let me help her. I went in with the glove and found a foot...it felt like it was in the right position, so I searched around and found another. There isn’t much room in the birth canal of a sheep for a lamb AND a hand. I am used to foaling mares which at this point, it seems to me, is a whole world easier.
 There was a very large head above the front legs, so if this was all one lamb, he was in good position, but much too large to fit through the exit before him. I continued searching around blindly, to make sure the legs didn’t belong to a different lamb that might be trying to exit at the same time, but it was just one. I waited for her to push again and I pulled...and pulled...and got nowhere.

There was no traction and he was not moving. 
I had lubed her up well as she seemed to be having a ‘dry birth’. What helped to dislodge him also made it harder to pull him because it was so slippery.
I kept working on him, finally having to remove the gloves and found some baling twine which I tied around his front feet and pulled some more. It was midnite by the time she and I got him delivered. Bruno had wandered in at some point and was watching from behind me. Surprisingly to me, the lamb was very much alive, even after all the time he had been crammed in the birth canal with no progress. I made sure he didn’t have any fluid in his mouth and lungs and set him in front of her so she could see what a good job she had done. I sat back and waited to see if there was a twin on the way, while she and Bruno set to work drying off the little buttstopper.

It wasn’t long before I was certain there was no twin.
 After a good long time, I also realized she was NOT going to let him nurse. I had to mash her up against the wall and hold her so he could get his first, life giving, immunity boosting colostrum. This carries all the antibodies necessary to protect him for the first few weeks of his life.
I pondered the past couple of weeks and what bad shape I have been in from my RA. I haven’t been able to use my hands much as my wrists and fingers as well as my shoulders have been really weak and painful, but today, I wasn’t having any such problems, even after spending 2 days of cleaning a cabin, mopping floors and such. The timing was perfect, although I hardly think it was coincidence. A lot of praying went on during this labor and I think even though there was a lot of difficulty, I never felt alone. I think Someone who cares about my sheep, as well as myself, Someone who even counts the sparrow, was guiding us through the process.
All was well, so I headed back to the house. As I watched them on the monitor, it was clear she was not only going to keep him from nursing, but was trying to hurt him in doing so. 
Finally at 3 am I thawed out some goat colostrum from last years kidding and brought him to the house to give him a bottle. He drank hungrily, while I argued with Cider not to keep licking him and get him all wet again.
Cider is worse than Cletus. He thinks every baby animal is his to mother. He tends to knock them over and lick the hide and hair clean off of them if we allow him. He’s great for bringing weak calves around, but not so great with the little critters. Bruno doesn’t let him near the lambs or kids, but Bruno was outside on patrol again, while I tended the lamb.
After he was dry and fed, I took him back to his mother. Bruno and Cletus who had finished their short rounds, came with me and checked him all over throughly and cleaned up the shed. I finally hit the bed at almost 5 a.m.
This morning came pretty early. I got up later than planned, at 7:30, with only a couple hours of sleep. I headed back out with the boys to hold her again while the lamb, whom I have named “Stewie” nursed. She didn’t fight nearly as much.
I got the wagon and the milker and milked EmmaLou, fed the chickens and checked Madge’s water. After I processed the milk, I checked the monitor and saw she is letting Stewie nurse all by herself. It’s beginning to snow and my wrists and hands are getting painful again, but there is no emergency in front of me now.
Life is good.
Feb. 1, 2012 4:27 pm
Oh gosh Petey - what a life you lead. Yes - the Chef brings you blessings and I am sure he feels blessed to visit you. Despite the RA you did great - I am glad you were there and God Bless Randy Man for his care, concern and hard work. Yes, Even the Sparrow....
Feb. 1, 2012 5:04 pm
Petey, once again you have left me breathless with the beauty that is 'everyday life' for you. It is indeed during times of particular distress that we sense His presence most, is it not? Bless you for staying up all night caring for Madge and baby.
Feb. 1, 2012 10:31 pm
Funny, my hubby gets the same reaction from 2 of our dogs that yours does! He is such a pushover and I always tell him I am ammuned to their sad eyes. Gotta love dogs that show unconditional love in their sweet faces huh? Birthing sheep by yourself and in the middle of the night? YIKES!! God love you:)
Feb. 2, 2012 4:51 am
Petey, I enjoyed reading your blog. You lead a very busy life and then some. I'm glad Madge and her lamb Stewie are doing well, thanks to you.
Feb. 2, 2012 5:24 am
Great Job, Petey! I don't know why sheep and goats sometimes do that to their babes. We had a doe that always seemed to want to behave that way- her udder was a little congested, and once we massaged her and got regular feedings underway which relieved her pain, all was well. But in the meantime, we were pinning and holding her and milking on our knees and elbows! That goat was a 3 person job. We were always thankful when she figured it out and got down to business. :)
Feb. 2, 2012 5:34 am
My apologies petey for being so absent from your blogs of late, I have not hardly had time to BREATHE! :) Watching the miracle of birth is a soul-inspiring vision...I was blessed to watch my mare give birth and will never forget it! I don't know what all those critters would do if you were not around! and very happy to hear Madge relented on the nursing! :)
Feb. 2, 2012 6:17 am
Petey, I would have been in full blown panic mode!!! You handled it with such grace. I am glad that you felt good enough to be with her. I wish you better feeling hands for the day and some much needed rest. Thanks for you inspiration!!!!
Feb. 2, 2012 8:13 am
Thanks again for sharing, Petey. God is good! Wish you were my neighbor(or I was yours!)
Feb. 2, 2012 8:31 am
Thanks for sharing, Petey. Beautiful story. ...I love how God meets us in our struggles. And he does care about even the little details in our lives.
Feb. 2, 2012 8:32 am
...and I can't blame her for not wanting to nurse the little bugger after a night of hard labor!!
Feb. 2, 2012 10:02 am
well, I think I have caught up on sleep! LOL Stewie and Madge are doing really well. The dogs have gone in each day to check them over and both sheep are very relaxed and happy around the pups. At the end of their week in the maternity ward, they should do great back out with the other sheep. :)
Feb. 2, 2012 5:08 pm
Randyman is such a good guy! That picture remined me of my dad, he would sit in his recliner with our 2 dogs and 3 cats in a semicircle around him and any visiting critters found a place in the arc. And you are such a caring owner! You had the miracle of birth and the miracle of a painfree period. Thank you so much for sharing this slice of your life.
Feb. 2, 2012 7:47 pm
Well a very big welcome to little Stewie! I love my cats... but I love your dogs and thank you so much for sharing them with me! I'm Kinda gettin' a little soft spot for sheep! not to mention the calves! Thanks once again for the read! I live vicariously through your wonderful life!
Dahling 2 
Feb. 3, 2012 7:04 am
Petey, Your blogs touch my heart in so many ways. I am amazed at the beauty in your life and in your heart and soul. I, along with your many other fans, think that a book from you is a natural progression. Prayers and blessings to you!
Feb. 3, 2012 10:12 am
thank you, I really appreciate you guys and your taking the time to comment! :)
Feb. 3, 2012 1:17 pm
Welcome to the world, precious Stewie! I'm so glad his mama decided to take care of him without further intervention. I love how you give glory to God for Madge's successful lambing and Stewie's life. You are so right. He is always there with us whenever we need His loving presence, guiding us through. I know we aren't supposed to covet, but I am totally jealous of the life you live, enjoying some of the most beautiful parts of God's creation. Thank you for letting us be a part of it with you through your words and photographs. (p.s. - I'm still waiting for word of a BOOK!)
Feb. 3, 2012 2:29 pm
LOL keri!
Feb. 3, 2012 11:27 pm
You are an amazing woman Petey.
Feb. 4, 2012 7:48 am
Wow, I hope you find relief from your RA! This was so cool to read. And, how neat that you are almost living totally off the land!
Feb. 4, 2012 8:19 am
I love reading your blog, petey. Thank you so much for posting. And, yes, you are an amazing, strong woman.
Feb. 4, 2012 9:51 am
all i can say is "whoa" :)
Feb. 7, 2012 7:31 am
"Wow" seems to be all that comes to mind, petey. Lovely story and lovely pics.
Feb. 7, 2012 9:47 am
Thanks for sharing your stories, I enjoy your blog so much.... a wondrous life you have.
Feb. 7, 2012 6:46 pm
Petey, I hope that you enjoy writing your blogs as much as we all enjoy reading them. You are a very talented writer. One of my favorite things to read your blog while drinking a cup of warm tea. Life is good indeed!
Feb. 7, 2012 8:56 pm
Oh, Petey, another totally inspiring and mind-boggling blog! I felt like I was right there with you, but luckily I was not as I know I would be no help in such a situation. I was exhausted at the end!! As Keri said, we all await word of The Book!! Bless you, Petey, for your work and your care with those dear animals.
Feb. 8, 2012 11:19 am
Wow, what a night you did have. I am so glad all turned out well for mama, stewie and you. I feel so bad for you with the pain you have from the RA. I have a dear friend that has had it since age 24. I see the suffering she goes thru. She never complains though. You will ask how she is and all she will say is"Well, you know I have rheumatoid arthritis". That is the extent of her complaint. I am glad yours took a break long enough for you to do what you had to do and to deliver that beautiful lamb. Till next time.
Feb. 8, 2012 1:57 pm
Wow, what a pro! Glad the little one made it, I was hanging on to my seat there for a second while reading! Loved reading, as usual, and you're right, life IS good!
Feb. 9, 2012 4:55 am
You really should give serious thought to a book ... a collection of your stories. Everything I read that you write is so pure and beautiful. You bring me to a place in time and space that I can feel and see. I would love to read a book that was of your stories.
Sep. 4, 2012 5:37 am
At a time where I am seeking the strength to go on with my own little farm, you have given me some inspiration this morning. People who do not love this kind of life have no idea how hard it can be when you have no encouragement or help. God Bless you.
Click to Change your Profile Picture

Home Town
Tehachapi, California, USA
Living In
Princeton, Oregon, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2007

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Knitting, Gardening, Hunting, Photography, Reading Books

Go Pro!

In Season

No-Fuss Party Food
No-Fuss Party Food

Easy recipes for summer get-togethers.

Do Healthy Your Way
Do Healthy Your Way

Low-fat, low-carb, paleo, vegan. Get recipes for your lifestyle.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and helpful cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for just $7.99!

About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
My favorite things to cook
Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
My cooking triumphs
Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States