Trials And Triumphs - Home on the Range Blog at - 266970

Home on the Range

Trials and Triumphs 
Feb. 9, 2012 12:14 pm 
Updated: Feb. 15, 2012 5:03 am

In spite of some pain I have been living with lately, its been a good week. Our fruit trees and the grapevine I ordered arrived and  Randyman got them planted. I am really looking forward to the garden this year. I got the trees roped off so the pups cannot break them off at the base, like the LAST tree I had. In addition to that, the boss got us a phone that works here on the ranch, that we can actually hear on, not that I want a lot of phone calls. It’s been wonderful not having my day interrupted constantly. It’s just for doctors, emergencies, and family.
I was able to download 30 free books on kindle, which made a difficult night go faster. I woke up ready to face the day, when I saw Randyman walk into the bedroom. I could tell by his face something was terribly wrong.
My stomach lurched as he told me that Rosemary’s mama was dead. He found her laying in the alleyway, looking like she might have bloated. She was fine at dinnertime, in fact, the boss’ wife and I were admiring the sheep and how great they all looked. It was a real shock. It was Stewie’s dam I have been concerned about about, what with the difficult birth and all, not Rosemary’s. She’d had no problems and had lambed almost a month ago.

I had to gather my thoughts and process it. I was grateful I had not lost EmmaLouMoo, or one of the dogs. I am very sorry to have lost this good ewe, but there is always a reason, even if we do not see it. The only way to deal with this kind of heartache is to trust my own Shepherd. He’s walked me through far more difficult places than this, so I know I can trust Him completely. As soon as I wrapped my mind back around this fact, I had my light in the darkness.
At least Rosemary, the little ewe lamb, will become easy to handle after being bottle fed and she did get an excellent beginning to life as she had a very good mama for her first three weeks.

I have to think something in the hay was suspect, as EmmaLou was also sick this week. The other sheep are all fine though, so I cannot be certain of it. Whatever it was, it was very sudden. She was fine in the evening, and gone by morning. Having animals is a great privilege and a joy, but can sometimes be heartbreaking.
Being dam-raised for nearly a month, Rosemary is not terribly social. I spent some time in the morning trying to catch her, but decided not to cause her more stress than she was already going through. Later in the afternoon I saw her napping and was able to stealthily enter the pen and snatch her by a hind leg as she tried to escape. I lifted her into my arms and huffing and puffing, managed to get her through 2 gates and the several hundred feet to the house. My hands, wrists and legs hurt tremendously as there was nowhere to stop and rest and she is incredibly heavy for a month old lamb. I couldn’t put her down anywhere as she would not let me catch her again. The pups followed us in the house, checked her over, then laid down to nap, while I tried to fill a little tub with hot water to put a bottle in. I had made the bottle earlier in the day with fresh milk from EmmaLouMoo and just needed to bring it back up to 100 degrees. Trying to do all this, with my hands hurting and a   solid chunk of a lamb in my arms was exceedingly difficult. Randyman showed up for lunch JUST in time. He helped keep her quiet while I got the bottle in her mouth. She fought a little bit, but after not too very long, she began to suck and she drank all that I was willing to give her.

Randyman carried her BACK to the sheep pen to be with her friends. He says his back hurts and estimates she already weighs about 45 pounds. She is HUGE for a month old ewe. My bummers didn’t weigh that for several months. I hope we can keep her thriving, without her mother here to feed her. I found an old shepherds hook up in the shop, so I can catch her again without too much work and get some more milk down her. Hopefully the change won’t upset her stomach too much.
Feed time came and I gave the sheep their hay. Rosemary tucked herself in behind the feeder to nibble on alfalfa leaves and I was able to snag her hind leg with my hand and drag her out. My friend “D” showed up and helped steady her while she made quick work of a bottle.
This morning Randyman and I herded all the sheep into a little room and re vaccinated all of them to insure none of them die from clostridium, which may or may not be what killed MamaC. She was boostered in December and should have been ok, but there is no telling if she had been vaccinated before I got her so one shot might not have been sufficient. Better to be safe than sorry. I also gave some anti biotics to Madge and infused her in case of any infection from the difficult birth, where I had to intervene.
I captured Rosemary and once she started on her bottle I was able to set her down and allow her to stand. That is a big improvement from last nite. I hope to give her 4 bottles a day, as close to 32 ounces as I can, as I only have a 10 oz bottle that fits the nipple. So a light feed in the afternoon and a full bottle before bedtime should do her ok.
Rosemary has begun hanging out with little Stewie, who is more than willing to accept her company. 

Still, I would like her to buddy up to the dogs more, as Stewie can't protect her if she gets in trouble and she has no Mama to look out for her now. I reconfigured the sheep pen so I could contain the Maremmas in there. They are almost 2 now and since all the stock is pretty much contained this time of year, I would like them to become more closely bonded to my sheep. My intention is that they will follow them around during the day while they are grazing and not be so concerned about watching every pasture. At night they will be free to patrol their boundaries. They have been spending way too much time at the back door, so its time to put them to work guarding full time, as they are mature and experienced enough now, for all I can tell. They aren’t thrilled about it, but such is life.

“D” came over at noon to help capture Rosemary for her #2 feeding. She had the bottle as I wanted to get a picture of Rosemary so I can compare and make sure she doesn’t lose condition over the next few weeks. We decided to see if she would come to the bottle...and she did. Her suction was so great, “D” was able to drag her all the way to a nice sitting-on stump without losing her.
So far, so good.

I expect in another day or two, she will run to me for her bottles and get over grieving the loss of her mother. I hope I will too. Life is still good.
Feb. 9, 2012 2:37 pm
Beautiful blog Petey. Your pictures, as always, are so beautiful. Rosemary is just so cute. It is so sad that she lost her Mom but I know she is in good hands. I hope she continues to thrive with your excellent care.
Feb. 9, 2012 2:41 pm
Thanks Susie, she seems to be coming along.
Feb. 9, 2012 3:43 pm
Thank you for sharing this. What a sweet little lamb! She's lucky to have you as her new "second mom". Yes, life goes on, doesn't it. Our Good Shepherd really takes care of us, even when we fight Him, like your scared little Rosemary did. Now she accepts you are helping her to live, not trying to hurt her. Soon, she will be bleating for you when she's hungry!
Feb. 9, 2012 3:52 pm
Love the read! but sad at the content! Thanks for all the awesome pics, again and again!
Feb. 9, 2012 7:13 pm
Tonite, she ran to me for her bottle. She is doing really well.
Feb. 9, 2012 7:29 pm
It's so hard to be a "mama" to these friends of yours. I'm also sorry to have you be in pain. And so glad you have a phone.
Feb. 10, 2012 5:48 am
Aww Petey. I am so glad that she is taking the bottle. I have always considered owning and caring for animals to be a privilege. With that comes joy and also sorrow when they leave us so suddenly. The Maremma lazing around on his back in the sheep pen looks to be making the best of his new duties. Your photographs are stunningly beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us.
Feb. 10, 2012 6:07 am
Petey - thank you for telling us. I AM so sorry to hear about your loss. They really are like your children, aren't they. What wonderful pictures. Take good care of you.
Feb. 10, 2012 12:12 pm
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Rosemary's mama. But you're right that at least Rosemary had a good 3 week start - and now she is accepting her new substitute mama - you. She has the care of the Good Shepherd and you and her sheep family that will support her. She will grow and thrive. My prayers are with you as you again grieve the loss of another creature of God. There is no understanding of the "whys" - but we can trust Him whose heart knows ours and whose hand cradles us in His care.
Feb. 10, 2012 4:21 pm
Rosemary is so blessed to have been born into your care, she may have lost her mama, but she will still thrive. I love the expression on Randyman's face as he sits there clutching a 45# lamb! Try to take time to take care of Petey too.
Feb. 10, 2012 4:36 pm
Aw, Petey, I am so sorry for the loss of sweet Rosemary's mama. She was a beautiful sheep and Rosemary is a BIG beautiful lamb! She is in good hands now and seems to know it as she comes running to you! I love your blog and pictures. I can feel like I am a part of your life through these. I raised goats at one time and I will always miss them but not able to care for them now.......Ginny
Feb. 11, 2012 5:31 am
You mentioned perhaps the hay being a problem ... mycotoxins could be at work there. Too vast a subject to get into here but there is alot of information on the net. Just a thought. So sorry to learn that you lost one of your girls.
Feb. 11, 2012 6:04 am
Ahhh, so sad but what beautiful sheep! You work so hard Petey!
Feb. 11, 2012 8:31 am
Sorry about your loss. Those little sheep are so cute! Great blog, as always!
Feb. 11, 2012 12:27 pm
Petey, sorry about the loss of Rosemary. I know that is difficult to process. I do want you to know, I really enjoy your blog. I grew up on a farm in Western Kentucky with hills and farm animals. Some sheep, mostly cattle, pigs and tobacco. The pictures are great also, since I will probably never make it to California,but you never know!!!Take care of yourself and try to manage the pain. Managing it will allow you a longer, more fruitful life.
Feb. 11, 2012 4:39 pm
Thank you everyone. Rosemary is doing extremely well. She loves having EmmaLouMoo milk in a bottle, and if she sees me or hears my voice now, she comes a running'. She's made the adjustment really well and I am certain she'll make a great replacement ewe.
Feb. 11, 2012 7:45 pm
Ya know, you always inspire me. Things happen in life without rhyme or reason and the only control you have is how you choose to react to them. You always choose well and that makes me do the same. I "heart" you for that. :o)
Feb. 12, 2012 7:40 am
Thanks cheep chick. I took me a long time to realize there IS a reason for things that seem so senseless, but I don't always have the foresight or the knowledge to understand it. I just know that there WILL be a happy ending. :)
Feb. 14, 2012 8:46 pm
Another fantastic blog, Petey. The Circle of Life. One of the few things we can be assured of, I guess. The pics are amazing. Thanks!
Feb. 15, 2012 5:03 am
Again, just another reason why you were put on this earth... sad to hear what happened to Rosemary's mom, but as you said, things happen beyond your control. Those critters are lucky to have you! :)
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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.
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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.
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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!!!
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