Saturday, November 1, 2008

What Bridget Doesn’t Know About Farming (by Bridget)

One fall day we were gazing at the bucolic picture of the sheep grazing in the pasture from the front porch. If you listened you could actually hear them munching eagerly on the grass as the moved slowly across the pasture. That is…all but Kelly. Kelly is a black Shetland Mule lamb (Shetland/BFL) born in March of 08. Kelly is, we think, “acting” as though he is a strapping young virile ram. It is comical to watch this little guy mounting a much larger Cheviot. It kind of reminds one of a Dachshund having affection for a Great Dane. Like all the other ram lambs, he had been banded a few days after birth.

However, we began having an unsettled feeling that perhaps we should check for hopefully the absence of anything on his belly. So the next day we captured the indignant Kelly and discovered that alas his jewels were intact. Apparently the band broke.

Since he is a beautiful fleece sheep and I have vowed none of my lambs will end up on the dinner table we make an appointment with the country vet.
Jen somehow manages to get him in Big Red and we meet in Holt. (Big Red is a very old truck that now has to be jump started every time we take it anywhere - both directions.)

We arrive on a very cold and windy afternoon. The vet examines him and decides it is too cold to do the simple operation on the bed of the truck so we carry him inside to where the dogs and cats are altered. He then announces that Jen and I will assist and puts us in position to hold Kelly’s back and front legs. I need to add here that Jen is a farm girl and steps up to the plate with no hesitation. I however have only the idealic images of farm life in my head and never expected to be looking at a pair of sheep testicles eight inches from my face. I quickly reevaluate my values as to whether or not I could maybe let one lamb go to the dinner table. But it is too late. Aware of the limited time that anesthesia would keep Kelly out the vet worked fast. I now understand where the term “ball buster “came from.

So, we put Kelly who is very annoyed with us back in the dog crate in the back of the pickup. We jump start Big Red and Jen takes off like she does leaving me in the dust. I soon lose track of her and miss the turn to the farm. Soon the cell phone rings and Jen is on the other end very patiently inquiring into my whereabouts. “Where are you?” I have to confess that as usual I am lost. So with remote guidance I find the farm. Jen has placed Kelly with two of the other wethers in the barn. I anxiously look at Kelly as the vet had made a passing comment about intestines falling out that had alarmed me but could see nothing dangling from below just one pissed off ex ram who was completely disgusted with us.

So another chapter was completed for me in that very large book of What Bridget Doesn’t Know About Farming.

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