Friday, June 3, 2011

Awards and a Tragedy

I would like to thank Debbie over at SwampBilly Ranch for the Stylish Blogger Award. Nothing says stylish more than a transplanted West Virginian hanging out in the swamps of Florida!

How's this for Stylish! Can you identify me?

How about now?

I found this laying in the grass in the yard one evening and had to get a picture of it.

I don't know what kind of a moth it is but it is beautiful!

I would like to thank Perri from Mud on the Tracks for the So Sweet Award. Perri was the inspiration for the start of this blog and she has accomplished great things on her farm in Massachusetts.

What could be sweeter than a four year old holding farm fresh eggs!

Or a drink of Kahlua mixed with fresh goats milk! Yes OFG, I drank it and I liked it!

Both awards require me to list seven things that folks don't know about me, so here goes.

1. I once dyed my hair blond. I didn't really have more fun either.
2. I once dyed my hair red. Everyone thought I had a temper, I didn't.
3. I absolutely love Holly Hobbie and Friends.
4. I still have my childhood collection of the Little House on the Prairie Books.
5. I want warm Vernors when I have an upset stomach. You may have to be from Michigan to understand that one.
6. I was not very good at sports as a kid, but once I learned to laugh at myself I loved playing them. For example, I was in a bowling league with an average of 54 - they loved me for my handicap(s).
7. I'm going back to school this summer after a 16 year hiatus. I am taking a College Statistics course starting next week with one of my son's - I wonder if he will let me copy?

Wednesday morning Orchid died giving birth, it was horrible. Tuesday evening I had noticed that she was very puffy and bagged up, I thought something was wrong but wasn't sure what to do. Orchid stayed close to the barn so I thought she was going to lamb at any time. The next morning when I checked on her I noticed a hoof was hanging out, this was a ominous sign. Things went downhill quickly from this point. The baby was stuck and dead, the only thing I could do was get my gloves and see if I could remove it. I tried and tried, it was horrible and Orchid was in pain. I called all the local vets and received no call backs. I finally called the Commander at work and told him to come home as Orchid needed to be put down. I went back out to be with her and decided to give it one more try - I was able to get the poor baby out!

At this point Orchid was in bad shape so I emailed Pipestone Vet Clinic and one of their Vets emailed me back! How wonderful, he answered from his blackberry and provided me with some detailed advice.

I gave Orchid the recommended medications (I was amazed I had them all) but she didn't look good. I decided to bring the rest of the sheep into the barn with her while I picked my daughter up from school so that if she died she wouldn't be alone, I couldn't allow that to happen. The Commander found her dead before I could get back, I was heartbroken. When I examined her later she appeared to have a ruptured uterus, she never had a chance. Orchid was such a character, she so loved her cookies. I will miss her and her baby that wasn't to be.

Our first year as shepherds was a tough one, we lost two ewes out of the five we started with. The three remaining ewes gave us three female lambs and one ram lamb. I love them all but I will never forget Orchid, I hope she liked living here.


  1. Your luna moth is absolutely beautiful. I've only ever gotten to see a couple of them~so big and pretty. I'm so sorry to hear about Orchid. It's so very frustrating when you can get a vet to assist in a timely manner. I think I need to go back to school to become a vet. I'm certain Orchid was very happy. How could she not be when she was so obviously loved so much. Blessings.

  2. I am so sorry for your lose of Orchid. She was a very beautiful girl. I am sure she loved living with you there. I am sending you hugs and prayers from Texas.

    As for the moth it is a Lunar Moth.

    Pamela Jo

  3. So sorry to hear about Orchid. At least she wasn't alone. That was a wonderful thing to do, and I'm sure it helped her.

  4. :-(
    My eyes are welling over, my lip is trembling and I wish I could give you a hug. Sweet Orchid - what a beauty and a gentle soul. You are a wonderful critter mama - I love that you had all the sheep be with her when you had to leave.
    Lots of stuff about farm life is hard, but this is definitely the hardest. Losing our beloved animals creates a pain that it hard to bear. I'm always here for you.

  5. I'm so so sorry about your's so hard losing a sheep, especially one you've fought so hard to save. RIP Orchid. ((HUGS))

    Congratulations on your awards...and..what are vernors???

  6. Teresa - The vet situation here is terrible as there are non that treat cows, goats and sheep. They say the money is in dogs, cats and horses. As an RN I can do a lot but I have been thinking about vet tech classes myself.

    Pamela Jo - Thank you, I tried to make here feel as welcome as possible.

    Rae - I just couldn't leave her by herself, I hope it didn't scare the others.

    Danni - This was terrible, especially happening right after the goat boys left. The farm seems to be calling out that it is missing some of its young ones.

    Stace - That was an hours long struggle that I knew it was going to end badly, but I had to keep trying even though it was a doomed mission. Vernors is a ginger ale that has a one of a kind flavor. Last year the Commander sent away for a case of it for me for Christmas.

  7. I am so sorry, this is so sad. I don't know what else to say, as I am too busy crying. Farm life is hard. You are doing a great job. things like this happen, I guess. Keep your chin up, all the other animals need you. You know the other sheep are missing Orchid, too.

  8. hey baby, i'm so sorry about Orchid. the hardest part of farming is that "not everyone makes it, and not everyone can stay." its a heartbreak for sure.


    you did a heroic job of finding help and doing what you could. far and away more than some could do - so you get a hero's star for that. even under the best conditions things like this happen. i'm sure Orchid loved living there. if you get in a pickle again, check out - its a good forum where you can get an answer in a hurry. many of us know that vets just arent available way way out here.


    i'm VERY proud of you for drinking the milk - and honey, if you need a shot of kahlua to get it down, then thats just fine.

    i'm sending you tons of hugs and loving pats. you really are doing a great job, baby.

  9. I am so sorry. Keep your memories of her close...

  10. Sounds like you did all you could and you can be at peace with that. Sorry about the vet situation.

  11. Lynn - The worst part of all this was knowing deep inside that she wasn't going to make whether I got the baby out or not. Do me a favor and catch that monster!

    OFG - I didn't have to choke it down, I actually liked it. I even at some of the cream off the top!

    I will check out the board you mentioned, this vet thing is very vexing. Your statement that "not everyone makes it and not everyone get to stay" is pure wisdom - thanks.

    RHFJ - Thanks, she will be hard to forget as she was quite a character. I am better for knowing her.

    4R's - I like that, I am at "peace" with the situation. The vet from Pipestone said that in this case she was a goner from the moment of conception. As for the lack of local vets, I will just have to take some classes and improve my own abilities.

  12. Thanks for sharing your experience, I am sad for all that you had to go is weird about vets not wanting to actually be in business for herds, but if the money isn't there, I guess they can't pay the bills. Your story does give widsom, I'll be taking more classes on how to treat the farm animals in an emergency and so I can also have all meds on hand that are helpful. Better days area ahead...Orchid is in farm heaven!

  13. I am sorry about Orchid. What a difficult day for you.

  14. my heart goes out to you as I experienced a very similar thing with my first year having sheep.
    My ewe was horrific,her and 3 lambs did not make it.
    It was very discouraging but I will say there have been so many happy days along the way.
    We to had a loss this past Sunday,my shearer started shearing a ewe he was not to touch when I went in the house to get a drink,her water broke from stress resulting in no natural contractions.
    The vet had to manually remove the lamb and she did not make it.
    We were lucky to save the ewe.
    We all have moments when grief strikes and it is hard...real hard.
    You are a great shepherd who has been extremely prepared for all situations,your flock loves you for that.
    Thinking of you and Orchid.{hugs}

  15. Lana - Learning to help your animals is a win win, it has become apparent to me that I am their first line of medical care.

    Nancy - I think writing about it has helped, it really makes one appreciate the miracles that happen every day.

    Farmer - I have heard about shearing causing miscarriages from several people, how terrible. I have read about prolapse, I hope I never have to see it. Thanks for the warm thoughts and I'm happy your computer problems are sorted out.

  16. I am so very sorry to hear about Orchid. I lost a ewe the first year and at that time could NOT get a vet to call me back. It was just horrible and made me want to give up! I persisted and am so blessed with everything I have experienced since then. There are sad times, but it's worth it. Thank goodness that the good experiences outweigh the bad. I know that she had a great life with you. All we can do is the best that we can do. You did that and she knew it! Great job. Thinking of you and Orchid...... Hugs from GA.

  17. NeverWinter - Thank you for the post, I agree that the good has out-weighed the bad so I hope I learned something from this. God helps those who help themselves so I just couldn't give up. Thanks.

  18. Oh I am so sorry you lost Orchid. I understand this I have had some of my cows die in birth and it hurts to know there was not much you could do even though you did everything you could.
    A sad day I am sorry. B

  19. Buttons - Thank you for your kind words.