Archive for May 10, 2009

The Last Lamb of the Season (I HOPE)

While sheep were getting sheared Friday, I noted a bag on a little yearling ewe that looked a little plump to be a nursing mother. “I don’t think you’ve lambed yet!” I told her. A lamb inside the barn baaaaaaed at her, though, so I thought I was mistaken. After all, perhaps I didn’t recognize her with her wool off. The chunky, blocky creatures in full fleece are, when sheared, doe-like and graceful in appearance.

So, I went out to feed this evening and there she was with a newborn lamb. A lamb with an ivory coat but with black head and legs, the first one of that color I’ve ever had. Say WHAT?

So, now I have another nervous yearling mother (the lamb I bottle fed/am bottle feeding had a mother that was only 10 months old) that may or may not have enough milk for this tiny little ram, the size of a smallish house cat. Now that mom’s deflated, she appears to be on the thin side.

I sure would like to sneak out there tonight and find her feeding the lamb. I don’t want to do feedings every 2 or 3 hours! No more midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. feedings, please!

Update: When I checked the lamb LATE last night, mom had him under shelter in the pasture, and he was nosing around for food at the right end. She was helpfully lifting her leg out of the way to make his search for the teat easier.

This morning, she had him in the barn with the other sheep, and he was sleeping under a manger. I stuck a finger inside his mouth. It was warm, indicating that he had suckled recently. I checked under his tail–bright yellow feces (from nursing mom) were present. If he doesn’t run into difficulties from being trampled, getting stuck in fence, etc., he should be okay. I haven’t seen him urinate, so I don’t yet know if his waterworks is functioning properly.

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The Kindness of Strangers, Or Why I Love Where I Live

We stopped to get some lunch after a morning of gardening, then went on to stop at Wal-Mart for birthday presents for the grandsons. While I stopped by the vision center to get some lens cleaner, SwampMan went out to the parking lot to unload the cart into the truck and get the A/C going. He turned the ignition. Nothing happened.

When I got out there, he had the hood up and he and a young college-aged girl were staring at the battery.

“It couldn’t be the battery!” he said. “It was working fine! It hasn’t given me any problems whatsoever!”

The young lady said “how old is the battery?”

SwampMan had to admit he didn’t know. She asked if he had jumper cables. SwampMan said yes, he did, and that they were under the back seat of the truck.

“No, they’re in the back of mine”, I said helpfully. He checked anyway. No jumper cables.

He went inside to purchase the cables. I tried to send the young lady on her way, but she insisted on waiting. She is graduating from the surgical tech program at the local college, and already has a job with a hospital in Jacksonville. I had a great time listening to her experiences in the hospital training program while we waited.

When SwampMan came back out with the jumper cables, we hooked it up to her battery. We weren’t getting enough juice to turn over the battery in his truck. A man came by in a truck, and asked if he could help, since his battery was bigger. We thanked the young lady profusely, and she left, declining any payment for her services.

The young man with the truck wasn’t able to breathe life into the battery, either. I finally said “he’s DEAD, Jim!” to SwampMan. SwampMan was not amused, but the young man was. He asked if we were going to be okay (yes!) and whether we needed any tools (no, we’re fine, thanks!). Then he looked dubiously at us and the old truck, and asked if we needed any financial help to get the battery. (No, we’re okay, thanks so much!) Then the young lady came back and brought us cold drinks and to see if we needed any further help. “No, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness, we’ll be fine!” Those cold drinks were great on a hot day! Then another man stopped to see if he could help.

SwampMan ended up buying another set of wrenches because the wrench size that he needed was unaccountably missing from his set under the back seat. The wrench that is just the right size for my battery, too. (Crossing fingers behind back–”no, I don’t think it’s in my truck along with your jumper cables….”)

With the new battery installed, the old truck fired right up. SwampMan couldn’t get over it. “I’ve never had a battery go out before with no warning whatsoever!” Hunh. Happens to me every few years.

So there you go. Stranded temporarily at a Wal-Mart in a town that we didn’t live in, we were assisted by three strangers who offered mechanical help, financial help, and cold drinks so that we didn’t get dehydrated on a hot day.

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