Some people make farm stuff look easy. They hop over a gate effortlessly or toss a pitchfork full of straw across the barn like they are gently lobbing a wiffle ball (linked here as it was brought to my attention that wiffle ball is not an internationally recognized sport).
Anyway, I am not one of the people who makes farm stuff look easy. I actually make things look difficult, dangerous, or nearly impossible. I flop my legs over gates with the grace of a newborn foal and I swing a pitchfork around like a helicopter preparing for takeoff, which is usually followed by a disappointingly weak toss. Is it all in the wrist, like tennis? I don’t get it…
I don’t “zip” around on the quad, I death grip the handlebars and grimace through the full face shield of my helmet and get around slowly, arriving short of breath, my knuckles white.
And I sure as hell don’t scramble around the hillside as surefooted as a mountain goat! Rather, my stride is reminiscent of a zombie from The Walking Dead, hobbling off kilter and succumbing to the merciless force of gravity, now and again.
But, possibly most humiliating of all, I can’t spray paint numbers on sheep:
Feeling a bit as if general farm life rejects me, is it any wonder I’ve a special bond with the reject baby lambs? Looking at my reflection in their eyes, I think we both know that neither one of us is really cut out to be on a farm, as much as we’d like to think otherwise.
My brood of reject lambs includes:
Snow Cone – found nearly frozen by a creek, dead after warming in the hot box (Unprofessional diagnosis: Watery Mouth Disease)
Twiggy – from the Fathead and Twiggy post, dead after fighting off two bouts of hypothermia in the hot box (Unprofessional diagnosis: Gross lack of a will to live)
I’m now considering calling the “hot box” the “hot box of death…”
Billy Corgan – named for the lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins because he was lost so we took him in and fed him, released him the next morning to see if he would find his mom, but marked his legs with bright orange paint so we could identify him quickly if he was a true reject. He was, so we collected him in again in the evening. I thought the orange paint made him look like he spent all his free time “smashing pumpkins.” I fed him last night and again this morning and he promptly died before lunch. My unprofessional diagnosis: he did it to spite me. Look at the smug look on his face the night before he died:
And that brings me to my last reject lamb, Spartan, the lamb formerly known as Sir Snuggle-luffagus (with all the death and destruction surrounding him, I figured he needed a stronger name).
I hate to tempt fate even writing about Spartan, especially since he started coughing and I gave him a shot of antibiotics today. He took the jab in the neck, like a warrior lamb. After giving him the shot, I expressly forbade him to die. I hope he listens to me.
He is my favourite, and it’s not because he is the only one still alive! He’s special.
I could have just as easily called him “Hungry” since, every time I walk into the barn and say, “Who’s hungry?” He answers with a resounding, “Meeeeeeee!”
Yeah, he’s certainly not allowed to die….yet…at least not until he is sold at market for a prime lamb price and sent off to be turned into someone’s Doner Kebab.
Lambing hasn’t been all death and destruction. Most lambs are doing quite well and most ewes are good little mothers, except the blue 15 Blackface ewe. I found her lamb dead this afternoon. Scooping him up, I looked at her and sneered, “YOU HAD ONE JOB!!!!” I don’t have an unprofessional diagnosis for baby blue 15. In the words of my fellow student lamber, “He’s a perfectly fine lamb, except that he’s dead.”
But that’s the last dead lamb story I’m telling! Because, really, they are much cuter when they are alive….
I guess it’s ok to be a barnyard reject. I’m in good company.