We’ve had sheep for less than a year.
Our flock is small, which is perfect seeing as our knowledge about them is so minimal. I’ve read a few books, scanned a few blogs but there is nothing like actually owning and caring for an animal to decide if it’s for you or not.
Up to this month, our time as shepherd and shepherdess have been rather uneventful. I was even starting to wonder if either everybody else who said they’re high maintenance is crazy or we were just really superior farmers. HA!
The first two ewes lambed easily with no intervention. They raised ginormous babies, and our ram is a pretty nice guy to be around. So purchasing weaned lambs for my kiddos for Easter sounded like a great no-brainer of an idea. It WAS a great idea until we brought them home in July.
And then on the Fourth of July, a day of relaxation and fun and barbecues for most, I made the most gruesome discovery.
Yep, our four, cute newly-acquired baby lambs were riddled with the three-foot-long beasts! A little piece of my farmer soul died in the field that day. And in that moment I was reminded that, no, you are not such a good farmer (I didn’t initially quarantine the new creatures from my whole flock) and you just can’t predict how your day is going to go on the farm.
A “typical day on the farm” is an oxymoron. There is just no such thing. And on the surface — the romanticized, Hollywood surface — it’s even a peaceful, almost boring way to live.
(Insert hysterical laughter here.)
Boring and typical are NOT the words I would ever use to describe (my) life on the farm.
Tapeworms was not the direction I thought that Wednesday was going. But it did.
My husband called our vet (thankfully, he’s a family friend because it was a holiday) to find out the next course of action.
While he was on the phone, our youngest son asked me if he could scavenge the worms to use as fishing bait. In light of his genuine interest and curiosities in the tapeworms, we also asked the vet if it was possible that we humans could catch the worms (thankfully, it’s not likely).
So, on top of the garden, the house, the cows, the chickens, etc. etc., we also began doctoring our flock.
But that’s just typical of life around here.
My day usually begins between 2 and 4 a.m. for my online job. I work until 9 a.m. most days and I’m blessed that my kids are old enough to fend for themselves while I work.
Afterward (my husband is already gone to his day job), the kids and I usually work on chores. The kiddos have inside and outside chores, which each kid does to varying degrees of success and effort.
I try to keep the animals around here as self sufficient as possible. We keep large waterers and big feeders so it’s not such a daily task. Right now we don’t have feeder pigs or broiler chickens so our outside chores here at the house are pretty minimal.
My oldest has been a huge help in the garden. She has done most of the watering and we all pitch in for picking. At this point in the year, I let the weeds go.
In the winter, chores are very different. I would much prefer to be a summer farmer. Breaking ice and feeding cows and hauling water for chickens…..not much fun in ice cold temps.
After the animals are taken care of, I attempt to do laundry and pick up the house, also to varying degrees of success.
Throughout the day, I work to keep the kiddos and animals alive, the house standing and attempt to create some form of sustenance for when my working farmer man comes home. About half of the time I ride shot-gun with him after dinner to check the herds, doctor sick animals and assess the hay fields (or lack thereof). Professional gate-opener is my night gig.
I try to go to bed early so I can function the next morning when it all begins again.
Another typically unpredictable day in my life on the farm.
Categories: Animals on the farm
My name is Ginia Oehlschlager and I'm a small-town gal from Missouri. Join me as I document my crazy life on the farm with my husband and four kids. I'm always looking for frugal, simple ways to live the life God set before me. Where faith, family and fun come together on the farm.
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