Monday, August 11, 2008

Here's to Luke

      We moved out to the country two years ago this month.  We were so excited to have a larger garden and grow most of our food.  We couldn't wait to have chickens and farm fresh eggs.  We were already living a pretty simple lifestyle but we thought we had the fortitude to work a little harder.  Okay ..a lot harder. 
    I don't think when we dreamed of this that sheep were part of the equation. But just like most of my math skills, I ended up with a few more numbers than was figured.  About a year ago we were offered 3 aging shetland sheep. Annie, Emily and Luke.  One wouldn't think that sheep have personalities but they do.  Emily is bold and pushy. Annie has self esteem issues. Luke was the strong silent type.   We have since added Zipper (ram) and Button (ewe).  Two Dorset/ South down sheep . They are lambs and very friendly and open to the world.  Sorta like 4 year olds.
     On Friday morning we noticed that Luke was keeping himself separate from the flock.  Hubby is a musician and had to go Downeast for 2 gigs.  I notice that Luke was coughing.   After I heard the cough I put him in  pen by himself but where he could still see his flock. He had stopped eating.  When hubby got home on Sunday he started calling local farmers to find out what the problem might be. We returned him to pasture.  We gave him an elixer of canola oil/mollasses/ salt to start up his digestive system.  Today we gave him a worm treatment.  This evening I went out to pick blackberries.  I noticed him lying down on his side which was uncommon for him.  He was dead.
  We've lost chickens along the way of this homesteading journey. But they were tough old birds that had stopped laying many eggs.  We've grown a pig and killed and butchered it.  So we have a personal relationship with our food.  Death is part of this.  We grow baby animals; we eat them.  We are not vegetarians.  We used to buy all our meat from the farmers market but when we got the pig last year we told ourselves "If we can't kill it we have no right to eat it." We provide good food and a good life to our animals; far better than any factory farm raised animals.  
  But the Shetlands were different; not really pets, but more than just livestock.  Friendly lawn mowers maybe. Purveyors of good poo for the garden.  Better than a treadmill for providing exercise when they escape their yard. So here's a toast to Luke the Buddha sheep. Slainte!

IDC challenge update tomorrow after I can the pickles.

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