But let me back up a minute. Saturday was a very busy day. Laura's ewe lamb apparently did get bred that day she squeezed through the gate and got in with the ram. And here's a lesson in why you might not want to breed a ewe lamb (she won't be a year old till April)--on Friday evening we noticed she was prolapsing (vaginal prolapse). It was still at a stage where if she stoood the prolapse was retracted, but I figured I better bring her up into a jug so at least we could keep things cleaner. I called Laura and told her if she wanted to come out Saturday morning and help with the ewe to come on--Mary and I were planning to tag all my untagged sheep and then work on the ewe lamb.
So we filled her up with all sorts of meds and cleaned her up the best we could. Then we got out the baling twine and trussed her up. We didn't use a prolapse spoon--just followed the directions in Ron Parker's The Sheep Book. So far everything is staying in place.
We decided to run into Asheboro for lunch and to visit the Clinique counter at Belk. Without changing clothes. You can imagine the looks we three "hayseeds" got as we bellied up to the Clinique counter....
But, wait, the fun didn't stop there! We had also managed to get ourselves roped into Donkey Basketball that evening, a benefit for the FFA and a local fire department. Mary and I spent much of the day blaming Laura for this. Mary "hosts" an FFA student, who had asked Mary to participate, and Mary had--sensibly--declined. Then one night the three of us went to dinner and got a little, shall we say, full of ourselves. We discussed how we had all grown up on horseback, so how hard could it be to ride a donkey? (You're probably thinking right now about the saying, "What's the last thing you often hear from a redneck? Hey, watch this!") Laura declared, "A girl's gotta show her wild side!" and next thing you know, we'd all volunteered for donkey basketball.
So the big night was here and we were, to put it mildly, a bit nervous. Poor Mary looked like she'd seen a ghost by the time we were done being instructed in the rules of the game. Fortunately for us, the emcee didn't put the women on the wild donkeys at first (what you chose to do later was your choice). So what I learned is that donkey basketball isn't so much about playing basketball as it is about trying to get a donkey to cooperate in any way. I started out with a donkey who was very sweet but didn't want to move, and especially didn't want to move away from Mary's donkey. I mean it was all I could do to squeeze myself in between them so I could mount. Not that it mattered. If your donkey won't move (except maybe to follow its friend) you're pretty limited in what you're going to do on the basketball court.
Later in the game, one of the fellas on our team was riding one of the smaller donkeys. The guy was so tall his feet dragged the ground. And the donkey was behaving! So when his rider called for relief, I donned my charming football helmet (did I mention that style was not to be considered?) and relieved my teammate of his little tan donkey. Oh yes! What a good donkey! As the ball went sailing by down the court toward our basket, I was actually able to lead my donkey at a good clip down the court and got possession of the ball. Then came the hitch. You can't shoot a basket from anywhere but on a donkey's back. So ball under arm, all the while fighting off two volunteer firefighters who were trying to steal it, I attempted to mount my donkey. The little hellion bucked each time I put my leg over his back. What happened to the nice donkey my teammate was riding all over??? I hit the deck a couple of times, but never lost my grip on the ball. I was looking around desperately for a teammate to pass the ball to, but they were all at the other end of the court in a slow-motion crawl to come my way. FINALLY, a teammate comes flying by on an out-of-control little donkey and I throw him the ball. He shoots! No good. Oh well, you can't say we didn't try!
So what did I learn from donkey basketball? It's all about having fun. When someone describes a donkey as gentle, it's a euphemism for "so stubborn it's not about to move, period." A perky donkey is one that's going to toss you ass over teakettle and then refuse to be caught without the help of legions of your teammates. In the end we had a lot of fun. And, yes, there is video. I just have to get it onto my computer and from there onto something like YouTube. So readers, you will just have to wait to view the action!
So I went and got Twist and had her bring the entire flock up to the gate, where I was able to sort of Chocolate Chip and shove her through the gate with Jimmy and the lamb. Once we got them jugged, she settled down and went to taking care of her little ram lamb.
I used Twist to again bring the flock up and pulled out an open ewe lamb, Cinnamon, to go in the jug next to Chocolate Chip so she'd have some company. We then made sure that the lamb's umbilical cord was sprayed with strong iodine, gave him a squirt of nutri-drench, fed and watered mom, and left them to bond. I give a lot of credit to Chocolate Chip for standing off Hazel. They must have been fighting over the lamb for some time, because he was almost completely dry by the time we got home and found him.
Here's Chocolate Chip and her lamb:
Here's the proud papa, Josias (on the left) and his wether buddy Fido, who is also his son. Fido is the result of breeding Josias to a Scottish blackface ewe. He got his name when he was sent to live at Tony and Mary's place where he was the oddball among their flock of tunis lambs. Tony kept joking about how he looked like some sort of mutt out there among the tunis and a name was born.
I can't really show any decent pictures of the jugs. You can see the wooden panels we made in the photos of the ewes and lambs. Here's a picture of the barn from the back.
This used to be a stable with open stalls for the horses. We closed it in partially so we could enclose sheep in the stalls and then added the panels to divide each 10 x 10 stall into three jugs: two 5 x 5 and one 10 x 5. The stall to the far right is connected to the ram paddock and is where Josias and Fido can get out of the weather. If we get short on space, though, the two boys will have to move to a different paddock so we can divide their stall for use by ewes and lambs too.
The completely enclosed section in the center is what I call the tack room, though it's no longer used for tack. I keep most of my sheep supplies there, as well as feed for the chickens, sheep feed, etc.
The stall on the middle left is how I can walk through from the yard. I store hay there for feeding the boys and any ewes that are jugged. Here's a picture of the stall on the far left. The ewe in front is Laura's number 90 and the one you can just see in the jug next to her is the ewe lamb with the prolapse. Number 90 is there just to keep the ewe lamb company and will be moved out when we have need of the jug.
I like the open design of the barn. It allows for light and good air flow but provides protection from the wind and the elements, which is really all the lambs need in our climate.
And on a completely unrelated note, remember the PIF entry where I talked about the hand-knit sweaters our friend LouAnn gave us? The one pictured below isn't the one I originally chose, it's the one Mary chose. But mine had a border collie in a working crouch on a red background with the sheep below on a black background. Mary looks gorgeous red and I do not, so we switched. Anyway, I think it's a lovely sweater and I will get much enjoyment out of it.
And I think this particular entry takes the record for excessive length, and it's time to go feed and check the ewes, so until next time....