We got rain last night. As I was doctoring on my sick lamb I could hear the thunder rumbling and see the lightning flashes south and east of us and figured that once again the storm would simply go around and we'd be left high and dry. But no, the rain came, blowing from the east, which is pretty unusual. Not a whole lot, but every little bit helps. There were some severe storms around us, but we weren't badly affected, fortunately. Tony had a tree fall on his fence, but the damage was minimal, just a broken cross brace, especially given the size of the tree.
When I got up this morning, clearly we had gotten more rain last night. I checked the rain gauge and it looks like our total from yesterday and last night was just over half an inch. Given that we are down something like an inch and a half for this month and more than five inches for the year, I'm quite glad for that little bit.
The sick lamb is hanging in there. I think she'd regain strength if I could get her to eat. She is now letting me get electrolytes in her with a feeding syringe, but fights like the dickens (well, okay, as much as a very weak lamb can) if I try to get Nutri-drench or anything similar down her. So I'm basically keeping her alive with Nutri-drench (what she doesn't just let dribble back out) and electrolytes and shots of fortified B complex. I'd love to be able to get some subQ fluids in her and will call the vet and see if he can't get me something when I go to Siler City later today.
When I separated the second set of lambs from their mamas, I had one set that was actually born at the end of the first lambing cycle. I had planned to leave them with the ewe and let her wean them, which she was attempting to do, but she was rather thin, so I went ahead and added her two lambs in with the group from the second lambing. They were never very happy about that and would stand along the fenceline and call for their mother. Even if I put them over on the unfenced side, they'd spend more time standing at the fence than eating the good grass over there--well except for the couple of times they took themselves out into the road and I had to take Twist to round them up.
Yesterday evening as the storm was approaching, I was heading out to doctor the lamb and as I got to the barn I saw that the lambs had knocked over the round bale in the stall. Then I counted just five lambs. You can imagine the thoughts going through my head? Could those lambs be under the bale? It didn't seem possible, and the bale is more than half gone, but I still couldn't lift it by myself. Being the pragmatic sort, I figured if there were a lamb or two under a bale I couldn't lift by myself, then there wasn't much hope for them anyway. I went ahead and treated the other lamb and by then a Progress Energy power truck had stopped in to see if we had power (we did) and Jimmy came home. I got Jimmy to help me lift the bale (no lambs underneath) and we both looked in the space under the tack room part of the barn, but no lambs were there either. Then we glanced down the pasture and saw what had happened. Someone had gone through the gate between the paddocks and the main pasture and had not latched the chain on the gate properly, and so the lambs had been able to squeeze through. Probably the strong winds from the storm had blown the gate open as far as the misattached chain would allow, and those two lambs, plus a little friend, apparently, made good their escape back into the main pasture.
Once the rain had passed, we took a round bale down to the sheep. I always take a dog to keep the sheep off us while we work, and last night it was Lark. She has gotten into the habit of howling when she rides in the cab of the truck when we go to get the hay out of the old chicken house. Of course we've encouraged this behavior because it's kind of funny, but I'm sure it would get old if we had to ride any distance with her. Still, since we country folk have to find our entertainment where we can, we get a kick out of getting her to howl on command as she sits on the fold down armrest in the middle of the seat.
Anyway, once we got the bale in place, Jimmy asked if I could see the missing lambs. The twins were pretty obvious, but as for the third missing lamb, when Jimmy asked "Is that one it?" while pointing at one of the myriad black karakul lambs out there, I just had to shake my head. Did he really think I'd be able to pick out one black lamb among the bunch out there and say from a distance, "Oh that's the one!" The only way to tell would be to look at ear tags or watch the flock for a while and see if there was a lamb that had "reattached" itself to one of the ewes I got out of Orange. As it was pushing 8 and we still had a gate to fix, I wasn't terribly inclined to gather the flock and try to figure out which lamb was the extra escapee.
Lark: I May Not be Big, But I Sure Am Bad!!!
And for all you Larky fans, here's another little Lark story. When we got back to the house with the roll of hay, I got out of the truck to open the pasture gate and took Lark with me to push the sheep back from the gate. Then Jimmy drove on down to where we wanted to put the roll, and Lark and I followed on foot, with Lark ranging out ahead. Maia came up to visit me, and little "Mini Me" came at Maia like a bolt out of the blue, hackles up in "I'm gonna get you" mode. What on earth is she thinking when she does this? Maia could pretty much swallow her in one gulp. Fortunately, Maia is used to--and quite tolerant of (as in she ignores them)--Lark's little sneak "attacks" (Lark never actually does anything but rush Maia), since Lark started them this winter when we had to push sheep off feed bunks every morning. Maia just gives Lark a look that says "Oh, just go away you little annoying gnat!" and continues on with whatever she's doing. Afterward, Lark is all puffed up as if she were David and had just slain Goliath. Silly little gnat....