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Archive for November, 2012

As we near Thanksgiving…

Our first Thanksgiving on the farm is a somber one.  While we are thrilled with the results of our woodstove, have relearned how to split wood with a maul and have seen the completion of the renovations to the exterior of our old home, we are saddened by the recent passing of our lamb, Bob, a few weeks ago.

It was during the throes of Superstorm Sandy that we became aware of Bob’s illness.  Apparently he had become ill during the storm and was unable to return to the barn with the flock.  Tammi found him laying outside the barn, paralyzed in his hindquarters, unable to walk.  He had been out in the weather all night.  She moved him into the barn onto a bed of straw. We hoped for the best.

At one point, the next day, it appeared Bob was within moments of dying.  He was virtually unresponsive.  But, the next morning, he made a turn for the better. We became hopeful of his recovery.  I suggested we try feeding him the milk we had on hand from when we he was born (we weren’t sure he was taking to his mother at the time).  Bob was able to drink a little and managed to hang on for days.  We moved him from the barn and to the warm room in the coop, where we had raised the chicks.  Bob was still paralyzed, but was exhibiting more spunk.  However, Tammi noticed he was likely having seizures after drinking the milk.  We had called for the vet and were on the schedule for the next day.  We held out hope there was a chance of recovery, but had resigned ourselves to the fact this was very unlikely.

The vet visit was helpful and informative, as always.  Bob was diagnosed with polio, and his prognosis was not good.  We learned his grinding of teeth was a sign of pain.  All felt it best to euthanize Bob at that time.  And so it was done, very peacefully.  Our young lamb was no longer suffering.

Tammi and Brandon found a suitable spot on the land to bury our little friend.  They did so with heavy hearts but fond memories.  In the end, we are thankful for the thrills we had watching young Bob run for the first time and follow after his mother.  We were amazed at his rapid growth and his penchant for jumping on rocks and into the air for no apparent reason. We loved his curiosity — he was the sole member of the flock who seemed to trust us.  After all, it was Tammi who picked him up in the field and made sure he was cared for that first day.

Bob was the first animal born on the farm under our watch.  We can only hope for many more opportunities to experience new life, rather than the months of loss we have had of late.  While the place looks great this autumn — there are few places more beautiful than a Pennsylvania farm during the harvest months — it feels a lot emptier.

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