Friday, February 21, 2014

Apologizing to a ewe

We were talking about humility today in one of my groups on Fet.

There is nothing like the universe, and farming, to keep one humble.

 I went out today, after all the blowing and drifting of snow overnight, to check my sheep.  First though, to get to the barn, I had to shovel out the path again which had blown in with snow to a depth up to mid-thigh on me.  That is a lot of drifting.  

 Then I discovered the barn door was frozen shut in a block of ice. 

  So I struggled back down the path which was only somewhat passable, got the crow bar from the garage and chipped out the ice.  When I could open the door, I took the water buckets up to the house, filling them with some little difficulty from the spigot on the house which is nearly buried in snow piles.   This trek is because the water pump in the barn is frozen,  or busted, or something.  I can't get it to work any more.  

 I lugged my buckets (5 gallon and 2 gallon) back down the shaky, sinking path, twisting and wrenching my sore knee over and over. 

 I opened the door to the sheep stall and found that all three of the new lambs were cold, dead and stiff.   They had been doing well yesterday.  I'd given them supplemental bottles of milk to make sure they kept up strength.  But they were dead and I don't know why.  

I got a sack and began to dispose of them.  The distraught ewe baa'd and nuzzled at her little ones.  Her breath warmed my face as I bent over.   Sheep don't know much, but they do know when you are taking their babies.  I apologized to her as I picked up the first.  

  "I'm sorry, girl, I don't know.  I know it hurts, I'm sorry". 

And for the second.  

And for the third.

She followed the sack out into the barn aisle and stood over it and baa'd again, calling for them to come to her.

I fed all the sheep; the ewe went to her grain back in her stall, hungry as usual. 

When I was done feeding I got on my knees in the hay.  I prayed for forgiveness for anything that I could have done and didn't.   
I prayed for peace for the mother ewe and for myself.  

You may think that farmers are hardened, but I guarantee to you, they are not.  They are some of the softest people I know.  They are so soft that if they let expressions like this out frequently they might simply melt corporeally away, so they learn to hide it.  


  1. Oh. :-( That's so sad! I'm so sorry. :-(

  2. I am sorry! I hope you were able to find some comfort today.

  3. I'm so very sorry about the lambs ((((hugs))))

  4. Sorry. That had to be a difficult situation to deal with.



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