Rewards and Disappointments

This is one of our busiest times of year with shearing, sugaring season, and lambing happening all at one time. Shearing day is like a gift giving occasion when the sheep peel off their wrappings which we use to spin into wonderful yarns. Underneath all of their wool their swollen bellies and udders reveal the quickly approaching lambing season when once again the ewes will present their little bundles to us. We only bred three of our ewes this fall and have anxiously awaited the arrival of spring and their new lambs. Much to our surprise, shearing day only revealed ONE bred ewe. Ina is quite large and very near to her due date but the other two ewes, Bonnie and April, show no signs of being bred. This was one disappointment we were not expecting.

The sap flow has been good this year and after only boiling a few nights we have enough syrup for our own family’s needs. Our 11 year old son, Luke, as stepped up to bat “running the rig” as they say. “Running the rig” is not an easy task. It requires careful attention at all times to the fire, the temperature gauge, and the sap level in the front pan. Just a few seconds neglect could result in burning your front pan, a very costly mistake. It is such a pleasure to step back and watch your children mature and grow embracing each experience with enthusiasm.

Amidst all that is happening here, we have had another disappointment. This week we have been nursing our llama. Last Sunday I noticed that she seemed to favor one back leg. My initial thought was that she had slipped in mud and retreating ice injuring her leg. But as I watched her more closely on Monday morning the symptoms looked too much like meningeal worm. Much to her dismay, we have been treating her for meningeal worm all week keeping her confined to her shelter. She has not been an easy patient and we have been unsuccessful in getting all of the various medications into her that she needs. Now that a week has gone by, she has not gotten as bad as I had expected she would and so I am beginning to wonder if indeed she hasn’t injured her leg. We are hoping for a recovery and will continue to keep her activity limited and to treat her for the meningeal worm as well.

Life is always full of hidden blessings and unexpected disappointments but sometimes I think there are more of them when living on a farm. From each of them, we gain a little more wisdom and knowledge as well as a little more appreciation for the lives we are leading.