Sunday Lambs, Jenn & The Night Sky

       

It was one of those mornings at the farm where life and death inhabit the same space. When I drove up to the farm with Jenn and saw my two bosses trucks at the sheep barn I knew there was trouble. We walked in and the lambing stalls were filled while my boss was in one of them giving the mother some shots. She had given birth to twins but one did not survive. Mom was exhausted and we were all worried about her recovering. (She is doing much better as I am writing this). In another lambing stall one of the ewes had given birth to a deformed lamb who was put down. In the meantime another ewe had given birth to triplets. As my two bosses worked with the new moms, I let the rest of the herd outside and Jenn and I headed out to care for the horses, chickens, elderly ewes and yearling lambs. One of the elderly ewes loves Jenn and always seeks here out for attention. Life and death are a normal part of farm life and our life. I honestly have to say I did not feel anything over the deaths of the lambs as I long ago accepted life and death on the farm. It may sound cold and callous but it is life. I was more concerned over the ewe who was having trouble recovering. So as of right now there are seventeen lambs with eight ewes still left to lamb. I hope to get a few photos tonight. The last two days have been so busy I have not had a chance to take any photos. The ones below I took last week.


I am happy to report that when Jenn and I arrived at the farm tonight we found a ewe had given birth maybe a minute or two before we arrived. Both lambs were still wet and the one had not yet stood for the first time. I scooped them up and brought them into the lambing stall. Jenn cleaned them off with a towel while I fed the herd and got everyone else settled for the night. By the time I was finished feeding the herd the second newborn was standing. It was a nice way to end the day that started out with six lambs being born and four surviving. By the end of the day we had six live lambs with the addition of the two newborns. If my memory serves me right we are up to twenty six lambs.

Jenn took the picture of me with Bells lamb which I’ve included in both color and black and white. I’ve always loved Bells and am glad she came out of a tough birthing this morning well with a sweet lamb complete with a black chin. The second picture is of Jenn with one of the newborns tonight. I could not have done this weekend without her help. She has been around animals almost her whole life and works at a local vets office. But not many friends would consider helping me bottle feed lambs, round up the herd after slogging through shin high stinky mud, picking up newborn lambs with blood and placenta still on them, picking up afterbirth and making sure everyone is safe and sound. All of this and she helps feed the chickens, horses and elderly sheep- one of which loves Jenn. The ewe who Jenn named Josephine comes up to her for cheek and ear scratches and just hangs out with Jenn. It is really cool to see.

To top off the night the stars, planets and moon were out in stunning glory. The moon and venus is what I have taken a picture of. A meteor streaked across the sky and burned out in a beautiful show. It was a great way to end what started out as a tough morning.

Lambs, Spring & Lambs

             

Spring is arriving slowly but surely. Crocuses are starting to bloom, Canada geese are leaving for northern grounds while osprey arrive from their southern haunts and of course lambs are being born at the farm. So far there are fourteen lambs born. Only two are bottle babies whose mom is not making enough milk. 

I sometimes find it overwhelming caring for the ewes and lambs as I am not sure of myself and my abilities to care for them during birth and the day after. I turned all the ewes avid lambs outside today and they loved it. The lambs were troopers slogging through the mud puddle at the barn door. They needed a little encouragement to come back inside tonight. Jenn who helps me pet sit every so often walked all the way across the pasture and rounded everyone up very quietly while I manned the gate and corn. Jenn set about giving the bottle babies their bottle while I tried to round up one of the ewes who will not always let her lamb drink milk. She was quick and  agile in avoiding me. We wore each other out before I was able to pen her with Jenn’s help. 

Once all the lambs are born the care of everyone gets easier. I am used to working with horses and sheep are very different to care for. I do find being quiet around both of them does help a lot. 

The dog I’ve pictured here is Nigel. He is one cool dog that I care for. He keeps an eye on me when I watch him and is always nearby.

I am looking forward to more of spring with the flowers and trees blooming and warmer weather. I’m looking forward to time off from my night next month. I’m hoping to spend time with NYC. And finish my spring cleaning. But in the meantime I’m enjoying listening to the spring peeper frogs at night. Tonight at the farm it was a treat to hear swans fly overhead. 

I hope you are enjoying the first day of spring. What do you look forward to every spring?

Sunsets, Nerd Love & Thoughts



After all the snow, rain and gray skies I was excited to see the sunsets and their colors calling me to step outside my office in the warehouse. The weather has warmed up and the spring peeper frogs are calling. The frogs were so loud last night I could hear them from inside my office with the door closed.

I was not successful in doing my spring cleaning during the winter this year so I’m hoping to get a jump on it by the end of this month. I always have grand plans but find it hard to give up books and art. I have managed to update my wardrobe. I hate clothes shopping but have found some great buys on eBay. See once I find clothes that fit I hunt down more of the same brand.

I have to sit down this weekend and write some letters to friends who do not email or text. Yes I know I can call them but I am very quite akward on the phone unless it’s my mom who I am talking to. I am even akward when talking on the phone with NYC. Nerd love at it’s best. We text a lot and say a lot when we text but we do try to talk on the phone at least once a week. I love that we agree we suck at talking on the phone with each other.

This weekend there should be more lambs at the farm. I think only one or two are due to lamb on my watch this weekend. Next weekend I think five are due to lamb! Yikes. I find people’s disconnect with how food is raised be it animal or plant quite interesting and a little sad. The lambs I care for are raised for meat. They are cute as can be but I know most will be gone by the end of the year. They are given the bst care during their lives. People often romantantisize farm life they forget how weather affects animals and plants, freak accidents can occur, sometimes life and death hang in the balance but for the most part life ticks along everyday without much drama.

The last photo is of my buddy Milton. I just love this shot. I lay down on the floor to take the picture. 

Have a great weekend!

Finding Confidence & Lambs



In the past week on Maryland’s Eastern Shore we have had two snow storms, an ice storm, frigid temps but today may be the light at the end of the tunnel. Today it was in the forties and tomorrow in the fifties with temps approaching sixties by next weekend. This morning as I drove to the farm I was treated to one of my favorite sights hoar frost. I love it and stopped a few times to just look at it.  I knew it would be gone in a few hours and I probably won’t see it again until next winter. 

Last night as I was talking with NYC I was sharing my insecurities and fears over the arrival of lambing season at the farm. I know horses much more than sheep. I told NYC the first of the lambs aren’t due until Monday but with my luck some would be born this weekend. Though he doesn’t know much about farm animals I felt better after talking with him. Sure enough when I arrived at the farm I found the first lamb resting next to his mom. She was pretty mellow. The rest of the ewes were jockeying for position to be fed first. I shooed the ewes out of the barn and closed the gates to move the lamb and ewe to the lambing stalls. At first the ewe would not follow me and her lamb that I was now holding. I thought maybe I shooed his mother out as the ewe kept running away to try to join the herd outside. The lamb I was holding didn’t help by being silent. Usually they make noise and mom cones running. I put the lamb in the stall and he finally made a sound and her came mom! I gave him some vitamins and iodined his navel then fed mom. I called my boss and the head animal caretaker. The caretaker came out to the farm to check on the ewe and lamb as it was the ewes first lamb and I had not seen the lamb drink any milk from his mom. He finally drank when the caretaker arrived. The picture with the orange glow I took tonight and both were looking very alert and well. 

Tonight after feeding everyone I tried taking a photo of Agnes the ewe with a brownish face when bells photobombed her. It made me laugh.

Tonight’s sunset was beautiful and I was standing on the second board of a four board fence line. I love my sunsets. Was able to see Venus, Mars and Jupiter come out. 

I love when the lambs arrive but have to admit I still love caring for the elderly ewes much more. 

I treated myself to a trip to the used bookstore in the next town this morning. It was packed today but I made my way through and found two books. One book is the letters of Winston Churchill and his wife and the second book is on the weather and natural disasters. The owner of the store surprised saying it was good to see me. He can be quite quirky and a little aloof. It was kind of nice to be acknowledged.

Have any of you checked out the planets in the night sky? It is worth the look. I often wonder what the sky looked like millions of years ago as the stars were closer together. It must have been something to see. Have a beautiful weekend. And thanks for stopping by!

Beautiful Ice



It was a winter wonderland for a day.

Winter, Reading & Not Quite Fitting In

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Here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore we have not had the snow our northern neighbors have received. We have had to cold and wind. Last weekend at the farm it was minus fifteen with the winds, hence the reason I am bundled up like I’m heading to the North Pole. The chickens wisely chose to stay in the chicken house during the cold snap. The sheep for the most part stayed in their barn-they have free access to go in and out of the barn and pasture. The horses enjoyed their hay undercover. We did get our first significant snow for our area of six inches. Now I know New Englanders, my friends in Canada and the Northern European countries will laugh but for our area it’s a lot. We do not have the extensive equipment northern cities have and they use salt and sand sparingly. The one interesting thing I’ve noticed with the snow and ice is that the dogs I walk pay much more attention to me while we walk as I pick out the best path to take.

The remaining pictures are the local Catholic Church as viewed across a snow covered corn field, two sunrises and Piper in my shadow on one of our walks.

I finished two books I was reading-Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children and Inviting Disaster Lessons From the Edge of Technology. I thoroughly enjoyed Miss Peregrine and am looking forward to the second book. Inviting Disaster is an interesting overview of catastrophes, their causes and what we’ve learned from them. I find I am not reading as much as I used to and want to get back to it. I find that I have to defend myself sometimes that I read. I’m not much into tv and cannot discuss prime time tv due to my work schedule. Sometimes I’m left out in conversation due to it but I don’t mind. Last night at work I gave a one minute astronomy lessons pointing out to my coworkers Venus Mars the crescent moon and Jupiter. I shocked my coworkers saying if I was better at math I’d be an astrophysicist. Alas I am not so animals are my chosen path.

I am happy that NYC watches as little prime time tv as I do. We talk a lot about books, current events and he patiently answers all my country mouse questions about the city. I was impressed when I first met NYC and we discussed books one of his favorite books is Dracula. We have had some discussions about Edgar Allen Poe too-one of my favorite authors.

In closing on this rambling post the best part about the snow is the great bird watching-I’ve seen cedar waxwing mobs, robin mobs, tufted tit mouse, juncos, cardinals, hawks, eagles, Canada geese and snow geese.

One of my favorite elderly ewes died this past week. She was true sweetheart in every sense of the word. She lived a good long life. I will miss her.

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Blue

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Country mouse and city mouse but we both like blue!

Assateague, Being a Spaz & Stargazing

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I was on vacation last week and visited Assateague Island on Friday. It was perfect weather-slightly overcast, no wind and in the low forties. I spent half an hour in the visitors center. It really is a nice visitors center and I love stopping by. They have chairs with spotting scopes outside, an interactive touch tank, a nice viewing tank, a movie viewing room and a small discreet gift shop. I purchased postcards to send to my friend and her family in Colorado. I also picked up a set of gift cards and a pocket guide to life on Assateague. I enjoyed chatting with the woman in the center. I headed out to my car and drove onto the island. I usually drive up to the national park and turn around prior to their parking lot. I came upon five horses-two in the road crossing and three waiting to cross. One of the horses was young-a yearling I believe. They are beautiful and I find less attracted to people in winter so you can observe them more naturally without them walking up to your car or campsite looking for food. I took a few photos and then drove to the state park and much to my surprise I had the parking lot to myself. I climbed out of my car and was excited to think I may have the beach to myself. As I climbed the pathway to the beach I found I did have the beach to myself. It was sheer unadulterated bliss and filled me with such joy and peace. I ventured a little way down the beach and searched for shells. It was a few days after a storm and a storm was brewing at sea. I found the most amazing oyster shells-some as large as my hand, I found whelks and small crab shells. I stayed on the beach about half an hour before turning back. I was disappointed to find two people joined me on the beach. Mind you now there were three of us on thirty five miles of beach. They went the opposite direction of me obviously not wanting my company anymore than I wanted theirs. I happily drove off the island and went to visit my aunt who lives nearby.

I love Assateague Island and am grateful I live fairly close.

The next day upon returning home I found I had been struck down my a chest cold which proceeded to knock the stuffing out of me for the week. I ended up missing two days of work. I rested a lot, coughed a lot and went through more Kleenex than I care to think about. In my down time I focused on nothing else other than trying to get better. I remembered the peace and bliss I felt at Assateague and hope to get back to that feeling soon.

NYC and I are still going strong. He is quite patient with me as every so often I spaz out and worry about everything and the doubts that can creep into a long distance relationship. God bless him he has never done anything to make me question, it is my own insecurities that rear it’s ugly head. NYC reassures me and is just wonderful to me. He really is a blessing in my life.

I think everyone knows I love to read. I love children’s picture books, young adult books, non fiction, history and science as well as the occasional piece of fiction. I received a children’s book today that I just love. It’s called The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. It is charming and inspires creativity. Check it out!

Have a beautiful weekend. Check out Venus so bright after sunset until about 7:15pm. Mars is a faint point of light an arms length above it. Jupiter comes out around 8:30 or so. It is beautiful viewing!!

Thoughts, Conversations & Questions

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I am off from ups this weekend and am enjoying my vacation. It took me until Wednesday to not feel so darn tired. On Sunday I attended the Maryland Horse Expo with my friend Jenn. We wandered the two buildings spoke to many people and took in two demos. The first demo was given by a local well known clinician. After watching I was appalled at the dangerous things they tried to teach in hopes you would purchase their goods. It makes me sad that so many people follow this clinician. But to each their own. The one demo I really enjoyed was Western Dressage. I have long followed and ridden classical dressage. Western Dressage fascinates me. I wasn’t able to ask a question during the demo as others had many questions but later while walking through the trade show i spotted the clinician walking through the floor and stopped to ask my question. He very graciously answered my question and encouraged us to stop by his booth to get more info on the associations for Western Dressage. Also at the expo I saw my first white shire.

I loved the light that came through the snow clouds yesterday and took the picture of the ornament in my window. Yes I know I still have Christmas up in my apartment. I step to my own timeline. The other photos with the exception of Cooper the lab I took this afternoon on a walk through my neighborhood. I think I’m the only one who uses the walking trails in the front of the housing development. I love the trails as I run across deer, rabbits, hawks and ducks.

One of these days I will get all my books and clothes put away. I feel bad about it even though I live alone that my place is a bit untidy. Every magazine, HGTV show, life coaches and others browbeat us into thinking everything must be neat and tidy, everything in its place and organized. I realized Wednesday besides not being tired anymore I was beating myself up for what I love- books, movies, plants and a general laid back way of living. My home will never be neat and tidy. It is clean but I love my books and having them near to read. I find my life more fulfilling in that I learn something new every day, challenge myself every day and try to talk to new people every day. I’m an intensely private person despite posting a blog and really don’t have people over to my apartment. If I let you in it means I value you and our friendship.

I had two interesting conversations on Facebook today. One involved society’s attempt to classify women who date younger men as cougars-a term I detest but one I’m told I should embrace. When I meet someone I don’t see age or race I just see the person. Rather like the term Namaste, the soul in me sees the soul in you or a variation of that. I have had some of the most fulfilling conversation with my best friend’s daughter who at five was an old soul. NYC is fifteen years younger than me. We have more in common and meet on a soul level. People want to classify, draw sides and dictate what they believe is correct. No one has noticed I dance my own dance. The conversation I had on Facebook was on a well known cook’s Facebook page. Im going to nerd out on you and say how excited I was that they or their people commented on my post and intelligent conversation took place. The other conversation I had also on Facebook was how many churches my town has-22. People were astonished. Religion is big below the Mason-Dixon Line. I do not partake in formal religion but do enjoy the architecture of the church’s.

So in closing tonight’s blog post what are your thoughts on relationships that have large age differences and how many churches are in your town. I’m hoping to photograph all twenty two in my town over the next few weeks. Have a beautiful night and check out the night sky-Venus and mercury just after sunset, Jupiter around 9:00PM and Saturn for those of you with insomnia.

Mindfulness. & Five Year Plans

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I had not realized how much I had embraced mindfulness and living each day as it comes until my therapist asked me where do I see myself in five years? And I had no answer. I am in a 401K plan so I am planning somewhat. The only true thing I do know is I don’t think I can do my night job for another five years. And there lies a quandary in five years I will be fifty. Not the best time to start over in the employment world. My hope is my pet and house sitting business can sustain me. I’m hoping NYC will still be in my life. I think I may have a book to write though I’m sure lots of people think they have books in them too.

So about the five year plan, what do you think? Do you make five year plans? I take photos a lot more now than I did five years ago and chase the light and shadows as evidenced by the sunsets, shades and trellis pictures I’ve included in this post. I’m more at peace than I was five years ago. What I want and need in friendships and relationships has changed too.

I am on vacation this week and looking forward to attending the Maryland Horse Expo tomorrow, I hope to go to Assateague Island, read many of the books I have about my apartment and draw. Sadly NYC is not able to visit this month. I’ve learned a lot about myself being with NYC. I find a sense of peace and happiness with him that I have not had before. Despite our age difference and distance I find it to be a relationship that is working well for me.

Have a beautiful weekend!

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