Monday, 30 January 2012

Do the joys outweigh the sorrows?

These first weeks of 2012 have been full of ups and downs. Everyone has them.  Ups and downs. It is the way of life, and to expect not to have them is unwise.  It is just that one can get tired when the ups and downs come one after the other, sandwiched into the hours of the day so that one feels like one has been rolled over by a steamroller when that particular day ends. But then, most of my adult life has been thus. At least it makes for an interesting life.

I had a quiet year in 2006. Nothing much happened. I had my first summer off from work, employed  or self employed, and the demands of raising a family single handed. I coasted all that summer long. And I felt dreadful. Absolutely bored out of my skull, conditioned as I am to having drama in my life. Ah well. Drama stops me from being bored. Makes me take notice of those pockets of 'ups', makes me count my blessings, makes me more resilient to those 'down' times, stops me from flatlining and getting depressed.

First lamb of the year came but its life was already extinguished as it arrived. Black it was, with a white star on its forehead. We didn't expect any lambs this year. Thought Jacob was still too small to do the job. Apparently not. We are seeing signs of several of the older sheep who have already been mums, but this first lamb arrived from a young ewe, and was totally unexpected.

What drew our attention to something happening with her was a bag the size of my open hand, and full of pinkish fluid, which was hanging out of her bottom by a thread of skin. She was perky though, and not looking in any pain, so 'wait and see' was the mode of thinking we adopted. We kept her in the Sheep Paddock. I, meanwhile, went for a search on the Internet to try and find out what was happening. She did not seem to have put on any weight and was not showing any udders, so the bag of fluid was a mystery. Did not think that she was in lamb. Too young, we thought, although had been donated to us by a friend who we were no longer in contact with, so we did not really know her true age. But could not find any info anywhere, but she was still looking alright, still perky, still moaning about not being with her mates out in the field, so I got on with my day.

The lamb arrived four hours later. We realised that she was going to have a lamb when she laid down on her side and started making heaving movements on her flanks. The lamb was born dead. I think that the sac of fluid was the amniotic fluid, that it should not have fallen out in its sac, that is what I think.

But the sheep is well, makes a couple of moans from time to time, but then she would. Her hormones are all geared up to look after a young one and her udders are full of milk. I have had youngsters myself. I know who she feels. Hopefully she will be able to raise a lamb next time.

'Why keep animals' was a question put to us by one of the guests at a recent Burns Night Supper in a friend's barn, 'They are such a tie,' she said. Yes they are. They also produce sadnesses. But then, the next morning, .... out in the field.... standing in the most heavenly dawn .... mist softening all... giving hay to the sheep who stood around me waiting expectantly.....and some of the nuzzled up so I could scratch behind their ears ...they like that, a little soft tickle at the base of their ears ....... and all was blessed with a quietness and a oneness ..... it was as if they were saying 'You do your best and thankyou'..... giving back, that is what they were doing.....deep was the look in their eyes...... it was magic ..... priceless. Yes, animals are a tie but they give you so much in return.

I read somewhere, I think someone's blog but I can't remember whose and I am sorry for not being able to make a link to that post, but when one's ship is being tossed about on stormy seas, if the joys of one's life outweigh the sorrows, then those storms are worthwhile. Do your joys outweigh your sorrows? Think on. Do the 'ups' outweigh the 'downs'? Think on.

We have the builders this week: loo, shower, ceilings. Not to worry that also the temperatures are running at minus 5 with a wind chill of minus 9 so the house is going to be tad on the cold side as the builders to and fro. It also looks like at least one of the sheep is going to lamb. She did this last year during a severely cold spell. The Tamworth pigs are rolling around in mud up to the knees after the recent long spell of rain, and Max, the boar, makes me as mad as hell because he insists on transferring the newly laid straw bedding onto an outside terrace he is making so he can lie in the sun, when the sun does appear. Unfortunately it has been raining a lot so that new straw is now soggy. I have gone on strike with putting any more straw in his hut, but instead concentrate on the brick hut. The chickens are still roosting up in the tree, although Orpy the cockerel does sometimes bed down in the chicken run beneath the tree. The little chick born six weeks ago is also up the tree now, although has got too big for his very tiny mum to shelter him. The other night he cadged a 'room for the night' underneath half a wing of one of the other hens. He seems to be surviving. The geese continue to rollock around in the rain and mud, enjoying the wetness and softness of the earth. Hubs continues to work on his PC for endless hours with people in the UK. I bounce between them all. The seeds are being ordered for the coming spring. Work on the veg plots has halted because of the weather, so I catch up with indoor jobs. Do my joys outweigh my sorrows, which in this case would be my work load. Absolutely! Do my 'ups' outweigh my 'downs', mostly!

Hope your week is a good one.


John Gray said...

you seem to have the "spirit that won the war , mentality" which always helps when animals are involved....
someimes.....when there is ANOTHER hen looking droopy..... you feel like looking up to that big animal god up in the sky, and you say
"gimmie a break"

rosaria said...

Do my ups outweigh my downs? What a great question, Vera. That and the scene of you feeding your animals, and they so peaceful and gentle, brought a big smile on my face.

Thank you for an early Valentine.

Horst in Edmonton said...

The weather sometimes is a pain in the backside but farming is well worth the ups and downs. You will love the goats when they arrive, and when you have baby Goats (kids) you will absolutely love them they are so cute and cuddly. Have a great week.

Vera said...

John, I am totally with you about looking up to the sky and asking for a break when it comes to another sick animal. I think that you also have a touch of that Dunkirk spirit as well!

Rosaria, I am so glad I made you smile.....

Horst, looking forward to those goats! Do please remind me of that when I start mentioning having to milk them day after day, and when I start blogging about the escapades!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I think you have done remarkably well going into working with the animals you have, especially without full knowledge of farming. Most people who try what you two have done have been working with pigs, lambs and cattle all their lives so it all comes naturally. You have put yourselves out to learn and cope with situations very few would take on. I admire you and I think your downs have been few when you think of all the wonderful ups. Keep well and carry on the good work. Diane

Vera said...

Diane, thank you for those words of encouragement. They are much needed at the moment, and I much appreciate them.

DUTA said...

We should tell ourselves that our ups outweigh our downs, even if it isn't always so. We are to be the first to give ourselves courage and hope, especially in a case like yours and your husband's.

You've had to deal with farming in a new country, fickle weather, disease of animals etc..,and you two have displayed a "dunkirk spirit" indeed. You should be proud of yourselves!

Nezzy said...

Sorry about the little lamb. I know that these things happen from time to time. We experience the same with the cattle herds.

I think if we all honestly open our heart and look beyond our troubles that our joys always outweigh our sorrows. We are blessed!!!

Have a blessed and beautiful day sweetie!!! :o)

Vera said...

Thanks Nezzy. Thinking about how blessed we are rather than being negative about our life will always pay off in terms of good health and a happy mind. Keeps us positive and upbeat when the going get a bit on the rough side. Sending blessings to you for your kind words.