1 Weekend … 4 Lambs

I had to work this past Saturday and Sunday so Dave figured that all the lambs would be born while I was gone.  Well, only 4 were born, but right after I went to work Saturday morning Annie had her twins!  I left around 7:30am and Dave called me at 8:30am to tell me there was a lamb in the big stall when he went in to feed.  He got the lambing jug (pen) ready and moved Annie lamb to the smaller space to bond and continued feeding.  He checked back and Annie had 2 lambs in the jug with her.  Dave said she was so quiet that he didn’t even hear her pushing!

Dave’s 1st solo lambing couldn’t have gone more smoothly.  The 13 lb ram lamb was born first, followed by the 10 lb ewe lamb (no wonder she groaned every time she was laying down!).

Annie twins

When I got home from work Sunday afternoon Abigail was the only ewe laying down in the stall, but she got up when Dave brought their hay and grain in.  During our dinner, I noticed on the barn monitor that Abigail was the only one not really eating.  She was standing to the side of the stall by herself and only half-heartedly munching on hay.  Her ears were droopy and she had a look of concentration on her face.

I went out a couple of times to monitor her labor after dinner and was concerned that even though she was pushing I hadn’t seen a water sac or feet.  Warning …. graphic birth description …. may not be for the squeamish.

I “gloved-up” and found the sac was about to emerge.  After a few more minutes and as many pushes I saw a foot.  A single, rear foot.  Okay, I’ve done this before.  This is a breach birth, but at least the lamb wasn’t in the full breach (or butt first) position.  I felt to see if only one leg was presenting and found the other leg next to the 1st, but with the foot bent backwards.  That was easy enough to correct.  Once both feet were out Abigail started pushing again, but with no progress.  I examined again and found that the legs were bent, so I gently straightened them out and she pushed again, but  then got up to find another position.

I was getting nervous here because once the umbilical cord is pinched in the birth canal the lamb will instinctively breathe.  If the lamb is in the breach position when the cord is pinched it could try to breathe while its head is still in the mother and inhale birth fluids.  This is a concern because any aspirated (inhaled) birth fluids can cause pneumonia in the lamb.  Abigail laid down again and with each of her pushes I pulled the lamb’s legs side-to-side and downwards.  I only pulled with her pushes to lessen any tearing or damage to Abigail.  The ewe lamb came out easily and I quickly wiped any fluids from her nose and mouth so that she could breathe.

We waited for a while before moving her to the lambing jug to determine if she was going to have another lamb, but she ended up having just 1 ewe lamb that weighed 10.25 lbs.

abigail lamb

This morning (Monday) was the 1st day of Noah’s Spring Break so I got to sleep in till 7:30!  I heard lots of baa-ing over the barn, but figured it was just because Annie and Abigail were across from the rest of the ewes and they were “talking” to each other.  I got outside around 8 or so and discovered that Erin (one of our 2 first-time moms) was licking a nearly-dry lamb!  She was almost under the video camera and out of view on the screen, which explains why I didn’t see a lamb on the monitor.  I brought Annie and her twins out of the jug and carried Erin’s lamb (with her following) into it.  The ewe lamb weighs 10 lbs and Erin is very interested in her and standing still for her to nurse.

Erin lamb

We now have 3 ewes successfully lamb, with 4 more to go.  Our lambing percentage is 1.33 so far (divide the total lambs by the total mothers).  I hope we have some more multiples to boost the percentage a little.  By comparison, last year’s lambing percentage was 1.8.

Happy lambing!

Cousin’s Weekend – Team Boys!

My sister and I both have 2 children – and both a son and daughter.  My son is 7 1/2 and my daughter is almost 5.  Her twins are 4 1/2.  The kids really enjoy having “switcheroo” sleepovers, where the boys sleep at my house and the girls sleep at her house.

Hannah, who rarely plays with dolls, loves playing princess and dress-up with her cousin and spending time with her aunt and uncle.  Noah adores both of his cousins, but has a blast having another boy around who can keep up with his endless amount of energy!

Our 1st trip after we got home was to Oley Valley Feed to get some feed for the critters and some fence supplies.  Then we went over to The Oley Turnpike Diner for lunch…

cousins7

and to see the animals in the petting zoo.  It was so cold and windy, but the kids liked all the animals plus they got to feed them crackers!  The donkeys were the loudest and one sounded like it was crying!

Those donkeys were loud!  :)

After we got home, the boys rode bikes outside…

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…and cut down some bushes.  In 10 years or so, they’ll be a pretty good grounds crew!  🙂  Oh, while we were outside I introduced my nephew to “Aunt Kim tissues”, too… (the edge of my shirt or sleeve for little noses).

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When the boys got too cold we went inside where they wrestled and played cars.  After dinner, they watched some tv and snuggled with Fastnacht, our house bunny.

cousins3

Sunday was even colder and windier, but they boys insisted on riding bikes again.  They managed to stay outside for about an hour in the morning and again in the afternoon.  They perfected riding on ice (which was nerve-racking for me), but at least my nephew had training wheels on his bike!

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We visited the sheep, but the sheep didn’t want any attention since we didn’t have food.  My nephew got to see his favorite sheep, Fiona, who he said was “all grown up and beautiful”.

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At lunch Dave opened his venison (or benison!) summer sausage from Shaffer Venison Farms.  After I ate some the boys each tried some.  We sent some sausage pieces home with my nephew because he liked it so much and that night I got a text from my sister, “Is this really deer sausage? … He wants me to get him more.  He was so excited when he remembered he had it.”  I know what he’ll be getting for his birthday this year!

After lunch the boys rode bikes again.    We played with the cats…

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…and played “Octonauts” (a Disney show) while snow flurries swirled around!  The kids’ fort was their headquarters and the bikes were their Gups (submarines).  At one point my nephew asked for a tissue and I told him I didn’t have one (hoping to go inside – I was freezing!).  He said, “What about an Aunt Kim tissue?”  Haha!

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Everyone had a wonderful weekend and I love having my nephew stay with us!  I think we were all tired out by Sunday afternoon and slept well Sunday night!

(I was very happy to have my baby girl home again, too!)  😉

Remembering September 11th, 2001

Eleven years ago thousands of Americans lost their lives in a horrific act of terrorism.

September 11th, 2001 was my 2nd day at my new job at the US Court of Appeals Law Library in Philadelphia.  We first heard the news from a friend of my co-worker who worked in NY.  He didn’t say what kind of plane crashed so I immediately called my boyfriend (now – husband) because his company (an aerial survey company that I had just left to join the library) flew in NYC airspace frequently.  I couldn’t imagine a large jet would crash and could only think that it might be one of the flight crews that I had worked with.

Then we found out what happened.

Center City Philadelphia was essentially evacuated.

As soon as I left the courthouse I called my dad…and looked up.  Rumors were traveling that Philadelphia was on the terrorists’ list of targets.  One memory that’s burned into my mind of that day is the brilliant blue sky.  It was gorgeous.

Mass transit was a nightmare.  It took me 2 hours on the regional rails to get to NE Philadelphia (a ride that usually took 30 minutes or so).  But I couldn’t even get to the station near where my car was parked.  That line was closed because it was also an Amtrak line that went into NYC.  Someone on the train offered another girl and me a ride to that station since we were both parked there.

I got to the station and went around the block to my boyfriend’s condo.  I walked in the door just when the second tower collapsed.  I sank to the floor and cried.

The news was on the rest of the day following any details that emerged.  The courthouse was closed the next day and when we returned to work on Thursday federal police armed with automatic rifles were guarding the courthouse (and every other federal building in the country).

 

My son, Noah, came home from school today and said, “Mom, do you know what happened on 9/11?”

Me: yes, did you learn about it at school?

N: yeah … {he then told me about the big planes that had lots of people on them and they crashed into two tall towers in NY}

Me: {almost in tears} did you learn about another building in Washington DC called the Pentagon?

N: no

… I then told him {with tears rolling down my face} about the 3rd plane that crashed into the Pentagon.  And I told him about the 4th plane where the passengers learned about what happened in NY and DC and how they became heroes because they didn’t let the “bad guys” who were flying the plane crash it into another building.  That plane crashed into a field in PA and those passengers died too, but they saved many other peoples’ lives.

 

Noah has learned about September 11th before, but I think this year (2nd grade) he could grasp what happened that day.

I pray that we never forget that day and continue to teach our children what happened.

Mom-Mom’s Meatballs – a Cooking Lesson

My mom-mom was a little Italian woman who could make anything.  Crafts, cooking, baking … you name it, she could do it.  Every Sunday our family would gather at Mom-Mom’s and Pop-Pop’s house for dinner.  Almost always a homemade Italian meal.  The only exceptions were the dog days of summer when Pop-Pop would grill.

All of us grandkids helped make spaghetti, ravioli, gnocchi, manigot (manicotti), lasagna … and meatballs.  I’ve promised a lesson on making gnocchi, but today we’re talking meatballs.  Mom-Mom’s meatballs were famous.  She’d never make less than 50 at a time, and more often would make 100-200.  She’d sell meatball sandwiches each year at the church’s June bazaar, along with fresh-squeezed lemonade, and people would flock to her booth.

Mom-Mom never measured ingredients and didn’t have a recipe for her meatballs so trying to replicate them was not always easy.  She had it all in her head, but we kept asking for a written recipe.  Thanks to our dear friend, Melba, we got one.  One day when Mom-Mom was making her meatballs Melba was visiting.  She took a pen and paper and wrote down everything Mom-Mom put in the mix.  Every time I make meatballs, I think of my mom-mom.  I also think of Melba and how grateful I am for the recipe in my hands, because it’s more than measurements – it’s a connection to wonderful memories.

 Now to the recipe and the lesson!

What you’ll need:

5 lb                    ground beef (I use 80% lean)

2-1/2 cups          breadcrumbs (or 1/2 cup per lb of meat)

5                       eggs (or 1 egg per lb of meat)

garlic powder, parsley, basil, grated locatelli cheese, salt, pepper, italian seasonings to taste.

Step 1

Spay a baking pan with olive oil Pam or rub with olive oil.  Turn oven on to 350 degrees.

Step 2

Mix ingredients in a large bowl by hand.  (I suggest that you remove any rings)  Instead of salt and pepper I like to use Nature’s Seasons (bottle with blue cap).  Be gentle while you mix the meat or your meatballs will be very dense.

I forgot to put the bread crumbs in the photo above!

Step 3

Roll the meat into meatballs.  Try to keep them somewhat uniform in size so they cook at the same rate.  Also, don’t pack them while you’re shaping – they’ll end up too dense.

Step 4

Bake in your preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, or until browned.

Step 5

Now they’re ready to eat, add right to your spaghetti gravy (no, we don’t call it sauce in our home), or cool and freeze.  Any juices in the pan can also be added to the gravy or frozen for future use.  Don’t throw them away … I believe Marie on the TV show Everybody Love Raymond called those juices liquid gold!

I hope you enjoy making and eating these meatballs as much as I do!

The Shepherd’s Lament

Someone shared this on one of my Yahoo groups.  It’s cute and I thought I’d share it, too.

by Dr. Darrell Salsbury, DVM

Now I lay me down to sleep
Exhausted by those doggone sheep;

My only wish is that I might
Cause them not to lamb at night;

I wouldn’t mind the occasional ewe,
But lately it’s more than just a few:

Back into bed, then up again,
At two o’clock and four a.m.

They grunt and groan with noses high,
And in between a mournful sigh,

We stand there watching nature work,
Hoping there won’t be a quirk:

A leg turned back, or even worse,
A lamb that’s coming in reverse.

But once they’ve lambed we’re glad to see
That their efforts didn’t end in in tragedy.

There’s no emotion so sublime
As a ewe and lamb that’s doing fine.

I’m often asked why I raise sheep,
With all the work and loss of sleep;

The gratification gained at three a.m.
From the birth of another baby lamb–

How can you explain, or even show?
‘Cause only a shepherd will ever know!

My Sweet Children

Noah and Hannah have both missed their beloved pet in the past week.  Noah tells us how much he misses Sam and does well with some comforting.  He sometimes asks if we can get another “inside” pet.  He drew a wonderful picture of Sam on the chalkboard he and Hannah got for Christmas.

Noah's drawing of Sam

Hannah talks about what she’s thinking a lot more than Noah does.  She’s been confused, asking lots of questions about where Sam is.  One day, when I was cleaning out Sam’s cage, Hannah asked me where Sam went.  I told her that he was very old and died, and is with God now.  This is the conversation that followed:

H:  But I want him to come home.

Me:  He can’t come home again.

H: Did he run away?  Was he bad?

Me: No, honey, he was just old and it was time for him to go see God.

H:  But I love him!  I want him to come home!

Me:  I love him too, but God will take care of him.

H:  Doesn’t Sam love us?

Me:  Yes, sweetie.  He didn’t want to go away.

Hannah’s questions continued for about 5 or 10 minutes.  I was just amazed that my little “almost” 3 year old girl was thinking all of this.  She now tells us often that Sam is with Jesus. 

I love that my children are so sweet and so unique!

Sam

Dave and I got Sam, our parakeet, at the end of 2001…shortly after we were engaged.  He died this evening, just before dinnertime.  It seems strange to be sad about losing such a small animal, but he was part of our lives for 9 years. 

Sam lived at Dave’s condo before we were married…then it became our condo.  He stayed with Grand Mom Day while we were on our honeymoon and she made sure to tell us about how he’d announce every night that he was ready for his cage to be covered so he could sleep! 

He went with us to East Bethany, NY (a 6 hour car ride) to visit Dave’s friend Ken.  That was when we first met Aurie, now Ken’s wife.  Sam would sing along to the noise the car made as we drove on the concrete parts of the roads.

Sam moved with us to Douglassville in 2004.  He welcomed Noah and Hannah home in 2005 and 2008.  Although he never quite let them hold him, he was always curious about them.  He’d sit with them on their carriers or swings when they were infants and surprise them at mealtimes or while they were playing as they got bigger.

Sam was always allowed to fly around the house.  We only ever had his flight feathers clipped once, when we first brought him home.  He was very spoiled and prefered water from the tap over his bowl.  He’d often sit on the kitchen faucet and wait for us to let him get a drink.  Whenever he heard us running the water in the bathroom sink, he’d fly in there for a drink, too. 

He liked a sip of orange juice at breakfast and sometimes stole a drink of milk from cereal bowls.  One time when we still lived in Philly he tried walking across Dave’s plate of waffles.  He didn’t like having his feet cleaned after that!

Sam never once bit anyone.  Not even when we clipped his nails, or more recently, when we had to trim his beak or clean his “bottom”. 

He was an awesome little bird and he will be missed.

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