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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Life and Death on the Farm

This latest storm hasn't been fierce but the cold and wind are absolutely bitter. Looking down the valley, the sun is breaking through but only for a few seconds, while the snow is blowing hard but no more accumulation is expected. Fortunately, the sheep have good wool coats, as do the alpacas, and the horses all have shelter. Last night, in the gloaming, I looked out and saw the horses eating hay from last year so I rushed out and set out a new round bale. It's in a bad location so I'll have to move it on Monday but, hopefully, it'll be warmer and not as icy, cold or slick. I always take the safest way when doing farm work!
This deer is eating at Daddy John's silage pit; deer come to feed daily at dawn and dusk and are a pleasure to watch. They drive the dogs crazy but they're a treat to watch.
Levi, here on the tractor front end loader, likes to go to the barn when the dogs and I go down to do chores. He's growing into a fine feller and, right now, is crashed out next to the wood stove.
This is my walnut tree and a favorite tree to photograph. There are fewer than half  dozen trees on this farm and, all but one, are 100 years or older. 
Here, Carly Shetland was just given a treat of bread and Sophie Loren Butterball is looking for a few crumbs. My dogs all think they're starving but all have extra flesh...yes, you can pinch an inch! Carly is so old, nearest I can figure she's around 17 or 18, and just about crippled with arthritis. She hobbles along, voice like a fog horn, and orders me around something dreadfully. If I'm not paying enough attention to her, or not giving her a treat, she'll paw me with her sharp little hooves. It's nothing for me to have a row of bruises up and down my legs because her sister and their off spring do the exact same thing!
Someone told me eagles were carrion vultures -thanks, Charlotte!- with better press and they're right. Earlier this week, I saw eagles in my upper pasture and, when I went to investigate they flew into the tree near the road. Buster Brown, one of my oldest sheep, about the same age as Carly, had gone to sleep and never work up. From the looks of things, it'd happened during the night and the eagles arrived that morning to clean up. I called Daniel and he came at lunch and disposed of the body. All my flock is aged, the youngest is approaching ten and I'll, probably, have one or two more old ones die this winter. People keep telling me to take them to market but I can't. They've been wool sheep all their lives and to truck them to market now is a betrayal on my part; so I won't. 
The eagles weren't too happy when I disturbed them but the feeling was, somewhat, mutual. I don't blame them for doing their job but, thankfully, Daniel came to help me do my job. Or rather, he came to do my job...he loaded Buster into the front end loader and took him away for burial. 
The sun didn't last long and it's now snowing so hard the mountains are but a dim outline. It's frigid cold and when I went outside to take photos, it only took five minutes before my fingers froze and started tingling. Hopefully, the roads will be cleared tomorrow, Kim and I have to go to church and then, she goes home. We've had a very lazy day...breakfast, chores, watching Psyche on television, taking a walk to get the mail and then more laziness. Yes, there's a lot of work we I could be doing but, sometimes, it's just fun to goof off. Like Dave used to say, "goofing off isn't any fun unless there's something else you should be doing." He'd be proud of me today. smile

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein ~

Today's Miracles ~ Kim, company for the weekend ~ snow ~ eagles ~ Buster, he lived a good, long, happy life ~ sun, breaking through the gray ~ deer ~ Levi ~ 


  1. Sandra,
    I don't know how you do all that you do. Glad you had a Daniel to call to help you bury your poor sheep.
    Didn't know that eagles are carrion...or is that eaters of carrion. ?
    Try to stay warm ...spring will be here before you know it.


  2. Sorry to hear about your sheep. I couldn't take them to market either. They've been loyal wool givers.

    The greatest thing about your post today (that I thought) is that you smiled and remembered something that would make Dave proud. I'm glad for you. That's a good thing - when you can remember and smile!!!

    Stay cozy!

  3. Awwww....RIP, Buster Brown. These animals were created for our pleasure, and they do indeed give us that. I could not take any to market either....

    That being said, I guess I should be grateful my cats only pester me with their tiny paws and not hooves!

  4. Hi there, So glad you are having a nice relaxing day-heaven knows you deserve it! WE have Bald Eagles winter here and I love them but had no idea they were vultures of a sort. Thanks for educating me. Stay warm and enjoy daily miracles.
    Blessings, Noreen

  5. Guess I shouldn't complain about the freezing temperatures we're going to have in Florida tonight! LOL!

    Keep warm and enjoy the moments:-)


  6. I enjoyed seeing photos of your farm and critters! I hope it warms up for you soon.

  7. Remember, whatever comes to Thistle Cove Farm to live, will die at Thistle Cove Farm, as Dave said.
    God Bless You, Sandra. I love those sheep too.

  8. It is so hard to lose any animal, isn't it? Even an older sheep leaves a hole in your heart. Wonderful pictures of your daily life- I love them- xo Diana

  9. Sorry about your Buster Brown :( Carly sounds like a real sweetie.. I would definitely give her some treats if she asked ;) Love that "Dave-ism".. and by golly, it is SO true! Bless you and your flock.. and have a wonderful Sunday. -Tammy

  10. It's hard with animals, isn't it? Generally, we know that we will outlive them. Outlive several generations of them. Practicing saying good-bye, I suppose. It never gets easy. Glad you're keeping you old sheep.

  11. hard letting go of the furry friends, they have their own special places in our hearts. life on the farm...,, the photos are wonderful.

  12. Life on a farm. I am glad you let your animals live out their life like that. That was always so hard for me when my Dad would haul the animals that could no longer work or pay their way.
    I always thought like you. I still do.
    Spring will soon be here. Stay warm and close to the stove like your kitty.

  13. It reminds me of the story Zlatah the Goat. I like that old sheep.
    The farm is so beautiful, Sandra.

  14. Please, no market. Ever.

  15. I believe Dave is proud of you every day. (I am, too.)


  16. Oh. Poor Buster. You have a kind heart. Thanks for sharing your story and pictures. I love hearing about life on your farm.


  17. We've had quite a few deer die this past year in the fields and have been seeing lots of eagles and hawks around. So sorry about Buster. It's hard to lose our faithful friends.

  18. Sandra, you're such a kind soul. I love your saving of the aged sheep, allowing them to die a natural death.

    Now educate me in the ways of the "hay roll". We use bales around here, although farmers still make the rolls (even here on this farm) for feeding of their cows. Most horse people in our area feed bales. And.. we have to be so careful not to feed moldy bales, that might have gotten damp during haying or storage. Extra care is taken to keep the hay bales dry. How is it, then, that a large round bale, some of which are stored outside to begin with... can be left out in the elements for horses to feed on for weeks on end (or however long they last). Doesn't the roll get moldy and wet and ferment, like the bales?

    I'm not putting down the roll at all. I realize I have no knowledge on this method of feeding and you have obvious success with it.

  19. We always know, when we take on an animal, that one day it will die and break our hearts. However, the love they give is worth the tears, don't you think. I'm glad your sheep died a natural death. So many don't.

  20. Aw I'm sorry about Buster Brown. Big hugs!

  21. It is hard to hear of your Buster! I am positive he had a wonderful life on your farm and gave you good wool to keep you or someone warm.

    I got some bulk sheep and alpaca fibers to play with to learn felting, I just have not started it yet. We have an alpaca farm right down the road from us and I love to go see them. I got some socks for Christmas and I love them. They had a baby alpaca born just that morning I got to see. Those are the most fabulous animals!

    I hear mainly crows around us and we do have deer in our neighborhood, also a no trespass, no hunt gated subdivision if you can call it that. That gives me some comfort since we have never lived in the woods before.

    Our dogs scare the deer so I don't see them much at our house but we pass them coming and going on the road. We put out a salt lick last year but I think it just melted.

    Blessings to you with your "Buster" memories! I would love to see your farm and enjoy your photos also as many others do.

    We had huge walnut trees in Missouri where I grew up and we have them here too but the woods are so dense, they are only in other peoples yards I see them. They are such a stately beautiful tree.

    It is hard to just goof off when so much needs to be done but I keep saying I will just read a good book one day.

    Having company is a good reason to kick back and enjoy their visit. I am going now for some hot chocolate now as it is cold and windy here today also.
    Blessings, Cyndi

  22. It made me smile reading what Dave said about "goofing off"...:o)))
    I am so happy you had a lazy day! You always work so hard! God bless Daniel for helping you!
    Take care, dear Sandra!!!

  23. Taking a day to goof off is good for the soul. I often try to spend at least half of one weekend day goofing off.


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