Sunday, April 14, 2013

Birth and death and ...

I miss blogging so much, but life has become completely overwhelming. Has it been a year (maybe longer) that I've been saying that I have to cut back? Well, I really have to cut back. I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last blog post. What's been happening around here?

My father-in-law died. It was barely two months since the passing of my mother-in-law. They had been married for almost 55 years, so even though he had Altzheimer's, I feel sure that he missed her presence in this world and didn't want to stick around without her.

And then Julia farrowed, which was wonderful, except then the piglets started dying. We're accustomed to the idea that one or two runts will die within the first 24 hours, but we lost five of the eleven piglets. After losing the third healthy piglet in three days, I finally realized that Julia's older daughter was wanting to sleep so close to her mama that she was suffocating the piglets. Since we moved her out of the barn, we haven't lost any more, so that's good. Julia is an outstanding mother.

And then the sheep started lambing. They're all doing great. Of course, they weren't supposed to be lambing. I'm cutting back -- remember? But alas, I was traveling last fall as my second book came out, and I was writing my third book. Somehow it completely slipped my mind that the young rams should have been removed from the pasture with the ewes no later than September -- before breeding season started. I'm not sure what's worse -- admitting that I forgot to remove the ram lambs or letting people think that I was silly enough to breed the sheep when I need to be cutting back. Either way, I lose. So, we have some "illegitimate" lambs. If no one wants to buy non-registerable Shetland sheep, I may just have to get over my aversion to butchering ewes. Plenty of people butcher ewes, but I don't like to. There isn't anything "wrong" with doing it. It's just one of my personal neuroses.

And in the midst of all the lambing, Gerti the blind goat died. We knew she had other "issues" because she was getting more difficult to feed. She would fight like you were hurting her as you were trying to get the nipple into her mouth. And then one day she stopped sucking on the nipple. Of course, there isn't anything you can do when a goat won't suck -- other than tube feed it. Knowing that she had multiple problems, it made no sense to prolong what seemed to be inevitable. I had even talked to a vet at U of I about her, and without doing lots of expensive testing, it would not have been possible to figure out what was wrong with her beyond a fairly simple diagnosis -- and we already knew that she was blind and had sensory issues -- but there wouldn't be a way for them to help her.

I'm in the final edits of the manuscript for my goat book. That should be done by the end of this month, and then I'll just have to do the final proofread once it's typeset. It will be in bookstores in September.

I'll be heading to New York City in another week. I'm speaking at a writer's conference there, and a friend convinced me to come a few days early for a vacation with her. A vacation was -- is -- a great idea. I know I need one. Hopefully I can get back to regular blogging soon.


Mary Ann said...

We missed you, Deborah, and I am so very sorry about your father (and mother ) in law.

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

So sorry for your loss of your Mother and Father in law. Life and death is part of life!! Also with the animals!! You just have to have faith!


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