Electricity is a very good thing!

We’ve been struggling with weather issues since Friday.  It is imperative that we get decent shelter for these animals ASAP.  I know there are a lot of people who keep sheep and goats with less shelter than what we have for them right now, but we don’t like it and something is going to be done.  Hopefully I’ll get a decent tax refund (I usually do) and a portion of the money is going into a shelter.  ShelterLogic makes a 20 x 12 tarp-covered steel shelter that we’ve seen being used for livestock and apparently they work quite well.  We’ll need to use heavy T-posts to keep it from getting moved by the wind and put some fence around the exposed sides of the shelter to keep the goats from chewing on the tarp, but those are both easy fixes.

One of our black-headed Dorper ewes has been doing poorly since she lambed the end of December.  She lost one of her babies and Wally noticed her surviving baby was following behind another black-headed ewe sneaking milk when she could.  She was still nursing off her mother, but apparently she wasn’t getting enough.  We wormed the mother, but she didn’t seem to be improving much.

On Sunday, Wally and I re-set the ElectroNet (in the sleet and wind) and put the sheep out in it for a few hours.  I went down in the afternoon with the ATV (I almost walked down and I’m glad I brought the ATV) and used Fern and Gel to move the sheep home.  Cian and Kessie where there too, but they were running on ahead of the sheep rather than working behind them as they should have been.  One of these days I’ll learn to be consistent and simply put the two of them up whenever I have to do anything with the stock because at this point in time, they are incredibly useless.

As I drove through the field, I looked behind me and saw the sheep coming along, but I didn’t see Gel or Fern.  I turned around and went back and discovered that ewe had gone down.  I got off the ATV and tried to pick her up to put her up on the ATV.  It was slippery, wet and darned cold.  I slipped and went down a few times, but finally managed to get her on the ATV and started back home.  Wally was going to come with me, but he doesn’t have proper rain gear (something that needs to be rectified as well).  He was sitting at the kitchen table when I pulled up and he immediately came out to help.  We put the ewe with her lamb in one of the dog runs for the night, not sure whether she’d be alive or dead in the morning.  Penny and her babies were still up in another dog run.

We lost power Sunday night around 9 PM. We woke up Monday morning to no power and close to 6 inches of snow.  As soon as it got light, I went out to check the ewe.  Wally had gone on to work even though the weather call-in to his plant said they were not going to open until 10.  She was still alive but hadn’t looked like she had moved all night so I tried to get her up so the lamb could nurse.  Unfortunately, I forgot to shut the door to the dog run and she ran out and went into the thicket.  Lovely.  Gel and I managed to get that ewe out of the thicket and once she got out into the open, she went down again.  I caught her baby and brought her to where Penny and her babies were and held Penny up against the fence so that she could nurse, which she did.  Penny was less than thrilled, but that’s okay.  I brought the lamb back into the fenced-in area, finished milking and went back inside.  Not too long after I went back inside I saw the ewe get up and go over to the fence.  I went out with Gel, caught her and wormed her again, then put her up.  Hopefully she’ll recover.

Wally’s work got called off and he got back home around 10.  I was extremely glad to see him especially since he brought home breakfast sandwiches and hot coffee.  After breakfast, we went out and fixed our hay feeders.  The weight of the snow had brought down the covers, filled them with fresh hay, cleaned out the dog runs and put down fresh straw.  The sun had come out and it was incredibly beautiful with the snow.  Sorry, no pictures, I didn’t have time.  Our power came back on around 1:30.  Yea!!!!!  About two years ago, I was without power for two and a half days.  I have heat from my kerosene heaters, but without power, I have no water. That was the most miserable two and a half days I think I’ve ever spent.

Stupid me! I knew there was a storm coming this time, but for some reason, I didn’t believe it was going to amount to much so I didn’t fill the bathtub with water (to flush toilets) or check my stash of drinking water.  After I lost power for so long two years ago, I collected about ten gallon jugs of drinking water and stored them under the sink in the bathroom.  Unfortunately, plastic doesn’t last that long and several of the jugs had split open and leaked out.  The cool thing about kerosene heaters is you can heat food or water on the top of them so I was able to have hot coffee and have warm water to wash my face and brush my teeth.

After we got the outside work done, we gave Wally’s mother a call to see if they had power.  They didn’t so we brought them some lunch, went to pick up my car which had been in for its 60,000 mile tune-up, ran to Lowe’s to get some pet-safe deicer (which they didn’t have) so I tried WalMart.  WalMart was out of it too, but they had a personal stash set aside and the Assistant Manager was kind enough to get me a jar of it.

Got back home, got the animals settled and cooked some chicken on the grill and hit the hay early.  It has been a rough four days.  Hopefully the weather will continue to improve from here on out and we’ll be in a better shape next year.

On today’s agenda is getting some cleaning and laundry done.  I’ve got several loads of just dog towels and sheets.  I’ve already done several loads of laundry but it’s been a struggle.  Because the water was off for over twelve hours, sediment settled in the water pipes and kept clogging up the cold water hose to the washing machine.  It was so bad that Wally had to go under the house to change the water filter yesterday (this is an extremely unpleasant task, almost as unpleasant as setting ElectroNet in the sleet and wind), but the sediment remaining in the pipes was still clogging up the washing machine.  This is not anything new, once a month or so I have to disconnect the hose from the wall and clean out the sediment in the filter and reconnect it, but we’ve had to do this at least a half a dozen times already.

Gosh, sometimes it seems like live is one big struggle, but it is a good struggle.