The earth has come alive again. The grass is greening up, wilted leaves are standing up again. Its amazing to see the transformation. It took a few days, before the parched earth responded to all the rain, but then suddenly the brown grass had a green tinge and the drought was over!
My pumpkin 'patch' (four rather pathetic plants) had been hanging on grimly during the hot and dry weather. I was only able to water them enough to keep them alive. They do have a deep mulch and that has helped. After the rain, I think they have grown not inches but feet! Suddenly there are vines everywhere and tiny little pumpkins setting on the ends of blossoms. It will be touch and go if they grow and mature before frost, but since they are 'sheep feed' it won't really matter too much anyway. In the back of the pumpkin patch, the morning glories, which have had a few miserly blooms on wilted vines are now extravagantly putting on blossoms and sending out new shoots. The gourd vines, which I didn't think had any gourds on them, revealed several hidden away, exposed after the rain rearranged leaves. One is way up in the cedar tree and another on the side of the house---almost up to the roof!
While the lovely rebirth of the earth lifts ones soul, there is also sadness on the little farm. June, my big Dorset girl died Friday morning. She was the one who was caught up in the vine during one of the hottest days. Always fragile, she didn't quite bounce back from that, although on the surface she 'seemed' okay. Foraging with the flock, eating her grain heartily and going about normal sheepie business. But there was a look in her eye. Wednesday I came home and she was very weak, but still trying to be the strong sheep, she was up and staggering around with the others. I put her in a stall. Shortly after that she went down. She never got back up. I treated her with the things I thought would help. She rallied somewhat and remained alert during Thursday, although she refused her grain. She ate a few cookies. Thursday night I ceased treating her, I knew she was dying. She had the look of it in her eyes. I checked on her several times during the night, and made sure she was as comfortable as possible. I put a foam pillow between her head and the stall so she could rest easier. At 4:00 a.m. she was breathing loudly. At 6:00 a.m. she was gone.
Beautiful tall June, with the dramatic eyes. It seems strange not to see her walking across the field with her long, long legs eating up the ground. June was one of my original four sheep. Always first in line to get through the gate to sample whatever food was available. She is the second adult sheep I have had die in almost seven years. There have been five total---a stillbirth, a tragic lamb accident, a surprising unexpected older lamb death, and an older ewe---but it never gets easier, and there are always 'should haves' one puts them self through.
But one carries on, the body that was June has to be taken care of, the other sheep need to be fed and settled for the night. The morning comes and the count is different, but the needs are the same. And the sun comes up and glistens on the newly refreshed earth. Then, maybe, if I squint just right, I can see June striding off ahead, heading up to those eternally green pastures. Just maybe.