Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Catching Up

Sage, Birdwatching

Just a few updates on things around the homestead. The weather has been very nice this week, with unseasonably warm temperatures. The peeper frogs are out in full force and will likely get their webby little feet frozen this weekend. The bad storms that hit Oklahoma and moved into Missouri, missed us as well, although we got several inches of rain. Everything is muddy and mushy, but we do need the moisture, so I'm not complaining. (add on: It's the weekend now, and the temperatures are much cooler again).

I've had to rearrange my schedule a little with letting the chickens out in the morning, since 'we' were visited by a 'possum last week. Normally I open the chicken house door while I'm feeding the sheep and doing the other chores. At that time it is still dark, and the chickens will come out at daylight. One morning last week, while I was getting ready for work, I heard a ruckus from the hen house. I crammed my feet in my shoes, and went running up there. I grabbed the shovel as I went. Inside the chicken house, up on the roost, a 'possum was selecting which chicken morsel it would like for breakfast. At this point it was daylight and the hens could see it and were scattering. I whacked it off the roost with the shovel and gave it another whack as it scuttled out the door. And said to myself, 'it won't come back today, after that'! Back to the house to finish getting ready for work. Ten minutes later, chickens are alarmed again and I run back out with the shovel. Yep, it was back. This time, I hustled the last chicken out, shut all the doors and left the 'possum in and the chickens out and headed off to work, lest I be late. My plan was to capture it and remove it when I got home. My Dad ended up doing that while I was at work, and I sure appreciated it. The 'possum was removed and relocated. However, all that to say that now I don't open the little chicken door until daylight, and then I usher all the chickens out. They aren't happy about it, as some are obviously not 'morning chickens'. But so it goes.

The same day, after work, I finally got my taxes in to the preparer. It was a relief to get it done and out of the way. I'd been procrastinating, then sorting, and then procrastinating some more. I was getting a little sick of myself. Now I just need to file it all away and forget about it.

Ariel seems to be doing pretty good. The thunder storms stress her out and she really isn't handling that well. She was started on Prevacox about six weeks ago, and it's made a big difference in how she feels. The aspirin just weren't cutting it anymore, and she looked miserable all the time. Her movements are free-er and she just looks better out of her eyes. I'm not sure what the long term affects will be, but since she will be twelve this year, it's more about keeping her quality of life now. She is on half a tablet a day and I'm toying with dropping that down to a 1/4 to see if a lower dose is effective.

The big Ba-Boone has completely recovered from his trauma last Friday. I'm hoping he doesn't repeat it, but there is a good chance he will. Friday and Saturday he was a mess, could barely walk, and so pitiful. Sunday we didn't go for a walk, even though he was feeling good enough to stare in the door at me and try to will me to take them. By then one foot was healed well enough, that instead of hobbling, he could limp. He limped on the one foot for a few more days and then started running around again, so he seems good now. We had more neighbor dog drama last night, but he was pretty careful. I checked his feet yesterday and they look great. Healing very nicely. (add on: While at the vet's yesterday with Rain, I saw a dog that was actually bigger than Boone! I think it was a Neapolitan Mastiff. She was very large).

Sage is trying to have UTI problems, but so far we've headed off the worst of it. I'm giving him Methigel and the vet said I might have to switch the food he is on. I prefer to wait and see about the food, as they've done so well with this food in the past. The Methigel supposedly acts similar to the special food and breaks down the stones, except you give it orally once a day. For being such a goober about life in general he sure is good about the meds. I think he secretly likes it. (It comes in a smelly paste, that I put in a syringe to get it down his throat).

Meshach also seems to be doing well on his predisone, but isn't as accommodating about the meds as Sage. Even though I try and open the bottle quietly, he often hears and slinks off the bed and tries to make his getaway. He is so predictable though that I track him down easily enough. The pills are much easier than the liquid was. He has been very playful lately and that is really nice to see again.

My little dark grey, bossy Shetland ewe, Rain is very ill. I have no clue what is wrong with her, and it's been ongoing for about a month. However she has stopped eating the last few days so it is becoming critical. She has allot of fight and spunk left in her. I've tried everything under the sun I can think of and that has been recommended by other breeders. I took her to my vet yesterday, and he really doesn't know either. For awhile I thought it was perhaps a bad tooth. Her front teeth look really good, and I know she has back teeth because she bite me when I was poking around in there. The vet checked all her teeth and mouth and throat out yesterday, but nothing there that was out of the ordinary. Originally she gave up grain, but was still eating hay with gusto. Then she was mouthing the hay more, and chewing slower. She has choked several times since this started. The other day when I gave her the sweet sticky nutri-drench she literally beat her head on the floor for several seconds. She did not have this reaction to the a-lyte water that I gave her. So anyway, her lymph nodes aren't swollen, her temp is borderline (the vet thought it was high at 103.1 but we had been wrestling her around, so I'm not sure it was), her lungs sound good, there aren't any neurological symptoms and so on. I came home with a whole wad of shots to give her-- from predef to a shot similar to Riddlin (to help her 'innards' calm down), as well as a broad spectrum antibiotic. There is another oral medication she is getting for her esophagus and stomach, but the name eludes me at the moment. In addition I'm still giving Vit B shots and supportive therapy. Since the 'sweet stuff' results in a violent reaction, I've just come up with a mixture that has an egg, vanilla yogurt (with lots of the beneficial stuff), a-lyte, few drops of olive oil and am syringing that down her several times a day. Accepting that I have done all the things I know to do, including much prayer, now we wait. Rain is seven years old, and is an exceptionally aggressive busy body, so it is strange seeing her so quiet. Her front leg still works well though and she is constantly pawing--telling me she wants out of that silly stall.

Warm Fire in the Wood stove


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

You mean your dad didn't DISPATCH the dad-gum possum? Grrr....

I love the nickname "Ba-Boone"! (It's certainly more fitting than "Annie.") Sorry to hear about Rain; I hope she pulls through.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Give Ariel a big hug for me. My first old collie, before Boo, was horribly afraid of storms. Finally he went deaf and after that, if I turned the tv on, it seemed to make him feel better - like the lightning was just the picture flashing on the tv. Poor old dogs. And sheep :-(.

Janna's Page said...

oh wow! About a week ago, we had a skunk AND a opossum in our chicken house! Not at the same time, but the same day! The skunk, Michael let find its own way out (he didn't want to kill it in there) but the opossum he shot.

Oh I really hope that Rain is doing better soon. I know that has to be really frustrating for you.

Berte said...

How sad about Rain. I know your heart is breaking to see one of your little creatures not feeling well and not exactly knowing what is wrong. Sometimes, we wish they could talk. I love your description of the hen house episode- I can just visualize you out there whacking that possum with a shovel..what a hoot!
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