Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Farm Project of the Day

I think one thing that you may never expect about farm life is that there really is no such thing as a boring routine. Just when you think you know what you're doing the farm shakes things up. Maybe the chicks you're expecting in the mail don't come on the day you plan. Maybe you get an unseasonal bitter cold snap. Maybe the sow you knew would farrow soon, but hoped would wait a day or two for better weather, will farrow on the most bitter night in weeks. Likely, all of these things and more will happen together in the same 24 - 48 hours.

That has been the last couple of days here. It has been bitter. The lows have plummeted into the teens with the highs in the upper twenties. We lost a lamb, likely due to the cold. Tim was home yesterday, and we spent the day working on projects, some of which didn't go as planned and didn't get finished. Lydia, Kellen and I spent most of the morning getting the brooder pen ready for chicks. Since we were expecting the chicks yesterday, that project really should have been completed, but that is how it goes sometimes. We were working under the buzzer, expecting the Post Office to call any minute to let us know the chicks needed to be picked up. We got the project done, and spent the afternoon hanging close to the phone waiting for it to ring. It never did. 

The call got me out of bed this morning. I grabbed a bagel and a cup of coffee from the pot Tim made before he left for work. Then I woke Kellen up just enough to let him know where I was going, and off I went. I got the chicks, got them settled and did my morning chores. 

Then it was time to motivate the children to get their morning chores complete, and to start on school. After I finally got them back on task, I sat down to Facebook and to contemplate what I wanted to get done today. There are lots of projects that need worked on, and I knew I would want to be able to check frequently on the chicks. I was concerned about them staying warm enough in this weather. As I was considering the options for the day, Kellen burst in the front door with a piglet all wrapped up in his hat. 

He had found it in the outside part of the sows' pens. There was some confusion about whose piglet this was, and how it got there. Turns out the sow who we thought would farrow any day, and hoped would wait for better weather, farrowed last night. This piglet, and one who was not so fortunate, somehow made their way into the wrong pen. Well, as often is the case, the farm determined my plan for today. Today's project had become newborn pig care. 

This piglet had me worried. She was very weak and cold. We wrapped her up, held her close, and still could not get her stop shivering. She had almost no sucking reflex, and we ended up giving her Kick Start with an eye dropper. Lydia held her almost all through school, and named her Charlotte. We kept her wrapped up and laid her near a sunny window. She slept for a couple of hours then still shivering off and on. 

When she woke up the change was remarkable. She got up and walked around, and nosed at things like any healthy piglet will do. 

Then she started the grunt that means, "I want food." She went after the bottle with vigor, and then promptly fell back asleep. I am not saying she is home free, but I am very pleased with her progress. Now, the hard part will be getting Lydia to let me put the pig back with its mom.

Ah, farm life, it keeps you hopping, and makes life interesting.

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