Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Limping Sheep +Emergency Drainage 101

The last two days produced all sorts of surprises. I used to wake up when it was just me and my old dog Louie, and I'd say, "Well, Louie, what will happen happen today, do you think?"... I was all set to paint all day. The day started with lots of rain. When I went to let the sheep out, Daisy, one of our experienced mother ewes, was limping badly, hardly able to put weight on her hind right leg/foot. I watched her for 20 minutes, checked the foot pad, and decided to let her go a 1/2 day and maybe she'd work it out if it was muscle oriented. I'm concerned though, as she is carrying what looks like at least twins - and maybe more, as she is much bigger this pregnancy than last time in which she had twins...She isn't due until Feb 12 at the earliest though.

When I returned to the house, I noticed Huck had a huge lump in his week old stiches from his recent neutering - so I got him into the vet right away and we drained it. He's fine. But as we drove home up our driveway, the rain had been heavy all day, maybe two days, and the road was really starting to wash out. I looked at the lavender field and was horrified to see many, maybe 200+plants sitting in 4 inches of water. My head was calculating how much gross profit we were possibly losing...We had done some emergency drainage on the lower part of the field in early October when we had a lot of rain. We were doing emergency drainage- in other words, me and Martyn hand digging drench systems in the worst parts of field - becasue we had not done our regular drainage this fall - we just didn't get it done due to time and other projects. We thought we were safe, as last winter we learned where the worst drainage issues were, ...but the heavy snows melting in the mountains, combined with 2+ inches of rain on saturated ground caused trouble. I immediately dropped verything in a panic and in my usual naiveté, troopered out to the field in a downpour to 'save the farm'...About two hours later, it was getting dark, Martyn came home and could not see the condition of the field. It rained all nite.

The next day, we went out together and worked 4 more hours in another downpours [but at least it was 50 degrees]. Martyn went in, he has a horrible bronchial cold, and I continued. I admit, I told a few things to God while I worked in the field. I believe in a higher power, and I refer to this entity as 'God" - as Joseph Campbell pointed out, the concept of a higher power is so overwhelming in human terms, that we had to come up with some name for it because it is indescribable, so I choose to call this power God. I swore at God, and used very bad words. I told God exactly what I thought about him and this weather. Then as it rained harder, and the rain had entered into my tall mucks,
I swore and said very bad things to the rain. I think I cried in there a couple times too. How pathetic. how many farmers cry in their fields? After 5 hours, my hands were hurting, so I went inside. Martyn had to help pull my jeans off, as they were so wet I couldn't get them off my body...I took a one hour nap, he went out and worked in the field again. By this time, it was one hour until dark. I went out and did another hour with him. It was encouraging that all the heavily flooded plants were now water free. I took this picture to remind ourselves we can still smile in upheavels...
As I left the field, the sky was clearing. Perhaps this is a good time to tell God and the rain I said those things under duress. And I'm sure they understand. My body hurts, but I am very satisfied when I look at the field. I hate to see plants suffer. We might have been o.k. had we not done the additional drainage yesterday, but I will do my best to be a farmer, even if I'm a bad farmer....