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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That look

Internal thinking of dog seeking outdoor human companion..."She sees me now...She said my name...It's warm out here, can't she tell it's warm....I have the sock just perfect, slightly damp, easier to wad in a ball form and toss upward...Usually this look gets her...oh, ah, here she comes, she loves me, she loves...Happy, I'm happy...happy, I'm happy...."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Season of Boone

About this time of year, when lambing season has settled a bit, I begin having heart palpitations around my horse, Boone. This is nature's way of telling me it is time to get in the saddle again. It is my season to fall in love all over again with my horse, his smell, the way his ears look when I'm riding, the clip clop sound of his shoes on the road.

The reason I bought Boone is his stoic attitude on the road. Nothing spooks him. He is not flashy, and is a bit lazy, but so am I. I wanted a horse I could putz around on and feel safe when I cross a road with log trucks. When I first road Boone, he walked up to a large tractor and put his head right in the bucket. "Any food in here?"...Just then three deer jumped out of a wooded area, "Deer," he said as we casually walked on. We worked in the corral about 20 minutes yesterday before heading out, and I promised Boone I'd get in shape too since he had too. "Best that you leave the Teddy Grahams to Guinnias then" he smirked, then winked. "You're feeling a tad heavy in the saddle, old girl."

We rode a couple miles and greeted the stray rooster that seems to be living in the bramble up the road a mile. I had tried to rescue him last week, but he refused my invitation. As we approached the bramble, I knew that rooster would jump out, and he did. "Oh, it's the rooster," Boone said in his best Eeorye impression. We rode up above our acreage and could see our rooftops and white flecks of sheep. Boone took interest in it all. We rode by Percherons and Arabians and ended up back at our place, where I worked him in some marshy areas- as he has a slight issue with sinking in muck [he had a bad experience years ago in mud]. The ride was over, and he dutifully stood until I said, 'Eat', at which point he was free to graze a bit. "Thank you, Booney," I said. "You're welcome," he mumbled, his mouth full of clover.

There are way too many things in life I'm unclear about. But there are a smattering of things I know to be true, and consistent. One is that when I'm on Boone, there are invisible currents caressing me. I have analyzed this sensation, and am pretty sure that this horse is a conduit for loving hands of all those that have ridden before me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Love the one your with

In which a picture reminds us that one doesn't need a velvet cushion to lay one's head.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hot dog happy

We did something miraculous on Saturday. We took the day off.

We had some of Martyn's family out to celebrate our post birthdays. The weather cooperated perfectly, and we had a perfect menu: hot dogs, baked beans and cake. I know hot dogs are the antithesis to eating grass fed lamb, but, I still need my quarterly crap food intake, and hot dogs does it for me. I was bloated for 48 hours, but what the heck. A girl needs a salt infusion to keep from wearing a belt.

It was good to have some little girls out too, running around enamored with various animals. My niece of seven or so said to me, "Boone is a really good name for a horse, it sounds like a race horse," and just then Boone rushed over to the fence. Serendipity, baby.

I put the lambs in the orchard, and the donkeys in the studio paddock, so we had panoramic animals. Guinnias and Huck stayed in the back of the studio, but had an open door to peek into. Guinnias was in heaven, he seems to really like being independent of the barnyard and included in people activities. Frankie did not attend the party, hot dogs would have pushed her over the edge. At one point, I looked into the studio from the orchard, and saw my little niece casually letting Guinnias back into the studio, leaving Huck alone out back. I greeted her with the old goat at her side, and she matter of factly said, "I thought Huckleberry needed some time to himself."

It was good to see youth taking over Apifera again. So thank you Livvie and Becca, for reminding us it is a special place we live on, and makes people of all ages happy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Legs and names

With the first day of spring came sun, warmer breezes, and lots of gangly legs running in the fields. It made me happy. I spent time picking names, a task I take quite seriously. It seems this year more than ever the lamb names must carry them into their lives with proper weight, proper joy mixed with respect.

Of Blues two girls, I have named the little chocolate one Little Rosalita, aka Rosie, in honor of her great grandmother Rosie. This little girl is adorable, small, but very much a ring leader in espionage in the field.

Blue's other girl is white, and has a face right out of a classic lamb image from yester year. I almost went with Bo Peep, but I am sticking to our original theme of always picking plant names for the sheep. This gets to be a challenge. So I settled on Dainty Bess, aka Bessie.

Of Lilly's two girls, I named the large one Bouncing Bet, as I feel calling her Betty will fit her stance and personality. She appears to be the leader, and was the first of the four girls born. Her sister is slightly smaller, and a bit more girly, so I'm going with Meadow Sweet, aka Sweetie.

The two boys remain Weeds - if we keep a ram for our breeding program, I name the after a weed, such as our Joe Pye Weed. But some are sold for stud, and some are Chosen Ones,providing us with food. This is a difficult subject for many, but it has been well thought out by myself and Martyn. We do not take it lightly, ever. Raising some of our food is a choice we make consciously.

I will use these names and see if the proper connection is made as the letters roll off my tongue. Sometimes it seems, another name presents itself unexpectedly, and one must honor it. I was almost named Bridgette, with Mary second on the list. But my father's mother died several hours before I was born, and I was named in her honor. It is a connection of importance for me, even more so as my father has died. A name, only a name, but it holds people lives in it's vowels and consonants. I thought about him during all our lambing hardship these past weeks. He was a 30 year old man, his wife was about to have a baby, and his 57 year old mother collapses, dead, on a city street. The yin-yang of that day for him, I can only imagine. One year ago today, my father died. His death, her death, it all seems wrapped up into the events of losing Rosie and Coral, and the babies.

Spring brings tender grasses, felt by the feet of young lambs, as they rush and skip through brown leaves of months gone by.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Therapy goat

In a previous post, I mentioned I had spoken at length to Dove Lewis about donkey therapy visits to senior homes in the Oregon area. In that conversation, I was told about a woman named Sandy Amos taking her young Nubian goat, Gracie,to visit retirement homes - and loved that. A friend sent me this link to a story about this same woman and her therapy goat. Our hats and hearts go out to this gentle little goat.

The woman talks about her special poop bag she made for the goat, and how she must clean it during visits [this includes urine and poop, mind you]. I commend her. As I stated in that post, I still want to focus on bringing people to Pino and his farm. It will leave out a lot of elderly though, and I still hope to work with a senior facility somehow.

So Pino says, "Rock on Sndy and Gracie!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

News alert

A large mound was seen on a small farm in rural Yamhill County. Spotted by a weather doplar device, it is unclear what the mound is. Part beast, part earth mass, it did not appear to be moving, much. While it does not appear to be dangerous, citizens are asked to drive slowly in the area, in case the creature/form grows or decides to make a sudden movement.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


There's a new star in the sky tonight

At 7 days old, the little orphan lamb of Rosie died last night. I was shocked.

He had been making some headway, and had a good day in the sun. There were signs yesterday that he was not normal, however, and I suspect white muscle disease, caused by selenium deficiency. All the signs were there: weak hind end and difficulty moving. When he was born, he could not stand until day 2 or 3, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt since it had been a dam with ketosis and he was a triplet. His walking had been stronger, but yesterday I noticed a limp on the one hind leg, but he still walked with me up to the chicken coop. But he spent the entire lying down, and completely separate from the flock. He took one bunny hop [a normal lamb activity], but then rested. He was still eating ok, and had jaw strength. But when I brought him into the house at night and put him in his fireside box for feeding, I noticed a sudden change. He seemed weaker, suddenly. When I returned 15 minutes later to feed him, he could hardly stand, and his heart/pulse was pumping so hard I could see it move in his little body. His breathing was slightly labored, and he kept stretching his neck - obviously uncomfortable and trying to breathe better.

It was clear he would die. It seemed so sudden, but he had never really been quite right. My understanding is there is a cardiac version of white muscle disease [which is basically like muscular dystrophy] and a lamb can literally stand up and have a heart attack. I had given Rosie selenium supplement in her feed, and I had given him a Bose shot [selenium and Vit E] but I assume that with the triplets and the ketosis, he just lacked it. Or he might have had a multitude of deficiencies from his birth. If I had not helped with the delivery, he would have died. I question if saving him was the right thing. He had seven days of life, it meant something. I'm not sure what at this point, but it meant something. I don't have a guide book on the meaning of life.

I'm so glad yesterday was warm and sunny, so his last day was spent in warm sun on some hay. He was held a lot, and Huck licked him like a mama ewe. I let Guinnias in to the orchard so he had some creature companion within sight. I asked him at one point, "What is your gift?" Not sure I have words for that answer yet.

I will bury him by Rosie. So look for a new, shiny, bright star tonight, perhaps in a group of three, with one slightly larger star hovering near by.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chatter to paper

I continue to work on my new series "Be of Service"....these little characters bring me happiness, and my own inner ramblings are quieted, but the character's chatter takes over instead.

It's close to 60 today, with sun. The rains might return over weekend, so I am taking advantage of the weather and will get the barn back in shape after the chaos of the last 2 weeks. I feel like I'm still mending, like I gave birth myself, 5 times. I guess in a way I did. By Monday I plan to be back at the drawing board, and writing table. This weekend I'll start shots for the lambs, do spring worming and hope to put names to all the new lambs. Rosie's orphan spends his days with the young flock, a loner, and is way behind, but is making gains. I still bring him in at night, but this weekend that might change if he shows proper gains in strength.

My sister-in-law sent some seed packs, and I think I will spread some on Rosie and Coral. There is comfort in tending a grave, I have learned that over and over. Sadly, we are distant from our dead in this current society. We do not clean them when they die or carry them to the hole if buried. There is an importance to this ritual. While it is not reasonable to think we can all bury our dead [I for one will be cremated], the process of preparing a grave for burial is an important transformation for both dying and caregiver.

Society of Illustrator Show

After the heaviness of the last two weeks here at Apifera, it made me grin to see this photo from the
current show at the Society of Illustrators in New York. The grin on Keith's face [the tech guru for my rep] and the ballet like whim of Kate [a rep at MGI]as they stand in front of my art was just what the doctor ordered.

If you are in NYC, the show runs through March 28th and it's full of talent including three other's from my rep group.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The sun shines and the lab nurses

In which the world continues on, and the lab was heard musing, "The things I have to do to entertain this little fellow..."

The sun came out this morning after days of physical and emotional drizzle mixed with heavy rains. It is a new day.

For the first time in 2 weeks I do not need to rush to the barn to check on my hospice charges, or new arrivals. All lambs have now been born, with Daisy [Rosie's daughter] delivering two huge, hay bucking boys yesterday, and Blue [Coral's daughter] delivering twin girls on the weekend. While we lost 5 ewe lambs and two mother ewes, it is over, and it is time to notice the many percolations of the mother of all of us, the earth. The grasses can be heard in the spring, first like far off little bird chirps, but as they warm up their lungs, they explode with spring time melodies.

Today I will put all the new lambs out in the sun for the first time, in the protection of the orchard, and introduce them to their special needs brother who has yet to be named. Huck has been a wonderful wet nurse and aide to the little fellow. Perhaps one of the lighter moments this week was watching that baby lamb try to nurse on Huck's manly appendage, and true to his generous personality, Huck stood gallantly still, trying to help the little guy out. It is time for him to live in his real home, the barn, where he can be the sheep he now just dreams of. For when he sleeps, his little hooves move and twitch, and I can only assume he is jumping and leaping in the Apifera grasses that he hasn't even felt yet. I feel like I'm sending off my glasses wearing-stuttering-very tiny child to kindergarten for the first time, cringing at the thought of the other larger, more coordinated youngsters making fun of him. We will continue to bottle feed until weaning time, and in due time we will whether him and give him some important role on the farm, but he will be saved from being a Chosen One.

I am grateful for the outpouring of emails and comments from so many - some of you I know, others are followers of the farm, and some of you have been through your own farm losses.

It is now time to breath in all the new life, and listen to the grasses sing. Next time you visit a farmer's market, look closely in the eyes of the people raising food - they work hard and sacrifice to keep that farm going.

Monday, March 09, 2009

We lose Rosie

Rosie died last night.

Post Note: We came to call it "The Spring of Death". In 2009 we fought our first fight with Ketosis and lost two treasured ewes, Rosie and Coral Bell, along with all 6 triplets they carried. The posts leading up to this one will tell you the struggle.

She was progressively getting weaker all day and I knew her time was near. Her breathing was slower, and she could not swallow well. She showed no signs of pain. She was still coherant most of the day, but by late afternoon she was pretty much in a state of sleep, occasionaly opening her eyes, or a twitch here and there - a clear sign her body was slowly shutting down. The little son who lived so she would die is gaining strength, and is wobbly but on his feet. I brought him out to the barn for the day and he stayed cuddled up with her all day until I brought him back in the house. I took this photo and imagine she died within a few hours, as is this how I found her this morning.

I sat with the two of them for an hour or more yesterday, Rosie's head cradled on my lap, while I said my final goodbyes and thank you's to this magnificant mother, herd leader and friend. She was our first sheep. While Coral's death left a huge impression, Rosie's death leaves a hole.

But it is time to move forward. We had healthy twin ewes from Blue on Saturday, and Daisy should lamb soon. Then we are done for the season. We have learned. Tomorrow is my 51st birthday. I feel 90 after the last 8 days, but it will be a day of peace for the farm, as our girls will all be buried, safe. And that little boy of Rosie's lives on - he is here for some reason.

Rosie, it was such an honor, all of it.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Yesterday at 1pm Rosie's water broke. I assisted her a little bit easing the first lamb out, but things went ok for her. The first lamb was presented properly, but sadly she was stillborn. I even gave her mouth to mouth and a heart massage, but she was long gone. The second lamb was alive, a big chocolate boy. He was a lot less stable than a lamb should be, but he was alive. The third lamb, a girl, was also still born. Rosie licked her boy the best she could, but was very weak. I helped with the drying and cleanup. She had no milk to give, a little in one teet, but she was unable to stand. I knew I had to do my first foray into 'tubing', where a small catheter is pushed down to the lamb's stomach. The vet had given me a crash course, and now was my big debut. And I did fine, I was so relieved. [For the non shepherd out there, it's crucial to get colostrum in the lamb within 30 minutes].

I wrapped him in warm towels, but within 20 minutes knew this wasn't going to do for him. He needed a fire to get his body temp up. Within an hour of bringing him in the house, I was able to warm him well. We need to keep him in the house until he can really stand well, and he's way behind on that score. Most of our lambs are up and atom within 20 minutes or so. This little fellow can stand as of this morning, but can't walk real well. We all sat around the fire into the evening, and I finally was able to drink a couple glasses of good wine since I wouldn't be trekking to the barn every hour. I had done all I could for Rosie, and could only wait to see how she made it through the night. Huck and Billy were wonderful nurses, licking the lamb through out the night. I figured this was good for him, since he missed it from his mother. Huck has this expression all the time now, like, "Is the baby up? Should I help with the baby?"

Since the little guy wasn't walking, and he needed feeding every 2 hours, I slept on the floor and had him at my side on his mat. What a sweetheart, he slept well all night. I fed him him every couple hours. He'll need TLC for awhile, and I really hope we can pull him through.

This morning, Rosie was on her side, not good. I revived her a bit with her calcium shot, and vitamin injections and her energy cocktail. She's very weak, but is not in the pain Coral was, probably because there was no damage to her uterus. She appears very depressed. I've been giving her massages, and she is in an area where her little 4 day old granddaughters sit with her, and frolic around like kids too,, unaware of the seriousness of her condition. In the nearby stall, with window access, is Blue, Coral's daughter, who is in labor as I write. On the left of Rosie's stall is Daisy, her daughter who is about to lamb too. AS I nursed Rosie this morning, it reminded me of days of old, when we human families took care of our dying, but allowed life to just perk a long too. This is how one should die, I thought, in their own element, with the smells, sounds and beings around them that they know.

I'm tired. I want to twitch my nose and make my old flock come back, healthy. I've learned so much, and there is more to learn. I'll fight for Rosie until it's over, and maybe with luck, we'll win the fight together. But she's very weak, she gave that one baby boy everything - so he is very special creature.He must have stories to tell me, or nature would not have given him that first breath.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Little girls and pie

I got this sweet email from sister-in-law about her little girls making pie:

Two weeks ago, Olivia and I had two of her little first grade friends
over for a "Sweetheart Pie Day." We made Valentine's Day pies to share with
our families. We made 7 cherry pies and it was so much fun. Those little
girls rolling and rolling, and rolling, and rolling (did I mention how much
they like the rolling?)..... the pie dough. It was practically phyllo it
was so thin! With a little re-thickening of the dough, we made 7 delicious
pies and shared them with friends and family. We talked about Pino and his
Pie Day. The girls loved to hear about someone who 'really had a pet

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Suffer no more

I was with her when she was born, and I was with her as she died. She was five years old and had given us 6 healthy lambs in the past 2 years. She was daughter to Rose and Joe Pye Weed, and was head-ewe-in-waiting. A real loss for our farm.

Coral Bell had suffered enough, and was euthanized today at 12 noon. The vet came and immediately agreed she was in constant suffering, and was not going to recover from her ordeal. She also most likely had a torn uterus and liver damage. I spent 2 hours in her stall last night, and pretty much thought she would be dead when I came out in the morning. But she was still hanging on, groaning with every breath. It was gut wrenching to watch.

I let Audrey, her 2 year old daughter, and mother-to-be any day, come in the stall this morning. She sniffed around Coral, and then casually left. Coral had not bleated since she went down on Thursday, but when Audrey left the stall, Coral turned her head, obviously painful, and let out a very weak bleat. It was beyond touching.

We will bury her next to her three triplets on the lavender hill.

In the meantime, the vet induced Rosie, and has hopes for her recovery. We will hope too. He also gave me a big, kind pep talk which I greatly needed.

Some crusty old guy once said to me, "Life and old age aren't for sissies. Neither's farming."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Universal gestures

The juxtaposition of Lilly's newborns on Monday evening, 18 hours after the death of Coral's triplets is a perfect symbolic gesture from the universe that life in deed does go on. They are beautiful, healthy girls- yes girls, we love girls. Mom and babies appear well, and strong. The picture below shows Rosie in the background, our other ewe with ketosis. She is hanging in there as well as she can.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A shepherd's lament

In this our fifth lambing season, we have been hit head on with tragedy. I'm still reeling from last night's events, but I want to write this entry so that my mistakes and lessons might help other shepherds out there. And I want everyone to send energy, healing, prayers - whatever your inclination- up into the sky for Coral Bell, a very brave sheep.

In the past four seasons, we've had smooth deliveries and healthy ewes and babies. Last Thursday afternoon, I noticed that Coral Bell laid down in the barnyard. I had put the pregnant ewes there so during the day I could watch for any signs of labor starting. When Coral laid down, I thought, "Good, she's probably going to lamb soon", and I noticed she got up and down a couple times, another early sign of pending lambing. I went out to the barnyard to gather the ewes up and saw what I thought was the start of a birth sac coming out of Coral. Put her in her lambing stall, but realized it was not a birth sac, it was what I assumed was the dreaded 'prolapsed vagina'. This can happen when a ewe is carrying an extra heavy load, and Coral was bigger than any ewe we've ever had, and much bigger than her last 2 seasons.

So I immediately did more internet research on prolapsed vagina. And I called the sheep vet to ask a phone opinion. He told me it was not an emergency at that point, as a ewe can lamb with one, and hers was not as severe as they can be.

I went out to check on her in a few hours, and within a very short time her condition had deteriorated. She was listless, head and neck down [stretched out in front of her, with her chin on ground]. Her expression was a dazed look, her eyes were dull, her ears expressionless. And she was grinding her teeth. She was off feed, which can be a normal sign of pending delivery, but I knew her condition wasn't right. Things happened fast, it was early evening, and we weren't sure what to do. I kept thinking it was related to her heavy load, and that she was in early stages of labor. By morning, she was totally listless, and had no energy to get up, or raise her head. We called the vet. Within two hours, we had her on a drip iv to give her energy, and doses of pain killers and vitamins. We harnessed her with a 'spoon' that holds the vagina in to make it more comfortable [the vet said the prolapse would go away after lambing, and hers was not severe]. They suspected 'ketosis' which happens in late stages of pregnancy, often with ewes carrying multiple lambs, and it's caused by lack of adequate minerals/vitamins/calories in her diet these last months. Then they induced labor. They told me we'd have to assist in the delivery, as she'd be too weak, and gave me all sorts of tips on feeling for the babies, and knowing what to do depending on how the babies were arranged in the womb. They also taught me how to tube a lamb, so the new born could get immediate sustenance since Coral might not have milk in her condition, and she would not be able to stand. We were to wait for the water to break in the next 24+ hours, and assist. And in the meantime we were injecting her with multiple shots and oral meds to try to keep her alive. By early evening, she was much stronger, and we checked her at midnight. I even slept in the stall with her for 3 hours Friday night in case her water broke. Martyn came out and found me on the stall floor, and said we were both sleeping, with Coral resting her head on my chest, so he left me there undisturbed. She was calm, and not in as much stress as earlier. By morning, she was alert, and drinking water, and much better, although still off feed, and still unable to get up. But we were hopeful.

The vet called Saturday and verified it was ketosis. So we also added 50cc's of a calcium supplement injected 1x a day. By Saturday night, and then Sunday morning, then Sunday afternoon, there was still no birth sac. She was slightly more dilated, but not much. I guess even when induced, this can happen. Finally, after midnight Sunday evening, her water broke.

I was really confidant, and calm. But a multitude of mistakes on my part led to tragedy. When the water breaks, most lambings proceed in 30 minutes to an hour. That has always been the case here too. The vet told me to reach in and feel for the positions of the babies, hoping it would be 2 front feet and a head coming out. If not, reach in, get your bearings in there, stay calm, and rearrange babies for normal birthing position. I found two feet, and a head. So I gave her about 15 minutes to see if she could progress at all. She was pushing, but I reached in again and began pulling, but I somehow lost track of the head. The 2 legs coming out were stuck at the shoulder line. We thought. But I could hardly get my hand back in to readjust, or find a head. I didn't panic, I'm pleased that's one thing I did right. But I got all the parts confused, and began thinking the two legs I had out were hind legs. I had asked the vet assistant what to do if it was hind end first, and she due to Coral's condition, pull it out by the legs. Our goal was always to get the babies out asap, to help Coral. So I kept pulling, and pulling. But the cervix wasn't big enough. And here is another key mistake I made, perhaps the worst mistake. We decided that she needed more time, that the books had all said, 'don't rush it' and that maybe her cervix needed time to dilate more. It was now 1:30 am, one hour after the water broke. Martyn decided to go lie down for 20 minutes, and stayed with Coral. She was clearly trying to push, so in about 10 minutes, I reached in again, determined. I took my time and really felt around the womb. I could feel toes, and a head. But I wrongly assumed the legs I was pulling did not belong to that head. I worked for 20 minutes trying to rearrange parts, and get the lamb's rear end [I thought] out, but it wasn't coming. It was now 2am, and I told Martyn we had to call a vet. I knew it would cost a fortune, but there was no choice. {The previous Thursday's ER visit came to $500].

It took him until 3 am to get to us. It had now been 2.5 hours since she broke water. The vet arrived, and had to work pretty hard to get the first lamb out. He pulled it out, no heartbeat. The next one came out easier, no heartbeat. One more came out, no heartbeat.

Three beautiful spotted little ewe lambs, all very large, which was part of the problem. The vet said, and this will haunt me for years, that if we had pulled them out sooner, they probably would have lived. He said my biggest mistake was thinking the front legs that first emerged were hind legs, when they in fact were front legs. He said it was a difficult position to adjust, and that I needed to get the lambs head in between the front legs. If they truly had been hind legs, they would have come out, but the head was stuck. If I had known, I could have had all three out in 30 minutes, most likely. We also had never been told "No matter what, they need to be out in 2 hours maximum from water breaking". All the books say, 'Give them up to 2 hours, and if "no progress' is being made, call a vet. I felt we were making progress, but it was not enough progress. I feel there was some communication glitch there to with me and the vet on Thursday, as they told me to give her up to an hour [assuming the positions of baby was normal when I first reached in] to try to push them out on her own. I only waited 15 minutes. But I still blew it.

Perhaps what's even harder to take, there is still a chance Coral won't make it. If she has a tear of any kind in her uterus [since two of us were prodding and poking], there won't be a recovery from that. She will simply never get up, and it will eventually kill her. He said if she is not up and walking in about 5 days, that will be a sign. We are to expect her to be downed though for the next 3-5 days while she regains her energy, now that she doesn't have lambs using her energy reserves.

To complicate things, Rosie also has ketosis, and most likely has triplets. She had triplets last year too. We treated her with the same meds as Coral, and she has recovered some, but the vet said I will need to assist her in delivery. And I'm terrified. But I'll do it, and I can only hope I will do better. She is due any day.

I thought I was on top of my feeding regime, and it's worked for 4 seasons. The mistake I made there, and I know I'm not the first, is that Coral was obviously carrying an extra large load, and I should have increased her feed regiment that I start 4 weeks before lambing. I should have given more than the usual ration.

I can not tell you how surreal it was to see those three lambs lined up on the bloody hay beside me. My only consolation is they died together, in the womb. I hold myself completely. It was 6 am and the sun was just rising. Pino stood up on the hill, watching Martyn as he buried the three lambs in the lower lavender field.