These Family Ties

The Happy Family Spring has sprung here on Mack Hill Farm. We have new babies everywhere. The pigs started us off, with a bang. Pomona, one of our gilt Tamworth pigs, had eight happy, healthy piglets yesterday morning, all nursing. Frank was in Cambridge, of course, and I was nervous, but nothing was needed from me except hugs and cuddles. We’ll notch ears and do all that unfun stuff this weekend. I don’t even know yet how many boys and girls we have there yet. I was a little nervous about Albus being in with all the girls and babies, but he was such a good daddy. I saw him sniff each one and then he buried them all in the hay for warmth.

Three Generations of Ewes Lambing season has begun as well, a little earlier than we’d planned, but we knew we’d had a break in and it looks like it was quite the productive night he had! The count right now stands at four singles, three boys and one girl. When I went out to see the little girl this morning, I could tell from a distance that it was a girl, not a boy like the first three. So delicate and pretty! Her grandma was there to give guidance and counsel, which I just find so sweet. She’d had a little boy just yesterday, and she stuck him in the shed while she tended to her daughter.

I’ve had some major problems with having the horses in with the sheep. There was lots of scary drama when Pearl tried to steal one of the lambs and chased the real mama away, minutes after she gave birth. Stealing that lamb back from underneath a bucking, rearing thundering Percheron horse was one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to do. I put him in a shed, then drug the mother over to follow. She didn’t have horns and was terrified, poor June. The horses then decided that they wouldn’t come near me if I had a lead rope or halter in my hand, so I couldn’t get them out of that paddock.

When I had to leave yesterday afternoon, when I left I had all the sheep on one side and magic white rope not connected to a battery strung up to keep the horses away. I fed the sheep on that side, gave them water over there. They won’t stay over there and ignore the tape, but at least the horses obey it. Thank God they believe in Magic White Tape.

Lily and her ram lamb When I came home, all hell had broken lose. Sheep were out everywhere, the horse had her foot stuck in a cattle panel, Prince was chasing the little brown lamb, who had a broken leg, was bleeding, and being followed by his mother Lily and grandmother, Minx. Minx had a bloody head, and it looks like her scur has been ripped off, again. It took me and the dogs forever to get everyone sorted, and I got myself kicked (in the shoulder, of course) for my troubles.

My Minxy We’ve got his leg bandaged and splinted this morning, and he and Lily are in a newly barricaded shed. Minx clearly wanted to be with her daughter, and Lily was calling out for her mother, though she was staying with her baby. I couldn’t get Minx to get in the shed. What are you, nuts? Voluntarily being locked up? Um, no thanks. She’s just going to hang out next to Lily, from the OUTSIDE of the shed.

Now that Frank is home and it is the weekend, he can help me figure out what to do with the horses, where to put them, and they don’t argue with him, ever. I think I might pull them on the tractor, so that they know that I am boss.

Minnie and Hermione, about to pop I’m being a fretful Adoptive Grandmother myself. Minnie is in labor this morning. I’ve checked on her a couple of times and she is panting heavily. All the other pigs are leaving her alone, but Ginny is right there by her. I’m leaving them alone. It’s really hard.

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