Don’t Quit on Your Worst Day

This was my mantra this morning.

Since a tiny human filled my world the question loomed - do I really want to have all of these farm animals? Am I crazy?

My husband has been a vegan for almost 30 years and to say he is a begrudging homesteader is an understatement. He does help me put up fencing and tackle sheep (when we need to treat them). He also really enjoys petting sheep and is a natural herder, possessing an inner authority (and a main of wild hair and an extra foot of height) that I will never know. This is to say, that when the primary homesteader becomes the primary carer of a tiny human, who often has conflicting needs with a bunch of fur and feather babies who live outside, the question, "am I crazy" looms large indeed.

A long, wet, warm fall gave us an extra two months of parasites, before plunging suddenly into unseasonably subzero freezing. At the feed store, a friend assured me, that many people were losing animals this winter. Despite lots of vet visits, deworming, and helicopter momming, I experienced mammalian loss to disease and pestilence for the first time in my homesteading existence. Describing the grief - my own and those of the animals - is for another time. Death was not what haunted me this morning. It was yet another case of meningeal worm - in the dead of winter! What!?!?! My only male, virile, muscly, with fighting teeth, needed five days of treatment. While my baby comes out most days twice a day for chores, I was not willing to have him out with me for deworming. So my husband stayed inside with the baby while I went outside to do a two person job (a two person job that is usually scary and challenging with two people).

But motherhood has brought out an inner ferocity and confidence due to necessity. Deworming my stud went smoothly. A little feed, good control of the head, and trapping him against a wall in our hoop house made it go swiftly and easily. In fact, the only real challenge were sheep. Despite a hearty breakfast they decided to dig in my pockets looking for feed - while I was trying to drench an alpaca. Oh those sheep.

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