Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Settling In

**More pictures to follow soon

Work on the farm has been getting along pretty well. There really hasn’t been that much of a change in what we have been doing since the last post, but we have seen some remarkable things and made a few strides in figuring out our lives outside the farm.

Over the last few days lambing has slowed a bit. This was intentional, and was determined about five months ago by allowing the Ram access to the sheep at a staggered pace. He wears a crown, which is a piece of chalk under his belly, that marks each sheep when he mounts it. The sheep marked red have mostly all lambed, while the blues, oranges, greens, and yellows are just coming up. The hoggettes, which are first time lambers, are also starting.

The slowing of lambing has allowed for us to work through the “to do” list. On the farm side of things, we cleaned up some dead animals and repaired some broken ones. Cleaning up involves driving around with a trailer and dragging dead things onto it, then driving to a hole and dumping them in. We had a bad storm the day before last, and it caused many lambs to die of exposure. I have personally picked up at least 20 lambs in the last week, many of them yesterday. Kelly and I were both quite wet that day, but we managed to avoid any lasting negative effects. Below is a picture of the daily lamb pile. It is a part of life we are insulated from, in this case by Styrofoam squares that the meat is stacked on in the grocery store.


We also picked up a sheep that must have been dead for at least a week. I don’t think I have ever really smelt truly rotten animal, other than the stuff that is frozen in the freezer downstairs at our house in Ottawa (Mom). It is the most foul thing you can possibly imagine. I have a very strong stomach, but putting the rope on the hind leg of that animal was the closest I have ever come to losing my lunch over a smell.

Repairing the animals was a much more interesting and much less disgusting. A lamb came in with a broken hock, which on a lamb is much higher than the human knee which is equivalent. This made it difficult to splint, but after some Google-ing we found the best way was to bind it to the body. We change the bandage periodically, and in a few weeks he should be right. We also helped fix a few Bearings, which if you remember from last post is a prolapsed uterus. This is a pretty bloody endeavor, as you have to push the uterus in, shove in what looks like a very large IUD, and then sow it into place with thick thread. The sheep can’t pee with the bearing, so the faster you are at fixing it the sooner you can be covered in sheep urine. Lovely.

Despite some of the more unpleasant aspects, we are really enjoying our time here, even more so than last week. We have had some really nice dinners of roast chicken, stew, and casserole. We also feel much more capable, and have also been able to use some of our talents.I got to work on a broken ATV for a whole day, and Kelly is getting really good at feeding the lambs.

While the lambing is slow, the eye of the storm as I like to think of it, we have also been taking care of some of our personal goals. I am almost done the med school apps, which is good. Kelly and I are applying for jobs working at a resort in the Mountains. This would start in October. It is called The Hermitage, but it is still a big maybe. Tonight we are going to Invercargill with Ken, to watch one of the rugby world cup games and also, I hope, to get pissed up (as the Kiwis would say). Georgia vs. Scotland.

Now, the most exciting news: we bought a van. May I introduce you to Todo. Sorry this pictures are so boring, we will try to get some of her finer features. For those who want more information, she is a 1989 Toyota Townace. With only 164000 Km, this baby is good for another 100000 at least. Considering it won't drive past 80 km/hr without wild protest, it should make for lots of time on the road. We are going to put a bed in the back, and get a camping stove. Under the hood, or more correctly under the passenger seat, is a straight 4, naturally aspirated, carbureted petrol engine displacing a staggering 1.4 L. This will produce approximately one third of the power of the Pontiac Grand Prix we used to drive in Canada. Considering the van is only a third heavier, it should make for some unreal performance. Anyway, the price was right at 1500$ NZ, talked down from 1750$.. They resale for about 4000$, so we run a good chance of paying for our flights home with it. As long as we don’t hit any hills, we should be golden... What's that? There are mountains in New Zealand?  Well, I guess we will turn the AC off and hope for the best. When this vans a rocking’, don’t come a knockin’!!




  1. OMG What a beaut of a van!!! Awesome. Good on you (well maybe that is an Oz phrase, but I am sure there is a kiwi equivalent). Remember to CHECK THE BRAKES (I am just a touch paranoid but those mountains are SOMETHING ELSE to drive up and then.....DOWN!!). Love mum

  2. Argg I should have told you about tea! It confused the hell out of me when I got there. I've been to a farm during lambing before, but I had NO idea they dressed foster lambs in biological lambskin. It makes perfect sense, and should be kind of gross, but is it just me or do they look kind of adorable? Best halloween costume ever.