It seems like health concerns have dominated the last several months-mostly those of my step-mom but my Dad and John’s Dad are getting into the groove too. My stepmom continues to valiantly fight her cancer and the side effects of all the chemo treatments. We thought we were going to lose her early last week but she has significantly rallied and it looks like we will enjoy her presence in our lives for, hopefully, quite a bit longer.
In addition to supporting our parents when they need our help, we’ve been staying busy keeping all the stock fed and cared for, taking the kids to their various events, and lots of other projects. John is in the midst of a major farm shop reorganization and thinning. I’ve been trying to do more to advertize our yarns and wool on the web as well as dealing with yearend accounting and tax prep. It is also time to start to return some attention to my job as county Farm Bureau president. I’ve lost a few productive days recently to a horrible head cold and now it seems to have become a sinus infection. Hopefully the antibiotics I’m on for 2 weeks will help get things back under control.
I was thankfully feeling well enough to go to Boise early this week to get more details about the Washington, DC trip John and I won. We will be going to Washington DC in early March as Idaho Farm Bureau Ag Ambassadors. I am really looking forward to getting to meet with American Farm Bureau, USDA, and our congressional delegation. John has never been to DC, and I haven’t been since I was 15-16 years old, so it will be great to tour all the various monuments and sights. Farm Bureau is trying to arrange tours of the capital and the White House, as well. We have arranged for friends to care for our livestock while we are gone and other friends will take the kids. Hopefully, the older generation’s health issues will not become crises while we are out of town. My sister-in-law and I are trying to get John’s Dad to have the surgery he needs very soon, or after we get back so that we will be able to provide the support he needs. He is so sure he won’t need help after his 4 day stay that he will likely schedule the surgery whenever he darn well pleases.
I serve on the Idaho Farm Bureau sheep and goat committee and during our meeting I got an update on newly implemented regulations dealing with restrictions on how we can use antibiotics and other medicines to treat our sick or injured animals. We use very little of these medicines ourselves, but I was really surprised by the level of record keeping, and conferring with our vet, we will have to keep/do to comply. We will no longer be able to assess our animals health and treat the animal without confirming our assessment with our vet. I wonder how happy he will be when I call him at 3 am during lambing when I believe that I have a sick animal that needs treatment now…not after he gets to work. Certain illnesses are very fast moving and must be treated as soon as identified. There is a certain amount of stockmanship/animal husbandry that a person develops over multiple years of being around their animals and now we can no longer just act on our knowledge/experience. We have long called to confer with our vet when we were unsure what treatment would work best, but now we will have to have that conversation most every time. I guess the USDA doesn’t think we can be trusted to treat our animals intelligently anymore.
Apparently, one of the rams we got this summer took advantage of getting lose in August as we had a set of lambs born in January. The ewe was unable to save both lambs, it was around 10 degrees that night and we were not expecting anything to happen, but the little survivor is doing pretty well. We brought the rest of the flock in to try to assess if other ewes were developing udders (sign of upcoming delivery) but thankfully there were only one or two other ewes who might be getting close to lambing. The rest should lamb in late April..when the weather should be much more cooperative. We’ll keep a closer eye on the handful of potential early lambers and hopefully we’ll be able to save all the lambs that the naughty fellow sired.
I’m trying to not fret too much about the lack of snow this winter but it is very worrisome. We got some rain a while back and that is actually not at all helpful. When it rains on frozen ground a lot of that moisture makes its way into the waterways and heads downstream. That moisture in the creek will do us very little good this coming spring and summer. John’s Dad says that 1960 was a winter like this, and that there were heavy rains in the spring that kept him from planting his crop until mid-June. Hopefully we will get adequate moisture in the form of snow, or as rain after the ground has defrosted and can absorb the moisture. We decided to not sell anymore hay, just in case we are unable to produce much of a crop next year. It is sure hard to profitably produce grass-fed beef and lamb when mother nature doesn’t send us the moisture we need to grow our summer grass, and hay for the winter.