Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
November 2011

What a busy 24 hours!

We’ve been busy at Orchard House for the past 24 hours! A ram was castrated, the pig’s hooves were trimmed and his tusks sawed, we had (and continue to have) a full house of guests, and, a few hours ago, a llama was on the ground, unable to get up, her feet running in the air like a dog might do while dreaming. I need a gin and tonic!

Never fear, the ram is okay. He is a bit of a loaner these past 24 hours, but it may just be the pain. When you approach him he licks you like a goat in heat. A strange new behavior, but his hormones are a wreck right now. And I’ll take licking over ramming any day of the week!

Bacon slept a lot today. But he did have his teeth sawed off. Even in these desperate times, however, he still eats. And drinks. And squeals. And oinks.

The llama was a sight to be seen – and not wholly in a good way. It’s disconcerting to see an animal the size of a horse unable to stand. Her stomach was the size, and consistency, of a yoga ball. And surprise, another frantic call was made to the vet.

After some simple instruction we hoisted her onto her side. She started burping like crazy. Then, suddenly, she stood up. Wobbly, and still burping, her baby began to suckle. A few minutes later, all were eating hay. Crisis averted. Luckily, the vet called back, and didn’t make the trip out for this one.

We believe she laid down for a good sunning, and on an incline, was unable to get up. A downed llama with no Life Alert! Do I need to buy these for them too know? Did I mention this is the llama with the crooked neck? Unable to get the momentum to stand, she rolled over, and once over, the bloat set in. And her stomach became a yoga ball.

Another 24 hours of this and I’ll apply for my Farm Bureau gold card. In the meantime, I’ll drink a gin and tonic, and reminisce about the days when all I worried about was where my next cashmere scarf was coming from.



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What someone should have told me!

Today, I start a new topic on the blog. “What someone should have told me!” We’ve been on the farm for over a year now, and are still learning new processes, tools, and information that continues to make our lives easier. So easy, in fact, that someone should have just told me about it in the first place! Oh, I read books. And I google. But I wish someone would have told me the easiest, most cost-effective way to handle any number of situations. So that is what I will do for you.

If you’re planning on moving to the country, or are already installed and have some questions, I hope you’ll ask. This is meant to be a dialogue. I’m not afraid to ask the “experts” even the stupidest questions. I know, almost for a fact, that when I call my vet, he’s rolling his eyes as I speak. But that’s ok. As long as he doesn’t hang-up. Or call me an idiot (in person).

Today, I’ll offer 2 lessons.

1) Pigs dig holes. They digs lots of holes. And can destroy a pasture in matter of days. Our pig, Bacon, roams around rooting up grasses and bugs, followed by a gang of ducks. The solution? A ring through his nose. This is considered cruel – and there are no puppy coats in my closet!

Lesson: If you’re going to get a pig, be prepared for a mess. I guess the word “pig” has its meaning because they’re messy beasts. But not only messy, also destructive. Perhaps a girlfriend would occupy his time. There’s differing views on this however, and my vet is coming tomorrow. I’ll ask him. In person, I really don’t think he can roll his eyes when I ask him what to do. That’s what his car ride home is for.

2) Farm fences are the simplest way to save time, energy, and contain an ornery beast. And they’re easy to install. For about $100 you can get the fence (10 ft.) and some decent hinge-type things. One hour later, and badda-bing! It’s done. If I can do it, anyone can do it! I have trouble putting IKEA furniture together. But this, I can handle. Perhaps it’s innate Americana or something.

Lesson: I’ve had a lot of farm fencing installed by professionals. Never did they mention a farm gate. Chain-link they say, chain-link. P.S. a ram can easily butt his way through a chain-link gate. Not a farm gate! Mwahahahaha! I have won the day, but no thanks to the professionals. I had to discover this by myself. And now you know.

If you’re interested in something, please ask. And I’ll be sure to share whatever information I learn, and what I have learned, so that you don’t have to spend the money, time, and energy that I did in order to get it right…the third time.

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