Thursday, April 23, 2009

Homestead Herbal Medicine Cabinet

Is Big Pharma controlling your health? Is your government regulating your access to traditional herbal medicines -- prohibiting the sale of supplements or placing undue onus of proof on their manufacture. Do you know what natural herbs can benefit your particular health challenges?

(Usual disclaimer: I'm not suggesting you stop taking your prescription medicines or stop seeing your GP or specialist. Herbs are not a substitute for prescriptions in serious health issues. However, before you grab the antibiotics or analgesics do your research.)

You can take back your control by making your own herbal medicines. First take some basic books out of your local library or get them through interlibrary loan:

Some that I use are:
"The complete illustrated Holistic Herbal" by David Hoffman

"The complete family guide to Natural Home Remedies" Edited by Karen Sullivan

"The complete Herbal Handbook for farm and Stable" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy

These books will describe the herbs, and have good colour pictures to allow you to correctly identify the herbs -- very important -- don't harvest any wild herbs without making a very definite identification. These books also give directions for time of harvest and preparation of herb for medicinal use.

Some herbal preparations are more effective than chemical medicine.

Some herbs that should be in every homesteaders herbal medicine cabinet:

Fresh garlic in clove form -- garlic reduces blood pressure, is antitumour, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial -- it should be eaten fresh for full affect. Expels worms and repels flies and mosquitos by making the host unhospitable to parasites.

If you are growing your own garlic, store it at room temperature in a garlic braid and it will last a year -- if you break it off from the braid it will last about 3 months.

St. John's Wort -- flowers are picked when just open and soaked in vodka or vinegar for 1 week. Vodka will turn deep red. To use take 1 tsp. of tincture in a 1/4 cup H2O. Used daily for mild to moderate depression, pain reliever, sleep aid. Effective for nerve pain or pain caused by bone breaks. Nervine. A massage oil can be made by soaking the flowers in olive oil, instead of vodka.

Yarrow -- dried flowers and leaves can be used as tea. Yarrow is a tonic and immune enhancer and is useful for colds or the flu. Stimulant without caffeine.

Willow bark -- can be used as a pain reliever and anti inflammatory. Make a tea from the bark. Make a basket from the striped stalks.

Balm of Gilead -- cotton wood buds steeped in olive oil. Strongly scented analgesic for muscle or arthritic pain. Healing of wounds. Works well on deep bone pain.

Oregano -- antiviral, antibacterial herb. Use generously in cooking or use oil of oregano as a supplement, to be taken at the first sign of a cold.

Lavendar -- antiviral, anti inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, make a tea from dried flower buds or use the essential oil.

Tea Tree Oil -- use the essential oil -- antiviral, anti inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial -- we used this straight on wounds to prevent infection, and on mouth absesses. Effective for mastitis when rubbed on the udder -- penetrates through the skin surface to the mammary tissue.

Peppermint -- use the dried leaves as a tea -- antispasmodic, aids digestion, antibacterial, antifungal, aids the removal of gas, stimulates without caffeine.

Activated Charcoal -- use for fast antidote to poisoning or for bloat in ruminant animals. Dose with charcoal mixed in water and force feed -- being careful not to get it in the lungs.

This list is only a few of the standard herbs that we use at Joybilee Farm -- for our animals and for ourselves.

More coming next time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Value of Wool

By wool, I am talking about the product of sheep, not the ball of synthetic chemical yarn at your local WallyM. store. Wool that is living, vibrant, resilient.

Wool has historically been so valuable that economies were based on it, trade laws were enacted to protect it and legislation was passed to enhance its market. Today wool is just as valuable. One 300 lb. bale of fine merino wool sold in 2007 for $250,000. It will be used to weave suit material.

Yet, tragically, the Canadian Wool Growers Co-operative -- the arm that markets Canadian Wool on a wholesale basis, pays so little to the wool grower that the value of the fleece doesn't cover the cost of the shearing -- $5 to $8 per animal depending on the size of the flock. Most small flock owners in B.C. burn their fleece in the fields. Most Canadian spinners have been taught by the older generation that Canadian wool is "trash" and that good wool comes from Australia and New Zealand. Not so!

Canadian wool is a superior premium wool, due to our harsh winter climate that promotes a long, lustrous, resilient fleece. Sheep that are raised on pasture in the summer, away from feed lots, have clean, sound, healthy fleeces.

Coloured wool fleeces have a depth of shade unmatched by chemical dyes -- fleeces in grey, chocolate, milk chocolate, brown and charcoal can be found, with colour variation within the fleece, to enhance the final garment or rug.

There are fleeces for every project -- strong, lustrous, long wool fleeces for carpets, blankets and coats; Medium fleece for sweaters, socks, mittens and hats; and lamb fleeces or soft merino or rambouillet fleeces for scarves and hats or baby clothes.

Premium wool sold directly to handspinners is less than $10 to $15 per lb., while generic wool yarns sell for a mere $60 per lb. at the retail wool shop--if you can find 100% wool yarn at the shop. The retailer makes the most money when wool is sold.

It costs the average grower, with substantial Summer pasture, approximately $125 per year to raise one ewe to lambing, simply for feed and minerals. Her fleece will be skirted to 5 to 7 lbs. which will sell for $5 to $7 wholesale to wool growers or perhaps 1/4 that depending on the world price for wool that week. Her lamb will sell for $100 in the Fall. If she had twin lambs she might earn enough to pay the farmer for his time and the shearer for the hair cut. If she has only a single lamb or there are losses or vet bills, the shepherd losses his livelihood. Its no wonder that many shepherds are selling out. This is the reality of shepherding in North America since the 1980s. It isn't a reflection of the current poor economy, it is a reflection of the variables of shepherding in the chemical age.

So why continue growing wool? Wool is an exquisite fiber -- unlike anything the chemical companies can produce. Molecularly, Nylon is a synthetic wool, but it doesn't keep you warm and it isn't flame resistant, and it feels awful against your skin. Wool is healthy, allowing your skin to breath, protecting your body from harsh elements and bacteria, and maintaining your body temperature -- cooling in summer and warming in winter.

Wool resists soiling, and cleans up easily with plain soap and water. It stands the test of time -- looking new even after 20 years of daily use. I have wool blankets that are over 30 years old and still look like new. Wool textiles are good investments that can be expected to last many decades of daily use.

Wool is antibacterial, flame resistant, insulating and cooling. It maintains its insulating properties even when wet. It takes dyes well and is elastic, with wonderful drape.

But isn't wool itchy and uncomfortable? Doesn't it attract moths? It can't be washed, can it?

All false assumptions. Some long lustre wools -- extremely beautiful wools with hard wearing benefits -- are best for outer wear but can be spun softly to be worn in close skin contact. Synthetic fibers can also be itchy. For next to the skin wear, choose fine wools like merino, rambouillet or their crosses.

Clean wool is unattractive to moths, and lavender or wormwood sachets can deter moths when wool is in storage.

All wool can be handwashed or washed in warm water on delicate in your washing machine. Wool garments require washing less frequently than synthetics. My wool blankets are washed only twice a year and maintain their good looks and freshness through their daily use.

And when its life span is over, wool can be recycled into rugs, or tapestries and then finally it will decompose, adding a nitrogen rich fertilizer for garden use -- to make more grass -- to feed more sheep -- to grow more wool. Wool is a sustainable fiber that's good for the environment and good for people.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Llama Shearing

Dave and Connie Carlson came for a visit on Saturday and sheared the llamas for us. Connie blew the llamas with a warm blower and got the dust and hay bits out of the fleece. Then Dave sheared them standing up and trimmed their feet.

The llamas liked their pedicure and hair cut so much they blew Connie llama kisses when it was over.

Mocha had her first halter training session on Friday and walked with her halter over the creek and back to the corral. On her second session on Saturday morning she had it all figured out and didn't pull away at all. Llamas are so smart!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Kiwi the lamb

Kiwi just had a bottle of goat's milk, really he did. And Donder, the Great Pyrenees mother of our puppies, was walking by. So Kiwi stopped to have a drink....And Donder?

This isn't a normal job for a livestock guardian dog, but Donder doesn't seem to mind.

SLS and SLES: Are they lurking in your hand soap and shampoo?

SLS -- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and SLES - Sodium Laureth Sulphate are common ingredients found in shampoos, toothpaste, hand soaps, cleansers, dish soaps, laundry detergents and degreasers.

They are cheap surfacants and foaming agents that are added to products that we expect to foam, such as hand soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and dish detergents. They break down grease and oils while they denature protein. In concentrations as low as .5% about 1/60th of the concentration of most shampoos and hand soaps, irritation and denaturing of protein can occur.

Possible detrimental health effects include:
  1. Skin and Eye irritant
  2. Hormone Imbalance due to synthetic estrogens that form from use of SLS and SLES.
  3. Eye irritations and eye deformities in Children from skin contact with SLS and SLES
  4. Protein denaturing -- we use it in DNA extractions in the lab because it breaks the cell structure of proteins.
  5. Potential to cause cancer due to dioxin formation and its ability to break down proteins.

Avoiding SLS containing products can help promote better health for you and your family. But its in everything including toothpaste, shampoo, handsoap, dish washing detergent, laundry detergent, car wash soap. What can I use instead?

Joybilee Farm goat's milk soaps and natural shampoo bars are free of SLS and SLES. I offered a recipe for toothpaste that avoided SLS and SLES on this blog.

Today I'll tell you how to make your own

SLS free and SLES free laundry soap.

Using the ends of natural soap bars or full bars of natural soap (not detergent bars) Place 4 to 6 cup of grated soap into a sauce pan. Add twice the water quantity to the quantity of soap. (ie. for 4 cups of soap add 8 cups of water) Cook over medium heat stirring until soap is dissolved.

Allow to cool. Soap will be of gel consistency. If it dries out add more water and allow to sit overnight.

This is a concentrated cleaner. To use add 1/4 cup to hot water in your washing machine.

Add 1/4 cup washing soda or 1/4 cup borax. Dissolve washing soda and borax completely before adding your clothes.

Wash clothes in warm or hot water and rinse in cold water for effective cleaning power. If you have very hard water add both borax and washing soda to each load.

I've used this formula for 27 years to wash my clothes and have never had problems with soap scum even in hard water.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Riverbend B & B in Grand Forks

Susan and Les Molnar of Riverbend B & B are offering a special deal this summer in celebration of the IYNF2009, for accommodation at their lovely, relaxing Bed and Breakfast right on the Kettle River in Grand Forks.
Riverbend B & B offers the luxury of handmade Joybilee Farm goat's milk soaps to their guests. Plus accommodation right beside the river. What a pampered way to end a day visiting Joybilee Farm. Bird watching, wild life viewing, a kitchen for guest use are just a few of the amenities for you to enjoy on your visit to the Boundary.

Susan and Les are offering special rates for visitors to Joybilee Farm or participants in any of our International Year of Natural Fiber Events. Just mention Joybilee Farm or the IYNF 2009 when you book your reservations, to receive these great rates at the Riverbend B & B.
The Riverbend B & B is just 20 minutes East of Joybilee Farm, in Grand Forks.

Kiwi joins the flock

Kiwi went out to the barn with the other lambs yesterday. He still gets his bottle of raw goat's milk 5 times a day. His mom calls him and he's getting to know his twin brother, Auzzie. But he is a bottle baby through and through. He knows his name and comes running when he sees us.

Yesterday, our neighbor's toddler granddaughter visited Joybilee Farm. She fed the bottle lambs and then came into the rabbit barn to help me feed Finna's triplet boys. Now that's a handfull, those boys.

Finna is a pure bred, registered Saanan with copious amounts of milk. This is her first kids in 3 years, since she's been milking through the winters. Her teats are handfuls and she fills the bucket with a gallon of milk at each milking. But her teats are too big for her little guys to feed on, so we have to milk her into a baby bottle and feed each of the triplets with a bottle. To feed directly from Mom these babies will have to open their mouths very wide which they don't seem to want to do.

We have two coloured angora doelings that are on the bottle, too. One was abandoned by her mom -- a black doeling -- Christian Noire-- and the other one isn't getting enough milk from her mom -- Cocoa Channel is the chocolate doe.

You might think its a lot of work to bottle feed so many babies. Well it is, but there are rewards, too. These bottle babies come running when you call. They respond with lots of love and can't wait for you to come to the pasture.

When visitors come, these babies will be the first at the fence to greet them.

Spring is finally close. The first crocuses appeared yesterday -- two little orange ones and I can finally see a bit of bare ground in the pasture.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Triple Triplets

Joybilee Farm had 3 sets of triplets born yesterday -- Finna, a pure bred Saanan milk goat had triplet bucklings, And two of our ewes had triplet sets of girls. It was an amazing day. Triplets are not uncommon in flocks of sheep or goats but to have 3 sets born in one day is amazing. It was a full moon.

We are too busy with babies to take pictures.

Kiwi spent some time with the flock yesterday for the first time since the day after his birth. His mother came right to him and Baa'd for him to follow her. I was amazed that she still wanted him. But she doens't have enough milk to be his sole source of nutrition, so he will remain a bottle baby, but no longer an orphan.

Auzzie, Kiwi's twin brother is also being supplemented with goat's milk, since Mom is short of milk for her two boys.

One of our doelings is also supplementing herself. She's been sneaking under ewes to steal sheep milk!

This is an interesting life at Joybilee Farm.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Kiwi goes to the science fair

Saturday was the Regional Science Fair in Castlegar, B.C. Sarah took her project, "The Woad to a Sustainable Blue, Phase 3" to the Regional Fair and won first place -- a gold medal, and a place on Team B.C. representing the West Kootenay Boundary Region at the Canada Wide Science Fair in Winnipeg in May. (Way to go, Sarah!)

Kiwi, being a bottle lamb, attended the Science Fair, too, but as an observer. How special he was? An absolutely perfect baby. Robin carried him in his arms most of the time. He couldn't take two steps without 6 to 8 people saying, "Oh, is he real. He's so soft. May I pet him". Several people promised to visit the farm. One family even offered to clean out our barns if we would allow them to visit. (Reminds me of Tom Sawyer!)

No worries, we won't make you clean out the barn if you visit. But volunteer help is always appreciated. There's lots of other tasks necessary to the smooth workings of the farm, including picking up sticks, feeding the animals, brushing angora rabbits, refilling water pails, and weeding the garden (if the snow ever melts there may be weeds). Even picking up stray binder twine would help a lot.

Today Kiwi went to church and visited my Sunday School class to help tell the story of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is really enjoying being with kids.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Doukhobor Textiles in BC

Our own ancestors came from Scotland to Winnipeg and then within a year came out west on the train in the late 1800s to be one of the first pioneer families to settle in Castlegar-Robson area. So by the time they arrived the trains were running and the Eaton’s catalogue was a reality of life. Yarn could be bought in the store – Robin’s grandfather, Gordon Brown, was the knitter in the family and his wife (Elizabeth Davidson Brown) never learned to knit until after he passed away.

The Doukhobors arrived shortly after Grandpa Brown's family in the early 1900s. They were a Russian immigrant group that came to Canada to flee religious persecution in Russia. They lived communally, spoke Russian, were vegetarian and pacifists, and didn't mingle with their neighbors. They settled first in Saskatchewan and then one group bought land in B.C. and moved here, led by John Verigan, the Lordly. They continued to travel and trade with the community in Saskatchewan.

The Doukhobors had a spinning and fiber arts tradition, but they didn’t keep sheep in B.C. They instead traveled East by train, to the Doukhobor settlements in Saskatchewan and helped them shear their sheep and then brought home part of the clip to be processed at the settlements here. The Doukhobors were vegetarian and although they kept milk cows, they never kept sheep – possibly because of the large predators here – bear, wolf, lynx, cougar and coyote.

The Courthouse museum in Grand Forks has a wonderful display of quality Doukhobor textiles and tools on display right now – organized with the help of the Boundary Spinner and Weaver Guild and Joybilee Farm. “The Thread of our Heritage” show has been extended and will now be on display throughout the summer. So if you are interested in the history of fiber arts in Western Canada be sure and take in the show. Admission is by donation.

Yesterday we had 4 groups of elementary school children through the show. We made felted bracelets with them. They each wove a strip of fabric with a peace wish into our peace banner. They visited with “Kiwi” our new born lamb – the 2009 Joybilee Farm ambassador. They viewed the Doukhobor exhibit, too, and learned some of the history of the area.

An interesting book about Doukhobor traditions in Canada is “Unlike the Lilies” by Dorothy Burnham. It is the story of Doukhobor spinning and weaving and is excellent. The author interviewed Doukhobors that grew up watching their mothers and grand mothers spin and weave. The interviews took place in the late 1960s and early 70s. By then the communal lifestyle had been disrupted by internal factions within the communities and government hostility. By the 1950s the communes were breaking up. And the prosperity among individual families made the need for handspun fabric obsolete.

The textiles on display in Grand Forks are on loan from the grand children and great grand children of the women who spun and created them. The grand children are in their ‘80s now and have only vague memories of seeing their grandmothers spinning. Some of them took up weaving as a hobby; very few of them still spin.

Something interesting about the textiles – the thread was spun worsted and very tightly and finely. The Doukhobor spinning wheel orifice is small making a fine yarn the only option. The wool garments are like armor and the wool is scratchy. The fabric was woven with wool warp and weft or flax warp and weft or hemp warp and weft. No Linsey-Woolsey like in Eastern Canada due to a lack of available wool. The Doukhobors also brought garments from Russia with them when they immigrated and many of these garments were repaired and worn for generations. Some of the Russian garments are made from commercial fabrics.

The garments were sewn with a treadle sewing machine – not by hand. And the handspun, handwoven fabric wore extremely well, so it was unnecessary to remake many garments each year for each person.

Also there is a misconception that the Doukhobors used natural dyes. By the time they immigrated to Canada chemical dyes were on the market and found to be cheaper and easier to use. Some indigo was used but it is unknown if this was synthetic or natural indigo. “Diamond” was the brand of dyes most commonly used. Because of this the colours of the Doukhobor textiles are bold and modern looking. There is noticeable fading where a textile was exposed to sunlight such as on a carpet by a window.

Children in the community wore linen tunics until they were 12 years old, in the summer months. There are pictures of children in their linen tunics standing in the flax field with the bundles of flax drying. This picture was taken in Grand Forks in the 1940s. In winter the children wore wool and dressed like miniatures of their parents. The clothing style has a Russian flavor – especially the men’s linen or hemp shirts.

International Year of Natural Fibers - micographs of natural fibers

If you are science minded and love natural fibers the IYNF2009 just released a series of photomicrographs of 18 natural fibers. Facinating to see the scales on wool and the lack of scales on angora or flax.

Did you know that angora fiber from the angora rabbit is 11 to 13 microns in diameter, alpaca is 20 to 70 microns, cashmere is 14 to 19 microns, linen is 12 to 16 microns, kid mohair is 23 microns, adult mohair up to 38 microns, silk is 10 to 13 microns -- on a par with angora, while wool is 16 to 40 microns -- 16 being the finest merino from specially fed and housed sheep. Average merino fiber diameter is 22 to 24 microns.

Why does it matter? Fiber diameter is directly related to softness and comfort next to the skin. The finer diameter the fiber the softer it is. Angora rabbit is the finest diameter fiber, with the exception of quiviut which weighs in at 10 microns and is plucked from the musk ox in the north.

But angora rabbits can be kept as pets and so their fiber is accessible to every fiberista, while the musk ox is exclusive to Alaska and the North of Canada.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Artfire Store

We just joined up to Art Fire. It looks like a tremendous site for selling artisan work and artisan supplies. Ebay seems like a big flea market to me. Etsy is filled with low priced, glue gun craft work with a few gems sprinkled in to keep you looking. Art Fire is for artisans with quality workmanship and quality materials.

Its a new venue that I'm excited about. Joybilee Farm is a charter artisan member. There's over 5,000 members now and the site just started out in November 2008.

I listed our naturally dyed wool roving in the store today. I haven't listed these naturally dyed rovings on the Joybilee Farm website as they tend to sell out as soon as I pull them out of the dye vat in the summer.

I also listed one of Sarah's woad dyed, cut devore satin shawls -- in a bamboo pattern. Shawl is 22" x 72", including rayon fringe. And is dyed with Sarah's sustainably grown woad indigo. Proceeds from the sale of these shawls helps Sarah to take her project to the National Science Fair each year, as well as allowing her to buy equipment for the processing and testing of the purity of her dried woad indigo.

Update: Kiwi on the road to health and vigour

Kiwi, the lamb with the tramatic birth is doing well. He is now acting like a 2 day old lamb, full of strength and vigour. He hardly baas at all but he is bopping for the bottle, sucking vigorously on the nipple and coming toward us when we call him. Much like a 2 day old lamb in his responses.
He loves to be cuddled and stroked. Here he is curled up beside Pavorati, our guard dog in training. We thought Kiwi might be lonely so brought Pavorati in the house to keep him company.
Pavorati sings when Sarah practices her piano pieces -- a growly, whiny, howly song.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A difficult birth -- A Lamb

Lamby doesn't have a real name yet. His was a difficult birth. His head was floppy and turned back in the womb while only one front leg appeared in the birth canal. His brother was born first and dried and suckled hours before Lamby was discovered--stuck. That was on Saturday afternooon.

We did our usual once around the barn and pasture looking for impending births. This happens once an hour during the day in lambing season, plus a couple times each night. Lamby's mom had been checked and was found to have passed her placenta so all was well -- or we thought, until Sarah saw the one dried foot sticking out in the place where it should have been clean.

The Shepherd's wife was called on to perform emergency groping. Was the lamb dead? The single foot didn't respond when being squeezed. Reach in a hand to find the second foot and bring it forward. Pull the two feet gently. No head follows them. The head is turned back in the womb. Can't find the head.

Push the feet back in. Pull only one out to locate the shoulder. Feel up the leg as far as I can. No head. Yes, its a front leg. Push it back in. Pull out the other leg. Feel up that leg as far as possible. Still no head. Lamb must be dead.

Push everything back in. Make the ewe stand. Reach in as far as possible. No hurry if the lamb is dead. Have to get the lamb out to save the ewe's life. Be gentle. Don't want to injure the ewe or perforate the uterus. Reach in again. Pray for help to the Good Shepherd.

Reach in and repeat the above at least 3 more times, while squatting on the barn floor trying to keep my balance. The barn smells are strong. The air is damp. My body shakes from the effort and I have to stand up to stop the shaking, before squatting again to begin the groping once more.

Robin holds the ewe still, with his arms around her neck. She's over 200 lbs. All low to the ground. Sarah leans into the ewes side to keep her in position. We need her to keep standing. If she lies down, with my arm in her pelvis, it will break my arm. I talk to the ewe using gentle, soothing words and explain that I'm trying to help her get the lamb out. She calms down and relaxes her pushing, so that I can push the lamb back in. And begin the groping once again.

My arm is in up to the elbow and my fingers are feeling along the lamb's body while I talk out loud. Talking out loud helps me "see" inside the darkness of the womb. There's the leg. This is the top of the lamb. Oh, I feel an ear. Ear's too slippery to pull, to turn the head forward. Follow along the ear. There's an eye, the nose, the teeth. Ok, I've got the mouth. My thumb's in the mouth. Pull forward. Done. The head's where we want it. Did the lamb's mouth respond? Is it alive after all this time?

Now, pull the two feet out again. Is the head still there? Sarah, grab these two feet -- my hand is too slippery to grab. I'm shaking now, from squatting for over 45 minutes. I didn't notice before but now that we're close to being done I can barely stand. Pull down, Sarah, toward the ewe's feet -- not too quickly. Now stop, yes, the heads into position. Ok, pull it out. All the way.

Hold it upside down. Is it dead? Liquid pours out of its nose and mouth. Its limp and lifeless. No wiggle like a live lamb would do. Rub it vigorously.

It opened its mouth. Its alive.

Shift into emergency mode. Can it breath? Sarah is rubbing the lamb vigorously with a towel. Its not breathing but its heart is beating. Robin runs into the house to get e-sel for the lamb and penicillin for the ewe to prevent infection. E-sel is selenium and vitimin E -- we find that deficiencies in these cause muscle weakness which sometimes cause these types of births.

The ewe begins to help lick off the lamb. Sarah rubs vigorously. I cover the lamb's wet nose and mouth with my mouth and puff air, gently, into it lungs, squeezing the lungs gently to exhale, and puff in again. After three gentle puffs the lamb begins to breath. It is floppy. Can't lift its head. But its breathing.

Esel gives it an instant jolt of strength and it lifts its head. Sarah continues to rub it vigorously. Ian and Miranda drive up the driveway. A surprise visit from the coast. "We were shearing in Rock Creek today and wanted to surprise you. We have to leave at 6:30 (2 hours from now). We brought ice cream", Ian smiles. Miranda comes into the stall with the ewe to help. She and Sarah take over rubbing the lamb and milking some colostrum from a goat that just gave birth (easier than convincing the ewe to give us some of her milk) and they dribble the life saving colostrum into the lambs mouth.

I go into the house and add a few lamb chops to the evening's dinner preparations. Dinner is ready in half an hour.

The lamb has eaten and is under a heat lamp, with his brother. Both lambs are weaker than normal so lamb number 1 gets his esel shot too. The second lamb hasn't stood yet. Will it live?

We visit with our son, Ian and his lovely fiancee, Miranda, and send them on their way home to the coast, with provisions for the week -- fresh eggs, and meat. Its snowing. We try not to worry. Ian is used to driving in the snow. He gets home after midnight and emails that they are safe.

In the morning the lamb is weaker. His tongue is cold and he is hypothermic. He is placed in the kitchen in a box and warmed with a blow dryer. More colostrum is dribbled into his mouth. The thread holding him to life is fragile. He isn't standing and can barely hold up his head. He gets a second dose of e-sel. An emergency measure. We leave him on a heated flax bag, in a box and head out to church, expecting to find a dead lamb when we return.

The lamb receives colostrum dribbled into his mouth every 4 hours on Sunday. Monday morning the lamb can lift his head up. And stand for a few seconds if someone puts him on his feet. By Monday night the lamb can walk around the kitchen but still can't stand up by himself. He isn't sucking but lets the milk dribble down his throat.

He doesn't baa. He spends his time standing in the corner, always looking for dark corners to lean into. He responds to loud noises. He doesn't respond to visual clues and we aren't sure if he can see.

Tuesday -- today, I wake up and he hears me and stands up in his box in the kitchen. The first time he has stood up on his own. He responds to sounds and sees me and walks towards me. A tiny baa comes from his as I pick him up. He still isn't sucking but every day is progress.

Sarah loves to have a bottle lamb. And today Lamby gets his own name -- "Kiwi". He picked it himself.

Joybilee Farm