Mama is still resting comfortably, not moving much. Twitching flies off her ears, and changing position every now and then. She is still very alert, bashes the others out of the way to get to her food and even rises up onto her knees to eat. But her back legs still refuse orders. She is in no pain, I know how Mama reacts when she feels pain and there is no sign of discomfort. She is just taking her time. Like an old great – grandmother putting on her favourite shawl and lying in her bed, waiting.
I know many people would say I should put her down, but on a farm none of the euthanising options are peaceful. I really cannot bear to shoot her or cut her throat like many sheep farmers would. This is Mama. I have some pain relief for her, so when the time comes I will make sure she is not in pain and let her go peacefully.
Every animal and person has their time. Some lives on a farm are very short and some long. Short stays should be happy stays but the long stays are always fraught with danger and the endings are not so clean cut. Some animals move through your life leaving behind deep connections to something intangible but quite real. A cool well only they hold the bucket for. They give us a thread of soul as whispery as breath yet as strong as hemp, to let down into that well. It is a peaceful place where they live. Mama the old ewe and her reluctant love is one of those animals. Sheila my big fat pig is another.
Sorry for no photos again. Yesterday was one of those days and I really did not have time to get to a town to buy a new card for my camera so please, please forgive this terrible rendering of the Christmas owl and Cupboard Owl minding the porch. But we needed something. There is a car going to Pontiac tomorrow so I am going to put in an order!
I was mowing the lawn yesterday afternoon and glanced into the wood shed, as you do and Poppy and Boo looked back out at me over the top of a pile of firewood. In the woodshed. Boo was with Poppy because Ton is still minding Mama. And Boo is not really the best influence for a run-away pig. TonTon would not have been pleased. Do you think Poppy has learnt how to open that gate or am I getting really lax at shutting it securely.
We are picking beetroot, courgette (you all know what that is now), kale, onions, cabbages, broccoli kohl rabi (John made a kohl rabi mash with dinner last night, it was such a delicate taste), cucumbers and soon another round of tomatoes will be ripening. The weather is still delightfully cool. But I need to get weeding, the weeds are getting the better of me.
I hope you all have a lovely day.
Your friend on the farmy.
With such thoughts it reminds me that each moment should be cherished and Life is a gift that is not to be wasted.
Good night Celi
Thank you for this.
Kohl rabi is a mystery to me – I don’t believe I have ever tasted or even seen one, apart from USA blogs! We are freezing here -1C, and when you have finished rolling around on floor laughing – please give Mama a gentle pat and /or ear scratch from me 🙂 Laura
In Germany Kohlrabi is a common vegetable . It is a crunchy bulb that comes in white and purple and can be eaten raw or cooked. It is great with dips. It has a juicy, crunchy flavor and tastes like cabbage and radishes combined. It looses it sharp bite once you cook it. Kohlrabi is also used in Indian cuisine. Kohlrabi with meatballs is German comfort food , I have the recipe on my blog.
Ton is minding Mama for all of us . . . may gentle winds blow over her . . .
Life isn’t always easy – I commend you for the decisions you have to make C.
Have a beautiful weekend and happy weeding.
🙂 Mandy xo
I imagine that Poppy sees herself as being clever when she open the gate and escapes. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran up to you to tell you.
Kohl rabi is good raw in salads – I’d describe the texture as being like apples, without the apple taste. I haven’t had it mashed, but it’s good cut and cooked in cubes 😉
It is so versatile, we use it as a cracker too, with home made herb and pepper labneh.. we just slice it thin and set it in a bowl of iced water to keep moist and chilled.. and slather on the cheese just before eating.. I love it. sometiimes I grate it with grated white beetroot and a little lemon.. mm ..morning mad! c
Wow – that is versatile!
When I was a youmg girl my family would go to visit my Grandmother (and Grandfather)… she would add kohl rabi to boiling potatoes to make them stretch. It gave the potatoes a wonderful taste and I love it raw with a little salt! Yum!
Mama tugs at my heart. This past year we had to put down our mare Sassy. We had the vet come., didn’t like the other options either. She was 35 years old. I was there when she foaled. Our daughter rode her on many a trail ride. Our grandkids got to ride her. She was so much a part of our family. What you said about the deep connections and to something intangible is so true. We have so many memories. I imagine I hear her knicker at sunrise., is it time to eat?
We are starting to eat from our garden. Made your pancakes. So good. Heard on the news you might be getting a cold spell. Wish you could send us some rain. Have a good day.
You are as one of God,s angels carefully tending his flock. He will be well pleased with the work you have done caring for your animals. May His light shine upon you always. Love P
Lots of gentle hugs to you and Mama.
Our garden is doing real well this year, even better than last year and that was a good year. Excellent weather and a good amount of rain. We can only dream of tomatoes, but they are in bloom and some little green ones are on the vines. Eating lots of greens though and radishes. Have you had boiled radishes? hmmmmmm!
NO I have not boiled radishes, what a great idea! c
Mama has been on my mind and I know that she will find peace in her last days with you. You are such a gentle and loving presence in the lives of all of your animals and they are so blessed to be there with you. We had a spit of rain last night as my deck is wet and the grass is glistening this morning. I did not hear it but it means I don’t have to water the pot plants this morning. Have a lovely day, Celi!
To be asked to hold space for someone as they ready to make the journey out of our world is such an honor. Mama is in good hands, she made a wise choice and you have been blessed. Sending blessings to both of you.
It may well be that Mama is not suffering, you are the best judge of that. Old age is hard for livestock, I have seen many old cows and horses lose their teeth and starve to death in a paddock because they could no longer get enough to eat and because no one cared. For me his is harder to watch than to see it end it quickly with skill, compassion and a bullet. Darling Mama, I love your expression about her love being reluctant, but perhaps it is just quiet and sure?
I know, it is toughie, but at this point she is still eating and drinking with vigor, just not moving much.. c
As long as she’s watching others, not in pain (you know ) and eating, drinking, and moving stuff through, she’ s allowed to drift at her own pace. She’s in your worthy hands. And it is what it is.
(Please do not use a bullet unless you know how clear and clean – you couldn’t bare a mess. Someone else, Ci, someone with skill. Someone else. Be kind to both of you)
Your words paint evocative pictures Celi. When your apology for no pics came up in your post today I actually had to do a double take in my head to realize the pictures I WAS SEEING were placed there by your beautiful writing. Hugs to you and Mama today.
Exactly! Celi has such a gift for painting a picture!
Keep doing what you do and the world will be a better place.
Gentle summer afternoons are wonderful.
Oh the weeds. They are working far faster than I can keep up this year. We do have great herbs and Miss A’s tomatoes are doing fabulous. She’s been eating them as soon as they are ripe. I don’t know if any of the rest of us will be lucky enough to get some. I hope you have a great weekend C!
That girl! She is a natural.. c
I’m so pleased to hear that you won’t euthanize Mama and that she’ll be able to go peacefully and pain free. I’m sure her time with you has been as much of a blessing to her as it has been for you. Thinking of you! ~ April
It is so hard when our dear friends get old. Sam is still in the hospital under going tests – doesn’t look promising though. They said his blood sugar was at 21 this morning (he hadn’t eaten as he was supposed to have a general today in prep for an MRI), but it should be between 80 and 120! Neurologist says it could be a tumor on his pancreas and is doing ultra sound this morning and chest x-rays as this can cause the seizures he’s been having too. Learned about another thing with Border Collies – they can also be prone to ‘Border Collie Collapse or BCC. You might want to google it Celi, although it doesn’t appear they really know what causes this!
Oh no, poor old Sam, he really has been up and down for such a while now, i know that Border Collies are allergic to many worm treatments but had not heard of BCC.. Does this affect older dogs? I will look it up.. i am so sorry Lynda, you love that dog.. by the way Ton is 46 pounds, I meant to tell you the other day, I hope he is not too thin!!.. c
No Sam is just an exceptional big collie. He stands taller than a German Shephard! And he is pure blood too, no mixes. Shelly is a BC/Sheltie mix and is only 35 pounds.
No large tumors found in the ultra sound, but they can be many and microscopic so waiting on blood work now. He is possibly suffering from Insulinomas which means possible surgery, plus 3 to 5 meals a day, medication, NO EXERCISE (!!) and a whole different life style.
Thanks for your kind thoughts my friend!
that will be awfully hard on a border collie.. no exercise! however it is looking a litttle more positive.. that is good..c
Wonderful imagery . . . “an old great – grandmother putting on her favourite shawl and lying in her bed, waiting.” I was also moved by the paragraph beginning, “Every animal and person has their time.” Thanks for this. Sending wishes for a peaceful transition to Mama. God Bless.
Hugs to you as you sit with Mama in her last days. My vet always has a saying about animals an euthanasia—“Do it before sentiment turns to neglect.” It is crystal clear that Mama is not being neglected. She is pain free and oh so cared for. If she were in pain and not eating, that would be another matter entirely. You know your animals so well!
Heart-Breaking, Cecilia. Not only your comments but also those of the Fellowship. So much sorrow and suffering. I hope dear Mama has the gentlest of rests.
I hope TonTon’s eye is healing well.
It is always hard to let an animal friend go. They are all such a big part of our lives. My retired sheep are old and creaky and we lost 3 this last winter. Ten years is old for a sheep. I cannot imagine cutting the throat of an animal, either. We had a beautiful whether that went down one year and could not get back up. Turns out he had slipped and fallen in such a way that he broke his back. He did not appear to be in pain, and ate and drank like normal. Animals are very stoic and don’t show pain like we do. Mama is so fortunate to have you and your caring heart to see to her in her last days. I know how you feel.
We don’t need photos, you paint such vivid pictures with your words. How beautiful you make Mama’s situation sound – like a wonderful woman at the end of a long an beautiful life just waiting to whisper her last sweet breath. It’s not a bad way to go when the time comes.
exquisitely rendered descriptions – honors the animals so – they are so special
I can’t read your posts in the library anymore. I won’t. I have a certain reputation, you now? You break my effing heart, celi.
heh heh. make that, you know?
Good morning, naughty.. c
I didn’t have time to type fabulous.
that is what I thought! of course!! ..c
A friend of mine has a blind chicken, every morning her hubby sits Lu on top of the food bin so she can find the grain easily and eat. It’s so heartwarming to see, this gentle care of an old retired chicken ….here’s a link to her blog, and if you scroll down you can see her little grandson helping Lucy eat ………. http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/gathered-for-family-lunch.html
thank you Nanette.. c
Thankfully your weather is cooler. It should help with Momma. Blistering heat is miserable. Of course, cooler weather is a delight for weeds…WAIT! Then again so is intense over-whelming heat. Seems they love it all.
Hugs over the miles! I understand very much about the love of a sheep and the love of a big pig.
I love your humane approach to farming. I imagine it can be heartbreaking at times, but at least it’s not soul-wrenching. The weeds are getting the better of me, too. Somehow they do, every year, in spite of my good intentions.
You are wonderfully and compassionately clear on demarcation between the 3 f’s: farm, food and Family, and Mama is Family 🙂 And, just quietly, much as I love the Farmy images – your words, seeing through your eyes and descriptions from your heart are balm resonating into my spirit 🙂
Hey Celi .. your prose is lovely, and no pics needed. I do so understand how you feel about Mama .. how very sad for you. Thinking of you both.
Beautiful words. No photos required.
Yes, every animal has its time and by the love you bear them you will know if it’s best to intervene or let them go naturally. It is the very least we can do for them. I wish for her a peaceful leaving.
Here it’s weeds 10, Sherry 0, much worse than other years but everything is still wonderfully lush and jungle like. Absolutely beautiful.
What beautiful, tender words about Mama.
PS Sheep are on my mind at present, and I’m searching your blog for a photo of a sheep smiling (request please, when the camera is fixed!)/
If you visit this post, you’ll see why:
Your gentle words about life with animals spoke to my inner spirit, Celi. I love this relationship between you and Mama. Just as there are people in our lives who are of importance and enrich us on our journey, there are also animals and other life forms which we form bonds with – be it for a short time or for many years. Your beautiful words evoke feelings from a place deep within, that most of us can relate to. There are some relationships that cannot be described – perhaps only felt or known in some magical or spiritual sense.
I couldn’t put an animal down one of those ways, either. Just love on them and keep them as comfortable as possible.