Still alive

Against all the odds,  and rattling like an old train when he drinks (antibiotics are not helping him – they seldom do help such young bony animals) The Little Bobby is still alive.


Yesterday afternoon I shifted him into the small pen close by my bedroom window and gave him small sips of colostrum (I have jars of frozen colostrum in my freezer) .  This is the last weapon in my arsenal.

border collie

He is by far the worst affected because of his small size but he continues to fight (he came in weighing 58 pounds and the man said no-one else bid on him at the sale because of it). His diarrhea continues unabated and he suffers silently and stoically.


I brought him into this outside pen close to the house (with a little hut) so  he could die outdoors. but stay isolaated from the other animals, having a sick animal on the farm terrifies me. But  I feel strongly that animals, when they die, and we all will,  need to be able to breathe clean air and see the stars.

pig in house

Not die in a nasty dark corner of the barn surrounded in flies.

white chicks

This is what I would want for myself.  To die inside would be hell for me and my children and my husband have been instructed that if we have the chance and the choice to carry me outside or at the very least make sure there is an open window close to me.  And never, never let me die in a hospital.


Goodness I am maudlin this morning. But we should all make these decisions and leave instructions with our kin, just in case.


But the animals cannot choose so I choose for them and even though the Little Bobby has battled on this long and I will continue to battle with him, if he is to die today,  at least he is lying under a tree wearing his  warm jacket until the sun comes up, with cats in the  branches and dogs close by. He can hear the roosters crowing and he can hear me moving about.  Surely that is better.

Three of the other calves in the West barn, though still having bouts of scours, get up the moment I enter the barn and are eating and drinking with vigour. One I am having to force to eat but I have decided to switch her to colostrum too today.  They all still get three big drinks of electrolyte a day and small milk drinks the other three feeds. There first feed is at six and the last one at about 11.30pm so it is a long day. We are under the care of the vet and doing everything we can.  It is all about the fluids. As much electrolyte as possible is the most important thing, then some food.

The bottles are warm now so I shall get going.

I hope you have a lovely day. I have already found loveliness in the sunrise. The Little Bobby and I watched it rise during his pre-dawn feed which he drunk enthusiastically.

Much love


86 Comments on “Still alive

  1. If…and I do so hope that he doesn’t…if he should die, I do hope having known such care and attention makes a difference and that he passes with a peaceful mind. :-). You’re an amazingly compassionate person, Ms. C. Thank you.

  2. Wishing both you and Bobby Little, strength to push through today to a full recovery. Laura

  3. With sheep, there are different causes for scours and different treatments for each cause. Coming from a yard, have you treated for coccidia…?

      • Something else that crossed my mind to share while sitting on the tractor this afternoon worrying about you and your poor baby is we have a new vet in the area, a very experienced young sheep vet from New Zealand, who told me not to dilute milk or formula very much with lambs (so maybe all ruminants?) because they need a certain percentage of the – might have been protein, but could have been the fat or something else – in order for their bodies to digest it. Too thin and it won’t curdle like it’s supposed to. Probably doesn’t apply to this situation, but wanted to share for future.

        • Hmm – that is very good information.. so best to eat less at full strength.. in this situation? That kind of makes sense? And thank you for thinking of us whilst out on your tractor – the things we think of when in that seat! Jonny Depp comes to mind!!

  4. I have a huge lump in my throat reading this, I do hope he survives and the others too. I will be sending you all of my positive thoughts today. The sunshine and fresh air is always good.

    • I agree, in fact later today i hope jake can help me get the outside run ready for the West Wing calves.. I think they are well enough to come outside too.. coming outside is a well thing and a sick thing I guess! c

  5. I am crying of course. Couldn’t be helped. Oh well. I had a difficult moment with a dressing room mirror this morning, and this has put the cherry on top of my mood. Nature will do what nature will do. Whether it’s a wee calf hanging in the balance or the woeful appearance of back-fat under the bra strap. Best to look at the lovely warm sun in both cases.

    • Ah back fat – I think you need to know that every woman gets that no matter her weight or size.. I think we should all put our heads together and design a decent bra that suits a mature figure.. c

      • I’m all in for a better designed bra! Being a very ‘large’ all ‘natural’ woman – they have yet to make a bra that fits me!!!

        And your post while sad is also lovely. I agree, no hospitals! I want my animals surrounding me if I have any at the time I pass. And I want my ashes spread on the coast of Texas in the warm waters.

        We are much kinder to our animals than we are to our sick and elderly. You are giving the wee calf the best you can and I think his pen must be lovely.

    • Very late to comment, was starting to, but had to leave. Just to let you know that little roll that bothers us so much is there for a purpose : so that if we reach old age we have some fat reserves (and the fat on our backs is actually different than around the body) as our capacity to obtain nourishment from food becomes greatly diminished.No real science here, just empiric observation. Our body is always trying to protect us although sometimes we really hate the way it chooses to do it. Yes best to look at the warm sun.

  6. Hi C!
    What a sad situation…poor Little Bobby…but you are right, when ready he’ll be in a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing. Take care!

  7. Ah Celi, we should all have someone like you in our lives, helping us make difficult decisions and transitions with compassion. If your love, care and dedication can pull Little through, then he’ll pull through, and if not, he’ll have had the best life a sick baby could hope for and a gentle passing in the clean bright air.

  8. Beautiful flower-shot. Nasturtium is the English name? Mine is just half as much, due to our cold May and June. Love the Boo face, he always looks so severe and dignified.
    “… to breath clean air and see the stars” – you made me cry, Celi. It is so touching how you care for your little ones. So much love in…. “He can hear the roosters crowing…”, oh my. So so sweet. Have to fight back my tears. Your heart is so wide and open! – Your instructions for your own death are great. Outside or with an open window the soul has a short and direct way up to the stars…
    On Monday an uncle passed away – outdoors, fell from his bike, just so (maybe a stroke). He was dead at once and did not suffer at all. I’ll be at his funeral on Fridays. He was near his eighties (or more).

      • I remember a discussion with two dear elderly friends. One of them wanted to die on the tennis court, preferably serving an ace, and the other – who had a canal narrow boat – wanted to die navigating a long flight of locks called Tardebigge. Neither achieved their ambition – they didn’t have a Celie, determined and caring. Both exits would have caused chaos, but so what!

        I hope Little perks up today, and the others. They have the best chance, with you around.
        ViV xoxox

      • First of all, I laud your wishes to die in sight of the stars. Me? I have instructed my children that, just before I die, they bring me a bucket so I can kick it. My last joke on life. Love, Gayle

      • I too want to die outside ….where I can see the stars and the moon or the sun. My Daddy passed away on a trip. He was hitching up the trailer ready to head on from a trip across the nation. It was horrible on Momma…but it made me glad for Daddy. He was doing exactly what he wanted to do…no hospital, nursing home or long lingering illness. What a gift for him!


  9. Bless you for what you provide all the animals in your care. You are my hands and feet in treating all creatures the way we would be treated.

  10. Holding you in my heart today. Your care of your animals shows me what humans are made of and what we all should be doing for every living thing in our lives. Bless you.

  11. Tough situation! I grew up on a small farm and remember this all-out effort well; at least we had three kids to rotate the duty!

    I know you are working with a vet, but are your scouring calves getting kaolin or pectin as well as electrolytes?


    • I had not thought of pectin but I do have some and i will do some research – thank you – at present they do have apple cider vinegar in their drinking water which contains a little pectin –

  12. You have such a lovely soul! The animals in your care are very blessed.

  13. If everyone was as thoughtful as you are this would be a wonderful world. To care how an animal dies is as important as how we do. It speaks volumes of your character. Pragmatic and deeply kind. There is no escape the cycle of life but to do it with love and kindness is what is the most humane. I shall keep extra good thoughts for all today. I’m with you. No hospitals. My children have their instructions too. Very important discussions to have. Have a wonderful day.

    • Indeed! Some days I laugh with abandon at your words and tales of the farmy. Today is different and the tears roll with sadness while reading your heartfelt telling of reality on the farm. Your most obvious care and caring comes through and those little ones we know are getting the best that there is. On a brighter note, it almost sounds like Little just might make it; he certainly seems to still have some fight left and we are all pulling for him… and for you too. I can only think this entire episode is draining for you. Wish I could help in some way. Prayers and thoughts coming your way, in hopes your day will continue to brighten. ~ Mame 🙂

  14. So sorry to hear about Little Bobby!! He is in the best hands with your care! I agree with your sentiments about dying, Celi.

  15. Can’t think of much to say that hasn’t already been entered my all our great friends here. Just know I am thinking of you and all the animals, everyone being special!

  16. It is so sad to hear about Little Bobby. I do hope that he fights and survives. And I so wholeheartedly agree with you on dying. I want to be at home and definitely not in a hospital or vets office. I want to be with my family surrounded by those that I love and the things that I love. Such a warm feeling. Have a great day my friend, my piggy heart goes out to you and I’m pulling against the odds for Bobby. XOXO – Bacon

  17. Very moving miss. It’s good to care about how we die as well as how we live – and that goes for our loved ones, be they human or animal. We love them all.

  18. Celi your positivity shines through again today. You do my heart good. As for the way I want to die… I have no desire to become the oldest person in the country or the world, I just want to keel over while ‘doing’!
    Fingers. knees and toes crossed for continued healing for all your charges.

  19. I agree with everybody, such a lot of wise words. I hope the little bobby pulls through. X

  20. Boo is ever the guardian angel. Thinking of you all, with love and prayers!

  21. With life comes death and that will they or won’t they. Not that it makes it any easier. It’s interesting that you’ve talked about death with your family – maybe it’s having animals and so living with the cycle of life and death that makes us free to discuss something that many people seem so scared of.
    My aged father-in-law went for a walk, sat down on a fallen tree and died. Perfect.

  22. Life and death a fine balance..but whatever happens you could not have done anymore than you have. Your dedication to your animals astounds me..xxxxxx

  23. Your caring is so magnificent, Celi, & all the words so beautiful & touching. I just want to add my tears for Godot & best hopes for Little Bobby. And for All at The Farmy, such a special place in our hearts.

  24. You are an old soul, Ci. You know life is, yet battle for what it could/should be. Kindness and compassion and outdoor is finally the best medicine. WIll be thinking of you and Little Bobby who came where he needed to be. It’s hard to be strong sometimes. Only the best and wisest can be so.

  25. Outdoors with a glass of champagne in my hand sounds good to me! Wishing all positive energy and recovery to the bobby. I know he knows he’s cared for.

  26. I wish I was there to snuggle your poor sick baby. I feel like he needs his mommy. Goodness how do we keep tiny humans alive when big babies like Little are so fragile? I know he’s showing better but my morning is still teary.

  27. You have given the little bobby all you can and if he goes his last breath will be fresh air. You are a caring and compassionate person. We all should be so lucky to have one like you take care of us.

  28. If ever Little was meant to live, he couldn’t be in better hands to do so. Just like helping an animal or human die with love and compassion, you are helping him live with the same. I have a feeling he may just pull through but I know one thing, if he wasn’t there with you, he would of been gone days ago.

  29. Just when I am in the midst of compiling a dying-and-death checklist to write up and stick in with my (our) will and share with family & co. I can think of no kinder fate than to rest in the loving care of Miss C when I’m on my deathwatch, but as you’ve already got your arms full, I’ll hope for someone as pragmatic yet tenderhearted as you. Hope all of the farmy angels are watching over all of you especially this week. Clearly Godot felt compelled to join those forces early; I’ll bet he’s following the action right now.

  30. I hope all goes well today and in the coming days. You surely do work hard at it and I know often there is great reward.

  31. You so clearly demonstrate how it’s possible to change the world one tiny little being at a time. By thinking of the best we’d want for Little it makes us consider the best we’d want for ourselves and not just other people but all creatures. To live well, and die well whenever it may come to us. Sending positive thoughts… goes without saying but anyway 🙂

  32. Thinking of you and the love circling your little farmy… not just you and all your beloved and loving creatures, but the thoughts and prayers and love of all your readers, – we all care about you all, and I can’t help visiualising a cobweb of golden threads woven around the world, with its centre and deep heart of love in your precious little farmy… with love from New Zealand,

  33. We are so lucky to have YOU, Cecilia. Just this noon I told a friend about you and handed over my iPhone. She read and read, saying,”This is incredible!” She is a profound animal lover too. Just for the record, I wrote a poem at least 40 years ago “Dying Outside”. (My hands were on the silver arms of a lawn chair…not the bars of a hospital bed.)

  34. At the beginning of my day and toward the end of yours I have just put a glass of water filled to the half-way point onto my writing desk: is it half-empty or half-full ? I refuse to be negative for myself or for you and yours and do hope for the latter . . . .

  35. Sometimes the only thing left that you can do is be kind. I know it’s exhausting and mentally stressful but you will never regret the doing as you would if you hadn’t.

  36. It’s funny isn’t it, how connected to the outdoors we all are, somewhere deep inside us. I would not consider myself an outdoors-type person at all, but I have often thought that when my time comes, I should like to be outside, with the rain on my face. I love the rain, its smell, its sound, its feel – as long as it doesn’t go on too long and start causing problems! I love the sun too, but I think if I was dying I would prefer the rain. And hopefully no pain – I don’t fear death, but I do fear pain. Sending good wishes over to you that its not Little’s time just yet,and he’ll get to be around on the Farmy a while longer.

  37. Read this late in the eve. That little calf is so lucky to have you. I appreciate all that you do !

  38. I hope Little pulls through, he seems to want to. Pick some of those lovely bright nasturtium flowers and put them in your salad for some color and a bit of peppery flavor. mine never even germinated, too sodden and the seeds just rotted in the soil. Take care of yourself too, Celi.

  39. Such a beautiful piece of writing Celi. You balance compassion and realism so well.

  40. I had to smile that Boo was on duty. I love that about him. A Ton. He’s always nearby, those perky ears on high alert. I’ve been away a few days, it’s good to see the piglets looking so healthy, and chicks, too!

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