Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Llamas and sheep and turkeys, oh my!!!

Photo courtesy of Kevin, our renter.

It seems that my last few posts have continually been of me sort of apologizing for not being here for one reason or another...I realize that is because my life has really been in an upheaval of sorts lately.  My sons moved on to college, my youngest started middle school, and I found out that my back "issue" is a permanent disability all at once; which led me to start making huge changes here at the ranch.

Well, this last week has really been a whopper if I do say so myself.  It started last Saturday when we place three llamas; and I must say that those boys really moved up in the world!  They now reside on 160 acres in a spectacular valley about an hour drive away; so I will be able to visit them often.  The transfer of the boys went flawlessly thanks to my fellow llama wrangler and partner in life and all things crazy, my hubby.

The very next day we headed off to the sister in law's house; as she works at a livestock auction.  I was going to take Paco, my ram, whom I was so positive would go as a fantastic breeding animal.  We loaded him and Esther, my ewe up (just for company for Paco) and headed out for eastern Colorado.  Monday was the big livestock auction, and when I say big, you must take that with a grain of salt because this really is a small town auction, but that is what I wanted for Paco and us since this was our first experience ever.

When we backed the trailer in there was commotion about our beautiful sheep and so I put Esther in the auction too; with a minimum.  They both sold at a premium price for what sheep are going for these days; I got what I purchased them for two years ago!  So, anyway, Annie (SIL), didn't have any help that day, so Tom and I pitched in and helped "load out".  Meaning that we got to load out all of the animals that were purchased at auction that day.  Some of them just a day old.  It was quite a learning experience for Tom, Isabella, Nathan and myself; but it was really cool because I was able to tell some of the new owners "hey, this one has a cough" or "this goat needs to be milked right away" or whatever.  I am hoping that maybe some of the new owners got instructions that they might not have gotten otherwise.

Esther had been one of the first to go.  I was sad to see her go, and I am pretty sure that she went to a great home.  And I say pretty sure because as the day wore on and I got more tired I saw some pretty crazy stuff.  Like a guy stuffing 16 goats and a giant pig in a trailer on top of a load of lumber that he had purchased; but we got them in!!!  All day I waited and wondered when Paco's new owner would come....and then a semi pulled up to the loading dock and my stomach sank.  That's right Rebels; my beautiful ram was headed to PA to a packing plant.

And that is also why they don't let crazy chicks like me carry guns; because when I went to say goodbye to him I literally thought that if I had had a gun I might just shoot him dead right there to avoid him having to travel half way across the country to get the old hammer head.  But I am a big girl, and I had made a big girl decision and I had to abide by it...  Think what you want of me but that is truly the way I felt.

Tom didn't think I looked to good after that little shock and working so hard all day so he took us all to Carl's Jr. after the auction; and that is when he calmly reminded me that he needed to take Tia with him the next day; she was to have knee surgery.  A dear friend was paying for her surgery and was going to care for her during her rehab so we were supposed to lose her for at least a couple of months; while she recuperated (I didn't think I was capable with my back).  I lost it!  I started choking on my all time favorite guacamole burger and was literally making a scene.  I had forgotten that the days were so close together and just didn't want to talk about one more loss at the time.

So Tuesday dawns and I have to say goodbye to Tia.  I get through that and take my son to the orthodontist and finally get his braces on.  Now this is a really big deal.  This kid has been waiting 18 years for these braces; he has a cleft pallet that has never been properly fixed and the clock was really ticking on this thing; if we didn't start now, there was no fixing it at all.  Big emotions there (this is my adopted son).  And then he's gone...back to college.  Another goodbye.

I'm not ashamed to say, Tuesday when I was driving home, I have never been so tired in my life.  I had said goodbye to my kids multiple times by now.  My back was killing me from working the auction the day before, I couldn't get the fact that my spectacular ram was on that semi headed east towards a hammer that I don't even believe in and now I was contributing too out of my head.... And my beloved Tia was gone for months!  At least, maybe more.  I got the kids off the bus and went to bed.

Well, it's amazing what a nap will accomplish; because when I woke up there was a message.  There had been a mix-up and Tia had to come home for a night....which led us to find out she really didn't need any lifting....she could still walk on three legs just like she did before the surgery!  And  do you know the most amazing thing Rebels????  My dear friend (actually Tia's breeder) still paid for her surgery!  And sent us all sorts of meds for the dear patient, like stuff for her arthritis which she is sure to get, and pain meds that oh thank the Lord that she has had because this has been one very painful surgery for the girl.

Tia and I have had a very busy week, what with all the pain and biting at her knee; we didn't even realize it was getting so close to Saturday....Turkey Day!  You know, I wasn't sure how to feel about Turkey Day, I was dreading it and looking forward to it all at once.  You Rebels know how much I loved those turkeys.  They were my pride and joy; they followed me all over the ranch, even to get the mail and when I laughed they gobbled.  But due to human intervention, if we had not harvested these turkeys, they would have gone down on their legs (their breasts are too large, the legs can't support them), or they would have died of a heart attack.

Photo courtesy of Teri, our friend/neighbor/customer!

Of course I had done a ton of research and was all ready for the big turkey harvesting and we turned it into a big party.  Check out some of the pictures on the facebook page if you want, still don't have a camera, thinking about putting on a donation button for that!  The pics were taken by a friend/neighbor/customer.  We were blessed that morning by our first visit by a big bull moose so I knew things were going to go well that day.  (I may do a post on turkey harvesting for my own records and for those that are agriculture readers, so  those that aren't beware!)

I can't believe all the changes we have made around here.  Three llamas, two sheep, two turkeys...  And we are not done yet.  But I think that is enough for right now.  My heart and head are still reeling from the loss of all the critters and kids.  And I would like to say another thing, I always say that things happen for a reason and I firmly believe that.  Like one of my turkeys getting killed by a neighbors dog and us not having one of that type to harvest for our family this year; well maybe our family is meant to have a heritage turkey (meaning not human intervened) for our first bird; who knows?  And we were invited over for the turkey dinner at our friend's house...there sure is plenty to go around!  Things always turn out the way they are supposed to...now wait to hear what I have up my sleeve!  Please, stay tuned in!!!  I have a music clue cued up for tomorrow as to what The Royal Ranch may be up to next....


Daisy said...

Oh, my!! Too many things crashing down on you, all at once. Nap, definitely. Rest. It helps heal.

Royal Ranch said...

Dear Daisy,
Why yes it does; napping helping healing that is! And yes I am heeding your advice and trying to squeeze in a nap here and there. Thanks so much for your thoughts,