Happy February!

How can it possibly be February?   The time has gone so fast but I’m certainly not complaining.  The weather here lately has been more like northwest Florida rather than southwest Ohio. It’s been a gift. There’s nothing worse than ice and snow for days and weeks on end out here (for example, hauling the big green trash can almost a quarter mile down and back the lane, if it’s even possible) and when you add livestock to the equation, well…. and speaking of (the) well, the water is another obstacle in winter when you have barn animals. But it’s all doable. Heated buckets and a well water heater keep hydration in check.  The biggest challenge really, is walking on the ice from the well to the barn with the buckets of water (actually I didn’t fall once until the temps rose above 60 last week and I slipped and fell in the mud). But a few months back, when we had an Arctic blast which was one of the worst weather episodes I can remember in my 19 years on Gingerbread Farm, my balancing act on ice was nothing compared to the snow and ice and the horses. At one point, the temperatures fluctuated to such an extreme that large ice balls resembling high heels formed on inside and outside of their hooves which obviously made walking almost impossible for our 19 year old mare, Flynn, who had it the worst. The only thing I could do was dunk each hoof in buckets of warm water and try and pick the ice out without damaging the tender areas inside. Needless to say, she had to stay in the barn for the remainder of the cold snap which she didn’t like and she didn’t like me much either, especially when she saw me coming with a bucket.  But she got over it. Flynn also had to have her 5 year dental appointment in December which is known as teeth floating in horses.  It’s actually the grinding down of problem areas that arise because horse’s teeth never stop growing! As you can see from the photo, she had to be sedated and her head put in traction…it was quite an ordeal. She was also diagnosed with Cushing’s disease around Christmas.  December was definitely not her month, poor girl.


Dr. King and Flynn

As for the rest of the troop, everyone’s doing pretty well and loving the unseasonably warm weather.
Unfortunately, we heard another Arctic blast will be arriving in the very near future.
But I’m prepared! A cozy stall is ready, just in case.  But I think we can all agree…spring just can’t get here soon enough!

Emergency on the farm….

There’s something to be said about the convenience and peace of mind we get when taking our pets to the vet, even though we don’t think about or appreciate it at the time.

I learned this recently.

Case in point:  our two-year old, rescued, pet Katahdin sheep, Kandle.  He severed the entire left side of his top lip a few days ago on God know’s what.  We searched the barn and fences for any evidence but found nothing.  The lip was hanging off of his face about four inches and there was bleeding.  It was obvious that stitches were in order.

This is where this story really begins and why I will never again complain about having to take the dog to the vet.

The first obstacle I faced was that  it was a Sunday night when I noticed Kandle’s injury which meant it was after hours for any vet and being that he is a sheep, the local emergency vet clinic was obviously not an option.  Second, because my sheep had never needed a vet, I had none!  My first inclination was to call my horse vet. Surely she could do something!  But her gentle reply was disappointing.  She said that treating anything other than equine and their problems just was not an option for her or me, or Kandle.  Doc knew of only one other vet who would possibly be able to help, but he was out-of-town.  So, I immediately got online and Googled  “farm vets in Ohio” which led me to The Ohio State University  School of Vet Medicine site where I was elated to find that they actually have a 24/7 emergency room/clinic for livestock!  But because we are a good hour and a half away and trailering our upset lamb ( he wouldn’t even let me near him) was going to be our last option, I made a call.  The vet I spoke with was very helpful and eased my mind.  I texted her a photo of our boy’s predicament and she assured me he would probably be fine until the next day and wasn’t going to bleed to death. I was so relieved. Of course we did have the option of bringing him to the clinic at OSU, but she didn’t think it was necessary unless I couldn’t find a vet the next day.

Early the next morning, and 3 phone calls later, I finally got the name of a livestock vet…but from the next county!! I was grateful to say the least but here’s the thing:  We are in a county that is very rural, complete with a big county fair in August that includes 4-H, livestock auctions, and sheep and goat exhibits, so why in the world can I not find a farm vet in our county or at least one closer than 30 miles away?  Is there a shortage?  Seriously? I’m still working on that one.  Anyway, this vet was so wonderful .  He worked me in and came out that afternoon (as he also sees the normal canine/feline “have to take your pet to the vet” type of patients in his office).

The story ends fairly well.  Kandle’s lip was saved and stitched and he was given tetanus and an antibiotic shots.  The fee was reasonable and the best part was he was fixed and out of pain.

Then yesterday…

I noticed Kandle scratching his face up and down on the wall of his stall and with a closer look there it was…a piece of red, swollen lip protruding from the ripped sutures!!! Yikes! And yes, as you have probably already guessed, I am meeting the vet

from the next county



today at noon……




Waiting for the anesthetic to work. The surgery.

Spring on Aullwood Farm…

I volunteer at a local working, teaching farm called Aullwood.  It’s spring and that means many of the animals are  soon to give birth for the annual Baby Fest in May.  The farm is home to sheep, cattle, goats, horses, chickens, pigs, barn cats and bunnies.  I captured a moment with the mom to be cows and sheep who are due to give birth very soon….. and my conversation with a pig. Image

Sheep at Aullwood Farm Talking to a pig at Aullwood Farm