Giving Mother Nature a hand

In Focus column by Andrew Tripp, March 5 Boundary Creek Times.

It’s lambing season again, and with it comes the ups and downs of any form of animal husbandry.

We had a disappointing start, with two lambs born premature and unable to survive, and our second birth was not without its challenges either. I did, however, get to observe two seasoned sheep farmers at work, and what a sight that was to behold! As I pulled the lambs out of the ewe, I watched them as they were picked up and literally swung by their hind legs just like I was as a kid, when my father would hoist me up and, holding my legs tightly, whirl me around until I was giddy with laughter.

Doing that to a newborn lamb was something I simply would never have considered as possibly vital to the animal’s survival. It was explained to me that the swinging would help get the lambs going with their breathing and generally inject some vitality into their small, supple frames. And this it did, as both babies responded well and were returned to their mother for a good cleaning.

Truth be told, my wife and I were a little shell-shocked by the whole operation, but for the gals who conducted it it was business as usual. We may just owe those lambs’ lives to those women and, if nothing else, we gained some valuable insight as to the nuances of lambing. Thank you ladies!

Our next two births, fortunately, were without incident. Personally, I love getting up in the morning to find that a ewe has lambed all on her own, which, I suppose, is how nature intended, though it’s rewarding to realize that we as humans can give Mother Nature a hand when she needs it. I am glad, however, that our flock is modest; I simply cannot imagine going through this with hundreds of ewes. To those that do, I am humbly yours, the somewhat ignorant hobby farmer.

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I’m loving this weather. Another significant snowfall arrived yesterday and, it appears, the spring thaw promises to be delightfully slow this year. Compare that to 2015, especially, and it may just herald the return of two feet high grasses to the land that was scorched beyond recognition even before the fires hit the area. Photographs taken this time last year feature exposed earth across the fields, dust already starting to kick up. Heck, our normally sieve-like foundation walls have yet to be penetrated by the thaw, and our driveway can no longer be referred to as “a river runs through it”. The Weather Network’s spring and summer forecast is promising some rain and nothing even resembling the drought-like conditions of last year. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope that rings true.

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The story featured on pages 8 and 9 about the toddler who was brought back from what seemed certain death from drowning last October is well worth the read.

Jude Tyssen’s mother, Raylene, has recounted that terrifying day with astonishing detail and enormous bravery. To relive those terrifying hours by describing them in the written word must have been an ordeal, but, hopefully, a worthwhile one, in that her story may just save the life of another youngster by reminding parents to be extremely vigilant in keeping swimming pools and ponds out of the reach of children.