First, let’s start with a couple of facts:
Fact one: I am not dead. I’m not even ‘not quite dead’. I know this contradicts rumors circulating through the ranks of my nearest and dearest. However, they only think I’m dead, because, they haven’t seen me by the light of day for a couple of months. The truth is my job opened up some overtime, and I’ve been taking full advantage.
Fact two: Every moment I’ve been free has been filled with farmy chores. We’ve butchered chickens. We’ve canned chicken, beans, tomatoes, and asparagus. (I saved some chicken to do a canning post.) We hauled some wonderful farm supplies from my grandfather’s place to ours. (He gifted us with some terrific stuff.) We also ran hot-wire for a new sheep pen.
I really miss y’all and can’t wait to be back here ‘full-time’. But, ‘needs must when the devil drives’… And, I think the devil stole my car keys!
Now, on to our regularly scheduled farmy story. You know the old saying, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt”? Well, I don’t know if it was ever fun and games, but any fun certainly came to an abrupt halt.
Once upon a time in the far-off Land of Sheepiness, Grace and I noticed that one of our younger rams had signs of bottle jaw. Bottle jaw is swelling under the sheep’s jaw. It’s an advanced symptom of anemia. Our sheep have been wormed, well fed, and given free choice minerals, so we aren’t sure what the cause could be. However, having lost a lamb to bottle jaw in the past, we decided to act.
I drew up vitamin B and iron injections and the six of us headed out to assess and inject the patient. (The sixth ‘person’ was our wolfhound. She is an awesome sheep herding dog!) Now, I normally agree with James Herriot, who believed that if you can’t catch your patient, it probably doesn’t need your help. However, we were determined to treat this ram. So, the rodeo began!
It didn’t take long for the ram to suss that something was up. Once suspicious, he followed the patented Number 29 Freak Out Frenzy Plan. He ran laps around the rose bushes, terrified the teenage turkeys, got wedged behind the chicken coop, and generally zoomed like a twit. Naturally, two teenagers, two grown men, and an Irish wolfhound ran after him. Me? I was off to the side Googling testicular swelling.
You weren’t expecting that one, were you? Yes, I do mean sheep testicles. (You’re welcome.) But wait, we were worried about his swollen jaw, not his swollen manly bits, right?!? Well, actually, when a sheep is running away, I don’t exactly nip at its heels! In fact, I’m slow enough, that I spend a lot of time staring at ovine nether regions. As I brought up the rear in this ram-shackle race, I had plenty of time to get a clear visual of the ram’s ‘nethers’. I became uncomfortably aware that this sheep’s left ‘nether’ was significantly ginormous!
So, I did my best millennial impression. I wimped out on the chase and whipped out my iPhone. I began searching for connections between swollen jaws and swollen, ahem, nethers. I scanned the available info quickly. When the family had the ram cornered, I shoved the phone in my pocket and went to help.
Like I said, I’m too slow to chase sheep. Due to a severely janky shoulder, I’m also not allowed to try and catch one on the fly. However, I can stand and block a path as well as the next 40-something female with bad joints. I was standing still and trying to fill my allotted space when the ram made a dash for freedom. Grace made a grab and possibly for the first time ever… missed.
The ram continued at full speed. He seemed to know this was his chance to rejoin the flock. Liam chose a path that crossed the ram’s. Calculating the spot they would intersect, Liam crouched slightly and moved forward to nab the
daft bugger, um, poor patient.
The resulting collision was one of atom splitting intensity! It looked like a scene from an old spaghetti western. The ram hit! Liam went hurtling backward fifteen feet through the air (okay, maybe two or three). The pair crashed to earth with a ground-shaking thud! From beneath them, curling tendrils of dust swirled skyward.
A grotesque monster lay in the resulting crater! It had six legs, two heads, and was screaming from one cavernous maw. The tongue protruded from this black hole and provided a profane exclamation point to the endless wailing.
Hurrying to ground zero, I determined that the screamer was the frightened and cheesed-off ram. I also discovered that my husband was under the sheep with his arms wrapped around it in an unbreakable bear hug. I asked, “Honey, are you okay?” He gave a breathless laugh and answered that he was.
Fool that I am, I believed him. I also suggested that he might get up since he was lying in a fire ant mound. He got up (rather expeditiously), and I proceeded to examine the furry four-legged offensive lineman. Imagine my family’s surprise when I began palpating the large pendulous manly bits! That required some serious explanations! When Liam walked over to peep at some normal sheepy nethers (for comparison), I realized he had lied to me!
He was hobbling along with a limp fit for a spaghetti western star! I grumbled and growled as I injected the ram for anemia. We also diagnosed it with orchitis (A diagnosis that simply means ‘swollen testicle’. We’ll continue to investigate.), and the kids turned it loose. Then, I dragged my hard-headed spouse indoors and threatened him with grievous bodily harm if he didn’t sit still and ice his knee.
Liam is currently insisting that a) he’ll be fine with a little rest, and b) it was a mutual flying tackle; the sheep didn’t take him out. The knee is approximately the size of a tree trunk. The sheep is asleep in the front yard. And, me? I’m making a note to call the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow…before work.
This too shall pass. (Probably like a kidney stone, but it will pass!)
I miss y’all!