Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Clean Start for All the Farm Animals

It's a snow day.

No school. No work. Just a much-needed reprieve from the typical schedule.

The blanket of snow is much appreciated, as it covers up the twigs, wrappers, and the occasional horse-grooming brush our dogs have carried around the yard throughout the winter. It's not until the snow melts that we find the nozzle for our garden hose, the cap to a can of spray paint, or a fly mask that had been stolen from the barn. This latest snow buys me a few more weeks of time before I inevitably have to pick up these things.

This past weekend, I spent three hours cleaning out the chicken coop. I could've done the job in one hour, but I stopped often to talk to the chickens and to hold a few as well.

We all had a little talk about why egg production has gone down. They promised me that they'll feel more motivated to lay once the snow melts, the days are longer, and the coop is cleaned.

So I did my part and cleaned the coop until it was like new. This apparently didn't inspire many chickens; only one egg was found in the wood chips. 

This particular egg came from the black chicken you see in the picture. An Iowa Blue, she came to me with jingle bells on her feet during the holiday season - a gift from a good friend down the road. Her eggs are small but persistent. That's more than I can say for the other slackers in the coop.

Lizzie just one day before giving birth.
Almost one week ago, our pregnant mare, Lizzie, began the birthing process. It was a much-anticipated event that ended up with complications.

Lizzie's contractions came to a halt shortly after the foal's nostrils took in air. Suffering from nerve interference caused by the large size of the foal, Lizzie rolled onto her back and remained there, unable to move.

Not able to get to the foal or to roll Lizzie over, my husband and I gathered our tools and disassembled the maternity stall. Sadly, time was working against us. The foal slipped back into the birth canal and suffocated.

Lizzie was exhausted, hurt, and deeply saddened by her loss. For a while, it looked as if she'd given up. She wouldn't stand...couldn't stand...for three days this went on. Slowly, she started the healing process, and she's getting stronger every day.

This horse is my hero. She possesses a quiet strength - a fierce yet graceful will to heal in spite of her loss. She knew what she needed - time. She made no apologies for needing it either. She simply did what she needed to do, and when the time was right for her, she collected herself and all of her courage to stand, eat, drink, and walk again.

Lizze, nose-to-nose with her filly, Willow.

Yes, the fresh blanket of snow is a beautiful sight, as it covers up some evidence of that horrific mid-night birth. It's time to wipe the slate clean...to erase the bad images so new, wonderful events can take place.

"Quite a little ranch you have here," said my husband the other night.

Big smile.

It's always worth the effort. We knew that with all the beauty and happiness would come some pain and sorrow.

It's part of life. It's part of life in the country.


  1. This is so beautiful. I love your perspective on life! I wish for Lizzie's continued return to health and happiness. She is lucky to have you as her owner! Very lucky.

  2. Your words give me strength and courage in so many ways. So grateful for you, my friend. I know that under all that snow, hollyhocks and daisies are waiting. XO

  3. this resonates with me...although I have never lost a child....I appreciate the perspective of making no apologies to do what one needs to do to find healing. Sherry


Please say something back to me. I love getting words in return.