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