A Weekend of Dealing with Death

Postings here have been a bit light, as I've been taking care of a neighbor's livestock while they're on vacation. On Friday a bottle lamb of theirs in my care crashed. Big time. By Saturday afternoon he was dead, of no apparent cause or reason.

It might sound strange to folks who don't have livestock, but even though this little guy's lifespan was pretty much set at a year, it still pains a shepherd to lose an animal to no good end. You can't eat downer or diseased lamb, obviously, and so his death was truly senseless. Waste is the ultimate sin on a small farm or ranch.

Worse, we lost at least one barn cat, Junior, a gray tabby who was an excellent mouser. Run over on the highway - the first cat we've lost to a vehicle, but almost certainly not the last. While he wasn't exactly a pet, he deserved better than being cast onto a compost pile somewhere, so we drilled a hole and buried him in the flower garden - it was his favorite place to take a dump while alive, so it seemed somehow fitting. We also placed a capstone to keep the chickens from digging him up, and asked Freyja to welcome him to her domain, and to provide plenty of mice.

Another barn cat, Yeti (so called by his initials, YT for yellow tabby) is missing as well. No body in the ditch, but he's not missed a meal in three years, so we of course suspect the worst. Which would put us down to two cats in the barn, and that's not enough. There'll be a call going out to Indy Feral this week.

To top it off, two of my laying hens died as well - one just never came out of her spring molt and I have no idea why the other croaked.

I'm over being a mortician, and I'm ready to return to being a farmer anytime. Oh, wait a second, there may be a problem there ...

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