Saturday, November 30, 2013

Life and Death

This is not a downer post but if you live on a farm you learn that death is a part of life itself whether you experience unexpected loss or you harvest an animal. If your lucky, you also get to witness a birth and no matter what the animal is it is a real privilege.

About a week ago we got up one morning and noticed that our ewe Tulip was pacing and then rolling on the ground and we knew she was about to give birth. You don't always get to witness these events because it can happen at night or they hide or your just gone for the day so we were all very excited to see this. I invite you to look at her face and look at the little bundle coming out; those little white things in the amniotic sac are hooves.

It only took about 10 minutes for the first one to be born and that is a little head you see. It was moving and trying to break the membrane. Sheep carry twins in separate amniotic sacs so we were privileged to see two distinct births.
This was Tulips second time around so she pretty much knew what to do and she is a very attentive mother.

So we had twins and they cry like a human baby.

Its crucial that they nurse and get colostrum in the first 24 hours so we were a bit apprehensive but it all worked out like it usually does.

The white one was the runt of the two and failed to thrive and we lost him but the little brown one who we have named Cocoa is healthy and active and she could be posted in Wiki as an example of cute.

So we had a birth and a death and the circle of life continues.
Its also been deer hunting season which is a very big deal here but this year opening day was warm and windy to about 50 mph and we didn't even see one deer. Holly and I were in our double tree stand and it was like a Disney ride we were tossed around so much. We normally get a couple of deer but the harvest numbers were way down this year due to the weather and probably last years drought but I did get this nice 4 point buck. He had a small rack but was heavy bodied with a nice fat cap and appeared to be very healthy.

This buck was pretty big bodied for around here. I was shooting a 30-06 Savage 110 with a cheap Bushnell scope and 180 gr Core Lokt ammo at about 130 yards while he was on the move following a doe. I thought I had missed him because I never saw him drop and the doe ran off flashing her tail right across the front of our stand but I didn't take a shot because I didn't know positively about the one I shot at (we had any deer tags and could have taken a buck or doe). I apologized to Holly for blowing two chances to fill our freezer and since these were the only two deer we had seen to that point I was really bummed. I am an excellent marksman with decades of shooting experience and I couldn't believe I missed. But I learned long ago to check and not just assume so I climbed down, crossed a creek and hiked over to where I had seen it and there it lay. It dropped so fast because I had shot it through the heart and thankfully missed all other organs so it was easy to gut.

I am including these pictures because I have noticed a trend where people will go out hunting and then don't want to gut or clean their harvest and I just think that's wrong somehow. I was talking to a butcher right before deer season and he said they get a lot of deer brought in and half the time the hunter hasn't even gutted the thing and then they pay $65 and up to have the animal turned into, no and no.

We use all parts of the animal, antlers for knife handles, bones for stock, the hide gets tanned, and we harvest all of the meat for steaks, roasts, stew meat and sometimes hamburger. And I want to slap those who take a beautiful backstrap like this one and turn it into hamburger or jerky.
Some people don't like hunting and I get that but if you hunt be respectful of your harvest and learn to enjoy the process of preserving and using it just like you do with growing vegetables. To me taking your deer to be gutted and butchered by someone else you don't know is like harvesting your crop and taking it to a store to have it canned. Life is good, we are living it to the fullest!

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