It’s been a pretty intense week or so. As soon as we dropped Jack off at the bus terminal we came back to the farm to move some stock around and check things out. It being calving season Alex has been sure to check on the heifers on a daily basis to see if any of them are having birthing issues. As we were riding around on the quad we saw one heifer with two hooves sticking out of her so Alex knew something might be wrong. We went back to the house to get some gear and to give her a few hours to see if the birthing would happen naturally, but by the time we went back nothing had progressed so he decided to assist the birthing. We managed to get her in the head bail and at that point it got pretty messy. It’s not as scientific as I would have thought to assist in the birth, we basically strapped some ropes to the calfs feet and pulled, it took 3 of us to do it but finally he was brought into the world. He got dubbed Mr. Heavy as Alex tells me he’s a beast of a boy. We had to nurse him through the first few days because the mum was too stressed out from the birthing. A week later and the calf is doing perfectly.
The day before that incident we got to dock 140-some-odd lambs. Docking is the process of cutting off the tails of the lambs to keep them clean on the backside. The job of Jack and I was to catch each lamb and run them through the procession of things needing to be done ending with the chop. It was interesting work, something that only happens once a year so I was pretty lucky to get to try it. We finished up the day with Jack and I wrangling a couple of rams, Alex’s only warning was be careful, they can shatter your knee. It’s a pretty intense warning as you’re in the pen with them.
To get the lambs all in one place was fun as well, we got to do it on horse back instead of on a quad or by foot. Miranda gave me a quick rundown on how to turn and how to stop. With that we were off into the far reaches of the farm to collect up the lambs and their mums. We all did pretty well I thought as Jack and I are no experienced riders and managed to get them all rounded up after a few hours of riding. At one point it was me pushing a whole mob of sheep by myself and I let myself pretend I was a cowboy, pretty awesome. At the end of the ride there is a particular hill the horses are used to galloping up which was crazy. We all sat there and the only advice given to me was to hold on, it’s really quite surprising how fast a horse goes from sitting to full blast. I laughed my head off the entire way up the hill, I realize now I’ve cantered before on a horse, but never galloped. Try it if you get the chance, it’s amazing.