Catching More than Sheep

Nothing ever goes away until it teaches you what you need to know ~ Pema Chodron

Apologies for my absence from the blogosphere of late; you could say I’ve been dealing with the fallout of a lesson I’m finding difficult to master.

When last we spoke, I was hearing larks singing as I slowly hobbled around the animal chores on my gradually mending knee. But you know how life goes: the sun shines, the rains fall, harvests ripen, weeds grow, animals need care, the land does, too. So, I quietly moved to harvesting the Homestead bounty as well (while, for the most, ignoring the weeds) and then planning the pantry replenishment cook up of chutneys, jams and bottled fruits from the peaches that were almost, nearly, just-one-more-day ready (it’d be sit-down food prep, though). See? I was taking it easy! I was looking after myself and my dodgy knee.

And so, back to the lesson. I invested a lot of my time as I practiced taking it easy pondering it. Maybe it’s good old humility; or that old chestnut you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Or could it be simply the most basic of all: Shit happens. Whatever, I’ve obviously been a bit of a dullard because the fates, universe, or power-from-on-high decided I hadn’t quite grasped what they had been whispering in my ear and sent along the flies. Literally.

The weather this year has been perfect for flies and our poor sheep, along with those of all our neighbours, have been struggling with the horror that is flystrike. We’ve become pretty good at spotting it early on and administering treatment. The well-oiled Homestead Flystrike Taskforce utilises everyone’s strengths (The Farmer’s brute sheep-catching strength is in high demand).

But the Taskforce members aren’t always here and thus there were a few incidences of me jog-hobbling, grabbing and anointing which, while not ideal, were eased with a couple of panadol, a quiet sit down, ice, and elevation and (more importantly, I argued) almost entirely successful.

RIP Kili, the scruffy raggamuffin of the flock, who was so badly struck, so incredibly quickly, we opted for a vet visit and euthanasia…and not a few tears.

So, back to normal…right? We’ve paid our dues. I’m walking with only the tiniest of limps and barely any pain, the flock – in fact the entire menagerie – is looking fine, it’s a lovely, fresh, autumnal morning and the sheep are jostling for position at the gate except for…where’s Ivy the flock boss?

Pink Eye, caused by a bacteria often spread by flies, has overnight caused her to fall blind and is affecting a couple of others in the flock. Chip our vet is at pains to explain I have done nothing wrong, it’s just one of those things, everyone is dealing with it at the moment. Obviously he can read my face. The affected sheep are separated and treated, ongoing treatments provided and explained. Another job for the Homestead Taskforce.

But the Taskforce members aren’t always here…

Altogether now: “Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation”

The Bean Counter and Farm Girl picked me up from where the frightened sheep had run over the top of me. They carried me inside, did the whole Ice, Compression, Elevation thing – and I sobbed. Yes, my knee hurt…it hurt a lot…but I wasn’t crying for that. I was self indulgently howling for the end of a dream. How could we Homestead when I couldn’t hold up my end of the bargain as On-Site Manager? Hell, I couldn’t even effectively catch a sheep?

“But you don’t have to do it all on your own,” my family told me with the air of folk who have said this a great many times before. The physiotherapist said the same thing, as did the Radiologist (no fracture – phew!), the Nurse fitting me for crutches, the local butcher who asked about the crutches (he also asked if he would be seeing the offending sheep soon), and Chip the vet who saw me waiting in the car in the supermarket carpark.

Oh!! I don’t have to do it all on my own.

Some things are beyond my solo efforts.

Sometimes I need to stop, wait, and ask for help.

This year, the birds got most of the peaches, the vegetable garden continues to produce but I dispatch other Homesteaders out to harvest with a map, and I only see the outdoor menagerie members from the house or car windows. I miss them. But, silver lining, my knee is back on the mend. It can kind of, sort of weight bear now and hopefully it won’t be long until I’m taking on light animal chores.

Colin and Babette ensure I have company whilst I rest

But only light ones to start with…and no more sheep catching.

9 thoughts on “Catching More than Sheep

  1. That is a serious list of problems. Asking for help is a very tricky thing, I agree but I am glad that you have come to terms with it for a while at least. I hope that it will not be too long before you are out and about again, but don’t forget to accept a helping hand when it is needed.

    • Being forced to sit still and spend time with yourself can be quite enlightening. After a lifetime of living the “harden up! Dig deep! Work through the pain! Girls can do anything!” ethos I’m having to learn to listen to my body and accept help. Pride and ego….lucky every day’s a school day๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I am really sorry you have had so many problems. I find it difficult to ask for help too, especially when others aren’t about when they are most needed and time is of the essence! I don’t have livestock to tend but even some jobs around the house can’t wait for ever to be done. I am pleased you are on the mend, again! Take care ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh my, oh my! What a month you have had. Is it something in the stars, do you think? Our March has been pretty miserable, too. Hope that knee heals completely and that you are soon back to doing the things you love. I must say that you have charming company. The picture of the cat and dog are utterly adorable. I had to show it to my husband.

    • The dog and kitten take my rest and recuperation very seriously๐Ÿ™‚ March has certainly been troublesome here. Let’s hope the stars sort themselves out and we can all get on with life uninterrupted. The knee gets better every day for which I am very thankful… Initially I thought I’d wrecked it for good.

  4. Hi, Having sheep run over the top of you is a pretty forceful way to finally learn a lesson. And yes, keep off ladders. If the firies and ambos had their way, ladders would be confiscated from anybody over 50 years. One of the challenges of aging is accepting that physically, it is not a good idea to pretend you still have the body of a 30 year old. I am glad no permanent damage has been done and your healing is progressing well so you will be able to answer the call of the great outdoors again.

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