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Christmas Ewe by RonChristmas 2005...

The weather outside is frightful and once again, frigid weather is becoming a tiresome and unwelcome tradition as winter has arrived with another of its early vindictive blasts.  Cold mornings, coupled with  howling winds, find us thankful that we are still snug and warm in our little mountain top retreat!  In the twelve years we have been in residence here, this is the worst stretch of subfreezing weather we have encountered, and winter isn't even officially here yet... so much for global warming!

In mid-January, Elizabeth was finally cleared by her surgeon to start hobbling around after two months of being flat on her back in bed.  Eureka!!!  She actually cried when she was finally able to get back into the barn and see her "woolies! " The doctor was concerned about her walking on uneven surfaces and wanted to keep her out of the barn for a spell longer, but there was no holding her back.  This was the start of her physical therapy... although not quite what the doctor had in mind!

Our flock was seriously attacked by several wild dogs in early February. Elizabeth (who was not quite yet ready for prime time) was pressed into service helping with first aid.  Our dairy farm neighbor, Beau Leech, came over and helped Ron wrestle the most seriously injured ewes into the truck to get them up the hill to the barn. Elizabeth began cutting away wool from the wounds to triage the wounded ewes while awaiting the veterinarian's arrival.  Although the vet spent over three hours working on the ewes and suturing the wounds, we still had to put down several of the worst injured.  A sad day, although we had little time for mourning, since our shearing day was scheduled for February 10th, just a few days hence.

March came in, not like a lion, but like a lamb... except for one minor detail. Elizabeth's surgeon told her that she would need additional surgery on her left foot!  Needless to say, we were not overly enthusiastic about that news.  Elizabeth had just started driving again, which made the trips to physical therapy more manageable, and with newborn lambs coming, we didn't need further complications in our lives just then!  We jointly (no pun intended) decided to delay that surgery decision until next year.

In April, Barrie and Claire Brozenske stopped by on their way homeward bound and gave us a helping hand with some of those irksome chores that we never seem to get caught up with around the farm, and just in time to greet some of our first newborn lambs!  We had a bumper crop this year with 25 ram and 13 ewe lambs, including five sets of triplets: not the norm, considering the fact that the ewes only have teats for two!  Left below, one set of triplets have already figured it out, and below right, Claire and Elizabeth are having a weigh-in for one of the newborns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, spring is a busy time here on the farm!  Above left, triplet orphans being bottle fed... every two hours (their mom, after an emergency Caesarian section delivery, succumbed to complications resulting from the dog attack)!  The ewe above left, was also wounded in the wild dog attack.  You can see healing scars on her legs, above right.  Still, she is dutifully feeding her little one.

 

In May, Elizabeth's mother passed away, she was 88.  And in June, a dear friend Rachel Smith also passed away.  She was a second mother to Elizabeth and a loving nanny (Foo Foo) to our daughter, Eva.  Ronís first wife, Barbara, 63, mother of Alex and Andrea, died suddenly on November 5th of complications resulting from diabetes.

Then Eva's family brightened up our days when they arrived for a visit to the farm at the end of June.  Alex also managed to arrange his schedule to join in the fun.  Granddaughter Gina has become the latest master of the "wolf pack." That is: Dora, Gailen, Mac, Wil, Bear and Harley!

Adam has become the pilot of the Pathfinder... and his driving included a solo trip down from the house to the stock barn driving Ron's big field tractor!  Ah, life on the farm... here Ron, Dora, Gina, Harley and Adam say "cheese,"  then 'all aboard!'  Below, Ron and grandson Adam busily at work, cleaning up a huge diseased hemlock tree.  Many of our hemlock and dogwood trees have succumbed to blight from a mysterious imported insect infestation. 

But life isn't 'all work and no play' here either. Elizabeth and Ron frequently snatch moments in the garden whenever they can.  Carl and Elaine Wickstrom, who have been perennial visitors, missed their trip this year.  They did send us a "care package" with several more hosta and daylily varieties from their Golden Skep Gardens, to add to our collection.  We will be looking for their contributions to poke their heads up in the Spring!

Whether just relaxing in the garden or cutting hay, chasing sheep, delivering lambs or celebrating our heritage at one of the local festivals, Elizabeth and I are having a great time.  Sure, we have bad days and our bones creak a little more with each passing year, but hell, nothing is perfect!

The first snowfall has already blanketed the mountain tops hereabouts... and we too are already counting the days until we can pop our heads up again in the Spring!

We heard from Dick Pabst and Joe Rola one June day this summer... they called from somewhere out sailing on Buzzard's Bay.  Aye me hearties, sip one or two for us! 

We heard from another lost soul in November, Marilyn Sanderson, who sent a care package to Elizabeth.   To all those who stay in touch and those who have misplaced us, remember...

We don't want to lose touch with each of you, even if it is only through this Holiday Letter once a year.  Do come and see us if you can, or drop us a line if you can't, and let us know how your lives are faring! 

"Friends are the notes in lifeís song and

a memory is a photograph taken by the heart!"

First Snow Fall

... what more can we say than that, except...

Have a great Holiday Season and a very prosperous Year 2006!

 

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