Sunday, November 1, 2009

Abraram gone

Pictures: The mountain where our firewood came from, and the woodpile.

Today started out with a spot of difficulty. Snorri had decided sometime during the night to exit his pen, where he's been no trouble for several days, and go over to see Lark (the too-stupid-to-breed ewe), who had come into heat.

Unfortunately, Abraram took offense, and as his pen was next to the one where Larkie and her mother and aunts were, he was able to at least try to do something about it. He battered into his own fence and got stuck, I guess, and then he and Snorri must have gone at it.

Rams will beat each other to death if you let them.

This morning Abe was obviously in bad shape, stupified, dazed, bloody, and caught in the fence. Even after I got him free, he just stood there reeling. Knuckleheads.

It was the last straw. After calling Aimee out of bed to witness that this was the right thing to do, I put Abe down with the rifle right there. He didn't feel much. I shot him right in the back of the head.

Two rams on one farm can only work, I think, if you have a Yorkshire-style stone byre with solid stone walls and separate rooms for each ram.

I hung Abe with the bucket loader and cut him up for ramburger, but only saved the four quarters. He was so old and stinky, I couldn't imagine how nasty his gralloch would be, and didn't want to find out. I froze the quarters whole, because the day was too warm to hang anything, and will eventually grind them up for burger, or more likely sausage, mixed with the fatback from our pig and enough sage and onion to cover the ram flavor.

We know some people, and know of more people, who keep animals as pets and would never think of putting them down like this, or eating them.

For us, this is a working farm, albeit a small one, and although we try to treat our animals well, we can't afford romanticism. It was the foolish promise to the folks who sold us the starter herd that kept Abe alive these last couple years since the only ewes we had that were not his daughters or granddaughters were, one by one, retired.

It was time for him to go. I was kind of glad to have the excuse.

Once all that was sorted, it was time to get on with the regular chores I had planned. I took off to Dixmont with the pick-em-up truck to get a cord of firewood from a fellow I met a few years ago that owns a mountain close by where I hike a lot.

This is a working forest and I found him cutting wood for firewood, but also as a tree release cut, improving the stand of oak, beech, and other good furniture saw logs.

Three loads with the six foot bed is a cord or a bit more. I need one more cord like this, I think, and I'll be done with fuel for the winter.

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