October 29, 2016

Saying Good bye

We had to say good bye to a friend today.

Junior and his brother Buddy were the first two animals we brought to the farm.  We moved here 2005.  The farm was owned by a family who ran horses in the pastures.  We spent the first year moving fences, reseeding the pastures and prepping for animals.  Then in the spring of 2006 we found a couple of rams for sale at a near-by farm.  The brothers were under a year old and sweet animals.  The owners brought them to our farm in the back of a Subaru hatchback with a sheet thrown down.

As they grew they battled with each other.  Some times we would come home to find one or both bloody from ramming.  Buddy also was very aggressive with us. So when it was time to choose which to keep and breed with, we chose Junior.

Shortly after that, Jeremy's Grandpa called and asked us if we could take a bummer calf that had been bottle fed by the neighbor girl and now would not go out to the pasture.  Gladys moved in with Junior and became fast friends.  They would head butt too.  However, Gladys grew quickly and got very big.  Junior quick trying to play with her when she got fed up being rammed, put her head under his belly and threw him.

Junior was a loving soul.  His warm eyes were always gentle and playful.  But he was strong and had no idea that he could do damage.  If you hopped the fence to see him and you weren't ready he would knock you to the ground.  One afternoon, our neighbor Lola came over with a cast on her arm.  She was asked by another neighbor who was having their tree pruned if she could move Junior so they could clean up the branches.  We weren't home and Lola thought since Junior was so sweet, that she could move him by tempting him with some oats.  When she opened the gate, he thought she was there to play and rammed her.  She fell over, realizing she should not be trying to move him. As she got up and turned to leave, he rammed her again and broke her arm.  She was embarrassed when she came over to tell me because, as she said "I know better than going in with a ram."

But with a fence separating you from him, Junior was a lover.  He would come a-running when he saw anyone coming.  He would run down to the road to greet walkers and kids on bikes.  He loved getting his nose rubbed and the treats people brought.  Junior was almost famous in our little area.

He was also loud.  When you opened the front door, he heard it and would call out for oats or hay.  Is call was short and loud - BA!  I remember when a friend of mine came to visit.  She was from Seattle and not a farm-type person.  She arrived at night, pulled up and got out.  I heard Junior call to her.  I opened the door and she said "What the hell was that?!"  "That's our boy Junior."

About a year ago Junior feet started giving him trouble.  We treated for hoof-rot, but he never showed any symptoms of hoof-rot.  We trimmed and trimmed his hooves.  But nothing worked.  Then his knees started to swell with arthritis.  We treated that with aspirin and molasses.  Finally he was too sore to go out and graze.  We moved him from his pasture to the pig pen (we didn't raise pigs this year).  That way we could easily feed him and he could be next to the ewes.  Notag, our matriarch ewe, would lay against the fence and him on the other side.

For a while, he stayed the same, but the past week or so he stopped getting up to eat, even when we were serving oats.  He lost a lot of weight.  So we called Dr. Scott.

Tonight, Jeremy, Jordan and I all sat petting his nose and telling him we love him as he passed away.  We buried him under his favorite tree in his pasture.  We will miss him dearly.

Junior with Jordan when he first came to the farm.
Playing in the snow.
This is how I will remember him the most - getting some love through the fence.

Our handsome boy.

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