Ridgetop - our place and how we muddle along

Ridgetop

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Littlest one did not make it but not for lack of determination. She fought hard and died this evening. I wonder if something was wrong with her since she had no suck reflex. She stood for hours, dribbling saliva from her mouth for most of that time even after I suctioned her out several times. Then she would start shaking like having a mini seizure. Then she would calm back down. Then start doing it all over again. Sad, but the other two are looking ok. The ram lamb is very thin, and I will try him on a supplemental bottle tomorrow since the ewe still doesn't look like she has much milk. The larger ewe lamb with the hair coat is looking pretty good. She is the one I want to keep since she is out of Lewis. The small ewe lamb would have been a Lewis bonus, but it wasn't to be. Probably would have survived without the move to TX, but the ewe did not look like she was developing any udder for the past weeks.

Anyway, we got home last night and survived the major rainstorm that came through. No hail though, and it only lasted for about 5 hours. Left the Priefert gate panels in the trailer. This morning DH unloaded all the panels out of the trailer and moved them over into the barnyard where we decided to put up a new ram pen. A tree for shade, and plenty to eat between the rye grass hay on the ground and the growing Bermuda. The safety gated pen was completely grazed down to the ground. DH was adamant he wanted to move them today. I sorted out the corral clamps we would need and began connecting the panels. We started by putting the first panel at the backyard fence and worked toward the barn. I told DH we could use 8 panels and have 2 left for the barn gates but he decided to build the pen out of all 10. Because we were building it using the backyard fence and the safety pen fence as 2 sides we got a nice large pen for them. I decided that we can use it as a breeding pen once we move Moyboy and JR to the other ram pen. Close enough to the house to check on the crayon markings and write down the numbers. Once we finished putting all the panels together we were beat. DH had to take several breathers while unloading those panels and dragging them into position. I sorted out enough clamps but realized that we are lacking bolts for most of the clamps. Since we have had these clamps for the better part of 30 years, it is not surprising that most of the bolts had become rusty, bent, or otherwise useless and were tossed. I just bought a box of 100 nuts so now will have to go buy a box of 100 bolts! This winter or summer when it is too wet or hot to go outside and work, I will spread a towel on the table and sort the clamps into pairs that fit together. Since they were all bought at different times and for different corral or kennel panels, the clamps are also different sized. Having to root through the bucket of clamps and try to find same-sized clamps took longer than necessary when we were trying to finish today.

Once we were done with the pen we came inside and I took a shower. I had been feeling worse and having trouble breathing so we went to SS where DH dropped me off at Urgent Care. It was my turn to get a steroid shot for the cough and breathing difficulties, and a prescription. While I was doing that DH went to Lowes and TSC for a T-post puller. Both stores were out. Big run on T-Post pullers apparently. We went to the Co-Op and got one ($60 :th) but necessary since DH had put a T-post in to stabilize the gate panels and then decided I should run the pen around the tree instead of in front of it. The post went in fine, but contrary to the laws of physics what went it did NOT come out. While DH struggled, panted, and swore he could get it out I insisted we just get a tool for removing T-posts without damage. We also needed some more wire grapples for the fencing that is almost finished. They are making the gates now, but are short 15 grapples. The Co-op usually carries them but did not have any, nor did Atwoods, fix & Feed, or Lowes. We went to all of those stores before going back to WalGreens for my prescriptions. Walgreens was having computer problems and the prescriptions would take 2 hours! We went to Walmart for groceries and then home.

Once we got home we had to rush to put away the groceries and feed. DH went to hitch the trailer. He had a plan to move the rams to their new pen. It took a lot of time and was complicated. First, we used the 16' stock panel to pen the rams in a tiny corner of the safety pen again. They were getting used to this and i fgave them a small ratio of pellet. Then DH moved the trailer into the safety pen and we closed and locked the gate. Next, we opened the safety pen gate into the pasture. DH drove into the pasture, turned around, and went back into the safety pen. At this point I should explain that the "safety pen" is a secondary gated enclosure. All vehicles, truck, trailer, tractors, haying equipment, etc. enter the primary driveway gate to this enclosure. Then the gate is closed behind them. The secondary gate from this enclosure into the trailer is then opened for the vehicles to enter the pasture. This was devised to protect the dogs and livestock from getting near the highway where vehicles travel between 70 and 80 mph. Speed limits in Texas are apparently just suggestions. :lol: Anyway, there is a lot of walking between these gates to open and close them since the area is about 100'+ long by about 30+' wide.

Once DH had turned around and reentered the safety enclosure the work began. He backed the trailer up to the edge of the fence right where the rams were held. His idea was that he would bend the stock panel around enough to allow the rams to leap happily into the trailer through the slide gate. He ignored me when I told him that they only did that when entering from either a ramp, or DS1 physically lifting them in. OK. Fine. Following his instructions I climbed into the trailer and exited into the tiny holding area. I untied the ends from the fence and DH proceeded to try to bend the panel. It was too stiff to bend the amount he needed. He told me to "run the rams into the trailer". I replied that it was impossible since the panel was still blocking half of the side gate leaving a mere 15 " for the 3 large rams to "hop in". DH was not pleased with me and kept trying to bend the panel more. I went and got grain and some alfalfa which I made a big show of putting into the pan and waving the alfalfa under their noses. They were tempted but that tiny opening wasn't going to work.

I told DH that we would have to change the plan a bit. I would untie the stock panel at the other end and we would slide it along until the panel allowed the gate to be opened. Once the panel was secured in its new location, the rams still were not interested in entering the dark trailer through the slide gate. I told DH I would open the swing gate. With the large opening the young rams were encouraged to enter using the flags. (Love those flags!) Moyboy still didn't want to jump into the trailer Not surprising as he is 5 years old and his wool sheds out into his base coat and sticks there. With all that shed wool just sitting on him he is as wide as he is long. In other words- HUGE! In the meantime, the young rams were sucking down the pellets and would soon turn around and dash for the open door. Climbing into the trailer I unlatched and closed the forward compartment gate trapping them in the front with the grain. I pulled the alfalfa into the rear half to encourage Moyboy. Still no luck. He did not want to jump into the trailer. I didn't blame him. Getting up there was not as easy for me either as it had been some years ago and I was not carrying around 100 lbs. of extraneous wool. I need to shear him when DS1 arrives for his own health and comfort. I told DH we needed a ramp and one of the horse halters. (The sheep halters are still in California. 🙄) He went into the barn and I could hear him yelling that "someone had taken the board which he had left right here on the floor of the barn". It was hiding under the loose hay the ewes had spread around the alfalfa-eating crime scene. He finally found it and I propped it on the tailgate. Then I used the horse halter and tied it around Moyboy who was "hiding" in the corner. Obviously in sheep logic if he couldn't see the trailer, it wasn't really there. Gently putting on the halter I managed to coax him to the open end of the trailer. There was the enticing flake of alfalfa in the trailer. One foot on the ramp, two feet, and he fell off the side. Undaunted, we tried again and he was in and chomping on the hay. Coco, who had escaped from the barn and been under our feet for the past hour, was in there with him so I slammed the gate on them both. The rams were quietly eating, Coco was screaming her distress and indignation that mommy had locked her in the trailer! Aaah, to be a sheep owner.

Now for the second or was it the third? part of DH's ingenious plan. Once again, we did the whole safety enclosure gate dance and he pulled out onto the highway, turned the trailer around, and drove back through the enclosure into the pasture. As he was turning around on the field I noticed a ewe was loose. :mad:I really needed to get the rest of the wire up on those corral panels. DH backed up to the open corner of the new pen. We opened the gate and out Moyboy came accompanied by Coco. I unlocked the front partition and the two young rams followed Moyboy to the delicious grass and hay. They didn't look back as I tied the gate panels together. DH went to get the water tub for the rams and transfer it to the new pen. Then it was time to put the escaped ewe back in the night pen along with Coco who went into the creep. It usually took CoCo some time to work her way through the flock and out whatever hole she and half the lambs were using to escape. This gave us time to get back to the house. DH opened the gate to the night pen and stood by it while I went to find and chase the ewe back in. No ewe.
:barnie This is a trick they play just to make us crazy. I really really need to get the rest of the wire up on those corral panels! I told DH that she was nowhere in sight, and he said that if she was out, she could stay out. As he walked back to the truck three sheep came running into the barn obviously planning a midnight raid on the remaining alfalfa. Driving them out we noticed that DH had just walked away from the open pen gate. Unpleasant things were said. It was 8pm. Fatigue was starting to tell. DH did the safety enclosure dance again. I went inside to heat supper.

I will pick up the prescriptions tomorrow and try Hootens in Emory for the grapples. DH is leaving at 9 am with Larry to pick up the generator. I will call Cody to see if Payton can come over and unload it this weekend with the tractor. I also have to return the clamp-on hinge receivers that DH bought. He was supposed to buy the clamp-on hinge pins since the gates came with receivers. Oops! We are thinking that by adding the clamp-on pins we can make the gates into easily assembled and movable panels. Anyway, I will do errands tomorrow while DH is gone with Larry. I would rather be working on the house, but these things have to get done.

Monday DH plans to go back to Priefert and get more of the gate panels. Since he used the 10 panels for the ram pen, we still need two 12' gates to close off the barn and protect the precious bales of alfalfa. DS1 will be bringing more alfalfa when he comes out and we need to be able to store it and keep it safe from all the animals that like to escape and feast. DH has decided that he likes the Priefert panels as corral panels. For the quality the seconds are good value. We culd not see anything that made them "seconds". They looked perfect to us. I will turn the horses out tomorrow. There is one little snag in that plan. The metal pasture troughs are lacking the drain plugs! I removed them and had them safely in a Ziploc bag in my desk in CA. I remember packing them in one of those safe places I use. They are probably with the shelf supports for the bookcases and my desk. LOL Now I have to find them so the troughs can be filled with water for the horses. Skittles and Josie The Mule might find the ponds, or they might not, so water is needed in the pasture.

Speaking of water, the water from the well is not appetizing. DH is not sure whether the pump is pulling up dirt with the water or the tank is rusty. The water looks kind of rusty and dirty and also has some sort of oily sheen sometimes. DH said he will drain the well tank this weekend and see how the water looks when it refills. If the problem is the tank, that might help clean up the water. We need to see if the well can be salvaged - at least for the garden watering and the livestock.

Exhausted and going to bed. I think DH already went since the TV is off. Tomorrow the generator, errands, and finally maybe picture hanging in the office. :fl
 

Ridgetop

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Actually, I am wondering if she actually got some colostrum from the mama. Th second lamb that was active yesterday is dying today. His belly was full, so he has been nursing. I took a good look at the ewe's udder. One side is smaller than the other and is turning a darker color. I saw this before on a dairy doe with mastitis. A really bad type of mastitis called black mastitis. It was a form of gangrenous mastitis and the doe was dead in 2 days. Naturally she was one of DS2's best does - Lucky Star first pick we had shipped down from the Hoys. And a first freshener. There is no cure for it in 99% of cases.
Hopefully this is a different type of mastitis. If we can catch her and tie her to the corral bars with ropes around her body as well as head and neck, I will hobble her and try to get some mastitis tubes into the teats. She is a very large ewe and one of the less tame ones so it will be unpleasant for DH and me as well as for her. Not even sure we can confine her enough to do it. And the squeeze is not anywhere we can get to it. We will try. Depressing.

In the meantime, the largest doe kid is doing well. I think since she was larger and stronger she got the good udder side. The one dying with the full belly today may have been poisoned by the mastitis side milk. She is currently in the dog crate that I dragged back into the kitchen. She had mama's colostrum and milk, so I just have to get her on a bottle tonight. I need a name and DGD1 is not around so maybe I will be trite and just call her "Lucky" if she makes it. She is alert and seems fine so :fl .

The fence around the side yard and with gates to the front and into the carport is up and finished. It looks good and is secure so the dogs can come up to the house for their suppers. I need to take tweezers to the barn to remove the ticks from Ozel tonight. I was so busy today I couldn't do it this morning. The fence people ran out of the T-clips. None of the stores in Sulphur springs that usually carry them had them. I called Hootens in Emory this am and they had either a box of 25 for $45 or a bucket of 100 for $300! Hootens is high priced but have everything. Since they only needed another 15 clips I had them hold for the 25 pack. Dashed off this am to pick them up just as Larry arrived to go to Longview with DH and get the Generac. While I was there I renewed my TX Ag certificate. Drove home and handed over the clips before heading to SS Lowes. Levi said he had gotten the wrong size screws to drill into the brick of the house. Since I had to go to Lowes I said I would pick them up. Also a masonry/concrete drill bit since theirs wasn't working. I got the stuff I needed at Lowes then went to pick up my prescriptions from yesterday. Waited in the drive thru at Walgreens for about 10 minutes then when it was my turn they wanted to charge me $35vfor my prescription We have very good prescription insurance - $5 for generic and $10 for a specific name brand. Gave her my insurance card and after 20 minutes she came back and told me I must not have prescription insurance since they couldn't verify it on my card. I told her that we had the same coverage for years, that I was visiting here and they should check my California address. I also said that I would go call the insurance company and return later for the prescription but that my husband had just gotten prescriptions filled and it went through the insurance for $5 each. She looked DH up and said that she found me too but that it didn't register on my card. Anyway, with a line of about 6 cars behind me waiting for half an hour, I finally got my pills and left. I think a couple people pulled out, parked, and went in to get their prescriptions. Sorry folks.

Got home just as the fencers finished. Levi attached the last portion of the fence to the house - there was an offset of about 18" between the wall of the carport and the fence so he had to run a short span from the gatepost to the house. I told DH we could plant some sort of vine in that space and let it climb up the wire. Or maybe just shrubs. In the meantime, DH had gotten home with the Generac in the pickup. Levi took his skid steer and unloaded it for DH and set it on the concrete pad. The pad was from the original HVAC. The new HVAC unit is smaller, they poured or set a pad for it outside our bedroom window and moved the smaller unit there. Only noticeable when we open the windows at night but since I turn off the AC at night when they are open it is no problem. Moving the new HVAC and heat pump unit left a pad exactly the right size for the generator. :D =D Now we just have to get the propane guy out to install the tank and hook to the generator. And the electrician to hook the generator to the panel and we will be all set. With the crazy storm season and expected heat waves this summer, I am glad we will have it hooked up. DS1 feels the heat badly and would totally go to a motel with our credit card if the power went out this summer while he is here.

In the meantime, back at the ranch (California) . . . DS1 has finally gotten the plumbing finished under the kitchen sink, washed and sprayed all the drywall, wood, etc. with bleach to mitigate any possible mold, put in a new plywood floor where he cut it out to get into the crawl space, and rebuilt the cabinet flooring and back. DD1 and DSIL1 have gone to a his college reunion at Yale. Their children have been farmed out to relatives since Grandma and Grandpa are not there. Elizabeth went to spend the long weekend with DD2, cousin Maisie and Annabel. They are apparently having a great time. We got pix. The boys went to our house. They had to go under the crawlspace of the house to work with DS1 on the plumbing, do fire clearance on the weeds that have grown up since the sheep left, and the picture I got of them "enjoying" their weekend was of DGS1 doing dishes. I remarked on the sadness of Cinderdavid and Cinderdaniel and their life of labor compared to the picture of Princesses Elizabeth and Maisie reclining on the sofabed in front of the TV with snacks. The sadness was alleviated by the fact that both boys were earning money doing the weed wacking and especially crawling under the house. The cats used to take their prey under there, and I know that some rabbits used to live under there so probably crawling through skeletal remains, not to mention cobwebs, etc. Not such a horror for David but Daniel has a horror of dirt. He is the one that tries to restrain lambs for vaccinations and docking with 2 fingers. :gigHe does have a guinea pig and has to clean out the cage himself which he is very conscientious about. So I guess not a changeling after all.

I gave the dead newborn lamb from yesterday to Rika today and she ate it. Erick says that is what they are supposed to do to keep carrion cleaned up that would attract predators. He lets his dogs eat whatever kids or goats die on his property. They do not bother the newborns, goats or poultry at all. I will say that when we had a ewe lamb on the hill years ago and one of her lambs died, our first Pyrenees (and best Pyr) brought the dead lamb to the back door to me. Obviously, this is a trait of good guardian dogs. Got to go feed before the rain comes in this afternoon.
 

SageHill

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Oh Geeze. Sorry about the ewe. Hope you can get her cleared up. So sad about the first lamb, I hope you can get the second one to pull through - if anyone can do it you can. Fingers crossed the third one keeps doing well.
Wish you had access to your squeeze A that would make treating the ewe easier - of course she had to be one of the less tame ones.
 

Ridgetop

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Brought Ozel up to the house with our new backyard fence! She wouldn't eat her supper and DH was worried. Still wouldn't eat although she ate breakfast in the am. Heat or humidity too much? Maybe only feed in the am once we don't have to give Rika any more pain pills or steroids - another 2 days of meds. Bringing Ozel up allowed me to remove 2 fat ticks and a new small one. I duped them in alcohol. I cant burn them up since they are in one of my tupperware containers. LOL Maybe flush them down with the toilet still in the alcohol. Rika ate ok tonight in spite of devouring half the dead newborn lamb. I will dispose of the rest of it tomorrow. I will bury it or dispose of it in a pastic bag. We have to take our trash to the dump and both lambs can go then. They were very small. I don't want to toss it in a field to attract black vultures.

The other lamb died, and I left it in the pen with the mother hoping she will decide that all her lambs have died and not cry for the one up at the house. I really think it is due to the mastitis since the dead lamb had been nursing and had a full stomach when I went to give him a bottle this morning.

Oh well, these things happen. The last one is a ewe and seems pretty strong. Taking her away before she can get any of the poisoned milk (or any more) should save her. I will be weaning Coco in another 2 weeks. I have decided to wean her at 6-7 weeks. I don't want another Crystal. Some of the lambs are coming up on needing their second dose of CDT. That should be fun :rolleyes: without our good California setup, and without DS1 and Elizabeth to work with the lambs. We wil have to manage although I think now that DS1 has finished the plumbing, he is loading the trailer and getting ready to come out.

DH wants to go get more Priefert panels tomorrow. I will call and see if they are open and still have some 12' panels. We could use the 10' gates as well but I think the 14's would be heavy to handle by one person other than DS1. Besides o want to save money for some of the lightweight panels in Lometa that clip together easily into jugs that can be taken down when not needed. Once we have all the panels and equipment out of the side barn we will probably set it up as a lambing barn with jugs. One of these days.
 

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I douse the ticks in alcohol while they're still on the dog -- they back out in a couple of minutes when I snag them, place them on a paper towel and "steamroll" crack them with cap of the alcohol bottle. Squish crack and in the trash they go.
 

Ridgetop

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Spent the day repairing the corral fencing on the night pen. The lambs and ewes just seem to be able to crawl through - they have ripped down the lightweight netting I put up, so I had to replace it with wire. Luckily, we kept all the scrap pieces from the fencing. I had cut them in half since I did not need 6' panels to keep in the lambs. I rewired the 20' rear wall of the barn where the lambs had torn out the netting. Then I took a lot of other small pieces and spliced them together to use on one another wall into the barn. That wall had cattle panel, which the lambs just scurried through. I have one other section to do tomorrow. The splicing was very hard to do and by the time I was finished splicing 5 sections of wire together my left hand (I am left handed) no longer had the strength to squeeze the pliers. I had to finish with my right hand. LOL Luckily it was cloudy today so not as hot as it could have been and we had a decent breeze.

The little lamb finally decided to drink some milk last night. This morning, she drank more and decided that the bottle might be ok. This afternoon she sucked down 4 ounces pretty quick. I am sure that the other lambs were poisoned by the mastitis milk. We lost a lamb once whose mother had mastitis in one side. The twin survived but was kind of small. I was out of town in Texas and DS1 didn't realize she had a problem since both were nursing. If I had been home, I could have pulled the lamb and bottle fed it but by the time I returned the lamb had died. I culled the ewe and remaining lamb. Live and learn. Mastitis in sheep is harder to see since you are not milking them every day. Tomorrow DH and I will try to tie up the ewe and do a mastitis treatment.

I have gotten the office pretty well in order with bookcases up and filled, desks in place, files in the file cabinets. Now I am hanging framed family photos - that will be the family picture room. I hope i have enough wall space for the pictures. Our 30' hallway in California was our family photo gallery. I sorted out just the ones we liked the most and when I unpacked them here, I was surprised how many I brought. Of course, with 5 children and 9 grandchildren, there are a lot of photos we like. LOL As soon as all those pictures are up, that will be the second room finished. The first one was the big bathroom although I still have to have the shower put in and the shower surround tiled. But finished as far as using it as a guest bathroom. LOL Two rooms down and 7 to go. At least a lot of the boxes are gone now by unpacking the books and photos! Leaving room for more boxes when we bring the rest of our stuff back this summer! LOL

I will have to buy another fridge this summer. I need it for the livestock meds! There will be holiday sales coming up and if necessary, we will get a dorm type fridge for the meds. Our current fridge is small. It is the one that came with the house and the opening needs to be enlarged for a larger one. We will probably just get a giant fridge and put it in the laundry room until I enlarge the kitchen space to move it in there. If ever. LOL

The tool shed needs to be cleared out, heat barrier put in, the shelving replaced, and the cabinets installed. Then the tools can go back in the tool chests. Right now, they are still sitting in boxes in the carport. And in boxes stacked in the shed. When DS1 gets here we will move everything out, redo the shed interior, and put everything in assigned places.

In finally, and cooking dinner. Productive day and still more to do tonight.
 

Ridgetop

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Got a few more pictures hung and then laid out how some more will go over the desk. Have to measure and rearrange to get a nice arrangement of shapes and work around sizes. Have taken a couple of pictures out of the mix - they are cartoons or portraits and will go in the spare bedroom.

Went out early and turned out the sheep. Then moved the horses. They have eaten most of the good stuff out of the 1/4 acre garden area and trampled everything else down. We could probably till everything under and it will make the soil better for next year. But no tiller. Also no tme so will see if gardener wants to do it again.

Skittles and Josie the Mule were thrilled to get their halters on and come out of the garden. They were so thrilled that with one in each hand they started eating the Bermuda greedily. I could hardly get them to move out to go in the large pasture. A couple times I thought Josie the Mule would take off my arm she was so determined to stay behind and eat that lush new grass. Finally i got them in the pasture and of course, Josie tangled the lead rope around Skittles. Trust a mule! I had to let her go to avoid Skittles tripping on the rope. Turned Skittles loose and went after Josie who now thought I wanted to catch her and put her back in the depleted garden area. Eventually I caught her lead rope ad removed the halter. They are out there grazing now thinking they have gone to horsey heaven.

The new wire on the sheep fencing must have done the trick because no one was out this morning. I turned the sheep out and startled a couple black vultures from near the hay rounds. Went to check and sure enough Rika had left the remains of the second lamb carcass there. The vultures perched in the top of a tree watching me in a very sinister manner as I fed the bottle lamb. Then I got the remains of the carcass and tossed it over the fence into the neighboring property. No one lives there. They just tore down the old house that was collapsing, and the property is for sale for an absurd amount of money. There is an old barn but no fencing. There are some old fruit trees in the front - I wonder if they will have fruit this summer. They are so old and have been untended for so long that probably not. I would not mind making an offer if I had the money, but the price is too high for 30 acres of hay fields.

BTW @Margali: The way the dogs ate those newborns was interesting. They ate the head, neck, and shoulders first. It reminded me of how your lamb was eaten last year.
 

Ridgetop

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Took it easy today after the hard day yesterday with wiring up the corrals and even harder work splicing the short pieces of wire together. My hands are still sore from that. One more section left to do but it can wait till tomorrow. DH wants to spend time working in the barn tomorrow. He has some stuff he wants to do in the side barn to block it off from the animals.

After I come in from the barn this am, I did laundry. Then did more photo picture hanging. Got the 2 walls over Marv's corner desk and console file cabinet finished. Still more photos to go up and then the others to put up in the hall. Having all the nice photos of our parents, grandparents, kids, and grandkids up on the walls is nice. The pix of the kids with their animals and sports are good memories. Starting on the wall over the closet and behind the door. Small photos in stand-up frames can go on top of the bookcases. Daddy's U.S. flag and service picture are in a special display frame on top of my desk hutch. Just fits.

Little survivor lamb is doing well. She learned to take the bottle and is taking about 3-4 ounces at a time. Decided to call her Lucky Lulu. Lucky because she was lucky not to die, and Lulu because I like the name. LOL DH took her outside today to feed her and then was washing the poop off the crate towels. She followed him along like a puppy. Soon she will be tripping him up like Coco does now. LOL
 
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