Lambs need manicures, too

I love manicures.  Although my new years resolution involved eliminating my twice a month gel mani (for over 2 years running…hello, time) and my once a month pedicure (fine, I’m not perfect- I didn’t stick to the pedi, I still go once a month), I quickly learned how to paint my own nails, a skill that I didn’t actually acquire until I created this resolution to help me save.  Did I splurge on good OPI and Essie paint so I felt like I was in a nail salon? Ask Ulta.  Do I use this super amazing top coat that costs as much as one single manicure but gets more use than just once?  You betcha.  Worth. Every. Cent. If you know me, you know when I like something, I don’t really change it.  It becomes part of my routine. I quickly realized I loved painting my nails and changing colors every two weeks.  I did promise to treat myself for special occasions/dinners, holidays and my birthday– I now covet that one hour gel manicure.  Shiny, pretty, perfect, just so clean and manicured.

As much as I love manicures, let me fill you in on a little secret, lambs don’t.  This was my first official experience working with the animals on the farm (the first unofficial experience was moving a little guy that didn’t make it).  Let’s start from the beginning…Nellie, the resident Border Collie, herded all the sheep into the catch pen.

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Herding lambs

From there, a coworker from the Dominican Republic and I were showed how handle the lamb (by the face, under the chin) then how to lift him or her onto it’s bum and hold it squeeze it with your thighs…all while in a squatting position.   That’s just half of it. From there, you start work. Let me tell you what, I felt like I was training for a UFC match. It goes something like this: lift to grappling hold, and remember to breathe. Luckily the little shanks don’t bite, but they kick.  Forget the aforementioned training for an UFC match, little did I know, I was already in the middle of match, penned up against the wall in a catch pen that would be better suited shaped as an octagon with a metal cage around the perimeter.  I’m not sure if anything can prepare you for lifting animals, except for lifting animals.  The next time this is set on the agenda, remind me to skip my morning workout.

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Staring into my eyes…it’s like they knew.

UFC Champion

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#teamwork

It’s important to keep the lambs hooves clipped.  Just like our hands and feet, they need to be cleaned up.  After their hooves are cut down, you take a nice whiff of your prized cuticle cleanup, that is, after dirtying your own nail bed and what’s left of your manicure, to see if there is a scent…ewe (pun intended).  If there is, the lamb may need to be treated.  I’ll compare this to paraffin wax, sometimes you just need that little extra oomph. Before you let the lamb go, you must check it’s eyes for any parasites. All the lambs are treated holistically with homeopathic nutrients, and only if they are showing signs of sickness.

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gettin in there!

As Anyeli and I got started and figured out our system (I hold, clip the opposite hoof she is working on), we followed the directions that were left with us.  I was puzzled as to why they didn’t understand that I was doing something good for them, why aren’t they coveting this pampering like I do? Wanna switch spots? Didn’t they know that I was going to make their feet feel better? Oh, right, it’s an animal and they don’t understand those things I guess?? As each lamb was done, it was released from the octagon catch pen as had been done before. We finished a few by ourselves until we called it quits for the day…little did we know.

I rounded up Nellie to move the ducks out of the pond.  She actually listened to me, unlike the ducks (some needed a physical lift because they just didn’t get it). This took all of about 5 minutes.  I was really excited.  Not so bad.  And now want a border collie to call commands to.  Even though I don’t have animals in the burbs. Oh well.

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Now departing from the water

En route to home

En route to home

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Good job, Nellie!

Then it was time to move the lambs.  Wait, where were they? OH MY THIS IS BAAAAAAAAAD (pun intended, again).  We hopped on the gator with Nellie on a search to find the them.  For the love of lamb, how far could they have gone?

Lesson learned #1. Ensure all gates are closed before you release animals.  They don’t walk, they run.  Talk about Lamb of the Free.  The world was at their perfectly manicured feet.  Did these lambs really run away on my first week at the farm?

We couldn’t find them.  We had no choice– find Elaine before she left the farm to catch a plane. Surprisingly, she wasn’t angry, (meanwhile, I’m flipping out) and told Aneyli and I that animals will teach you lessons in patience and with time; no rushing, ever.  We searched over yonder and beyond.  No sign.  Friday’s rain came and went, still no sign.  Was I really going to go into the weekend with these lambs that went AWOL?  I wanted to go AWOL.

By day’s end I was exhausted.  And filthy.  I was covered in lamb feces, medicine, blood and sweat.  My hunter boots were worn for what they were intended to do, work.

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Countless prayers to St. Anthony later, the lambs showed up yesterday and are now finally back at the farm.  Safe and sound.  I actually enjoyed the challenge of working with the lambs!  Those lucky lambs get manicures more than I do, about every 6 weeks until November, more stories and bad lamb puns and jokes to follow.

My first week was lamb jam-packed.  Here’s a shorter re-cap.

Meet my new co-workers…

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Puka

Let me tell you what, working on the computer and being snuggled by a pup all day is seriously calming.

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Say “Hi!” to Tiki and Puka

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The newest member to the family, Murphy!!

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And finally, Nellie, who you already met, seen here, TCB, of course and showing those ducks who’s boss.

Also last week I had a meeting to discuss a private event for a party of 24 in Middleburg, VA.  We discussed menu and set-up.

Heres a sneak peak of the menu: it involves mint and honey lamb chops, prime rib and a citrus chicken. Photos to follow next week.

To keep the events organized, and without an event management system, I created what is referred to in the hosptality industry as “Banquet Event Order,” or “BEO.”  But here’s the catch. We aren’t a restaurant.  And we won’t ever be.  But the need for catering will occasionally arise.  So, I created a new document, a “FEO,” … wait for it… a “Farm Event Order.”  Clever, right?

I finished the week in my happy place, the kitchen.  The menu: Corn and Avocado Salsa, Tarragon Chicken Salad with Quinoa/Apples/Grapes, TexMex Chili and Cheese Platters with Jam.

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Corn and Avocado Salsa

This week is already flying by, with no signs of slowing down.  Big plans  for the entire weekend; food prep for Friday night, Saturday patio service and Sunday’s event. I’ll be in the kitchen from Thursday-Sunday, where I belong, luckily watching from afar the lambs in their field right where they belong, grazing in the grass, with their clean, happy feet and all.  I know my manicurist would be proud.

—–

I had an absolutely wonderful weekend away at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland, hence the few extra days it took me to update y’all. I’m back now, and figuring out my new routine, and I thank you for being a part of it!

—–

the very best, always,

Ally

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3 thoughts on “Lambs need manicures, too

  1. To be fair, if someone had scary, aggressive-seeming dogs as big as you were chase you and all your friends and family into a tiny room, from which you were then one by one bodily lifted and dragged out by monsters twice your size, and then they firmly grabbed your hands and feet and stretched them out at odd and uncomfortable angles and started waving sharp objects around them and cutting bits off and applying strange things to ’em you would be pretty terrified too!

    • HA you are right! I completely agree…but I promise I wasn’t waving those sharp objects ;). I’m patiently waiting to figure out how to really conquer this task, but with it only every 6 weeks that’s not a lot of practice until we don’t need to cut anymore.

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