Thursday, February 26, 2009

Darkness and Lights

Life ain't pretty nearly as much as it ought to be. Farming is a good way to understand this very well. Our dear donkey Gladys had a terrible surprise for us yesterday, and spent much of the day with our vet. Gladys and Jose came to live with us four years ago when their then owners got real jobs in Washington DC.

Now, Jose is a 'real' boy, but these two have been together more than 10 years, and Gladys has never been pregnant before.

Well, when I went out to give them breakfast yesterday, it was obvious something was very, very wrong with our girl. The vet came out straight away, and upon examining her, said "You've got a dead foal in there". Imagine our shock and horror. So, Gladys got an epidural, the foal was pulled out, and we are both astounded and utterly heartbroken. We have no doubt, though, that Gladys will be just fine. She is so tough. Thank goodness.

So how did we not know that she had been pregnant for 11 months? Well, she is naturally very round, but still. What's more, when the vet came out to examine her this morning, she said that the problem might have been that the foal was just too big, as our petite little lady has, she said, as much room in her uterus as a full sized mare. He was a big, beautiful, long-legged foal, and I wish we had gotten the chance to know him.

Though with an aching heart, I had to plant the tomatoes today. Time hurtles forward. It is still a bit chilly, even in the greenhouse, to plant warm soil loving seeds, so I have been scheming up, in my "poor man's" fashion, a way to supplement their warmth. I had read about folks who were using christmas lights for this purpose, and thought it sounded like a plan. Do you know how much those fancy germination mats cost??? Way too much.

So, starting with my super fancy professional grade greenhouse benches (those are buckets and pallets, people, and they work just swell), we strung our old fairy lights in between the slats.

A couple of layers of greenhouse plastic on top, to prevent them from getting wet and soiled:

And voila. Cozy and warm. Happy little roots commence growing.


John Gray said...

a very interesting blog!
thak you

Will said...

I am so sad to hear about the baby. Best wishes to the donkeys.

Amy said...

How amazing, to so clearly describe the grace in such a heartbreaking story. All my love to you guys.