Antaya Acres Heritage Farm

  (Silverwood, Michigan)
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Heartbreak on the Homestead

Yesterday started out a lot like most days here on the farm: up at dawn to throw hay for the sheep and the pigs.  Its a good opportunity to peruse your animals and make sure everyone is happy and healthy.  Its the only birds eye view I get of them all throughout the day.  While I am out daily intermingling through the flock and the herd.  Its the morning feeding when I get the best comprehensive view.  We throw the hay down from the bed of our F-350 flatbed, so at that time in the morning I can see everyone.  Or I can usually see everyone.  As I looked out yesterday, my eyes wandered through the lines of animals, and I noticed Aries, didn't come.  Cordelia is close to delivering what I am sure are triplets and my initial thought was that as a leadersheep - maybe something had happened with her and he was back looking over her.  I finished feeding and Alex, our 14 year old daughter went back to look for him.  He wasn't there either.  Then I knew something was wrong.  Icelandic leader rams are diligent, and Aries, our big spotted fellow, was always true to form.  We walked the yard, and there he was..down on his side.  There wasn't a mark on him, but he must have passed in the night, because his beautiful wool had already frozen to the snow.  He is our first loss to our flock, and the first adult animal we have lost here.  We have been blessed in that.  As I tried to loose him from the snow, my dog Eclipse, nosed his hind quarters to try and get him to stand.  He didn't understand it either.  I explained to Eclipse that he wasn't coming with us this time, and I scratched his neck.  Alex and I laid him on the boards and we said goodbye.  For some farms, its part of 'the way things are'..its 'what happens on a farm'.  For us, we lost our friend - and I will miss the beauty and grace of him for a long time as I look out at the others.  His legacy lives on here.  His lambs will be here soon.  But he was life, created by God to serve a purpose here on our farm - and he's gone.  Goodbye my friend.

Stephanie Antaya

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