We slept in horribly late this morning, till 0700. Annmarie thought it was decadent, I told her once every couple of months of not getting up at 0500 was not going to hurt us and most people would not consider 0700 sleeping in. I had big plans to go outside and work on the Christmas present but alas it was not so. I was thwarted by the ram one time too many. It happened again, another bummer lamb this morning! This is just not acceptable. As promised I switched my schedule around to accommodate the demise of said ram. After breakfast I had plans to put him down and a helper was coming out at 1130. I would have been at it for a while by then but there was a true emergency that took priority.
One of my mother-in-law’s cats was stuck on her roof and it needed to be brought down. Annmarie and I went down there, me with a large ladder. Annmarie crawled around on the roof top trying to catch the cat who did not want to be caught. There is a large tree next to the house that I am sure assisted the cat onto the roof. I hollered encouragement and comments while she was chasing the cat. It had been up there for 3 days. My reply was it was not hungry enough. Turns out that was true because someone had fed the cat on the roof so it would not get hungry. Annmarie finally managed to corner it on the outside edge of the roof and snagged it. The cat tried to pee on her out of fright. Everyone ended up coming down off the roof safely and my mother-in-law was happy, a job well done. I did actually put the ladder away where it belonged for the first time in six months.
It took both of us over ten minutes of searching to find the 10/22 rifle. I thought it was in the gun cabinet until Annmarie brought me the 243. I was never sure how she knew what rifle to bring as it was always a crap shoot as to what caliber I got when I asked for one. Turns out guessing was her main tool. She did not know that the caliber was written on the barrel and she could just look. We did not find the 22 rifle in the gun cabinet, or the coat closet or the laundry room or anywhere else we thought to look. I gave up and grabbed the ever trusty Walther P22 pistol. Annmarie questioned my choice as the pistol has a questionable kill ratio. We were discussing the merits of the pistol vs my proficiency with it when I spotted the 10/22 rifle leaning up in a corner behind the display case. I had moved it there when I was painting the stairwell wall and had forgotten it. I went with Killer, and put Laser Eyes back in the closet.
We had had multiple discussions about the best way to put down the ram. The general consensus was that a 22LR directly between the eyes would probably not kill him. They have an incredibly thick skull. I opted to test this theory and shot him in the barn near the door from about 15 feet away. He did not do anything but turn and run out the door. I had to wait for the sheep to mill around and get out of the line of sight so if I missed no one else got hurt. I did hit him in the head every time and he did finally go down. Luckily he fell with his head pointed down hill so I was able to cut one set of carotids with a knife and he bled out very well. This is important to keep the meat from tasting as gamey as it could be. By this time my helper had arrived, a slaughter virgin. He had never skinned out or cleaned an animal before.
I got the tractor and the virgin tossed him into the bucket. I tried to back down the hill to the little foot bridge but the hill was causing me to slide into the fence. Next thing I know the virgin was hollering at me because the tractor was on three tires and trying to tip over or slide through the fence. He stood on the upside of the box blade and I was able to pull right out. He didn’t realize that sliding around on three tires and almost tipping over are normal events for me. I lined up on the bridge and drove straight off the hill and over the little bridge and through the little gate. It was faster than going around. I then proceeded to clean out the animal giving instructions to the slaughter virgin. Once cleaned out we hooked onto it with spreading bar and lifted it up onto the skinning pole with the tractor. We then skinned it out and boned it out. The virgin only cut himself twice and managed to not do it so deep that he bled on the meat, extra bonus points for this. I had brought out five knives but no sharpener. We needed the sharpener. It is a lot harder to cut meat with a dull knife. We took it inside, washed it all up and proceeded to turn it into stew meat. I could not bring myself to turn the backstrap and tenderloin into stew meat. I cut it all up into steaks. The ram was incredibly fat! There were huge goblets of fat throughout his entire inner cavity and along the outside of his back and chest. Now that he is no more we are hoping we have to feed less.
As you can see in the picture below, Annmarie is incredibly sad that her nemesis and torturer is gone.
When she went out to feed the sheep tonight there was another set of twins born in the barn. They were both with their mother and bonded and doing well! If this continues it will be worth it. Even if we had just removed him for our safety it was worth it.
It has snowed 2 inches since it got dark tonight. Another reason that will cause the sheep to want to stay in the barn. It is now safe to just walk through and feed or play with babies without worrying about getting injured.