the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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the shortage of livestock veterinarians is reaching “crisis levels”

The_farmer's_veterinarian_BHL20172818

Even after the lamb comes, the ewe continues to strain. Sticky with afterbirth, the ram lamb calls to his mother in quavering tenor, but though she lifts her head in his direction and lets out a low moan of response, her heaving sides won’t let her rise and go to him.

In the compounded darkness of the manger—it’s well after sunset—it’s hard to see what’s happening. The ewe stretches a hind leg in effort, and then again, and again, pushing. She stops her rhythmic movement, breath ragged. Someone shines a light: there is something there, behind her hind legs, on the straw. A second lamb? The thing is dark, darker than the first lamb. A black lamb? But no, it glistens too strangely in the odd glare/shadow contrast of the flashlight.

“I—I think that’s part of her body.” What? “I think those are her organs.” 

The stillness breaks. The livestock manager is called. “Prolapse,” “iodine,” “warm water,” “towels.” There is a flurry of activity in service to these words. The rumble of a truck announces the arrival of Josh, the livestock manager, from down the road. He clicks his headlamp on to peer at the lumpen tangle between the prostrate ewe’s legs. “That’s her uterus,” he says, and walks away to call the vet.

He returns shaking his head. The vet can’t come for two hours—there’s another emergency, over the border in Vermont. “I guess I’ll try to put it back, but I’ve never had much luck.”

Josh instructs someone to fetch sugar, someone to fetch a better light, someone to prepare a bottle of colostrum for the new lamb (“He’s huge, look how huge he is! That must be what did it”). He sloshes iodine up to his elbows while two people hold the ewe still. Gingerly, he lifts the uterus from ground, pulling off bits of straw and hay. He pours sugar over it. “The vet says this will make it shrink, so that it will fit,” he tells us. Then in a low mutter, to himself, “This was my favorite sheep.”

After a few moments, he begins trying to push the uterus back into the ewe. But even gritty with sugar, reverse-osmosis starting to drain the fluid, it’s slippery and swollen, bulging any place where Josh’s hands can’t stretch, the task like trying to fit a water ballon into the tap from which it was filled. “She’s pushing against me,” he says. “Her body thinks she’s having a lamb.”

He keeps trying: adding more sugar, repositioning, applying prolonged pressure, but it won’t go. Josh sits back on his heels. There’s nothing to do but wait for the vet.
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louisiana farms seeks interns

Cajun Grain is a non-certified rice and vegetable farm in south central Louisiana.  We are looking for one or two people to fill an internship for our vegetable CSA.

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We are hoping the candidates will commit to at least the spring season, which should run from mid-February to the end of June.  We had two wonderful interns last season that ran our first ever CSA, and we have a lot of people interested in us expanding the offerings for 2013.  At the moment, we have a lot of seeds planted in trays and will be ready to transplant in the next few weeks.  Kurt, the owner and farmer, will be working alongside the interns for the morning hours.  If for any reason, such as extreme weather, the vegetables are not producing and we are not able to fulfill the CSA, we will not need the interns to stay through to July. This is the same reason we only make our CSA members pay one month in advance, and monthly during the season.  As long as everything goes as planned weather-wise, we are looking forward to a productive spring season! Continue reading


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the greenhorns screening in new orleans


The Rural Route Film Festival returns to the Big Easy – spread the word about the show!  The Zeitgeist Arts Center is hosting the screenings this coming Sunday & Monday nights.

Sunday, February 12:
7:30 p.m. – RURAL ROUTE FILM FESTIVAL TOUR:  BEST OF THE FEST SHORTS PROGRAM
Monday, February 13:
7:30 p.m. – RURAL ROUTE FILM FESTIVAL TOUR:  THE GREENHORNS  

Facebook Event link 
Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 352-1150


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could it be spray? could it be flu?

Dead Birds Fall From Sky AGAIN In Louisiana, 300 Miles From Arkansas Incident Days Earlier

Travis Walter Donovan for the Huffington Post

Around 500 dead birds have fallen from the sky in Louisiana, found scattered along a quarter-mile portion of highway in Point Coupee Parish, the AP reports. The discovery is approximately 300 miles south of Beebe, Arkansas, where just days earlier thousands of the same species of birds also fell from the sky. Continue reading