On this week's Chicken Thistle Farm's podcast, Kelli and Andy spoke of their second year of farrowing which had me thinking about farming disappointment. I am not talking about the "don't count your chickens before they're hatched" failures, which happen early on in a rural life. I am talking about disappointing results in spite of the careful implementation of sound farming practices. On Wednesday I culled #003, born here at Lilac Hill from my friendliest ewe. On paper, she had hardy parents, a gentle nature and respected our strands of electric twine fencing through the summer grazing season. In reality she always looked lousy: her coat was often dirty, her nose was crusty (the other sheep did not have these probems), and she did not breed this year. (Her twin sister did not breed either but, I decided, because of her genetics, temperment and health that she has another breeding season to prove herself.) My study of sheep health, careful feeding, acquisition of quality parent stock and daily observation did not prevent this unthrifty ewe. With my farm goals in mind, I decided "it was time to put on my big farmer boots," and she was culled. Hopefully as we continue on Lilac Hill I will develop the widsom of a veteran shepherd and the the disappointments will not be felt as sharply.