The Relentlessness of Farm Life

 

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I often talk about how farm life is relentless. It’s got all the ups and downs of a real life soap opera with all the drama of a Greek tragedy. It can be physically and emotionally brutal and there is no mercy given for the weak. My best example of this was the most recent April 13th, also known as the dreaded Friday the 13th.

I woke in the early hours of the morning with the worst stomach flu I think I’ve ever experienced. It knocked me completely on my keester for over 24 hours. The first day I was bed-ridden and struggled to just keep down ice chips so I could stay dehydrated. The whole mess left me weaker than a new born kitten.

So of course during this brief moment in time when I was completely incapacitated….Vessie decided to kid. I think she hates me. Hubs had just crawled into bed (I had never left it) and turned out the light. Less than a minute had passed before we both heard it.

The light flipped back on and he rolled over to look at me, “Did you just hear a baby goat?”.

I so desperately wanted to say no, the struggle was real, but responsibility called. I sighed heavily, “Yes, that was a baby goat.” My next offer was born of the good manners my mother worked so hard to instill in me, and also some measure of desperation, “Can you handle this yourself or do you REALLLLY need me?”

Hubs didn’t respond to my question, which was an answer in itself. I gave another sigh, “Ok, give me a bit and I’ll meet you out there.”

She had a buck and a doe and thankfully, Vessie is a phenomenal mother and managed just fine without our interference. We simply tied, trimmed and dipped cords, ensured they had nursed and then headed back to bed.

A couple hours after that I woke and forced myself to get up and put Dom out to potty. 30726462_10215495165749700_8650755276221787638_n[1] He’s been having health issues for the last 7 months and after tests with no definitive answers and trying a veritable cocktail of different drugs we had finally gotten him somewhat stable on steroids. The side effect of the meds were his ravenous appetite and drinking water like a camel with a hollow leg……which means I had to get up every few hours to let him outside or suffer the consequence.

He went outside but seemed confused and then couldn’t seem to navigate the single step to come back into the house. I went outside to try to help him but in my weakened state I wasn’t much better than him. Rather than try to pick him up and risk dropping him I stumbled down the hall to get Hubs. Hubs went out to help, but when he got to the porch, Dom had disappeared. Hubs called and called for him but there was no response. He then drove down by the chickens (one of Dom’s favorite spots) and then came back up by the house to search some more. I kept asking, “he could barely walk, how far could he have gone?”

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We finally found him behind the house laying on the rain soaked hillside, confused and not responding to our calls. Hubs carried him inside and dried him off. We tried to go back to sleep….again.

A couple hours after that I woke to a horrible crying. I shoved Hubs off the bed saying, “go check on Dom!” knowing that it would take me way too long to get vertical without losing my stomach. He came back saying Dom was laying down and seemed fine. It seemed odd because Domino is stoic and I can’t recall him ever crying out, no matter the circumstances (and he’s had some significant ‘circumstances’) but there was nothing else to do. We heard him cry a couple more times over the night and finally gave up the idea of sleeping around 4:00am.

As I sat on the floor next to Dom I finally observed him during one of his crying spells. He appeared to be having small seizures. Hubs and I looked at each other and knew, it was time. We sat with him on and off for the next few hours waiting for the vet to open, reminiscing about better days with Dom.

As I shakily dressed for the trip, I briefly wanted to skip the whole thing and ask Hubs to take him. I had a legitimate reason. I was still horribly sick, shaky and slightly feverish….. but he was my best friend. How could I not be there when he needed me most? I dragged myself to the car and we made the silent drive to say goodbye.

I don’t know how to say goodbye to the one that loves you more than anyone else in the world. He was my shadow, my constant companion and my best friend. He was better than most people I know cheerful, loyal and loving. I’m going to miss him tremendously.

So you see, farming really is as dramatic as a soap opera. In just this 24 hour period we had sickness, new life and heart-breaking loss. As I’ve said before, hold your loved ones close (2 and 4 legged) and count your blessings every chance you get. They aren’t guaranteed.

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Filling Your Basket

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Friday mornings are supposed to be my me time. I don’t get much time for just me on the farm and I’m mostly ok with that. We chose this lifestyle and I love it with all my heart. However, I’m also a big advocate of self-care, or ‘filling my basket”. One of my friends described it like this, “we all have an inner basket and when we constantly give and do for others, we empty our basket and fill theirs, which is a good thing but it’s important to fill your own basket too.” My friend is a very wise woman!
 
Back to Friday mornings, I look forward to my 2-3 hours every Friday morning all week long. I love working on the farm, but during the week I dream of working on my writing, crafts, playing with the horses and goats, or sometimes I plan to just read and sip my coffee. It doesn’t really matter what I do the most important part is that I give myself a permission to do it guilt free. It is a time set aside just for me!
 
Lately my Friday mornings have been getting swallowed up by life. Some of you know 2018 has been a difficult year for us and we seem to constantly be running behind with everything. As a result my me time has gotten sucked into the black hole that is our life during spring. This morning I woke excited at all the things that I planned to do …..but once again it didn’t happen. Instead I found myself paying bills, catching up the budget sheet, sending out invoices, making cheese, and doing a lot of backlogged goat paperwork.
 
I admit I didn’t handle losing my special time once again very well. I was feeling overwhelmed, sorry for myself and maybe just a bit cranky. During of all of this I caught a glimpse of something large flying right past my office window. I looked up and saw this beautiful bald eagle. He landed in a tree right outside our house and as I sat working on the computer if I shifted my view from the computer screen 4 inches to the left I could see this most majestic bird watching over the house and farm. I was spellbound. He stayed in the tree for several hours and left just after I finished all my paperwork.
 
Some people may call me a weirdo (ok, lots of people do) but I saw this visiting eagle as a gift. In the midst of all the trials I always look for the gifts. If I didn’t look for the gifts, I think I would fall into such a well of despair I might never find my way to the surface. Instead I try to find and focus on the good stuff, my family, my friends, the amazing lifestyle we get to live and random acts of kindness. These things fill my basket too. This eagle sitting outside the window while I finished all my paperwork was a pretty amazing gift from nature and while I didn’t get to indulge in play time just for me, I had some amazing company while I worked.
#fillingmybasket