And the hits just keep on coming

So first I broke my toe, then I smashed my finger, then a cotton wood tree fell on our barn, and then Bob died.  I was hoping the worst was over, then yesterday proved me wrong, but in a whole different and much worse way.

Yesterday I came home after another tough shift at work at 9:30 in the morning.  We were going to go on a trip to my mother’s cabin, but it was dependent on us picking up chicks at the post office first.  I arrived home to find the front gate not properly latched, one beagle left alone in the locked house, a half eaten breakfast and a warm cup of coffee but no Tom.  The chicks were in a box in the laundry room.  I called and looked in the house, in the yard, in the trailer and in the barn.  I came back to the house and in my sleep deprived mind was not sure what the next step should be so I called his father for advice.  He said to keep looking and that he would come down to help.  He brought my mother in law and called Tom’s brother and sister too.  I called Tom’s kids to see if they knew where he went, and they did not.  Every one of the vehicles was still here as were his boots.  The guns are here and all our valuables.  He left his cell phone and wallet.  I checked his lap top and cell phone, and there were no clues there.  He was not wearing his jeans so I figured he was in sweatpants and his Merrell’s shoes were missing.  I kept searching worrying that he was incapacitated somewhere on the property because I knew he would have been getting ready for our trip.  His parents and sister came and helped the search.  We drove the nearby roads wondering if he had decided to check our culverts before the trip, but I knew this was making less sense.  I called the post office he had picked the chicks up at to see if they knew anything and left a message.  Then we decided I should call 911.  We had started to worry that he had come to some violence, and I had started thinking all kinds of crazy thoughts in my sleep-deprived and scared brain.  They had me talk to a deputy who asked me to walked the back woods and talked to the neighbors and call him back.  I knew these were unlikely to help because there were no footprints at the gate to the back woods and two neighbors are one mile away and another is facing away from us and cannot see our property.  So I asked Tom’s father to drive to the neighbors to ask them while I was going to walk the back woods.  But just then our neighbors from a mile down the road drove up to their barn driveway across from us.  I ran out there to ask them is they had seen anything, and they mentioned that there had been an ambulance in their barn driveway around 9:00.  I thanked them profusely while they also worried about Tom, and I went back to the house to call 911 back to ask if there was an aid call to our house that morning.  As I picked up the phone to call 911 there was a voice there.  I asked who it was, and it was Tom.  he sounded really drugged.  He said he was at the hospital with chest pains.  

So I grabbed Tom’s cell phone since mine had a dead battery, my wallet and my coat but left my barn clothes on, and Tom’s sister drove us all to the emergency room of the hospital I had just left work from 2 hours before.  We all had muddy shoes at this point.  The ER room we were directed to was empty, but we were told he was in cat scan.  The nurse said his cardiac test had come back OK so far, and they were scanning his abdomen.  Then the stretcher came in with Tom in a lot of pain and it was hard for him to talk.  They gave him some more pain medication.  I updated his kids.  His brother arrived and later his daughter and grandson.  William really seemed to help Tom’s affect as he started talking to him about motorcycles.  He got more pain and nausea medications while we waited.  Finally we got the news that basically his test came back OK, they would try some medication, and he should see a gastroenterologist.  By this time his pain had subsided, and we were able to go home!

Meanwhile I had been trying to get ahold of our farm sitter to ask her to get the turkey chicks out of their box to some warmth, food and water before they died.  But since I had brought Tom’s phone and not mine I could not find a way to reach her.  My brother-in-law kindly drove home and got my phone from the charger for me, but then I had no cell service in the hospital.  I stepped out and left her a voice message and, of course, that was when the doctor came to give us the results.  She was nice enough to repeat them when I came back.

When we got home I was completely spent as was Tom, but we still had the turkey chicks and the rest of the farm to deal with.  I did get a response from our farm sitter that she could come over a little later so I went out to set up the turkeys while Tom fed the starving dogs and cats and answered calls about how he was doing from everyone I had frightened in the morning.

So here are the turkey chicks.  Five white, five black and white and five brown and white.  They initially seemed OK, and I got them to drink water.  

turkey chicks

I was trying a new heating pad system rather than a heat lamp for fire safety reasons. You can see it in the upper right corner of the photos.

turkey chicks in sun light

After getting them settled I tried to sleep while the farm sitter came over and fed the rest of the critters and Tom kept answered concerned calls and visiting with the neighbors that I had worried.  I could not sleep being so emotionally upset about ideas of losing Tom.  So after a while I went out in my pajamas to check on the chicks and two of them were stiff and cold.  I brought them into the house, warming them initially with my hands and breath.

cold turkey chicks

They started to breathe better and move some.  I kept warming them over the next couple of hours until they were cheeping, walking and drinking.  In the meantime Tom set up a couple of heat lamps in addition to the pad so the others stayed warm.  My focusing on warming these chicks actually pulled me out of my emotional tailspin somehow which was nice.  The two chicks went back into their pen last night.  This morning one chicks looks less active than the other but I could get it to drink.  He probably won’t make it but I hope he at least has a chance now.

I am scared to let Tom out of my sight now.  But feel really stupid that I did not think about that it could have been an ambulance and called the hospitals first.  I also could have checked our land line phone to see that he had called 911 that morning.  And I did not think to check our security camera (but it conveniently was not working anyway).  And I should have grabbed my cell phone and charger so I could have gotten ahold of our farm sitter earlier and gotten the chicks dealt with sooner.  The one thing I did do right was ask for help.  I have definitely learned a lesson here in crisis management but also in what is most important to me in my life.  

So for now, Tom is fine but needs to see a specialist, the chicks are mostly OK and we have to go to the post office yet to tell them this information too (since I got them worried also).  Plus we are going to Tom’s doctor and then getting me a new cell phone that works.

Posted in Farm | 13 Comments

It Is The End of Chipping

as we know it.  And I feel fine.

On Saturday Tom moved more of the front yard chips to the back including to the pig pen.  Today, Tom was able to get a chipper.  The second one we had last week has a destroyed clutch and will be out of commission for a while.  So Tom had to drive to Bellingham to get one.  Tom was able to chip the remaining accessible, less than 9 inch branches while I recovered from brutal night shift.  Here he is getting ready to bring the chipper back this afternoon.

So the chipping is done.  I only had to contribute about 1 hour of labor to it due to my work schedule so Tom definitely got the brunt of the work as well as my brother.  Now the repairs can start.  We do still have a large pile for burning in the donkey pen.

large pile

And another smaller one further back in the pen.

smaller pile

We will get a burn permit once the wood is dry enough.  Anyone up for a bonfire party?  We still have a mess of stumps and logs in our back yard.


But the fenceline for the donkey pen is clear so we can put up a new fence and fix the donkey shelter.

donkey pen and shelter

A higher priority though is getting the pig pen fixed so we can get piglets again from John and Teresa.  We have some rounds and chips in their pen.  We will add some bark chips and hog panels.

hog pen

Another high priority is the garden.  We burned the debris that was in the garden and so it is mostly clear.  Once the ground dries a little more, we will be able to rototill and put the fence back up.  The greenhouse is repaired for the time being.  This winter we will need to build a new one.  Most of the seedlings we had started survived the tree crashing on it, which is amazing.


There are still some logs behind the garden we will deal with at some point.

more logs

PS.  By the way we are not really feeling fine.  We are still both reeling from Bob’s sad death.  The barnyard is just not the same.  The kind words have helped though.  I do not feel like such a freak crying over a dead sheep.


Posted in Farm | 2 Comments

More Photos Of Bob When He Was Young

Here are more photos of me holding Bob as a lamb:

And here are some photos I just found of him in 2001.

Posted in Farm | 2 Comments