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Managing Disappointment One Cup of Tea at a Time

I don’t know what’s more frustrating- waiting for news about the direction in which your life is going to go, or not being able to sleep through it. Nikolai woke up this morning with hardly enough time to spare to get to school before the first bell. With my newly acquired blood pressure medication making my body feel more confused than ever by bottoming out my numbers, I’ve been in no shape to drive so Rob took Nikolai to school for me. One moment I’m feeling amazing because the pressure in my chest is gone from having high numbers and the next I’m wondering why the walls in my bedroom are bending. I should have gone back to bed but my brain wouldn’t allow it.

I decided to plan on tackling the day regardless of the circumstances at hand. My body feels unsteady but there’s a list of housework, farm chores, and errands to be done before Rob leaves for his next life-flight destination. Izzy’s car needs new breaks on it so Rob is fixing that for her for Christmas today. The farm is out of feed that we need to replace right away and we have to drive to Atlanta to pick up a rental truck for Rob to use while traveling for work. As an added bonus the truck will help us take trash to the landfill. None of that includes my crash course in rainwater maintenance or the housework I need to finish.

My mind keeps wandering back to what the bank is going to say today as I sip my hot cup of spiced tea and stuff a cinnamon raisin bagel into my mouth. It will be a while yet before the bank opens and we need to give them time to discuss our case. I find my gaze drawn to my bedroom window, down our long driveway, and watch as several chickens peck at some pebbles. It helps to manage disappointment by reminding myself of how big our little life is and to count the blessings we already have.

Tallulah is lying in the driveway hysterically looking as if she’s lacking front legs. Her golden and white coat on her chest is parallel to the ground, and her front paws are tucked away under the fluffy mane around her neck. She thrives on being able to run the perimeter of our farm with our other amazing dog named “Moose” and her mama “Bambi”.

When the air is crisp and the temps drop, our farm babies start to feel frisky. I caught Harlow (our big black and white horse) dancing around his pasture yesterday, flinging mud in every direction, tossing his head, and rolling to his heart’s content.

Caspian our little donkey made his daring escape last week. Rob and I were taking a short nap before picking Nikolai up from school when the little jerk hopped the fence to his enclosure. The dogs were going crazy which is what woke Rob up in the first place. To my horror I saw that Caspian had dragged the brand new bag of cat food I bought, into the middle of the driveway. Shreds of the cat food bag littered the yard and floated into our other pastures on the winter breeze. Caspian’s eyes were dead locked on mine and his mouth was slightly agape as tiny fish shaped snacks fell from his lips.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from owning a donkey it’s that they are nothing like any other animal I have ever known. You can’t bribe a donkey in the way you can bride a dog or a horse. Most are very cat like in the fact that as long as they have food, they don’t really care if you love on them or not. They also have the unique ability to smell your intentions long before you’re even sure what you’re going to do. Caspian took one look at me, tuned his butt cheeks in my direction, and trotted towards the dirt road.

While I was busy trying to locate my shoes and decide if a dog leash would work as a makeshift halter, he was already making his way towards the main road with our three dogs trailing behind him. I felt my panic level rising and my blood beyond boiling point. By the time I caught up to him he was trotting gleefully through the mud puddles he refuses to go through with me. I attempted to turn my Ass back towards home by cutting him off. It worked… up until it didn’t. He decided that the tuffs of fresh grass we’ve been growing out in Harlow’s second pasture looked like a more mouthwatering idea.

In hopes that the electric fence would somehow contain him long enough for me to get the leash around his neck, I creeped towards him at the pace of an inchworm. I swear I saw Caspian’s eyes glaze over with amusement the moment I thought I had him beat. Yet with all the grace of a ballerina… he surged forward and slipped through the fence lines. Rob fixed the fence where Caspian jumped his way out of his own pasture and when Caspian was good and ready… he waltzed through the open gate with all the swagger of a winner. Other than my disheveled mess of red hair, had anyone shown up within that moment they wouldn’t have guessed that I spent over an hour trying to get him to do just that.

Nothing is more humbling than being outsmarted by an Ass after chasing it up and down the road. Unfortunately this isn’t the first time this has happened, or even the second. I once came home to Caspian wearing Mardi Gras beads, having escaped his pasture, bucking and rearing while trying to chase one of our farm cats up a tree. Where he got the beads from I wasn’t entirely sure but I suspected Nikolai had something to do with it.

Sometimes farm life makes it so you’re not sure if you’d rather laugh about certain situations, be livid, or cry about it. Yet a bad day on the farm you own (despite being far more overwhelming than a bad day of living in a rental house)… is still better than the best of days without all the furry faces to pull you through the tough times.

The bank called us back and told us to re-apply for the land loan on February 1st. I think I feel relieved about the fact that it’s not a solid “No” it’s more of a “Not yet”. I called the land owner and she too is willing to wait the month and a half timeframe we need to re-apply. So there’s hope! We will continue working towards our goal, pull up our boot straps and try again. We’re not shy of hard work or bad farm days.

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