Ever since New Year’s Day we’ve been putting out figurative farm fires about as well as tossing gasoline onto them. From water outages due to our well wiring shorting out, to injured animals, to Covid, and beyond… 2022 is the new 2020. After having Isabell farm sit for us while we took some time to spend the holidays together, we pulled into our driveway to massive amounts of flooding. The farm survived two tornado touchdowns nearby but there was a lot of work to be done to fix the damage.
Both of our main pastures were under water. The creek built up to the bank and then poured into our fields. Our ducks were having the best week ever but our poor cats, dogs, chickens, and equine were swimming in it. Our driveway was all but washed out, there was a waterfall being made out of the leftover hay pile and the cleanup involved wading in horse manure and old hay almost up to our knee caps.
Harlow was my first biggest concern and major worry. The big black and white paint suffered a slip and fall injury (most likely due to fireworks) that left him with a swollen hip on the back end. The flooding and mud gave him white line (a fungal infection in his front hooves) which made him pretty tender on his toes as well. To top it off he just wasn’t acting quite like himself. I was so stressed and concerned for his well-being that I had a panic attack on the way to tractor supply for vet wrap and liniment ointment.
A few days later, after a trip to the vet for pain reliever to help Harlow… my mom and my grandmother in Arizona called to tell me that they both contracted Covid. My grandmother who has severe asthma was struggling to breathe at night on her own and my mom was having a hard time staying awake during the day. Neither one of them was functional. I felt helpless. They were also struggling with water issues on their farm. Despite her high fevers from Covid, my mom was forced to haul water because their water tank kept freezing. I had to call them a couple times a day to check in to ease my concerns. I felt worried that things would take a turn and they may end up hospitalized.
My health was struggling again as well. My blood pressure spikes and heart palpitations made it difficult to keep up with treating Harlow as well as covering the usual farm chores. The cherry on top was that Isabell had also come down with Covid. We had to deep clean the house and social distance from her to keep the rest of us as healthy as possible.
We continued to have issues with our well. Rob spent most of his time at home trying to rewire everything or rig things to be at least more functional for the short term. Meanwhile he had a toothache and a Covid booster to tackle as well as being concerned over my rising blood pressure that was out of control. It was all too overwhelming for both of us. Some days we hid under the blankets in the early hours of the mornings. We whispered and joked that if we never got out of bed than we wouldn’t have to grapple with whatever came at us next.
We built up the courage, had our morning beverages, and pulled our mucking boots over our pant legs. It’s hard to go from losing a friend on Christmas day to all this hitting us at once on New Year’s. Yet when you have a farm there’s no hiding from the work that needs to get done no matter how you feel.
“We’re fine! Everything’s fine! Fine, fine, fine. Everpine… EverFine… We’re NOT fine!” Rob joked with me one morning during yet another car ride to the hardware store.
Good farm days are fabulous but bad farm days are horrific. This life is far from laid back or free of hustle. We work hard for everything we have. It’s a different kind of work than that of an office job and a rental property or regular mortgage. You have to make the most with what you have, rig things to work when you can’t make it perfect, and keep moving forward. There are no sick or mental health days when farm work needs to get done.
You know things are turning a corner when your biggest problem of the day is an escaped horse who stuffed his face in dog food. There was no misstep to Harlow’s gate once he was feeling more like himself again. He decided to ditch his pasture for greener grass as soon as he realized that his electric fence was down for the day. He simply pushed on it with his chest and stepped over it gleefully. We pulled into the driveway after picking up Nikolai from school and had to tag team as a family in order to catch him and rectify the hot wire.
We were so happy to see his spunk come back that we didn’t even mind the attitude from “Jerk Face” Harlow (I say that with love). We laughed, we shook our heads and we thanked God for a more normal day than the ones we’ve had. Caspian too was feeling his cheerios because a day or two later he nearly scared Rob to death while he was working on our well in the middle of the night. Caspian looked almost like a bear in the dark with all his ruffled hairy fur rather than the crazy donkey he truly is. Poor Rob spent an hour trying to catch Caspian by himself that time.
It took cornering Caspian and chasing him off into the stall in order for the little Ass to be caught. I’ll bet Caspian was sitting in that stall laughing at Rob for having outsmarted him quite a few times like he does to me. It just wouldn’t be OUR farm without the mischievous furry faces. Everpine… Everfine.