Behind the scenes of this first week of the farm fix-up, are stories and events that remind us that we've stepped out of our old, familiar life and into a world where we have so very much to learn and experience.
After our first day of working at the new farm last week, we all came home exhausted, tired, and late for milking. Meredith's crew arrived home just seconds before Tim's but it was long enough for her to go in the house, turn on her heels, and meet the second crew as we pulled into the driveway. We were greeted by one very angry young lady shouting with great frustration, "The goats have been IN OUR HOUSE!" Sure enough, in our absence the goats broke out of their pen, climbed our tall porch steps, hooved the handicap accessible door handle, came right in, and made themselves at home. It appeared they had enjoyed a nice snack of bread from the kitchen counter top, eggs straight from the carton, and sadly my decorative wheat bundles that had been harvested and saved for my memory of Meredith's first property she bought and sold. I felt as if it were some twisted Goldilocks fairy tale as Timmy ran upstairs and exclaimed in seriousness and with great relief that at least the goats hadn't gone into our bedrooms. We worked to clean up the mess almost in silence for fear of saying things that really shouldn't be said!
The next day presented more new challenges in this world of farming in which we're so unfamiliar. As I awoke that morning, the first thing that crossed my mind was a cow that had been very sick. I prayed for CC before I barely opened my eyes Friday. As Tim and the bigger boys began their morning chores, it became obvious that CC was even worse. She was less than 10 days away from calving but we feared she wouldn't make it that long. Tim called the vet with whom he had been in constant contact regarding CC's condition, and I could overhear the vet say it was time to put her down. Timmy flipped his cell phone shut, looked at me, and said, "I don't know how to do that!"
As God has so faithfully done in the past, He has given us people to help us in our time of need. Tim called our new farming friend, Ty, and explained the situation. Ty assured us he could help but suggested we try to save the baby calf since it was so close to the delivery date. He immediately made contact with a farmer known for his skill in such procedures and both men met our boys within hours. Tim and I were working at the new farm, waiting for word from the boys and praying for a miraculous outcome. After what seemed like a long time, tender-hearted Elliott called Timmy and simply said, "What do you want me to do with both of them?" Tears fell from my eyes as the disappointment overwhelmed me. There would be no miraculous farm story today.
With so much going on, grief is quickly pushed aside by the next pressing detail. It would be Sullivan's injured toe taking center stage. A few days earlier he had dropped a piece of lumber on it and by Tuesday, the toe nail was pushing away from the skin because of the extreme amount of pressure from the bruising below. He was limping and complaining of pain in his leg from the throbbing pressure. Knowing that we'd end up at a doctor if I didn't find a solution, I studied remedies online. After reading about the shocking solution, I thought, "If we're going to be farmers, I suppose I better learn how to do stuff like this and not be a pansy." (This next part is not for the faint of heart, but honest to goodness, it worked!) Brave Sullivan, my trusting patient, sat very still as I heated a needle till the metal point was red. The directions said I should touch the needle point to the toe nail repeatedly until a hole was made. I tried to make casual conversation, raising my voice a bit louder when the heat would sizzle and melt the toe nail, while my patient sat calmly as if he had complete confidence in my newfound medical skills. Just as the directions said, suddenly the pressure began to release and a mixture of.. well, you don't want to know every detail, began to come from the newly drilled hole. It seemed the procedure would be a success until suddenly (the online medical eduation never mentioned this might happen) the needle went too far and poor Sullivan shouted in pain! Oh, I felt just terrible for him. In that moment, I would have gladly spent the $250 to have had a podiatrist to do this. Sullivan was very forgiving of my inefficiency and I'm happy to report that he's healed!! His toe went from terrible purple with the nail beginning to lift off, to almost completely normal - with the exception of the unique toe nail piercing. As I try so hard to model my life after the Proverbs 31 woman, I wondered for the first time why the biblical description doesn't mention her dispensing medical care. Maybe I don't have to become the farm medic afterall?!
The first week of work at the new farm concluded with a thrilling, overwhelming welcome from those with whom we'll be sharing our property - an abundance of black snakes! Yes, they've come from near and far to greet us. We have one living in the pump house for whom we are choosing a name, while many others have taken time to stop by for a surprise visit. One slithered across the driveway as if to assure us that he'd keep an eye on the place while we'd be away. Another tried to join us on the porch for lunch. Yet, one really went all out to make us feel welcome and was discovered in the master bedroom. We don't know if he came in under a door or maybe just through one of the holes in the bedroom wall. You can only imagine how we anticipate more visits from the vast welcoming committee with each closet we open or bucket we overturn.
All in all, I hope week 2 of the renovations is much less eventful and our biggest dilemma will be how to hang 8 bath towels in a tiny, closet sized, shared bathroom!