Monday night we once again heard the sound of the pack of coyotes that are running past and through our place. We have no neighbors, no big city lights, just the lights from the big bright moon and stars that GOD gave us. While all this beauty cannot be explained in words it also makes us prime territory for predators. Our cows have busted more fence and we have not been able to find all of the spots to fix it. Usually when they get out they stick pretty close to home. Not this night. We woke up in the morning and went to go get them back in the fence and they were no where to be found. We went about 3 miles in each direction trying to find them and still came up with nothing. I feared the worse but thankfully my husband decided to keep going on one route where we had found some tracks and we found them 6 1/2 miles away from home. The coyotes scared them and started to chase them and the cows lost their sense of direction and went the wrong way. Do you have any idea how long it takes to chase 6 cows home with just a four wheeler? OVER 3 HOURS!!!!!! My trusty 3 year old did keep me company on our journey and i was extremely happy for handle bar warmers that day. The cows were tired and dehydrated and hungry. I sure hope this never happens again but i am thankful they are all safe.
Last week we also welcomed 2 wonderful horses. We will be housing them for a while for my mom. They are such sweethearts. Tuesday we went and opened up more pasture space for them and thought we had everything cleaned up and ready to go. Those boys had so much joy of going into a new pasture with lots and lots of grass to eat. Wedn i went and did my grocery shopping that morning. I came home and gave the horses a good brushing and lots of love and smooches. They each went for a walk and lead beautifully. Even Casper the stubborn one cooperated more than i have ever seen him cooperate before. I was so proud of them and myself and knowing that they fully trust me after such a short while. I left to go get the hose and started filling bowls of water. After i finished watering the goats and chickens i headed to top off the horses trough. Chester was no where to be found. I walked up a ways calling for him and he didn't come. Very unusual for him. So i though he must have gotten out somewhere and we missed a spot in the fence. I went to the barn and grabbed the lead rope and halter. I walked all the way down to the end of the 2 to 3 acre pasture. There Chester was stuck in between the bushes and caught up in a barbed wire fence that had been missed. It was hidden so well none of us saw it. I ran back to the barn to get fence cutters so i could get him loose. I finally got the wire cut and had to bolt before he would trample me getting out of there. I got both boys locked in the small pen to inspect damage. While i had gone to get fence cutters i did call the vet and had him out right away. The damage was worse than we had thought. The barbed wire completely shredded the back of his heel and as we were out cleaning up the fence Chester found we also found a chunk of his cartilage that had been cut through. It was horrific and so devastating. Chester will never be able to be ridden again. We need to now wait and see how he heals and how pain levels are. We may end up needing to make the hard decision of putting poor old Chester to rest or wait and see if he can handle a relaxing life of retirement. For a 25 year old horse he sure has the strongest will to pull through. He is amazing. His spirits are still high and he still knows where to find his treats!! We are all just devastated. He really is the best horse and friend.
If this wasn't enough to handle i had my favorite cats disappear. They were the best mousers around and my favorites. They were also my first cats and have kept the farm clean for many years. My husband who hates cats, which i will confess they are not my favorite but they have grown on me, brought home my very first cat 4 years ago on the first day of the year that it snowed. So i named her Winter. She was an excellent cat. The coyote that had been taunting my cows the other night and has been living close by killed my cats.
Now is when it really takes a turn for the worse. Our family could really use some prayers for healing and comfort right now. Family members are having some major health issues and it is uncertain what is going to happen. We hope and pray for the best and at the moment that is all we can do.
Yes being a farmer comes with its ups and downs. Yes it can bring more heartache in a week than some people can even imagine. Yes it is some of the hardest work a person will ever have to do. Yes the work is all morning, day and evening only to start over again after 6 hours of sleep. Yes when you try to take a "vacation" all you are consumed with is the work that will need to be done when you get home and are the animals being taken care of well. BUT!!!!! It is the most rewarding and fulfilling job i could ever do. As hard as some weeks are, today could be great day and tomorrow even better!! You pull up your boots and keep going! There is no time for sulking just fix the problems and keep doing your best!! Is this job for everyone? Of course not!!! But it is meant for me!!
UPDATE: Vet came out again to check in on Chester. Amazingly he is going to make a good recovery!! He will not be a trail riding horse or even a leisure riding horse but he will not need to be put to rest either!! He can probably still handle small amounts of weight like the small girls every once in a while on a light saddle even. I am so happy about this news. He is one strong ol boy who deserves some extra hugs and kisses tonight!! I will even sneak him in some treats as well!!