Friday, May 09, 2008

"Tails" From The Farm Part 7

You can start reading part 1 here.

Buttermilk, the calf did not like staying in her pen off by herself. It was on the back of their horse barn. There was a window (just a cut out hole) in the back of the barn. She would hear people and try to look out through the window at them. She was not quite tall enough. You would see these ears and the top of her head and her nose pushing up over the bottom of the window. It is amazing how high a calf can jump. She would jump up and through that window. She would head out to the pasture to find some company. She would go in with Buttercup or even in with the horses. We were so afraid she would get out and go in their garden. We had to work hard to keep her in.

We knew that we would be moving, so we started looking for a stock trailer. The Jeeters that we used to visit in south Florida had moved to Virginia. We had seen their trailer and really liked it. We called and they told us where they got it. We went over to check them out. The prices were much better than anywhere else we had looked. We ordered a 16’ one, in blue of course. We were glad that it came in before we had to move. It had a front section and a back section. We now had to figure out what we were going to do.

Well moving day finally came. The Mountain family had taken our chicken coop and our chickens all except 4. Our friends had given Joshua a hen for his birthday and he bought a rooster with his own money. We knew this move was going to be hard on him (on all of us actually), so we decided we would take those 2 with us. Then we figured we would go ahead and throw in 2 more layers. We had 4 chickens, 3 goats, 2 cows, and one dog. Sounds like a song doesn’t it? We had gotten health papers on all of them except the dog. We were told that we would need them at the agricultural stops on the freeways. Our vet called to see what we would need. He said we had to get what Ohio required as that was where we were moving to. That included a blood test on the chickens. Our vet was in disbelief that a blood test on chickens was required. He was not even sure on how to do it. He finally got some, but they did not bleed very well. Now remember, the only reason we were taking these chickens along was for our son’s sake. The vet had no idea how much the test would be, but the other tests were fairly cheap. We got the bill and it was $10 PER chicken!!!!! Our son looked at us and said, "Why did we even bring them if it costs that much?" Sigh... Then, to add insult to injury, the ONLY place that checked our paper work was Florida and it was on the way OUT of the state. Go figure!!!

We had our time of worship and fellowship with our homechurch that Sunday morning and we were going to leave after the meal. We said our goodbyes with lots of tears and hugs. It was so hard to pull out of that driveway. Our dream had been to move to Virginia and here we were going back to Ohio. We truly felt like we were leaving family. The whole morning had a sort of cloud hanging over it. We took a picture of everyone gathered around our loaded vehicles and stock trailer. We put Buttercup and Buttermilk in the back part of the trailer. The 4 chickens went in a dog crate in the front part along with the goats and some of the supplies. More of the supplies were in the back of the truck under the cap. I would be driving the car and Michael would drive the truck. Joshua would take turns with each of us.

We had planned out our trip. The Jeeters had told us of a bed and breakfast on the way that catered to horse people. We called them and they said we could put our animals out in the pasture. So we had made reservations for that night. Buttercup, Ellie and Minx were all in milk, so we had to milk twice a day as well. When we started out. Joshua was in the truck with his Dad leading the way. I was in the car following. We had walkie talkies so that we could keep in contact with each other. We got out in the middle of nowhere in Georgia at about 6PM that Sunday evening and a tire blew on the truck. It was LOUD and it blew up!! It was no flat, but an explosion. It even dented the side of the truck. The spare didn't have enough air. Michael took off in the car to find the nearest exit and get some fix-a-flat for the spare to help us limp into somewhere to get it fixed. Joshua and I stayed in the truck with the animals. Michael got back and put the fix-a-flat in and it just poured out in different spots. The spare wouldn't hold air. So, he called a tow truck company. Michael told us that the man would tow the trailer first to this well lit gas station at the next exit. It had a big grassy area that we could probably get the animals out to milk them. I was to follow in the car and stay with the animals until he got there on the next trip with the tow truck. So, I followed this guy to the exit. He pulled off and drove right past the well lit gas station with the nice grassy area. He took us to this really dark and secluded parking lot behind a bunch of businesses that were closed. I made Joshua stay in the car and went to talk to him explaining we were in the wrong place. He told us that the gas station would make us move. He said he knew the people who had the business we were behind and that we could stay there overnight until we could get a new tire the next day. It was getting dark and starting to drizzle. I pulled the car behind the stock trailer so no one could get in the back door of the trailer and we could watch the side door. We locked our doors and sat there and prayed. Once Michael got there, we got the animal out and tied to the sides of the trailer. We fed, watered and milked them out. Then put them back. Michael drove Joshua and I to a small hotel to spend the night and he went back and slept in the car by the animals. We called the Pastor family and our family in Ohio to pray, then called the bed and breakfast and told them we would not be there. It poured all night. The next morning, he came to get us and we got the animals out again in the thick mucky mud and fed, watered and milked them again. Then after they were back in the trailer, Joshua and I sat in the truck, while Michael went to get a tire. The company he bought it from came and put it on for us. We called and gave an update then headed out. When we got to a city of some size we stopped and bought more new tires for the truck to be prepared and kept one of the old ones as a spare.

Since we got such a late start we had to stop and spend another night on the road. We found a hotel with a huge parking lot that extended into gravel and then a sort of grassy area. Semi trucks parked there. There were several bars, just over beyond the grassy area and down a little incline. We got in fairly late as we were trying to make time. We got all the animals out and tied them around the trailer and started taking care of them. One of the hotel's other customers came stumbling (literally... he was very drunk) from the bar towards the hotel. He got near us and the cow bellowed and there were lots of other animal noises. He stopped... stared... shook his head as if to clear it... stared again and then staggered off to the hotel. I think he must have figured he had a few more than usual. =) I was hoping he would swear off the stuff.

To be continued...


Pearl said...

I love hearing your story. Thank you for sharing.

Tipper said...

Blood test for the chickens?! You know you need to make this into a book! Very nice.