Friday, May 02, 2008

"Tails" From The Farm Part 6

You can start reading part 1 here.

My Grandma came to live with us for a year. She was a wonderful Grandma. She could take care of herself and she was very healthy, but her memory was really bad. She would sit with Joshua and tell him stories about when she was little. She could remember that the best. She remembered some of raising her own seven, but mostly she like to talk about the days before she was married. She was one of twelve. Many of them lived to their nineties and one even lived to 102. Grandma was in her 90’s when she lived with us. All twelve of them were very short. Michael and I would go down and visit Grandma when she still lived on her own. She lived in Kentucky. We would go to church with her and then after church we would go out to eat. Her brother and his wife and her sister and her husband would join us. We always felt like we were out with the munchkins. Even though they were short, many of them played on a basketball team. She had a picture of all of them in their uniforms. We had a basketball net set up out in our yard. She went out one night with Michael and Joshua and shot some baskets. She did pretty good for being in her nineties. She loved to look out the windows and watch the dog in the yard. Whenever she saw Star she would say, “Sic em Sowser.” She would sit out back in a lawn chair and watch the chickens. The children next door would come and chat with her. She loved babies and little children. I inherited that from her. She had a lot of little sayings that we still say to this day. I was so glad Joshua got to know her some even if she was not the same Grandma she had been when I grew up.

Star was Joshua’s best friend. Our entire yard was fenced in, including the front yard. We were not sure how she would do if she were to get free, so we made sure the gates were always closed. One day our landlord made a surprise visit to show the property to his new lady friend. He was not happy when we reminded him that the lease agreement said that he had to give us 24 hours notice to come and check out the house. He decided to just walk around the outside with her. He asked if Star was friendly or not and we assured him she was. We did ask him to make sure that he closed all the gates as he went through them. He left one open and she got out and took off. We all had to run and chase her down. She seemed to enjoy her freedom a bit too much. She loved to ride in the car. She would hang her head out the window and just enjoy life. We had to run up to the a store on the corner to get gas in the car. We all went and took Star with us. This convenience store was right on a VERY busy corner. When Michael got out to pump the gas, quick as a wink, Star jumped over the seat and jumped out the door. We all panicked. We jumped out and started calling her and chasing her. She would run around the cars parked outside the store, then head for the street. There must have been angels guarding all the exits to the street. She never did run out in traffic. It was a good five minutes that seemed like an eternity to us before she tried to go in the store when someone opened the door and Joshua caught her. From then on, we always put a leash on her before someone got out.

We had a huge rope swing hanging out of our big oak in the back yard. It had a stick tied near the bottom. This was for children to sit on. There was a long tail of rope hanging down past the stick. You could climb up on the tree platform and swing off or just get on the stick and have someone push you. Star loved playing with that swing. When no one was outside to play with her, we would watch out the window. She would get her 2 front paws over the stick and walk around in circles with it. They would always try to tie her up when they wanted to swing. It did not matter how high they were going, or who was on the swing… if they were swinging, she would grab the big rope tail and put on the brakes. The swing would come to a stop. She loved that game, they did not. There is another story we can tell you about this swing. Michael was pushing Joshua on the swing. He pushed him really high and went to step back out of the way. What he did not know was that the rope tail was around his foot. The next thing he knew, he was flat on his back looking skyward. Joshua almost fell off the swing he was laughing so hard. He had seen the whole
thing. Michael thought it was funny…. Well at least later on he did… much later on. He got a bad rope burn on his ankle.

Star would play hide and seek with Joshua. He would throw a ball really far away. She would run after it and he would take off in the other direction. When she realized what he was doing, she would turn around and come running. She learned all his best hiding spots and would check them one by one. She would run over behind the wood pile in the corner and look. Then she would look up on the roof. We had a tree in front of the house that made it easy to shinny up and get on the roof. She would run to the other side of the porch and look there, but she always found him. It was fun to watch. For a short while there, she quit playing with him. She found lizards and palmetto bugs to be fascinating. There were little lizards all over the outside of the house. They would dart here and there. You could get really close to them. Star found that she could catch them. You would just see the tail hanging out her mouth. She did not hurt them, but just carried them for awhile and then put them down. The palmetto bugs are basically huge roaches. They are very common in Florida around shrubbery and the palmetto plants. They scurry away when you get near them. Star would catch them as well. Joshua would go out to play with her and she was too busy looking for lizards and palmetto bugs to play. He got very frustrated with her. =)

Joshua made a toy sword out of wood. He loved to play Civil War. He put a rope on it and a piece of cloth hanging down. Star loved that thing and would snatch it and carry it everywhere. He gave it to her. You could tell her to go get her sword and she would come running with it. She had to hold her head up very high when she carried it because it was so long. We have a picture somewhere of her carrying it. I will have to find it and put it on here.

We knew that we were moving soon. We had a garage sale to downsize our junk. We had a large carport and set up under it the night berfore, so that we would be ready come morning. A couple of friends brought some things to put in it as well. Star would not stay out of the boxes. She kept taking a pair of gloves that had been my Grandma’s and a stuffed Shamu whale that belonged to one of my friend's children. We put the gloves up high, but she ended up tearing Shamu to shreds. There were items that I agonized over getting rid of, but in the pile they would go. We had way too much stuff. The garage sale was a huge success. I felt really good about getting rid of things. Then in a couple of months, I looked around again and saw more stuff I could get rid of. God was doing a work in me. Things that I would not even think of getting rid of the first time came under that agonizing scrutiny and in the pile they would go. We ended up having about four garage sales at different people’s homes. Even though I literally cried over some items, there were only two that I truly regret getting rid of. One was a lap size loom and the other was a gum ball machine and stand that Michael had given to me. It felt really good to be free of some of that stuff. It seems to be creeping back in though.

The man who owned the house we lived in was going to sell it. We had to move out and our move date to Ohio was not yet known. We had tried for years to move to the mountains of Virginia. God had other plans and was going to move us back to Ohio. We had very gracious friends (the Pastor family) that let us move in with them. They lived on a 10 acre farm. Mr. Pastor’s Dad also lived on the property. He had an extra bedroom that Michael and I slept in, but other than sleeping we spent most of our time over with the Pastors. We were thinking it would only be a matter of weeks, but we ended up being there for 3 1/2 months. They were very gracious and we tried to help them all we could. Not once did they ever make us feel like we were in the way or a burden. In fact, they tried to talk us into staying. They had animals on their farm and told us to bring our animals along. We had to set up some new pens, but with all the children helping it did not take long.

Their goats had horns and ours did not. Their goats knew how to use their horns as a weapon. Our 2 big goats held their own with them, but poor little Shiloh was getting battered around. So, we put up a separate little pen right on the outside of the big goat pen. That way, they could not get to her, but she was with other goats. However, this really made her bond to humans as well. Joshua wanted to sell her and she was the first goat with our herd name so I wanted to keep her. We bought Shiloh from Joshua. She would always follow me around. If I sat on the ground she would try to get on my shoulders. If the children were out, she did what she could to get out and be with them. She would rather be with humans than goats. She would also get into the garden, so she was not out unsupervised, or at least knowingly unsupervised. =).

While we were there, we had another miracle incident with Ellie. One side of the goat pen was fenced with barbed wire. Out goats not being used to barbed wire, were getting nicked all the time. One of the children were always coming in to say that Minx or Ellie were bleeding. I would make my way out there eventually, but it was usually, just a little scrape on their bag somewhere that had already stopped bleeding and would be OK. They came in one day and told us that Ellie was bleeding. As they went back out, they mentioned that there was both blood and milk. I went out right away. She had ripped a piece of skin about the length of a little finger, all the way down her teat. It went clear into the milk canal. We immediately called the vet and set to work to clean up what we could. We put the strip back in place and held it there after cleaning her until the vet arrived. Now with Minx, she was so finicky that if you even looked at her wrong, she went off feed. Not so with Ellie. While the vet was stitching her she was munching away on a bowl of food. She was something else. He had to clip off the strip that had come loose. He sewed the milk canal closed first so that it was a canal again, and then he sewed the outside shut. He told us to keep her milked out, so that pressure would not break the stitches or the healing. Joshua milked her every three hours around the clock for over a week. We were so proud of him. He would set his alarm and get up through the night to take care of her. After he would milk her, he would apply an herbal solution of Self Heal and Lavender infused in apple cider vinegar. She healed so well, you had to reach around and feel the teats to see which one had been injured. She went on to milk fine on that side. Eventually you could not tell which side had been stitched. She truly was a miracle goat.

To be continued...


Peggy said...

What wonderful memories! I love reading your stories

VoiceInTheWilderness said...

We've been looking forward to Part 6. I'll read it with hubby tonight after the kids are in bed. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Loved the part about your grandmother. Wonder what makes older folks who loose their memory go back to a time so long ago?

Star was is a really neat dog. I would have loved to see the swing pulling!