Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Few, the Proud, the Farmsitters

The only way farmers like me can get away for a couple of days for business or vacation is by having people we trust who are able to care for the animals and the property in our absence. These "farmsitters" need to be competent, compassionate, waterproof, and not afraid of reptiles.

Gail the Unflappable

Thankfully, I have the Daugherty teens down the street, alpaca owners themselves who have helped me numerous times in the past, and now I have my friend Gail. This powerful team kept the farm safe and tended during our last trip.

Gail is a nurse, has dogs and chickens of her own, and loves the farm. She committed to coming over for several days in a row before our trip to get acquainted with our guard dog, Judah, so that he and his sheep could actually get fed while we were gone. (Anyone he didn't know might lose a hand trying to get into the pen, even to feed.) Gail won him over.

So, off we went on our trek to Idaho. With all these great caregivers on the watch, I didn't worry about a thing. I had kidded with Gail before I left that it always seems to rain cats and dogs while we're away, making the animal chores even more of a, well, chore. Ha ha ha, isn't that funny...

It rained.

It rained on and off for several days. As usual, this complicated things, but texts from Gail were always positive and upbeat. For about a day. Then things started going south.

We had decided to try leaving the indoor dogs at home and save a little money and wear and tear by not boarding them. This turned out to be a minor disaster. Robbie, the neurotic Corgi, decided he wouldn't be caught or leashed so that he could go out to relieve himself, but rather hid, unmoving, under the kingsize bed. Ruth, after her rounds of antibiotics, seemed to be working herself into a bladder infection, and never could go outside when she really wanted to. This all led to several bouts of disgusting floor cleanup for Gail.

Then it really got ugly. One evening Gail was doing chores in the dark and the rain, and discovered that a really huge rat snake had slithered into the guinea brooder on the back porch and eaten 2 keets, killed another 2, and was still in there contemplating his next move. With her daughter's help, Gail flipped open the brooder, used a shovel to pick up the snake, and heaved him into the yard. The snake disappeared into the night before she could dispatch it. Meanwhile, the 2 remaining, newly-feathered keets decided to take flight, and one escaped into the darkness and debris of the porch. Nothing for Gail to do but put things back in order and call it a day.

Dramatization

The next morning, the Daughertys discovered the brooder, perfectly shut up, but only containing one guinea. Hearing some rustling amongst the flotsam on the back porch, they rummaged around until the other keet was found and recaptured.

Now, I wouldn't have been surprised if Gail had texted me saying, "please don't call me again." Instead, the last text I got said, "Everybody fed and loved. House cleaned up and floors mopped. Of course a storm started just as I finished feeding. Hope u had a nice trip, it was a blast for me." For real.

I think if she plays her cards right, she'll soon have to quit this penny-ante nursing thing and go into full time farmsitting. She'll be able to name her price.

Survivors





4 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:06 PM

    Thank goodness for Gail! Love the dramatization! :D
    -jenn

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  2. OMG . . . Gail, you so rock!!! Hugs, double hugs, triple hugs, quad . . . you get it . . . lots and lots of hugs and kisses for you!!! You're my hero. xoxoxo

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  3. Gail! You are superwoman!!! My hat's off to you taking care of what needed to be done!!! The drawing really made me LOL!!!!

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  4. Love the dramatization! Gail is a Trooper with a capital "T"!

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