Wednesday, April 24, 2013

::floating funny farm::

Last week I had a wonderfully busy shift in the Emergency Room from 11AM till 11PM.  I was running around like a crazy woman and my patients were actually sick.  It had been raining cats and dogs all day but I was in a windowless unit so I really had no idea.  I drove home in the very old Saturn and started to get a little afraid.  The roads were covered with water and that little car it not cut out for anything but good weather.  (In all fairness it is not really fit for driving at all, but its paid for and gets good gas mileage.)  I went through puddles that I was actually worried I might get stuck in.  I finally made it home around midnight.  Josh must have been worried about the weather because he was waiting up.  We walked out to check my animals.  The little Tractor Supply chicks and duckling were standing in water in there stall turned coop, but everyone else looked ok.  We put the chicks into the old empty water tank that was their brooder.  Then we built up some pallets and high ground for everyone else.  We knew the rain was still coming and even though they were mostly dry now we wanted to give them plenty of dry places to sleep if it got worse.  By 1AM we were in bed.

I set my alarm for 3AM just to double check that things were still under control.  When the buzzer went off, I put on Josh’s knee high rubber boots over my jammies, and went to the barn.  I was stunned and freezing when I stepped off the porch and the water went well above the top of the boots.  The water had gone up over nine inches in those two hours and had formed a water way with a strong current between the house and the barn. .  The water was deepest right outside my barn, but due to the raised dirt floor in my barn it was just below my boots once you crossed the threshold.  The lambs where yelling the loudest, so that greasy wheel got checked first.  My little black lamb was standing in the water that was half way up her body.  She was eating the hay that was floating around in her stall.  Our little wether lamb had climbed to the highest ground in his stall and was dry and happy, but poor big girl was practically swimming.  I knew my horse trailer was parked on high ground so I picked both those little fatties up and carried them through the water and about 300 yards to the horse trailer. 

See the water line on the barn?
By that point I could hear my adult goats screaming.  I keep them separate from the young and nursing goats because they don’t need the calories I feed the little guys.   I ran back to the barn and my two fat grow up goats (Bo and Grandma Willow) had fallen off their platform and knocked the whole thing over.  They were in the water and very mad.  They each weight around 75lbs and I knew I couldn’t carry one of them, let alone both.  I clipped lead ropes to them and just lead them out into the deep water.  I thought the ropes would help me if they got pulled by the current or panicked once the water got deep.  Those two crazies swam like they had been trained to swim.  The lead ropes never even got tight.  They just paddled along like Labradors.  Then they walked out to the trailer like saints.

Then I ran back to the barn and looked at the other goat stall.  They always have pallets to sleep on that we had built up two levels for the storm.  They were floating around like boats.  The two new babies and their mama were on the most precarious pallet so I decided to get them first.  I one baby under each arm, clipped a lead to the mama, and went out into the storm.  That mama did not get the memo about swimming.  She was in a total state of panic.  Let me add – goats HATE water.  Just about as much as a cat hates water.  Thank God I had a lead rope on her because she would have drowned.  But we got through the deep water and made it out to the trailer.

Then I RAN back to the barn.  All of the sudden I had this total panic feeling that Marshmallow Fluff would have jumped off her pallet to follow me when I took the Mama and the two babies.  The water would have been over her head.  That little thing was drowning right this second!  I could just feel it.  RUN!  But she wasn’t.  Her pretty little face was standing on a pallet that was not totally floating yet, with a young female goat named Blake.    I scooped up my sweet little Fluff into my arms, clipped a lead rope to Blake and got them to safety.

At this point my two horse trailer had two sheep, four adult goats, and three baby goats inside.  I told them to figure it out, not fight, and walked away.  Then I thought – why in the world did I not wake Josh up to help me?  I was so in the moment that I never even thought about it.  One more barn check on all the poultry should finish the night.  Lily’s 4H show ducks were in their cage on top of the rabbit hutch – a good high and temporary safe spot.  The rabbit was all set on high ground.  The tractor supply chicks – well…  They were in that tank still.  But it was floating around the coop stall like a boat.  I clipped a lead rope to it and floated it right into the house.  They got to have an indoor overnight.

My feed and tack room after the water went down

During all this Teddy (our old retired QH) and Donk were yelling at me to “let them in”.  If you don’t know what I mean, horses have a way of asking for certain things that makes it really clear.  If the water is dry Donk has a certain bray that he makes.  If the round bale in gone Teddy begs for food in a certain tone.  They rarely ask to “come in” but they were doing it big time.  I gave them a big pat and told them they were out of luck and had to just go walk onto one of the hills in their pasture.  The trailer was too full for them to join in.

As I was about to shut the door I saw four sad eyes staring at me and heard Bruno’s familiar “I want” whine.  I didn’t fight it.  I just got some towels and set Bruno and Alberta up in the bathroom.  Two smelly stinking wet farm dogs tucked in.

When I got in the bed Josh woke up.  I heard the baby cry and went to check him.  He was covered in puke.  We got him cleaned up and gave him a bottle.  It was 5AM by this point.   Q laid in bed and snuggled and talked to us.  Till he projectile vomiting all over Josh and our bed.  We just started laughing.  What else could we do?  We cleaned that all up and tried to go back to bed.  We were just falling asleep when Lily showed up to tell us that Max had puked all over his bed.  I threw his sheet in the trash – it wasn’t worth saving. 

Look at the water line on the fence

We got the herd all settled in and grabbed a few hours more of sleep.  When I woke up and 10am the sun was shining outside.  Everyone in the trailer was alive and well.

The water in the barn went down quickly and we were able to clean all the stalls well enough to get all the creatures back into their places.  There are many things ruined.  The place is a mess.  The landscape timbers for the driveway have floated away.  The basement was over my head with water.  The furnace is gone.  But nothing with a heartbeat is lost.  Insurance does not cover any flood damage – nice.  But they will cover the water that came in from the sump pump being overwhelmed.  We hope we get at least enough money to replace the furnace.  We will be cleaning up for some time, but it will be even better organized for all this in the long run.  I needed to clean out my junk stall anyway.


  1. wow brooke, I'm sorry you are going through this. You sound optimistic but I know it must be a bit and your family are in my thoughts.

  2. Brooke I must say, your attitude is this post is just SO inspiring to me this morning. Thank you so much for sharing this. I needed it & am sure I will be thinking back to it this week. Thanks again and best wishes.



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