Friday the 13th. Notorious for being unlucky. And even more so if there is a full moon on the same night! In honor of this most unfortunate of days, I thought I'd share a few of my memorable, "unlucky" farm experiences.
There was that time that my kids came inside, exclaiming "snake, mom! There's a snake in the garage that you need to get out." Fully expecting a garter snake, I went into the garage to have a look around the shoe shelf. I saw the tip of its tail peeking out from between a couple of boots. Then, it moved... And the slithering sound didn't stop for an extended period of time. That's when I exited the garage, and dutifully sent my dog in to the battle. I had no idea what we were working with until Morris, our golden retriever, snapped a five foot long (unnamed breed for the protection of all involved) snake out of the garage. Now, as a city-girl in Cincinnati, I used to love showing off how unafraid of snakes I was to the boys. I would pick them up, no problem. Having a reptile the same length as me sitting only a couple feet away, though, was not the same. Poor Morris was foaming at the mouth from whatever the oil was the snake's skin had given off. The snake was injured enough that it was being still. Morris was having nothing more to do with it. He had gotten it out of the garage, handed it off to me, and now it was my turn to finish this thing. Easier said than done. (Where is a hubby when ya need him?!) So my kids - about 2 and 5 years at the time - were in the window looking out, cheering me on. I had wanted the adventure documented so I could show Daron later what a great snake conqueror I was. So, Spencer was videoing. The boys started counting as I held a shovel ready to strike. "1, 2, 3, ....4, 5,..." I had missed my cue on 3. I just couldn't do it! So they started counting again. My two-year-old Collin thought it was great fun practicing all of his new numbers! (While we are always looking for creative ways to incorporate learning into real life, this is not what I had in mind.) After a couple of tries, I finally swung on "3"!! Only to miss with such force that sparks flew off the pavement from the metal shovel. Bugger! Now I had to do it all again! This time it went a little quicker. My legs were already shaking from the first time. My hands couldn't possibly get sweatier. And the boys had practiced the count down real good. This time when I struck, it connected, and - the poor unfortunate snake who was just looking for a place to rest out of the hot sun - rested in peace. On a side note, and to continue the Unlucky nature of the story... I was of course rather proud of my snake prowess. And, since no story is complete without social media fame, I posted it on Facebook. It didn't take long to receive a private message from a concerned friend. He very kindly stated, "I really don't want to be in your business, but thought you might want to know that the picture you're sharing is of a protected Michigan species. You may want to take it down." Protected?! Snakes?! I for sure wanted to take it down after that! But now I like to say, " I've accidentally committed one felony. So if you need anything done..." *** Disclaimer: This blog, Devon Valley Farms, and all those associated do not endorse felony behavior, harm to endangered species, driving while drinking hot coffee, etc...
And then there was my first farm memory. I would have been probably around three years old, give or take. My uncle and aunt lived on a farm in one of the Virginias. (Again for clarification...this is MY memory, so I'm sharing the story as I remember it. Sometimes things are perceived differently when you're 3. Let's go with that.) My family had gone to visit my Uncle Bobby and Aunt Carol. While the adults were inside talking, my brother, Eric - who is just 15 months older than me - and I went outside to explore. I don't recall much up to the point where we were running, screaming. I remember climbing a wooden ladder... wishing Eric would hurry up and climb faster as I was surely going to die. Next, I just remember the desperation as we appeared over the ledge of the haymow.... staring at a herd of ravenously hungry pigs who had chased us for miles - or at least across the barnyard - and cornered us in the towering heights of the barn. We were convinced they wanted to eat us. After all pigs eat anything, right? About this time the adults remember hearing two little kids screaming, "Uncle Bobby! Uncle Bobby!" So my gentle-souled, Southern uncle with the mischievous smiley eyes came out to see what he could rescue us from. I don't really remember too much more than that; however, to this day my Uncle Bobby is still a hero... And I still do NOT like the haymow. Another pretty great memory that comes to mind is the year we tried our hand at gardening. It is important to note that I bake. I don't garden. I love working with fresh food. I love buying it from Horrocks, our family-owned local fresh mart. But, we wanted to give it a try. After all, we live on a 40-acre farm. What kind of farmers don't Farm vegetables? (Hint: #us) We are the kind of people that have the mentality "go-big-or-go-home". Sometimes that's an advantage...we found that sometimes it is not. See, when a garden grows well, a lush, delicious product is the result. When a garden does not grow well...well... it grows a different kind of product. Weeds. I'm here to tell you we know how to grow a good weed. (For my Cincy friends: No. This is not code. No. We are not THAT kind of farm.) We kind of got busy with other things. Before we knew it, our garden had become a weed city rivaling any Fairy Tail stalk that might be trying to reach the sky. And since we do everything "go-big-or-go-home", it was a pretty hefty sized area. It became a treasure site for the kids since they could go out and find random tomatoes and squash hidden under leafy vegetation. (Even WE couldn't kill tomatoes and squash. Imagine if we had planted zucchini!) Being the Creative that I am, I immediately saw the potential of our new Weed City. To the kids' delight, and Daron's amusement, I went out with a machete and some hedge trimmers and hacked out a maze and a hidden fort. So, the unfortunate disaster we called a garden became a temporary playground for the kids. And to this day, about 3-4 years later, we STILL get random squash sprouting as a result of that crazy endeavor. Next time, we will stick with raised, manageable, tidy planters.
So, those are just a few of the Unlucky events that have happened. There are others. But as I sit here recalling all of the fun and all of the craziness that has been a part of this farming life, I smile fondly. Because even the unlucky, has been graced with "luck". We are a family who is blessed with each other, and even on the most unlucky of days, that is enough to leave me feeling like a pretty lucky lady.
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