4.06.2015

Livestock vs. Deadstock

Moving to the farm was every bit of setting out on to uncharted territory for me.  It seemed as though we had packed up, said our good-byes to the USA with sidewalks, street lights and neighbors, and moved to a foreign country.  I had to learn a whole new language and lingo and embrace a different way of life with new lives to care for.  Because you know, five kids to look after wasn't enough.  Or something like that.

One bright and early morning, with coffee in hand, I bid farewell to my little farm children and shoved them out the door to school.  Not a split second later, before I could take my deep sigh of relief and gulp of coffee, Big Dog pushed the kids back in and said, "honey, we have a problem".  A problem?  What? Who forgot to pack a lunch, do their homework, brush their teeth, put their shoes on?  No, no. Not that kind of "we have five kids problem so there is always a problem" kind of problem.  

You see, the night before was one of the loudest, scariest thunder storms I've ever witnessed with my five senses.  The sky was fierce with dark, mean clouds.  The rain fell hard and heavy without mercy.  The thunder was deafening.  And the lightening.  The lightening was blinding.  I'd never seen anything like it.  I was actually more afraid of this particular thunder storm than of any tornado warning in my 37 years of life.  The thunder pounded and roared right outside our window.  I was sure lightening, on more than on occasion, hit our barn and fried our cats.  This storm was hitting hard, with powerful vengeance and wrath.  
I did not take the picture but it's a spittin' image of what the storm looked like.  Photo Courtesy: Choctaw City
Back to the morning after.  Back to the problem.  The problem I wasn't prepared for.  Unfortunately, that raging storm cast it's lightening rod down on one of our horses.  Poor Sarley had taken cover under a tree.  Didn't his momma tell him never to hide under a tree during a thunder storm?    Apparently not.  Anyway, the lightening hit the tree, splitting and scorching the trunk and poor Sarley took the shock.  My kids saw a dead horse with four legs sticking stiff and straight up in the air.  Honestly, I would have traded their innocent eyes seeing that sight for them hearing the F-word for the first time (except I'm pretty sure they have already heard that word.  They've ridden the school bus).  Yup, we had a problem.  We had a dead horse, five sad children, and a hysterical mother.  

This is where knowing people of all different kinds comes in handy.  Big Dog called a friend who knew a friend who knew a friend and prepared ME for what was to happen (Big Dog had to get to work or go to a meeting.  He had to get to something other than dealing with a dead horse).  An hour or so later a big truck with a big trailer came driving towards the scene.  A man, a large man, in overalls and a cowboy hat stepped out of that truck and said, "whatcha got here mamn?". Before I could clear my throat and wipe my tears he said, "Ah.  Looks like you got a dead horse over yonder.  There's a lot of that going on today".  Excuse me?  Is that how you greet the grieving?  Is that how you console a city damsel dealing with a farm tragedy?  Apparently so.  Big John (I'm serious as a lightening strike.  His name was Big John) spit his spit and said he would take care of it and be out of my hair in no time.  He must have seen the tears in my eyes and felt the need to comfort me by saying, "you see little lady, that's the way it is out here on the farm.  Sometimes you got livestock and sometimes you got deadstock".  And with that he turned and walked back towards his truck mumbling something about how he better get on because he had a days worth of work goin' and gettin' the other deadstock that had fallen prey to the storm.  I wiped my tears, put my hands on my hips, took a deep breath and headed back inside to finish my coffee with my new found understanding of "deadstock".

Poor Sarley.  He was our very best riding horse.  A most gentle and kind spirit he was.  Sarley wouldn't hurt a fly biting his back or buzzing in his ear.  He had a heart of gold.  And I have to be brutally honest and tell you that as I walked back in to the house I couldn't help but snare at our mean bully of a horse and wish it was him instead.  

In memory of our Sweet Sarley.  Photo Courtesy: Bethanie Lied

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