Do you know that I am spending three weeks in Colorado Springs CO? My husband went back to work part-time for Northrop Grumman Corporation and this entails traveling all over the world on three-week assignments. I rarely accompany him, but this assignment is at Ft. Carson, CO. Our two grandchildren live about eight miles from Ft. Carson, so there was no way he was going to leave me back on the farm.
The only obstacle to my going with him was the question of who we could get to stay with all the animals and keep them and the house from freezing. Did you know my sister can leap tall buildings? AND, she is taking care of all my animals, plants, house, etc -- for three weeks! She is even sleeping in my house on sub-freezing nights in order to bring all my dogs and cats inside. I once made the mistake of leaving my oldest Border Collie in the laundry room during a severe thunderstorm and she destroyed the lower half of the door trying to get out, so we know she needs extra attention during weather extremes.
I have taken short vacations of five or six days at a time (never in the winter) and Patty has always checked on everything for me. Invariably something has either died, been born, or broken while she was on watch. The water lines have broken;cows have been born; cats have died (One cat died behind the houseplants that I had put out on the front porch and Patty had watered the dead cat along with the plants for several days before she realized it. Poor Patty!). So far, she has only had to sleep over three nights with the dogs and cats, and it doesn't look like the heifer is even pregnant - we may be having RainLily hamburgers, if something doesn't happen soon.
The rain gutter fell down and the water pipes in the well house broke during the ice storm two weeks ago and I broke the window the day before we left, so Patty can't feel responsible for any of that.
So far on her watch, only the electricity to the barn has gone out, which means: the light in the chicken house is out, the heater in the cows' water trough is off and the electric fence for the two heifers and little bull calf is not working. No electricity means fewer eggs being laid; if the water trough freezes, water must be hauled from the house; we have our fingers crossed that the cattle are not smart enough to realize they are no longer penned.
After this trip, I think I'll make Patty an honorary farmer as well as my most-loved sister. I have a really great gift for her in thanks for what she is doing, but I can't tell you, yet -- it's a surprise.
Sisters image by Denise Van Patten