Saturday, January 30, 2010

Life Changes

So many things have changed in the past 6 days.  Some good, some not so good.  I drift between many thoughts and ideas.   Some progressive, some not so much.  
I started a new job this week.
I am excited to be part of a unique team that keeps farmers farming. Disabled and injured farmers need specialized assistance inorder to overcome unusual barriers to keep farming.  At a time when many farmers are leaving their profession because of poor milk prices, age, health or injuries it is critical to keep the majority of them farming for the longest possible time--for obvious reasons.

The non profit organization  I work for can not do anything about poor milk prices, but it can assist those farmers that are having problems working with their equipment because of their age, injuries or disabilites. We can retrofit their bathrooms, kitchens, tractors, feeding equipment or anything else to make it easier for the farmer to use, or get on, or to move it.  Better yet, if the farmer's wife or children need special assistance because of a disability, surgery or illness, we can also assist them as well. By assisting a family member, the farmer can concentrate on his job of making food and not spend time worrying about complications of those kinds of issues.   Special wheelchair ramps, lifts, doors, needed services and the such will be provided so the farmer can do his job and make food.   I already love the job. The training will be long and hard. Even harder is the 2 hour daily commute, each way, in all kinds of Vermont weather.
My 1997 truck is not doing well and I know this commute is going to finish the old gal off.  This pile of rusted metal and inner guts fell out from up inside my passenger door the other morning at the gas station. Rocker panels....  The door is going to fall off next.  I have been looking at possible vehicles, but I can't afford anything at this point.  So I worry.

Ironically, the other change, that brings me to tears, is that my favorite old, fragile farmer's wife was taken out of her home 2 days ago and brought to a hospital 3 hours away.  For the past 10 weeks I have been doing her daily morning care since she fell and broke her shoulder in three places.  It has been difficult moving an 84 year old woman with so many health issues from chair to wheelchair to bathroom and back again. Her mental health deteriorated about 2 weeks ago and has been in a steady decline, with her refusing food and care. She has been non-verbal for about 3 weeks as well and becoming less and less mobile and harder to move.  My back is always within seconds of blowing out.   Visiting nurses, afternoon care attendants, occupational therapists, family members, her doctor and neighbors with hot cassarols for lunch have been coming in a steady stream since last Novemeber to attend to my feeble good friend.   The guilt I feel for taking on this new job and finding out that she got even worse on Monday, when I was not there, has really ripped my gut to pieces.   Her husband is older, more feeble with even more health issues. I talked to him on the phone and then went to the farm to see him and check on the cows.  He was on the couch, pasty white and with a very congested cough. He told me he hadn't slept all week because of the deterrioration of his wife.  I tiddied up the place, made sure he would survive the day and went to check on the hay situation with the cows, all the while wondering what I could have done to avoid this train wreck with his wife. He, regretably, stoppped farming last year because of his own serious health issues and handed the farm to his son & grandson to continue. 
I drove home with a heavy heart.   I called him this morning and he seems better. The congestion in his chest has left and he has slept through the night.  His son will drive him north 3 hours to see his wife at the hospital tomorrow.  I pray she has improved.
The other constant worry I have is how cold it is where I live. My room has been a steady 32-38 degrees most nights, 20 degrees the night it was windy.  No heat, no relief.  This is a Old farmhouse with bad wiring and can't plug ANYTHING in for fear of a major fire.    I am looking for a warmer place to move to.  Must wait a bit until my job decides what part of the state will be my office.   There has been much joking that my office will be on my tailgate since I will be based 99% in the field, which makes me secretly happy inside. They have no idea the name of my farm is TailGait Farm.  It's fate, this job and me. Perfect match.        The plan I devised in October is progressing nicely, but with some very emotional speed bumps right now.  I know that eventually I will have to move my cows, and me, away from this wonderful area, and my favorite elderly farmer friends, to one closer to my job....and with heat.

Finally, the situation in Haiti isn't improving fast enough for the Haitians or myself.  I read every bit of news.  The animal rescue teams have said pretty much what we already knew.  Not many domestic animals in the cities and the livestock in the rural areas all need Long Term help.  Food is scarce and people will need more livestock for transportaion, food, selling of produce and other life survival things.   Heifer International  ( ) will be recieving a donation from me, to help in that effort, as soon as I get financially stable.  I have gone without a paycheck since November 2008.
Those are just a few of my constant worries.  If you have any ideas how to resolve some of them, other than chocolate, let me know.
Meanwhile, please support your local farmers and buy local farm produce and products.

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