I can't tell you how many times over the past year I have sat down to write a blog post, then walked away from the computer. The things I wanted to write about all seemed sad or whiney or complaint-riddled, and I know absolutely everyone is having a hard time during this pandemic. Why add to the misery? Gordon and I have been fortunate; although sadly G lost his cousin to Covid last March, touch wood we have both remained healthy, and my mother-in-law just received her second vaccine, which allows us to worry a bit less about her. We are financially solvent, and my barn helper Joseanne has been an absolutely godsend. She makes me smile every day. Things overall are going well, and we are managing to keep our heads up.
But the past 14 months have been hard here at the farm. Many animals, foster and otherwise, have passed to Rainbow Bridge, and worst of all, in December we had to euthanize our beloved pony Esme. Then, fifteen days later, I woke up to find my heart kitty Naomi dead on our bathroom floor. (Still don't know why, but she had had some heart issues earlier in life and I think at age 12, her heart just gave out.) Every time I thought to write about these things, it was just too painful, and I walked away. It has all been too much.
To top it all off, just before the start of the pandemic, we found out that the person that had been working here for six years, my right-hand person, someone I thought cared about our animals, someone whose partner (my former hairdresser and someone I considered a friend!) had recommended to work here (knowing full well the truth about him)... well, that person turned out to be a thief, a fraudster, and a lying, lazy cheat. I shall call that person Bloodsucker.
Of course, this is in part our fault for trusting too much and not insisting on matching receipts to invoices, which is what we did in the early days. But that's how sociopaths work. Bloodsucker gained our trust over several years, then completely f*cked us over. It was so awful to discover all this. Neither of us can believe we were so stupid, and of course looking back, we realize how many times we ignored gut feelings and warning signs. It has been a hard but important life lesson. I will never trust anyone like that again. I honestly don't want to trust any human being ever again.
The day Bloodsucker came back to the farm to pick up his things after being canned, he was so angry, I ran to hide in the barn with my cat Emerson in my arms. Bloodsucker was so irate, I had flashbacks to my former spouse, and I could not stop shaking and crying. I called Gordon to come home immediately. Unfortunately, while I was hiding in the barn, Bloodsucker and his helper were busy stealing and trashing our things. We found tools (including power tools!) thrown in garbage cans, things broken, things missing. This is when my spotting scope disappeared. Sadly, it took me too long to notice it was gone, because it has been hidden upstairs in our granary under a sheet while renovations were going on (renos supposedly being done by Bloodsucker, when he deigned to work.) Later someone told me it was Bloodsucker's trade mark to trash a place after being let go. Too bad we didn't know that sooner.
It didn't stop there, though. After we let him Bloodsucker go (he was never anything more than an hourly contract worker), his hate campaign stepped up. He began calling my friends to see what I was saying about him (nothing!) He stopped people we knew and demanded to know what we were saying about him (nothing.) He tried to tell "his side of the story" to anyone and everyone, which of course painted him as the poor abused fellow and us as the callous con artists. (He actually called us con artists! Talk about projection!)
He stopped the guy who mows our lawn and started telling him lies about us until our guy said he didn't want to hear it. He sent "anonymous", threatening hate mail to our mailbox. Our beautiful farm sign was mysteriously egged for the first time in 14 years.
When Gordon and I were walking down our road one day last summer with the dogs, Bloodsucker came up behind us in his truck, honking and accelerating and veering over the centre line to startle us. It was not long after this that we went to the police. The OPP have warned Bloodsucker to stay away from us while they investigate our complaint. Now when Gordon occasionally drives by Bloodsucker (small town, hard to avoid), Bloodsucker backs down the road in his truck in an exaggerated and dangerous manner.
Unfortunately Bloodsucker is not one to let things go. He has been harassing his next-door neighbour for years over a fenceline dispute. The neighbour once called the police on him, and Gordon actually went over there at the time to help Bloodsucker deal with the police. That should have been our sign to cut and RUN. I heard so many stories over the years from Bloodsucker himself about people he hated and wanted revenge against. I think part of the reason we kept him on as long as we did was that we were afraid what would happen if we ever stopped requiring his services. Turns out our fears were justified. I know for a fact that Bloodsucker likes to go as close as possible to his neighbour's house and run his chainsaw just to be annoying, because the township ruled against Bloodsucker in the fenceline dispute. That's the level of ridiculousness we are contending with.
We have now spent $3000 on security cameras for the farm, and for the first time in my life, I thought maybe I WOULD like the own a gun for protection. That thought has now passed, in part because I would probably accidentally blow off my own foot if I had a gun.
His evil then came to rest on us.
I am trying to move on from it all, knowing the outcome of the police investigation is pretty much out of my hands. I treasure my animals and get much joy from being with them. I still want to believe there are good people in the world, although those I trust are few and far between. I have been spending time writing poetry and painting and riding my horse. I am doing all I can to make sure I listen to my gut and keep these kinds of people out of my life in the first place. Really, it's all we can do now. Learn and move on. Be with the people who truly matter and have your back, as you have theirs.
On a happier note, I finally have a pet cow. I have wanted one forever, and it was in fact Bloodsucker who refused to accommodate a cow here, because he would not build a stall or fencing for one. That's how bad things got; he ended up dictating to us like he owned the place. It is so much better here now that he is one. It's like a dark presence is gone from the farm.
My cow is a Simmental named Eve who was given to us by Joseanne on Christmas Eve. She was born on November 24th and is simply a pet to be enjoyed here. I just happen to love cows. Eve was not suitable for Jo's uncle's breeding program, so she came to us. She is growing like a weed and is so fun to have around:
And here is my other reason to smile:
This is Hannah. She is about five months old now. I found her in a barn with her eyes crusted over. At one point, we thought she was going to need her left eye removed, but both eyes have recovered sufficiently that she can keep them, and she has vision in both. Like that wasn't bad enough, shortly after we got her, she fell off my desk and broke her rear leg! She has a pin inserted and has healed up great, as have her eyes. All she needs is an eye pressure check every three months to make sure she isn't developing glaucoma.
Hannah is fearless and she loves the dogs! She makes me laugh and I love her for it.