Homeland Farm

Homeland Farm

Monday, February 13, 2012

There might be blood...Part One

    As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I am not particularly graceful. Actually, as my dearly departed Uncle Billy used to say, I tend to be more like "a bull in a china shop". I used to blame all my tumbles on weak ankles, or perhaps Nanny's infamous "McKeen Knees." Apparently my McKeen ancestors were clumsy too, and I guess even back over 100 years ago felt the need to come up with some reason why "things" happened to them. The "curse" seems to have trickled down through the years, and somehow I ended up with a rather large dose of it.  
     Growing up on a farm, and being outdoors as much as I could, it was just natural that I get hurt, and I did. Alot. I'm not even talking about all the horse back riding incidents that occurred. I am talking about weird accidents, that always seemed to fall under the heading of  "it could only happen to Carmen."
      I broke my collarbone as a youngster, getting out of a crib. I somehow managed to break my arm in an old metal pedal car that I had when I was about 6 years old. The thing only sat a foot off the ground. I have no idea how I managed that. I also broke my nose but I believe that was a horse riding injury. It was one of two times, either when a horse ran away with me and we crashed through the forest with apparently my nose leading the way...or it might have been when the horse (same one actually..no wonder we sold her..she was trying to kill me!) reared up and I went forward and hit my face on the crest of her neck. Perhaps it was a combination of both of those incidents. All I know is that I needed to have nose surgery as an adult to be able to breathe out of both nostrils.
      Then there were incidents where I didn't need any help at all. I was in my teenage years, and as was common during those days, the water in the barn had frozen. So, I would fill my pails up at the house and carry them down to the barn for the horses and chickens. As anyone that has horses can tell you, if you need to haul water, they will want alot to drink. And on this one winter night, they were VERY thirsty. I had already made a few trips and even though I was frozen, and tired, I knew they needed one more set of pails. So, back to the house I went.
        I filled them one last time, and went out the door, trying not to slop any of the water out and onto the floors, like I had already done out in the big barn. We have the animal barn, and the big barn, which used to house animals when my mother was young, but when I was growing up, had the lawn mower,firewood, and my mother's car parked in it. I stepped out into the big barn, and once again, started to squeeze past the car with my pails of water. I was tired by now, and was slopping water on my legs and boots. I made it past the car and thought it was smooth sailing, until I stepped on a patch of ice from an earlier trip.
     I somehow tossed the pails ahead of me, and as I fell forward, my left shin caught one of the pails and down I went, in a giant wave of freezing cold water. I was in absolute agony. My left leg was killing me, and I was freezing to the floor as I lay there. I rolled around in misery, clenching my left leg in my hands, feeling the swelling starting beneath my fingers. I finally realized I could move it, so I knew it wasn't broken. I managed to get to my feet. and hobble inside. I went to change my clothes, and saw I had a huge hematoma (aka a Wicked bad Bruise!) on my leg. It was the size of an orange, and extremely painful. It was a very long time before it went away, and even when it finally did, it left a hole in my leg that I have there to this day.
      I have always said, my guardian angels have had their hands full with me, over the years. I actually think I have had a team of angels..they get so tired trying to keep me alive, they have to "tag out" to rest once in awhile.
      Water pails caused another one of my "near misses." I was once again carrying two pails of water to the horses, and I remembered stepping through the barn door, and then that was it. That's the last thing I remembered until I  opened my eyes, and was puzzled by what I was seeing. I appeared, for some unknown reason, to be laying on the floor, trying to see underneath the chicken door, as waves of water, ebbed and flowed around my head, up against the door stoop and back to my face. I laid there unable to move, as I realized three things..I couldn't catch my breath, my whole body was hurting, and not more then 6 inches from my face was the upturned tines of the pitchfork that I had last seen protruding from a hay bale by the door.
     After a few moments of getting my bearings, I realized the pitchfork handle was caught between my feet, and that's what had happened to me..I caught my foot on the fork handle as I walked in carrying the water, and went down hard enough to knock me out. I had dirty water, manure, shavings and hay ALL over my body, literally from head to toe, on one side of my body, as I had landed on my side. I was just so thankful I had missed the end of the pitchfork..Those angels are handy to have around.
     When I could breathe again, I stood up and hobbled into the house. My mother took one look at me, and said.."NOW what happened to you?" I think that's when one of our family's favorite phrases was born. "There's always something with you, Carmen."
     My penchance for weird accidents didn't end with my teenage years. About three summers ago, Cliffy's aunt Rollie was here to visit us for a few weeks in the summer. Our farm stand was busy, and I had gone in the house to get a loaf of bread for a customer, while Cliffy went to the barn to get a really fresh dozen eggs for them. Rollie kept the family company while we went and did our jobs. On my way out of the kitchen, I noticed our cat "Stewbeef" with her nose pressed to the door, as Rollie, on the other side went to open it to let me out into the barn. Now, Stewbeef can't be let loose because two of our other cats Stink E. Lewis and Slippery Sue will chase her and fight with her. She is fat and floppy and they pick on her any chance they get. I started to say "Don't let her out!" but in that exact moment Rollie opened the door. It seemed like a slow motion disaster. I reached down to grab Stewie by her neck, or tail or whatever I could grab. Once she gets out, she is surprisingly fast for a fat cat, and doesn't like to be caught.
     "NOOOoooooo" I said, (that's what it sounds like in slow motion), and as I grabbed for her, I missed. Instead of catching the cat, I caught my arm on the head of a nail, sticking out of the old cupboard about 2 feet off the ground. I thought about it afterwards, and determined the sound tearing skin makes is essentially the same as tearing cloth.
      "RIPPPPPPP", went the outside of my right arm. I fileted that arm open like a fat sausage. Surprisingly, it didn't hurt, but it sure did bleed. I saw it in an instant, and quickly slapped my hand over it, to stop it from bleeding and went out through the door Rollie still had opened wide.
     "Crap!" I said, "Where is Cliffy?" I knew I was in need of many stitches. The farm stand erupted in instant chaos...Rollie started running and hollering "CLIFF! CLIFF!!!" out the back of the barn, Brogan hollered "Holy .... Mom", and proceeded to whip off her belt for a makeshift tourniquet, Cliffy came running up from the barn eggs rolling and breaking and dripping all over the farm stand, and the poor customers were hollering and one poor fellow turned around and vomited in my flower garden. This all took place in approximately 40 seconds. It was a hoot.
     Cliffy grabbed a towel for me, as I assured Brogan I could apply pressure with my hand, and for her to un belt my arm so I could once again feel my fingers. We hopped in the car and sped off to the emergency room where I received about 25 stitches. It never did hurt, it was odd. We came home and the farm stand was closed and Aunt Rollie was on her third drink.
     A couple years ago, the family that was here that day came back to get eggs. They asked how I made out that afternoon. I said I was fine, and  just a nice neat scar. When I asked them where the guy was that was sick, they said he couldn't even think about coming back here again. It still made him queasy. Poor guy.  Traumatized for life because of a visit to Homeland Farm. Say, anyone want to stop by for eggs?
Payback time..A Bath for the Beef
My accomplice and the victim..Stewbeef

A good shot of my battle scar 

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