Monday, January 23, 2012

I May Live in Farm Country... But I'm No Farmer

Dear Diary...

Well, it's been quite the eventful weekend.  So much to do, so little time...and all that jazz.  I didn't get to finish Ellen's book like I'd planned on....but I'm only a few chapters away from being done.  The part I read yesterday was just as fantastic as the first half - but I'll save that info for when I'm actually done with the book.

You'll never guess what I did yesterday.  I actually cleaned my house!  I know.  I'm just as shocked as you are.  OK, not that shocked.  A little dramatic aren't we?  Geez. 

Yes, I cleaned my house.  I sorted all of Jelly's toys and got them back where they should be.  Including those that belonged in a giant trash bag.  I then killed a gazillion dust was like a scene from a dust horror movie in my living room.  Dust bunny carcasses were everywhere... but they were given proper treatment after their demise.  Who knew that the vacuum served as a cleaning utensil and a dust bunny funeral home?

After I spent a couple of hours cleaning, I sat down and enjoyed the last 30 minutes of peace and quiet before the kids got home from church.  It's amazing how fast 30 minutes go by.  I just got nice and comfy, and BAM in flew three kids all hyped up on being gone without me.  The volume in my house went from calm to crazy in 3.2 seconds flat.

Peanut went to work cleaning her room, and the rest of us got ready to take my brother back home.  I've got to give Peanut some credit, here.  When I say "no more computer or tablet until your room is clean", she doesn't take that lightly.  She was pulling out crap from every nook and cranny in her room.  I was gone for over 3 hours yesterday afternoon, and she still hadn't finished when I got home. She was working her behind off, though.  Maybe now she'll see why I press the "if you just keep it clean" motto.  Who am I kidding?  That's what I've been saying for years....still hasn't sunk in yet.

So, where was I?  Oh yes, taking my brother home.  My brother is 15.  He likes to come and spend the weekend at my house on occasion.  Don't ask me why - because my house is boring - but I love it when he comes.  I think he likes coming to my house to have a break.  Part of it is a break from the fact that my parents are foster parents, and sometimes their house can be a little crazy.  The other part is the fact that my brother is a 15 year old farmer - and just likes a weekend off from having to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to feed chickens, rabbits, goats, and pigs.

Yesterday was a very rough day for my brother, though.  Friday, when I went to go pick him up, he asked me to take a look at his pig.  He's only had this pig for a couple of was just a few months old when he got it.  Anywho, my brother knew something was wrong with the pig - and wanted me to take a look.  Now, I don't remember ever having given my brother the inclination that I knew anything about farm animals.  My farming knowledge extends to the point in which I know which animal is what.  That's about it.  I can tell a goat from a sheep.  I can tell a rooster from a chicken...sometimes.  I know what a pig looks like.  That's about it.  Yet, my brother wanted my I felt it only right to oblige.

After taking a look at the pig, all I could say was "I'm pretty sure that's not right".  To which I was referring to the fact that protruding from the behind of the pig was a blood filled sac looking thing.  Not to get too disgusting here, but think of a hemorrhoid the size of a fist.  A large man's fist.  Thanks to the power of the Internet, my mom was able to look it up and found out that the pig was suffering from a rectal prolapse.  If you don't know what that is, I dare you to look it up.  No, wait.  I'm not that mean.  Save yourself the exposure to the most disgusting thing you've ever seen.  It basically boils down to it being that the rectum of the pig had completely fallen out of it's butt hole.  There, that paint the picture well enough?  Hopefully you're not eating.  I have a stomach of stone, and I was still highly disturbed from finding out what was wrong with the pig, and then watching videos of farmers who felt the need to share the issue with other people that ever enter the words "Pig prolapse" in to a search engine.

After seeing that the pig was in no immediate danger from the situation, we came home for the weekend.  My poor brother then spent the entire weekend worried about his pig.  We looked online for ways to treat the problem.  The options were slim.  He had the choice of trying to put the thing back up the rear end of the pig, or getting a vet to surgically remove it.  That option would cost a lot of money - and when my brother only paid $35 for the pig, he had to weigh the pros and cons.  Being the supportive sister I am, I spent a lot of time looking at more videos of the procedure that would be required for my brother to take care of the problem himself.  It was gruesome and disgusting... but I did what I had to do to help my brother out. 

When it was time to take my brother home, I knew he was dreading doing what he had to do.  Again, being the supportive sister I am, I offered to help in any way that I could.  Thinking that I'd be there for moral support.  He apparently didn't take it that way, and once we were at my parent's house he asked for my assistance in restraining the pig while he did what he could to reinsert it's a-hole. 

For over an hour, we tried everything we'd seen on the Internet.  We tried restraints - that didn't work.  We tried holding it down.  That didn't work.  Finally we just put food in it's face and got the pig to be still long enough so that my brother could give it a shot.  I really thought we had a good chance...until the disgusting thing popped.  I'm so sorry to be so gruesome, but I have to set the picture of what was actually going on.  Believe me, my painting the picture with words takes off about 80% of the actual horror that was happening in front of me.  Where was I?  Oh yes, the thing popped.  There was blood everywhere.  Regardless, my brother didn't want to give up.  We cleaned it up - and yes, I said we.  I was right there with him doing what I could while trying not to have my own insides fly from my mouth. 

Finally, my brother admitted there wasn't much else we could do.  The pig was losing a huge amount of blood - and neither one of us just knew how to deal with it.  He realized there was no other option but to put the pig out of it's misery.  I wanted to cry for my brother.  I could see how hard of a decision it was for him to make.  I saw a 15 year old boy become a man.  And a true farmer.

My brother has dealt with losing animals before.  He's gone out in the morning to feed his animals and discovered a chicken that's passed on or the traces of a coyote that's come for dinner.  He's even raised a pig for butchering.  But that pig was taken off to a slaughter house, and he had to have no involvement with the killing process.  He's also killed animals before.  He likes to hunt, and has been successful in bringing down a buck or two.  But it's very different when it comes to an animal he's been raising.  He's fed it.  He's sheltered it.  He built the entire pig pen with his own hands.  He cares for his animals while he's raising them - and having to make the decision to put one down was probably one of the hardest decisions he's ever made.

Thankfully, he didn't have to do the deed himself.  My father stepped up and did what needed to be done.  It was quick, but it didn't take away the immediate pain I had for my brother.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that if there had been no people around, my brother would have cried yesterday.  After it was done, my brother wanted to be the one to properly dispose of the animal.  He felt that he owed the pig that much.  I, once again, offered to help.  The silence that surrounded us while we were taking care of it was so thick. I did everything in my power to keep the tears pulled back inside my eyes. I knew then that I could never do what my brother does every single day. 

Yesterday, my brother became a true farmer.  He found out what it was like to have to deal with a lame animal.  He realized that some animals get sick, and when you're trying to be a farmer - you just have to take care of those situations.  And yes.  He could have had a vet take care of the situation.  But that would have cost hundreds of dollars that he doesn't have.  I knew he would have paid it if he had it... but he didn't and neither did I.  He made a tough decision, but I think it was the right one.  My heart goes out to him, and I realized that I could never do what he does at such a young age.  The amount of work that boy puts in to his little farm is remarkable.  I truly envy his dedication and strength.

My brother taught me a valuable lesson this weekend.  I learned that hard work often requires sacrifice.  But you can't give up because you have one bad situation arise.  You keep getting up every morning and doing what you can.  You move on.  You just can't give up.  Today is a new day for me.  I will take that lesson with me and remember it.  If he can put in the hard work it takes to raise a small farm at the age of 15, I can dedicate myself to losing weight at age 29.  I know it's apples and oranges - but when life gives you apples and oranges... you make fruit salad!

Till next time. ;)

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