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A Series of Unfortunate Events

Posted 7/1/2011 5:26am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

We've laughed often at Jim Carrey's "dastardly Count Olaf" in the movie version of Lemony Snicketts A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I'm having some difficulty finding the humor in our own series. 

A couple nights ago I woke to the sound of voices on road outside our window.   It took a while for me to realize the voices were not coming from our clock radios and when my head cleared, I figured out that the couple talking outside were picking up fiberglass pieces of the front end their car.    I assumed they hit a deer, an all-to-frequent incident on Route 35, but the cows were bawling ominously so I woke Roy, worried that perhaps one of our cows had been hit.   We dressed quickly, our minds still as foggy as the valley outside, and stepped out on the porch just as the car turned in our driveway.   A middle-aged couple got out and told us what we dreaded hearing, " We think we hit one of your cows.   It was in the middle of the road and with this fog, we just couldn't stop in time."   The whole front left fender and mirror were broken off.   They were concerned about the cow, saying they have no idea where it went and of course, they were concerned for their late-model Saturn, which appeared to be totaled.   Roy grabbed one of our dim flashlights and went to look for the cow while I took down their information to pass along to our insurance company.   

The couple was getting ready to leave when Roy returned.  He found the "cow" that had been hit.  It was one of our few registered Angus heifer calves.   She would have become breeding stock but the impact from car killed her and she was lying in the pasture on the opposite side of the road from the herd of cows.   We checked the fences and they were shocking.  We checked the gates and they were closed.   It is a mystery how and why she got out on the road.   Roy remembers waking earlier and hearing a cow bawling, but that is not too unusual and he went to back to sleep without thinking about it.  Most likely the calf was out for a while, perhaps trying to get back but with hot fences, fog, and darkness, it was probably proving difficult.  But who knows.  I'm still baffled as to how she got out.

It's been a rough spring.   At 2 am we lay in bed wondering what else would be coming at us this summer.   First we lost Bud and a litter of pigs, then several poorly timed equipment breakdowns, we've had to replace a car, etc. etc.  But 2 am is a dark time to assess one's situation so we turned on the fan to drown out the sound of the distressed cow bawling for her calf to come home and tried to get back to sleep, knowing the morning light would impact our perspective.  

It's been several days and the mama cow still paces the fence, bawling occasionally for her lost calf.   It is truly heart wrenching.   The calf had not been weaned so no doubt the mamas tight udder was reminding her that her calf had not returned.    I've kept the fans turned on at night and  we've had time to assess our string of misfortunes in the light of day.   Sure much of it is just bum luck, but it is bum luck felt especially hard when our lives feel stretched too thin.   We know there are changes we can make to help us maintain our equilibrium and in time, we'll put them in place.   This morning the sun is bright, the dogs are playful, a string of fledging barn swallows are diving from the electric lines, and the world is alive with birdsong.