His daughter, Nanette, with his grandies and their daddy were coming over, originally arranged for today, but he'd changed it so I wasn't food-prepared and he went out to purchase supplies. After the lunch that Herbie prepared, we went down to the icecream shop in the village for dessert, passing the dead deer. I looked hard, and confirmed there was no bandanna, although it did look like Maddie. When daddy Chad and Dakota went to see if they could buy a replacement wheel for the Baja bike Herbie gave to grandie Chad, I took grandie Chad on the buggy and went to look at the deer. Yep, torn ear like Maddies'. I tried to lift her onto the back of the buggy, but she was too heavy. I drove back and said to Herbie, yep, looks like our Maddie. I put a post on my FB page saying I think she was dead, but that there wasn't a bandanna on this deer and I hoped whoever had hit her hadn't taken it, and a friend, Marlene replied that some guy had put a post on the Ionia lost and found page about hitting a deer and taking her bandanna as a momento. But he put he hit her on Grand River Drive which is a long way from the dead deer on our road. She forwarded the screen shots of his bragging messages and his horrible replies to comments made, advising that the post was no longer up. I thought about it a while, and then posted on the page that my Maddie had been killed. There was an outpouring of sadness and thoughts, and a lot more screen shots of the original hit post. And then the guy sent me a private message, offering to bring her bandanna back to me. We corresponded a little, he was taken aback by the negativity to his post, and said he slammed on his brakes but couldn't stop in time.
So, at around 10pm last night he came over and gave me her bright pink bandanna. The last one I bought for her. I have about 10 of her bandannas on the shelf in the back hallway, all washed and folded, waiting their turn to be worn again. It takes a brave man to face up to something like this, and he came all the way to the farm, apologized and returned her bandanna. I'm not mad at him, it wasn't his fault although looking at the length of the tyre marks on the road, he was moving faster than the 55 mph speed limit. This isn't unusual, people tear down David Hwy at far above the posted speed limit all the time.
Every time I woke in the night, it hit me that Maddie was dead, and Herbie said this morning when he woke, he just turned over because there was no Maddie to feed this morning. I woke early this morning, earlier than Herbie. When he was up, I dressed and went downstairs and put the kettle on for me and brewed a pot of coffee for him. Then I went upstairs and asked him if we could go fetch her and bring her home, so she wouldn't be left on the side of the road. He agreed immediately and we took the truck to go get her. She'd been dead for 24 hours already, and was starting to smell. Once home, we transferred her to the buggy and I took her out back.
Goodbye sweet Maddie. In the year she lived with us, she brought many people a lot of joy. She knew her name, and understood 'out' 'move' and 'no' used when she went into the chicken house and barn to eat their grain, and when I caught her eating my strawberries and the new plants and seedlings. Many visitors to our farm were surprised to be greeted by a friendly deer, who allowed them to pet her. We discovered from one friend that she didn't like apples, which was funny as we have all these old apple trees :). I taught her to eat grass, and alfalfa - she preferred the alfalfa, and loved the clover, although it upset her stomach when she ate too much. The first month she was with us, we had to buy whole milk for her as I didn't have a cow in milk. Fed her the milk, cold from the fridge, and remember her face when I gave her warm milk from the cow the first time :). She was a loving, funny girl, who became quite famous around our neighbourhood, popping up at various houses windows just to say hi. She used to lick my back, pushing her nose under my shirt, would quietly join us in the woods when we went mushroom hunting, loved being brushed to get her Winter coat off. She was my baby.
Although I never saw her interact with other deer, Brad and his family said they saw her with a group. I tried to introduce her to the mum with twin fawns in our hayfield, but wasn't successful as they always left when I arrived, and Maddie followed too slowly. Herbies' work colleagues are all interested in her welfare, and he's going to have to tell them that she died :(. That's not going to be easy for him. He's quieter about missing her, but it has affected him just as much as me.
So it's goodbye to our sweet girl. Thank you for being in our lives even if it was for such a short time.
This past week I sold, and delivered our 3 Scottish Highland and cross heifers. Saffron, our little escape artist, was the most trying. Managed to get her into the horse trailer, tied to the centre post when we realised that all 3 wouldn't fit in the trailer. This was after she lodged her head in the cattle panel I used as the back gate, tore it off it's hinges and careened down the channel with the panel around her head until she stood on it with her front legs and somersaulted completely over, got up, shook her head a few times, before running to freedom under the electric fence, back in with mama and the other cows. Herbies' comment - I wouldn't have believed that if I hadn't seen it !! So I went to text Nichole that I'd have to make 2 trips. The back ramp was closed, and I went to untie her before driving off so that she wouldn't choke if she fell, and as soon as she was loose, she reared up and jumped out the back over the 5ft high ramp gate. Think she fell on her head as she went out head first. We changed tactics and loaded the other 2, Coco and Taylor. It was a breeze.
Drove nearly 2 hours down, offloaded them, their new home is a wonderful pasture with great fencing, large trees for shade, long grass, a pond in the middle fed by a creek. They're going to be lawn mowers :). Drove home, stopping in Battle Creek to buy lunch, and once home started to try re-load Saffron. She turned out to be a jumper of note. That's the Scottish Highland 3/4 of her. She jumped the 4ft gate out of the chute, twice, and a 3rd time after we covered it with tarps so she couldn't see through it. Plan B, herded all the cows to the lower barn enclosure, put grain in the feeder then tried to entice them inside to eat. Once Daisy May was in the lower barn however, she promptly let down her milk, so I took her up into the milk parlour and milked her. We eventually managed to trap Saffron and her mum in the lower barn, closing the door. Herbie then went and fetched the tractor, tied the long strap to the tractor, then lassoed Saffron. She was one angry piece of about 400 lbs of 9-month old heifer !! She flung herself into every obstacle she could, the fence, I had to pry her horns out of it and was caught on her ricchochet, fell on my ass, hard. She then tried to hide behind the dog house, tore it's roof off before running to the side of the garage, trampling the water downspouts I just fixed earlier this month, then threw herself into the tractor, and the horse trailer a couple of times. She was bleeding, but still feisty. Caught her head against the side of the trailer and I had to back her out, although I was limping from my previous encounter. But we got her in, lifted the ramp into place and quickly closed the top doors as she was launching herself towards them again. I went around to the small side door, reached in an took the rope off. She was lying down, exhausted. I worried that she'd really hurt herself, and stopped at a garage about 20 miles from home to check on her. She was up on her feet, and while I tried to wipe blood off her face, she wouldn't let me.
Smooth trip down, and when we were ready to open the door to let her out, didn't open the top doors, just dropped the ramp and she shoosted out ! Nichole loved her colouring :). Paid me the balance of the money in crisp $100 bills, and I was back in the road home. Arrived home in the dark, and had to go down and clean up the milk parlour and milking equipment. Herbie was already sleeping. Left the truck and trailer on the back lawn as it needed a power wash to get all the poop out, thank you Herbie.
And yesterday, we had a surprise lamb. Another tiny girl to a first time mum. One of the un-named ones. Need to tag her and mum, just remembered that now. She's small enough to slip through the fence, which she's done a couple of times already. You should see Annis' face when I tell her a sheep is out, and then she dashes to the sheep pen to chase the miscreant back.
Seasaidh has bellowed constantly since we took Saffron, but has quietened down now and only yells when she sees me. Had a quiet day today. Got Maddies' Garden weeded and will plant the rest of the seedlings she didn't eat in it tomorrow.
Checked all all the bare-root plants I put into pots and they're showing green shoots and leaves, even the Cottonwood tree that Maddie ate down to a 5 inch stick ! Only put the 2 hazelnuts into pots on Friday, so still waiting for them to start sprouting. The 2 hazelnuts I planted last year have leaves, as well as the 2 paw paws but the pecans look like dry sticks :(. Think they may be dead. Herbie put the rototiller on the tractor for me, and I'll zoop through the berry garden again tomorrow, and try the main veggie garden again too, as I have tomatoes, cucumbers, gem squash, peppers, potatoes and sweet potatoes ready to go into the ground, as well as some herbs and then the 2 new blueberry bushes too plus all the direct sow seeds that need a-planting.
Maybe I'll be able to cut the hayfield tomorrow. Yippee. It's more than ready with the grasses showing seed heads, but the alfalfa hasn't flowered yet. Only a 20% chance of rain each day for the next 5 days, and Mike is available to round bale as his planting is all done. Please, please, please. Have starving beasties.
Tomorrow is Herbies' last vacation day. Can't believe how quickly the 2 weeks flew by.
Every time I think of Maddie, I cry. Thinking of making a patchwork quilt with her bandannas. Will have to see how many there are, and she bit holes in some of them, so need to check what's viable. At least she's in our woods now. Close to Sargeant. I wonder if she was pregnant. She was young, but jumped me a few times so she was cycling. I'm sad that she'll never bring her fawns to show to me. And there I go blubbering again.