Come Hell or High Water

| 1/26/2016 12:44:00 PM

Tags: homestead inspiration, humor, goats, Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton, Virginia,

Crossing a creek on a logThe most amusing events on our farm have all revolved around our so-called driveway. The reason I was able to buy this land so cheap is that there's really no easy way to get motorized vehicles within about a third of a mile of our core homestead. In between the two points lies a usually mild-mannered creek...that spreads out across an area about 600 feet wide during high water.

Then there's the quicksand-like mud that makes it impossible to drive along the route except during the driest days of summer or the coldest days of winter. The result is a very secluded homestead that I enjoy 99 percent of the time...but that makes bringing in supplies and unwary people a hassle.

The result has been (to quote Lemony Snicket) a series of unfortunate events. There was the time, during our first nine months on the farm before the phone company braved our swamp and hooked us up, that a neighbor was called upon to tell us about Mark's father's heart attack. The creek was in full flood, and I only barely heard Frankie hollering from the other side of the raging waters.

"" he called. My trusty dog and I donned muck boots and rushed down to greet our unexpected visitor, hoping he'd wait the ten minutes for us to arrive. Sure enough, Frankie was still there when I reached the closer bank and he passed the news verbally from one side of the raging creek to the other. But there was one problem — Frankie needed to give us the hospital phone number and didn't want to wait while I trotted home for pencil and paper.

At first, we considered sending the dog across. She'd already swum the creek twice just to show us how it was done, and I thought the phone number might still be legible by the time it reached me if tucked beneath her collar. But when my 60-plus-year-old neighbor thought it would be a better idea for him to traipse across a fallen tree currently being buffeted by flood waters, I had to cut that notion off at the pass.

I shed my shoes and walked across instead, heart in my throat the whole way. If the log had been sitting on the ground, it wouldn't have been all that scary, but I wasn't so sure I'd survive if I fell into the water below. Luckily, I made it across (and back) safely, Frankie became a good friend, and Mark's father pulled through okay.

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