When We Ask For Help

For most of my life, I have been too proud to ask for help. Farm people are like that and, growing up in an agricultural community, my family was no different. In a farm community, there is an understanding of compassion, while still knowing that folks will generally just tough it out – whatever “it” is. Because of this prideful character, there are times of real need but no help is requested. However, it is also a common character of farm folks, where family, friends, and neighbors will pitch in and help those in need – often without being asked. But for the most part, the rural people I grew up around rely on prayer and great resilience to manage their lives from day to day. And, over my life, I have certainly asked for a little prayer here and there, but I never had anything catastrophic to deal with.

Looking back, it is evident that folks had fewer options in those days, in getting help or just with getting the word out that a person might need a helping hand or a little advice. All we had when I was a kid was a telephone in the house on a “party line”, where most of the neighbors were connected to the same circuit, with only a unique ring to differentiate one party’s calls from another. With this configuration, one could also listen in on another’s conversation, if so inclined. I remember my folks talking about the “snoops and gossipy people” in our area who liked to know everyone’s business – often via things “overheard” during a party-line telephone conversation. Maybe for this reason, the phone was not used much in our household.

My parents also limited television watching to just the few stations that provided news and weather in the evenings. For the most part, news happenings local to our nearby town of only around 600 people, came either from our friends and classmates at school, or if Dad happened to hear something while he was at his day job at the book bindery in town. Thinking back on this, I guess I never really thought about how isolated we lived in my little community. Now, we watch news on television, or from our cell phones or computers, as it is happening.  And, by utilizing one of the tremendous search engines offered via the Internet, there is no longer a need to wait for information to come to us, as we can, almost instantly, get the answer to nearly any burning question we have.

Back on May 29, 2011, I was no different from anyone else who found themselves faced with a situation they had never dealt with before. On that day, I was combing the internet for information about whitetail fawns – how to care for an orphaned fawn, what to feed them, how often, and how to provide for what other needs they might have. After deciding to take on orphaned fawn Daisy deer, hundreds of questions flooded my mind about how to properly care for her, and thankfully there were many articles to view and pour over. But the biggest help came when my husband, FD, managed to contact Kimra Plaisance, a woman with a Flickr photography account who had raised a fawn a few years before. FD had actually been researching where he might find a fluorescent orange collar designed specifically for deer, as we knew we wanted something that would let hunters know that Daisy had been raised by humans. The search engine he used, produced a variety of results – mostly with pictures and information regarding collars designed for hunting dogs – but one result stood out. The picture that came up with a link to Kimra’s Flickr account was of a whitetail doe, wearing just the type of collar FD was looking for. On her Flickr page, Kimra had several more photographs of the deer wearing the collar and, fortunately, a link FD could use to try to make contact with her and ask where we might purchase collars like the deer in the photos was wearing. Even more remarkable, was that Kimra, who rarely checked on her Flickr account, noticed FD’s email asking for help that very next day when she decided, quite out of the blue, to add a few more photos of “Sassy” to her collection. You may view Kimra’s photographs at “Our Deer Sassy“.

Needless to say, Kimra’s response regarding the collars (which she made herself) was welcomed. But more than this, it was Kimra’s wisdom and advice she offered about raising an orphaned deer that was the biggest blessing – in a time when I needed one most. I cannot tell you how comforting it was, over the next weeks, months, and years, to know that I could contact Kimra at any time when I needed advice about Daisy’s care or some predicament she had gotten into. Many times, I voiced to Kimra my worries and concerns about Daisy, and was always met with heartfelt compassion and words of comfort and, sometimes, tough-love, but always with care and understanding. We had some good laughs and some tearful moments along the way and, the more we talked, the more we realized all the many things we had in common. In the very beginning, and certainly as our relationship grew, FD and I knew we would meet Kimra and Sassy one day.

This year, while making plans to head to west Texas in late June to visit family and bring back our great-niece, Haley, for the summer, we realized we would be mighty close to the area near Abilene, TX where Kimra and her husband Nick live. When asked if a visit from FD and I would be feasible for Kimra and Nick during this time frame, Kimra informed us it would be a good year to visit, as Sassy was now ten years-old and was beginning to show her age. So, we made arrangements to stop at their home before meeting Haley and her family, who would be coming in from Lubbock to meet us in Abilene. This would allow us an overnight stay to finally meet Kimra and Nick and, hopefully, get to see Sassy and her herd.

Sassy appears for her evening apple!
Sassy appears for her evening apple!

Kimra and Sassy_0519

I knew from the first welcoming smiles, and in that first big hug, that Kimra was the same warm and assuring person I had imagined after reading her first email, and from the first phone conversations we had shared in the past. Getting to know Kimra and Nick and learn about their lives and experiences made time fly during our short, twenty-four-hour-visit to their home.  We toured their land and took in their mostly off the grid ways of living. There were critters everywhere, some domestic, some wild. Native grasses and prairie flowers made up the bulk of their “yard”, and their rustic, log cabin home fit very well into the wild, desolate landscape of west Texas. And what a thrill it was, that first evening to see Sassy deer slowly emerge from the trees – a small but confident, gray-faced beauty who carried the same scars of barbed wire that we often see etched on Daisy deer’s coat. Sassy readily accepted slices of an apple that Kimra offered her to nibble on, and did not shy away from FD or me at all. Sassy was definitely showing her age, but Kimra noted she had still managed to birth a fawn this spring. While FD and I petted and fed apple slices to Sassy, a few of her family herd milled about nearby, feeding on corn that Nick had scattered for them.

Sassy_0528 Sassy_0543 Sassy_0546 Sassy_0554

Kimra took these photographs of FD and I feeding Sassy some apple slices.
Kimra took these photographs of FD and I feeding Sassy some apple slices.

While we visited with Kimra, it warmed my heart to listen to her stories about Sassy’s life, and how she has touched the lives of many people, because we often hear how our own Daisy deer has brought awareness and something special to people who meet her or hear about her. Like the story of Daisy, Sassy’s story also includes both triumph and tragedy. If you care to read Sassy’s story, you can find it here. The stories of Sassy and Daisy, both speak to me of the resilience of nature. These two amazing deer survived through the helping hands of humans. And our experience with Daisy was enriched because we reached for help from other humans, and a caring person offered her compassionate wisdom. I often think about how amazing life has been for me since I opened my heart to one little deer, and how taking her in opened my world and my experience to profound love, in such a magnificent way.

Kimra and Sassy_0564

Whether people ask for help, or we simply observe that they need it, we are all capable of stepping forward and being the friend who offers a helping hand to pitch in and work, or gives one in need an encouraging pat on the back. I know my own life has been changed forever by asking for advice and help from others when I needed it. And, even though we might be putting ourselves in a vulnerable position by asking for the help of another, I know it is well worth the chance to discover, experience, and allow ourselves the love of another human being – like my dear, deer-friend, Kimra.

© 2015 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


39 thoughts on “When We Ask For Help

  1. I’m so glad you found Kimra or we might not have your blog about Daisy Deer to read. Chris and I refer to the information we learn here when trying to figure out what our gang is doing. Today we had young bucks locking horns. I’ll miss your posts while we’re gone till November. Leaving for India today! Have a great October.

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    1. Oh my goodness! It’s the pre-rut or maybe the rut going on in your neck of the woods! Those bucks are either practicing or maybe it is the real deal. I’m not sure about rut timing that far north. Well, your travels to India means I’m going to be enjoying tales of your journey! How exciting! I’m sure there will be plenty to chuckle about… and hopefully not too many nail-biting adventures! Be safe! 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Christi! I am still finding some glitches that did not follow through from the old theme, and it was a bit of work to get my posts back to reading quality. Apparently, the margins differed and the photo sizes did not jive with the new theme and I had to go back through over 180 posts to correct the misalignment! Ah well, there is a learning curve to everything, and I am very happy with the results. Being 54 years old, I feel a bit challenged with some of the technical aspects, but WordPress really makes it doable, and their tech support has been excellent.

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      1. Yikes, I was wondering about that. Thank you for explaining. Like you, I’ve got 189 posts and the thought of going through them to format gives me hives (I’m 58!) I love WordPress, too. Thanks again, and I love your blog!

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        1. Oh thank you, Christi! That makes my day! I think you and I are about neck and neck with posts. I wish I had more time to write, and perhaps this winter my writing will pick up again. It’s just difficult spring, summer and fall with gardening and harvest, raising critters, and all of the other tasks that present themselves daily! 🙂

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  2. Another beautiful piece, Lori! I can certainly relate to the way farm people tend to avoid asking for help. I know in my family we kept our troubles to ourselves and tried to soldier on. Even now I have a tendency to want to help others but still find it a challenge to ask for help for myself. I’m working on that though. It was regarded as weakness or something to need others. Being tough and independent was emphasised. It’s great in one way, but causes problems in others. While I question how much time we spend on technology these days, I find the Internet a very valuable resource and have “met” some wonderful like-minded through it, such as yourself. I think if I’d had the Internet when I was a young mum stuck in a remote property, I wouldn’t have felt so isolated. It would have been great to have that support. And the good thing is that for people who struggle asking for help, the Internet can still provide answers in a less confronting way. How wonderful that you were able to get help when you needed it with regards to getting a collar. And you’ve been able to keep in touch and actually meet her! The Internet can be magical in that way. 🙂 Oh yeah, those party line telephones….a gossiper’s dream! 😉 Thanks for another wonderful piece of writing. I love your honesty and story telling skills. And of course your photos are excellent. x

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    1. Oh, thank you, Jane! I agree entirely about the benefits of the internet. FD’s endeavor to find a collar for Daisy, turned out to be so much more for me! I can’t tell you the number of times Kimra offered advice or an idea I hadn’t considered or thought of, or the times my worries and fears were validated and met with compassion and caring. In the beginning she kept us up to snuff on feeding schedules, habits, and needs that Daisy might have. She shared stories about Sassy that warmed my heart. Over the years in rehabilitation I have tried to be the encouraging and caring person to others who have asked for advice or help, just as Kimra has been to me.

      I still remember the names of the “snoopy” neighbors that listened in back in the party line telephone days! It is funny how we remember those times. They sure do make for great storytelling! That’s one of the things I love about your writing – some of your faux pas and adventures make for the best storytelling ever – even if at the time it wasn’t so funny. 😀

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  3. If I knew about Kimra, I’ve forgotten she was the one who helped you with Daisy. How wonderful to find her when you needed support, and to meet them both. What a connection!

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    1. I don’t remember if I mentioned Kimra in the past or not. I am so very happy that we made the long trip – and I know we will do it again. Just like you and I will meet again… and again. 🙂 It is always such a special thing to meet folks who we have a special connection with. And I have to admit, meeting Sassy was just amazing. She is just so much like Daisy – a graceful beauty, living the wild life she was meant to live… yet keeping a bond with her human family. I loved her before I knew her!

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  4. Oh those party lines and the fact that you never knew who was listening in. (Although you could figure out from what the gossips started chatting about.) Funny, those that lived that way are probably more prepared for social media on the internet?
    At the farm on weekends, we actually had a crank phone that connected to an operator. Phones were nothing to play with and that’s probably how we didn’t develop the habit of long casual conversations on the phone. Country people “keep up” by stopping by and sitting on the front porch. Neighbors always did that as they traveled down the road. Nobody was in much of a hurry. It’s the way you found out what neighbor needed you to casually appear and offer some needed help.
    You have been doing some traveling – good time of year. How nice to stop by and see Sassy and friends. (Thanks for the intro, too)
    Get out there and prance while you can, The migrating ducks have arrived. They may know something about winter.
    Lovely post.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! It feels good to be traveling a bit. FD and I look so forward to his retirement in a few years when we can hit the road a bit more often. It was such a thrill to meet Sassy… so much like Daisy only about six years older. She was such a beauty. And FD and I had a lot in common with Kimra and Nick, so the time just flew by. I am sure we’ll make time to visit them again. Their somewhat off the grid and self-sustaining lifestyle is of interest to us. Ah, so much to learn from other folks.

      I have heard a lot of honking going on in the skies many nights and mornings. We still have just a few hummingbirds hanging around but for the most part they’ve headed south. Most of the mammals I have seen around are already sporting winter coats. I think winter may be a little early this year. Enjoy the cooler temps. Marvelous, isn’t it?

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  5. You never know where kindness and compassion is going to take you. Through your desire to care for Daisy, you have made a new friend and your life is very different. The little choices that we make along life’s way is what makes the fabric of our futures. A lovely blog post and a good reminder to remember to pepper our lives with love and compassion 🙂

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    1. Well said, Fran! In fact, I never knew I would meet so many wonderful and encouraging people when I started this blog. Of course I realize Daisy has always been the star of the show, and I never realized she would have so many admirers! Daisy has been the connection to many people I would never have known otherwise. I intend to meet more of my blogger friends one day… and I hope a trip to visit you and Steve will be something FD and I can manage someday! We’ll plan it in your spring time when you can put us to work in your many gardens. I also look forward to meeting Bezial… and that handsome Earl fellow. 😀

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  6. Beautiful story, as usual. I guess it’s not out of place to ask for help at times but when it comes in this fashion, it’s special. Wouldn’t it be great to meet or run into fellow bloggers sometimes? But, then again, the whole idea of the “blogsphere” is to let it remain the way it is!

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    1. Thanks, Mandeep! I hope when FD retires that we might meet some fellow bloggers on road trips where we do some traveling throughout the US. There might be opportunity to meet a few out of country too! You just never know! 🙂

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  7. What a truly heartwarming post, Big Sister! I just vaguely remember the party lines, but I certainly remember a simpler life back then. It brings to mind Friday evenings watching television with family, channels we only saw with an antenna. And Mom’s home cooked meals every evening; she was a regular Betty Crocker I’d say! And visits to the grandparents seemed so casual and unplanned; nobody called first to see if they’d be home, they just were. Life was certainly different.

    And even in our ever-changing world, I feel we still have that sense of community and togetherness in our little town. Folks do look out for one another, and there are a few neighbors that still show up at your door with a home-baked apple pie, or a bag of fresh-picked peaches off their tree so you can make one of your own. I love that!

    Kimra is like that neighbor who brings you the bag of fresh-picked peaches. She lovingly shared the ingredients (or knowledge) you needed to help another in this world 🙂 . My, what an incredible journey that little orphaned fawn has put you on. Love you…

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    1. Aw, Jules, that was a beautiful memory of growing up in rural Nebraska! How I remember those unplanned visits from our Grandparents. And you are correct, your little town is one of those communities that people care and look out for one another. That Memorial Day FD and I spent with your family a couple of years ago, taking in the community events that weekend, it just felt like “home” and love all around. I think you know how Kimra’s kindness helped FD and me so much, and her friendship is still a constant in my life. I am continually amazed at how Daisy continues to be the greatest teacher of my life. In the beginning I thought I was saving a little deer, but I think she saved me too. 🙂

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  8. This story is a great reminder of how much we need each other and how we have the ability to help others. Prayer, friendship, advice, physical help, financial assistance, listening, caring…so many ways we can reach out. Just like you helped your great niece and Daisy and…

    I’m glad you were able to meet Kimra. I, too, have been blessed by individuals I’ve connected with through blogs and who are now real-life friends.

    I noticed a second deer in the background in several photos.

    I grew up much the same way you did.

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    1. Thank you, Audrey. The second deer (and there were others closer just behind us but not in the photograph) is part of Sassy’s family herd. Sassy was the only tame one of the bunch. They feed the deer corn every evening in that same area. Deer came and went as we sat on the front porch. Kimra and Nick live near a state park so the deer in their area are pretty much protected.

      We sure do have a lot in common, growing up much the same. Your blog posts often make me homesick for the north. 🙂

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  9. It is wonderful how you became friends with a person who could help you- all via the Internet and Flickr. The photos are so good of you and FD with Sassy and of Kimra too. I don’t think Sassy looks her age but then I don’t know what a 10 year old deer looks like. They have been so lucky to have her around for 10 years and she looks to be thriving.

    Loved reading this post and about your connection to Kimra in Abilene. That was not a hop, skip or a jump but it was not that far either. How fortunate that you live only a state away.

    I wonder if Daisy misses you and FD when ya’ll are away for several days or more?

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    1. It was such a good trip, Yvonne, and I’m sure we’ll visit Kimra and Nick again sometime. That is definitely a “doable” trip – about 6 hours I guess, since there are no main interstate highways, but rather back roads to that area. I do not think Daisy misses us at all. This year especially since she’s taken off with that young doe and her buck a lot. With no fawns to raise, she’s been more free to roam. And, our neighbor that took in the pregnant pit bull, with the clamor of barking coming from the next yard, will likely keep the deer from here now. It appears our neighbor has kept some of the puppies and the mother, and he also has an older dog. So there are a lot of dogs roaming the property which borders ours all along the north side. Deer and dogs do not mix. Daisy was on high alert and ran off the times she was here during the day back in July, when she caught scent of the dogs and heard the barking. It’s sad for me. Daisy has just been back a handful of times this summer and when we have seen her it has been at night via one of the camera’s we keep down in the canyon, but these are rare visits. I hope at the very least, we see her often enough that we can keep a collar on her. Hunting season has opened here now and will run through January 15th. It’s always a worrisome time for me.

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  10. How interesting to hear of your connection to Kimra and how she helped you learn to raise Daisy. I’m so glad you and FD got the chance to visit her and meet Sassy.

    This sentence — “I often think about how amazing life has been for me since I opened my heart to one little deer, and how taking her in opened my world and my experience to profound love, in such a magnificent way.” — really stood out for me. Just before I read this post I’d read a new post from another of my blogging friends who had written about how her life had been enriched by her willingness to be open to helping a stranger. Lately I’ve been working on trying to be more open to new people and experiences, so these posts both reached me at a significant time in my life. (If you want to see her post, it’s here: http://kathunsworth.com/2015/10/09/no-ordinary-stranger/.)

    (Speaking of future traveling opportunities, don’t forget to add Ohio to your possible destinations!)

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    1. Oh, Kim, you have been opening up to so many experiences and people this past year… learning to trust, investigate and sometimes just diving in! Being open is so important in every process, but for me it was about healing and moving forward. These posts and experiences are not coincidental, my friend! It’s a SIGN!!! It’s your time to shine… and you are really moving forth with your new life and flourishing!

      Hey, you can bet your boots Ohio is on my list of travel destinations!! 🙂

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  11. Lovely story, and great photos. What a sweet animal Sassy is. Is she like that with all humans or did she just naturally relax around you two experienced and loving spirits?

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    1. I think Sassy has had more exposure to neighbors and family than Daisy did. She seemed very receptive – especially having an apple snack! I will say I believe animals read our energy. Sassy was such a beauty. Her age is definitely showing. I’ve never seen an old deer before, and Kimra said Sassy had been slower moving around and seemed tired the last couple of years. It was a special meeting for sure.

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  12. I saved this post until we got home and I could read it properly. It brought tears to my eyes for several reasons, Lori. I have found it difficult to ask for help too. Breast cancer was my teacher with that, though I am still learning. Also, I just relate at a very deep level to your experiences with animals and raising them. I guess it is because we had animals around us when growing up, and I will always be grateful for that. I didn’t realise how special it was at the time, and it may be another reason why I love living here in Alice where there are so many wild animals and birds around us every day. Your writing is lovely and your message comes through so clearly. Thank you.

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  13. I have learned to be thankful for opportunities that allow us to overcome obstacles in our lives – including illness. As I grow older, I can look back at many events in my life and I see that the things that happened were never coincidences… and we do realize at some point just how special and important every aspect of our lives is, if we choose to see it positively. Ardys, I am glad this post touched you. It really makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know people connect with my words. I love your blog for that very same reason! 🙂

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