Tukkered Out

I have written, more than once, about how the Eeyore in me tends to look first to the down side of everything. For instance, when FD’s mother passed away in March, all I could see around me was a lot of chaos and overwhelming work to do. The house she lived in had not been deep cleaned in forty years. Most of her parents belongings, and the ministry work of her previous husband was stored in boxes on top of boxes all throughout the house and garage. She, like many people of her time, tended to hoard items and could not throw anything out because “she might need it later for something”.  And, because she was a doomsday prepper to some extent, cases of dried foods and 5-gallon buckets of grain were stacked to the ceiling in some areas. There were cases of home-canned fruits and vegetables, some of which had spoiled and spilled down onto the cases of food below them. Her last husband added to the hoarding with his own passion – infomercial shopping. Exercise equipment that had never been opened, hundreds of books that had never been read, kitchen items and gadgets that had never been used, man-gadget tools and, worst of all (to me), boxes and stacks of health supplements that filled the entire breakfast nook in the kitchen. Even the outside yard was neglected. It had once been a showcase property of iris and beautiful shrubs. But, unfortunately, nothing much had been done to groom anything over the years, except the small bit of tree trimming and removal of dead trees that FD and I had managed when we first moved here.

Vulture reminds me to “Glide and Soar”. Vultures are a cleanser of the earth.
Large numbers of vultures arrive in early spring and also in the autumn. On an outing to the orchard in March, I counted more than 130 at a time! This one was enjoying early morning sun in the woods just outside our back porch.

Given the circumstances, I might have allowed the Eeyore in me to become negative but, instead, I focused on what was happening all around me. Mostly, that the vultures had arrived as they do each spring. I was reminded each morning as they warmed their wings in the sun that FD and I were warming our own wings for a new beginning here on the ranch. As the vultures took flight each day, I took flight too, doing work that needed to be done here on the place, and doing a little deep cleaning at the other house when time allowed. We were still entertaining a few family members who had come to help go through things, while organizing and cleaning a bit along the way.  Little by little over the next three months, FD and I managed to get things in working order at the rock house (what we now call his grandparents house). There is still much to do though, and it may be years, and maybe until FD retires, to be able to fix things up as nicely as we would like. Still, we do not yet have a definite plan for the house.

Our niece Kati Jo came several days to help go through rooms. Here, she tackled a closet I was overwhelmed by. I found myself very thankful that we had so many helpers the first few weeks.
FD’s sister Julie came for several weeks to go through household items. It was good to have help with such an overwhelming task.
FD’s first task was to repair plumbing issues in the kitchen and bathrooms.

FD removed this cabinet almost immediately. I can’t imagine why this design might have been popular, but in the late 1940’s things were done differently.

In some rooms, it took a week to simply make a path through the rubbish in order to get what was stacked up all around. This is the result of two weeks worth of tossing. I was left with the bare bones of spoiled canned goods. To tackle this task we spent a small fortune on nitrile gloves and trash bags.

The office was the first room I tackled. It took weeks to go through and discard paperwork, magazines, books, and file cabinets full of “ministry” material. This was the most oppressive room in the house – everyone agreed. As I discarded boxes and bags of paperwork, the room felt as if it was breathing again!
I was fascinated any time I heard a scream in the house while we were going through household items. This fella was actually attached to a box top. Notice the little bugs that fed off of him are still intact too!
This specimen was found in the back of a drawer. Sissy Jo’s scream had me running again with my camera. This mouse had made a nice nest in a drawer full of paper goods.

This spring brought a lot of rain and flooding to our area. The orchard flourished with weeds more than six feet tall in areas. Trees gave way in the muck, toppling over, and the insects were out of control, as were the weeds. We tried to control the musk thistle again this year but it became too big of a project for us. Now the cockleburs are thriving at the slough, which is vast with water and wider than I’ve ever seen it. We are seeing more water fowl than we’ve ever noticed before. And around our home I have to admit I was happy not to have to drag a water hose around to my flower beds and gardens until this past week. The garden is overgrown with weeds and, instead of being overwhelmed or upset, I just wait for a day (maybe) when things slow down a bit and I can make a dent in the weeding, if for nothing more than around the few plants I managed to get in so late in the season. Sometimes, there is bi-weekly mowing to do. The rain upped my workload, but it was a beautiful thing to be drenched day after day in a “cleansing” of sorts, on this place.

With rain nearly every day, I wasn’t able to put my vegetable garden in until May. Usually by late March I have everything planted!
Bro-in-law Patric is a hard worker! Here he and FD removed fencing that we had to put up around FD’s mom’s garden when Daisy deer helped herself to a little too many vegetables.
FD and I often met each other coming and going as we worked to clean up some of the property from years of neglect.
My sister Lisa, and her partner Doug, came for a week to help with outdoor work. Lisa’s specialty is the burn pile. Doug and I could not keep the wood from downed and dead trees and tree trimmings coming fast enough! Lisa is very efficient at her work!
Mom’s chickens are now mine to care for. We are expanding the chicken pen and will eventually clean the barn out. For now, I’ve cleaned the roosting area and added straw to the floor to get us by until we can devote more time to the barn cleanup.

With all that was going on with cleanup of the rock house and the addition of more chickens, I made the decision to quit doing wildlife rehabilitation for the next year or two, maybe even until FD retired in a few more years. I knew with all there was to do with two houses now and all of the work involved in cleanup both at the house and yard, that it was time for a break. I solidified that decision by telling everyone that I was giving it up, and concentrating on working on the rock house, raising more chickens (our current flock is old and not giving us many eggs anymore), and trying to get back to work in the orchard. But Mother Nature had a different plan.

I had just received a mail order of twenty-two chicks, when the farm center in town called about twelve juvenile chickens that had arrived. I was not really ready for the “teenager” chicks yet, but it was exciting to think of having bountiful farm fresh eggs again, and being able to sell some to our neighbors and friends. Then, a call came about a little buck deer. In response, I offered to provide transport to Wildcare, since I had no plans to raise any wildlife this year. However, not two miles after picking up the little fella, he began mewing and my heart softened. And, instead of listening to my inner Eeyore, I allowed the vulture in me to “glide and soar”, leading me to turn the truck around and take the little buck home.  We call him Tukker.

© 2019 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

39 thoughts on “Tukkered Out

  1. You have been in my thoughts Lori and you have been missed but I understand why after reading your latest post. I have been involved in helping clear houses after people have died and it is so overwhelming. I am a bit of a hoarder but it is more books than anything which I try to keep tidy in bookshelves where possible. I now say to myself what is going to happen to all this stuff when I go and do I want people going through it? Having worked in the community sector I have now come to understand extreme hoarding as a mental health issue in some cases whether it be junk or animals (I will make an exception for cute deer!).

    My husband and I are still trying to sort out my step-son’s estate more than four months later. The circumstances are still difficult to comprehend; why a 39 year-old man felt so bereft that he took his own life. Painful to think that we couldn’t do more or that he couldn’t share with us. We share with people because depression is such a serious issue especially in the 30 to 45 year-old male age group. The more we share the more people share their stories and hopefully we can break down the stigma attached to suicide.

    My blogging has suffered as a result over the past few months. Hopefully, down the track I can share Matt’s story. As we get older life seems to throw things at us and we need to find our own space for self-care and enjoyment of life. Nature, photography and writing/reading are my main things at present. Enjoy your home time too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My thoughts have been with you for a long time, Lynn. I did not know what kind of loss you were dealing with, but I understood it was something important. I’m so sorry for your loss. That is a tough situation to put understanding to. I think it’s understood that we all tap into “survival” mode when our own self-care is necessary. Writing can be therapeutic, but it can also be time-consuming and exhausting. Write when you are ready… read when it feels right, and get out there with your camera when you can. I often find a quick jaunt to the slough, or even just down the slope behind the house to find a fallen log to sit on and observe nature for 15 minutes can be very therapeutic!

      I have come to be more understanding about my mom-in-law’s hoarding, and also some thoughts about why she was the way she was. I’ve read through a lot of correspondence while sorting through the rubbish, and looked at many of the keepsakes and photographs. Having some understanding through these memories, explains a lot. As for her last husband, his hoarding and infomercial purchasing habits, plus tucking kleenex and paper towels in everything, needing to highlight every bit of paperwork, and putting scripture verse and password codes on every scrap of paper, is more of a psychological issue. It reminds me of the movie, “A Beautiful Mind”. I think that must be more of a torment for him. It certainly was for us to deal with him.

      I look forward to your writing again… whenever the time is right for you. It will come, for sure. I’m sending vibes of love and healing your way.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. A big thank you for your words of wisdom Lori. Humans are such complex beings – we share many things in common but there are many differences as well. We went down to the city yesterday, the day was damp and dreary like Matt’s house. His Dad is just getting on with things but it is a challenge. He is worrying about his health which is not normal but his doctor checked him over and nothing extreme other than eliminating his favourite foods bread and potatoes from his diet! I tell Bolly stress from losing loved ones can have a huge impact on your wellbeing. We caught up with a friend for lunch which was good. But then we had to pick up Matt’s ashes from the huge cemetery/crematorium. I have attended loads of funerals in the chapels there but I felt physical ill when we went there. It is like a sausage factory with funerals one after another. The customer service centre is so sterile with elevator music and men in shiny suits. Any way, we plan to scatter the ashes at one of Matt’s favourite places where he had a bush weekender not far from where we live now at some stage. Is probably snowing up there today! Today it is about 4 degrees Celsius, poring rain and snowing on the nearby mountain. Typical, end of school holidays and the snow arrives!
        Good day to be indoors reading and writing. I have a load of work to do to prepare for our ag show in November and a writing assignment for my last university unit. My previous unit I got an appalling mark but my husband says a pass is a pass but I expect better of myself. I guess it wasn’t an easy time. Looking forward to getting my degree at a graduation in February.
        “A Beautiful Mind” that was an amazing film, thank you for the reminder.
        We had a fundraiser for our East Timor group during the week with the film “Yesterday” based on the Beatles hit song with a modern twist. Was a fun night with a feel good movie.
        How is your new addition going?


        1. I plan to post on Tukker’s story soon. He’s doing fairly well, considering it took us a week to get him to suck a bottle. That was a worrisome time. I’m so grateful Wildcare (a large wildlife rehab facility about an hour’s drive from here) helped me by phone. We were doing everything right… it just took time and patience, and a lot of trust on Tukker’s part. We learn so many things with each fawn we take in. Like humans, they’re all different. 🙂

          I think funeral facilities in large cities must be like you described. Here, in smaller communities, one is treated like family, with compassion and caring. The funeral home we used had to work with us regarding mom’s difficult and controlling husband, and they did a great job being sensitive and professional. Because of some state laws, her husband had to sign documents and the funeral home was so helpful in getting that done via phone and email. We were thankful for that because he refused communicating with us – and he never even showed up for the funeral! I think maybe in the end that was a blessing!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank goodness we have Tukker as a distraction! An explosion in feral animals and wildlife where we live tends to polarise opinion. Deer including fallow and Samba are becoming more of an issue. Recreational shooters can hunt Samba deer but there is the issue of illegal hunters coming onto to private farmland and shooting late at night. As landholders we can grant access to licensed shooters if we choose. The deer usually stay in the more wooded areas we call the bush and stay away from the cleared farming areas but the weather patterns is seeing a change in their movement behaviours. Living in a rural area there are the farmers trying to make a living and then the problem of tourists hitting them on our local roads. Driving home at night I am now dodging kangaroos, wombats and deer not to mention the occasional sheep or steer. As our population increases there is the clash between city and country living. We do have a animal refugee for native wildlife but not sure what happens with the deer. So more power to those who look after injured animals. I just drive slowly expecting to see animals out and above. People do drive way too fast. Today has been really wet and cold but we are so thankful for the winter rains. We enjoy our King Parrots who come in for a feed of seed. Any way, here’s to some less stress in our lives for a little while.


  2. Oh Lori, what a time you’ve had. Tukker was sent to bring softness and joy to your heart. I’m so glad you could take him on. I can’t imagine how hard all of this year has been for you and FD. Big cyber hugs to both of you. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ardys! Those cyber hugs are wonderful! So many good things are coming of this hard year. It has been a lot of work, both emotionally and physically. Thank goodness we’re in good shape on both counts to get us through!!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, goody! You made my day! I know a few of us are weirdo skeletal lovers! I found a partial squirrel remains and several snake skins too. I wasn’t too hot about the spiders crawling about though. It’s not that I’m scared of spiders, I truly love them – but not fiddlebacks and black widows, which is what I found mostly.


      1. I also liked your skeleton remains! Before we left our house in the city we had to call the plumber in to look at our gas heater which had been fitted into an old fireplace. Lo and behold, we found a mummified baby possum. Our city plumber was a bit ashen-faced trying to pry this poor thing out of the grate but finally he managed to get the job done and take a photo as proof. Possums are protected wildlife but have invaded suburban gardens and become real pests by getting into people’s roofs and chimneys. Our fireplace had been filled with branches from a gum tree. No possums where we live now! Haven’t seen any rats or mice either so maybe Friskie and Rambo are earning their keep!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Tukker IS gorgeous. I cannot wait to write about him… for the moment though, mowing is calling my name and we’re rebuilding the deer pen and chicken yard so there’s fence work to do. Animals always come first! ha ha!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Your words… and photos… omg… suggest a happy and very reasonable medium between Pollyanna and Eyeore. I’m not sure I could manage such equilibrium in the face of so much stuff. I’m no fan of Swedish death cleaning, Marie Kondo or minimalism… but all I can say is I’m glad you had good company and help through the process. And a reward… little Tukker. We do what we do, sometimes it’s a little extra work but we do it because it’s what we love and are meant to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve nailed it about this time in my life… “a happy and very reasonable medium between Pollyanna and Eyeore”.

      I always love when I learn something new – Swedish death cleaning – I had to look that up! Oddly, a friend had just loaned me the Marie Kondo book prior to my mom-in-law’s passing. But I already knew about items sparking joy, and I’m a good prioritizer and organizer, so going through all of the trash was easy and therapeutic for me. I mostly gleaned understanding, through reading correspondence and looking at memorabilia and photographs from fifty or more years, about why my mom-in-law was the way she was.

      Tukker has been such a happiness for FD and me both. You’re right, he’s extra work. I’ll be writing about him soon (I hope!) because his story is special.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s clear after reading this post why you chose the name Tukker. We now also understand what kept you from posting for so long. May your fawn serve as an emblem of new beginnings.

    My mother was like your mother-in-law. In 1988 Eve and I spent the better part of two weeks cleaning up parts of the house I’d grown up in on Long Island. Most important was safeguarding family photographs and documents that had built up over the decades, some of which I still have here in Austin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes life just gets busy… and we find our strength is greater than we knew! I’m enjoying everything right now – it is indeed a new beginning for FD and me.

      FD and his family were able to gather many keepsakes and memorabilia in the last few months. People often tend to think about things of monetary value but there was none of that here. Like you stated, family photographs and documents, perhaps special items that spark a memory – those are the things that matter.


  5. That cleanup job seems overwhelming, and I’m so glad you’ve had plenty of help! As for Tukker…he had perfect timing, if you ask me. I think you needed him. Love ya! 🙂


    1. Hey Kim! I read a couple of Byron Katie books during the time we were doing hospice for FD’s mom. They really spoke to me about how we get what we’re supposed to experience. I’m trying to be more open to what comes my way, instead of projecting and thinking about a time schedule and “to do” list! I love you too… I hope you’re enjoying the height of insect season, and of course birding!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad to see you here again, Lori. I know I wouldn’t want this job for anything! (I’ve done similar and to a much smaller degree for my MIL) I will write to you later about those chickens And will be excited to see what kinds you have brought in . . .

    At the moment I’m SMH&LOL regarding Tukker!!! ❤ ❤ ❤
    And feel free to giggle a bit at me too. We just took on two orange tabby kittens (both males!!!) but we have devised a plan to keep them safe from the Coyotes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With all that was going on, I was a bit worried about the “teenager” chicks but they settled in marvelously! The 4 week old chicks are growing and doing well too. I’d never done mail order chicks before and probably won’t again now that we have a breeder just north of town. We lost three of the mail order chicks – one only lived about five minutes out of the box and the other two just days later. You know I’m a softie… losses with animals are hard for me.

      I can’t wait to hear about your plan to protect the kittens. Tukker has had all sorts of issues, but I am in a good place with all of that. With Daisy I was exhausted and worried all of the time. Emma and Ronnie were much easier but I still had worry. Oddly, Tukker has come at a time when I seem to accept the lesson or the experience without question. It will all be as it should.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Lori, it was so wonderful to see a new blog post from you in my inbox. When it comes to facing a seemingly overwhelming task, I tend to swing between being Eeyore and Piglet…depressed immobility or anxiously running around like a chook with its head cut off! Haha. Thank you so much for the words of wisdom about the vulture. Nature has so many lessons, doesn’t she? That looks like a massive job, but yes, bit by bit it will get done. Everything takes time. I had to smile at your decision not to do any wildlife rehabilitation for a while as something similar happened to me. My last pet finally died of old age and because my last child left home I decided I would not take on another pet for a few years. However, a traumatised cat decided to adopt me. She just turned up at my back door meowing with abdominal injuries. The local RSPCA is full. People say that cats choose their owners. I am temporarily fostering her. We will see what happens. After many months, I’ve not been able to locate her original owners… It seemed like the cat needed me at first, but perhaps we need each other. I am enjoying the love. You are such an inspiration to me, Lori. There is something so calming about this blog post. Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Lisa, nature is simply amazing sometimes. I’m still flabbergasted that despite the coyote population has only increased here, that Momanthem (mama doe and last year’s triplet fawns) managed to survive last year as a little family. We attribute it to letting the orchard go wild. I think nature does well when we leave it be. Tukker is no exception. We’re very sure he was stolen from his mama and was being raised to be a pet. Hopefully, we can raise him to run off and be wild and enjoy this beautiful area!

      I just need to keep looking for time to write! I have so much to tell!


  8. Lori you are unbelievable..I’ve been exhausted from working and taking care of on small house. Tucker is adorable..I wouldn’t have left him go either, Well my friend, new stories about chickens and Tukker coming soon I hope,  Dont forget the chinnies too. LoveMamie Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


    1. Tukker is a handsome boy. Yes, I consider myself kind of minimalist, but after cleaning up and going through the mess at the rock house, I think I need to go back over my own stuff and part with a few things! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. By the time I finished reading, I had to go make a cup of coffee and sit down for a minute. You certainly had a larger and harder job than I did when my mother died, but that was work enough, even though she lived in an apartment, and we’d gone through two serious downsizings as she moved: first to Kansas City, and then here to Texas. I had a bit of a schedule to meet, too. She died on July 11, and if I could have her place empty by August 1, there would be no additional rent to pay. Those weeks were a bit of a blur, but it got done. I’m glad you have more time for an exponentially harder set of chores.

    On a lighter note, you made me laugh by reminding me of my own last week. When the potential for a hurricane developed, I realized that usually-prepared me hadn’t done a single thing in preparation this year. The standard water-batteries-food routine was easy enough, but then there was the matter of updating insurance documents and such. After I got started, I realized how much stuff was laying around here that needed to be tossed: especially papers. There really was no need to hang on to the 2016 Medicare booklet, or car insurance premiums from 2014. Add in outdated maps, tourist brochures, and you get the picture. After filling three large trash bags with such things, I felt much lighter! I’ve realized, too, that some of my dearest “treasures” need to be passed on now. In a couple of decades, when I’m gone, there won’t be anyone to know their value, let alone know who might appreciate them. Better to make that decision myself, and not let them end in the trash.

    I’m so glad to see you, and glad to know of the progress that’s been made. Tukker’s a special gift, on top of it all. There are things we have to do, of course. But sometimes the things we want to do make those necessities bearable — I suspect Tukker will do that for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. OH, my. Talk about exhausting. Tucker is just the distraction and window back to joy and balance that you needed – even with the additional work…that was probably part of the plan – to pull you forward
    We were lucky in that both sets of parents did a great deal of giving away and cleaning/discarding constantly in their final year. I need to do the same – while stuff not stacked anywhere close to what you’ve had to deal with, I do need to make sure tp pare things down so some of the old heirlooms and family journals are clearly marked and don’t get shoved not discard pile with all my assorted papers and crafty junk.
    Oh HUGS and glad you sound so good.


  11. Hi Lori, I couldn’t help but laugh while reading this great article. Firstly, because of the overwhelming mess at the Rock House, skeletons and all. Then after your very sensible decision not to take on any wildlife, you’re ‘gifted’ chickens and a fawn !!! You can’t escape your destiny it seems. I imagine Tukker will need your attention, so he’ll force you to take a break and receive his love and gratitude that you so richly deserve. Take care, Henrie xxx


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