Keeping farm animals in the city can be a real hoot. Follow freelance writer Audrey Pavia’s adventures in Southern California with a yard full of urban livestock, including horses, chickens, a Corgi and an urban barn cat. She somehow manages all these silly critters while working full-time, with no one to help her but her husband, Randy, a born-and-raised New Yorker. And you thought “The Simple Life” was out there?
Photo by Audrey Pavia
They say most accidents happen in the home. I’ll bet those stats go up if the home happens to be part of an urban farm.
Last Sunday, I was climbing around on the bales of hay we keep stored in the garage for the horses. They rest on wooden pallets, which are invariably covered with loose hay. It’s often hard to see where the hay ends and the pallet begins.
Like a dope, I carelessly stepped down from a bale I was standing on and thought I was planting my foot squarely on the pallet. Turns out I land on the edge. Wham! I hit the floor of the garage on my butt, my right ankle twisted beneath me.
I’m pretty tough and shake off most stuff like this—I fall down or bang myself on the head on a pretty regular basis—but this time I knew I had really hurt myself. I frantically began untying my paddock boot for fear my ankle would swell and I wouldn’t be able to get it off. Visions of sleeping with my boot on that night, or worse yet, having it cut off me in the emergency room, motivated my fervor. In retrospect, maybe I should have left it on to minimize the swelling. I don’t know. All I knew at that moment: I had to get the damn thing off.
After pulling it from my foot, I then came to the realization that I couldn’t stand up. There was nothing for me to pull myself up on, and I couldn’t put weight on that foot. I was stranded on the garage floor, covered in hay and wearing a dust mask. I must have looked pretty ridiculous.
I needed help. I could hear Randy taking the manure bins out to the curb for collection and started to call him. But our garage is insulated and the manure bin wheels are noisy. I yelled his name repeatedly to no avail.
Then suddenly, like an angel from above, my Corgi, Nigel, appeared through the open side door. His satellite dish ears were no longer at their usual relaxed angle. They were sticking straight up and he had a very worried look on his face as he stepped through the door and saw me sitting on the floor.
“Nigel, go get Daddy,” I said to him with urgency. “Go get Daddy!”
The seriousness of the situation was apparent to him, and he began to bark. He raced out the door barking, and I could hear his voice getting dimmer as he got farther and farther away in his quest for my husband.
“What’s the matter?” I heard Randy say from the driveway? Nigel continued to bark, and according to Randy, led him to the garage. Here Randy found me in my pathetic condition, stranded on the floor with a rapidly swelling ankle.
After he helped me up and lead me to a chair where I could put my foot up and cover it with an ice pack, I called my brave little Corgi to my side to thank him for helping me.
“You are my Lassie,” told him as I kissed him on the muzzle. His eyes glowed with joy. I’m sure he knew what I meant.