I headed out early today, for my court date with our vandal. It’s been a year, minus a day, since my first court date regarding my application for a restraining order was scheduled.
It was a very, very long day.
No, it’s not resolved.
But before I get into that, I will talk about something more therapeutic. I was so mentally exhausted by the time I got home, I needed to do some good old manual labour to get some “rest”.
I feel so much better, now!
With the day being several degrees warmer than forecast, I focused on the area that caused problems before, because the ground was too frozen. The old kitchen garden.
Before our old garden fork finally bent from the mostly frozen ground, then broke when my daughter tried to straighten it, she did get a start on the retaining wall before moving to an area where the ground was not frozen. This is the area that gets the most shade, plus I wanted to transplant some mint out of another bed into some of these, so the blocks got first priority. The ground was quite thawed out, today.
After the groundhog ate the lettuce that was planted in these, they basically got abandoned until now. Happily, there wasn’t too many weeds and roots to dig out.
After I did the blocks from the chives to the opposite end, I dug up some mint and transplanted them into every other block, again starting from the chives. When I thought I was done, I walked back and found some mint that got dropped from the bunch as I moved along the retaining wall, so I cleaned up one of the blocks in the foreground and planted it there. We had buried a mystery bulb in it, earlier in the year, but there was no sign of it when I dug into that block, so mint it will be!
I don’t know if they will take, but we shall see. After they were transplanted, they got a thorough watering, and that section is now done, unless we decide to mulch it with straw, now that there is mint in the blocks. We shall see how things go over the next couple of days.
This is the somewhat triangular bed we had planted carrots in, and where the garden fork met its match. The bed is too wide in the foreground, and that is also where the mint was coming up. Mint was even coming up through the paths we covered in straw and were walking on! There was one mint plant visible in the foreground that looks frozen, so I didn’t try to transplant it.
For this bed, the carrots that had bolted got buried in the middle, while the wider end was narrowed.
I stopped before getting too close to the pink rose bush at the “point” of the triangle. We’ve pruned the ornamental apple tree that was overshadowing it, and last year it finally bloomed, but this year, like so many other things, that one cold night in May killed off any developing flower buds, and it did not bloom at all. Hopefully, next year, it will have a chance to do better!
These are the mint rhizomes I found while clearing and resizing the bed! Even the rhizomes smells strongly of mint.
I then moved on to the L shaped bed we planted beets in. This one end in the foreground was particularly bad for weeds, but the rest was much easier to clear out.
My older daughter was able to come out and give me a hand part way through. She brought the logs over to frame the resized bed. The log at the end was originally cut as an end piece for the high raised bed, but the measurement got goofed, and it was more like 3 1/2 feet long, instead of 4 ft. So it’s perfect for here! The other two logs were from the remaining tops of dead spruce trees we’d used in the high raised bed. They are too thin and wonky to use in a high raised bed, but they will work here for now. In time, this will get replaced with something more permanent, and higher.
Then my daughter helped me finish weeding the L shaped bed. Once that was done, a shallow trench was dug along the middle, and the beets that were too small to harvest got buried.
The final step was to even out the soil in the framed bed, then I used the hose to wash the soil against the logs and level it out more. As gaps were found under the logs by the water, I stuffed them with straw.
These beds are now ready for next year. There is just the bed along the retaining wall to clean up, and later the paths will get a new layer of straw to keep the weeds down.
By the time I was done, I was feeling much rejuvenated and refreshed.
The day in court was so much longer than expected. Because of the fairly long drive, plus the need to get some gas, I left before 8am. It was still dark when I left, and there was one redeeming factor during the drive. I got to see a gorgeous sunrise. We do live in a very beautiful area!
On the down side, by the time I got home, I’d burned off all the gas I’d been able to put into the tank! 😦 I used my mother’s car, as it has not been driven much at all, lately. It does not have good mileage!
I got there so early, I was the first person there, and the security guard didn’t even have the docket yet. We ended up chatting for a while, until the other security guard came with the docket. They both remember me by now! While we were talking the next person who showed up was our vandal. I almost didn’t recognize him at first, because of the mask (I wore my Mingle Mask, making me both recognizable and memorable, it turns out!). His lawyer was going to call in, so our vandal was on his own.
So we waited.
Court started at 10, and they went through the docket.
And waited some more.
The security guard called our vandal over and told him he might want to talk to his lawyer about calling in, because he was next on the docket and I heard him say the lawyer was already on the phone, waiting, too!
An hour passed.
Two hours passed.
The second security guard, who was calling people in, came out and called for anyone who was there for the first time, but was not represented by a lawyer.
Someone else went in, and we waited.
Then someone else got called in, and we waited some more.
By the time we got called in, it was well past noon.
Our vandal was asked about his lawyer, and he explained that he had been on the phone for an hour already. The judge called into the mike, but the lawyer wasn’t there.
So they took the next files while waiting for the lawyer to call in again.
Several files later (they went by very quickly) and still no lawyer, so our vandal finally offered to text him, and they went on to the next file, with the understanding that it would be interrupted if the lawyer called in.
This one took longer, and then they moved on to another that was even longer. That one did get interrupted as the lawyer finally called in, with apologies.
The judge spoke to the lawyer for a while, then asked our vandal to clarify some things. I had agreed to suspend my application, if he agreed to seek psychiatric help. It turns out that his first referral was to the bigger city, but they are so backlogged, they are not accepting any out of town patients. His doctor then referred him to the smaller city we were in for court, but they are backlogged at least 3 or 4 months.
Given the way things are going, in my mind, it’ll be twice that, at least, but who knows?
So that left us in a quandary. The judge asked me how I wanted to proceed, and I told him that I understood the issues with backlogs, but until he is getting help, I don’t feel safe. He has already caused damage and been threatening towards me, which was acknowledged. I told them I felt that the only reason we have peace right now is likely because of my application, but it’s already been a year. The problem is, if it goes to trial, we won’t have a court date until…
A year from now.
All the previous cases that got rescheduled while we waited were going to November of next year, so I was not surprised by this.
Given how long it has taken, the lawyer suggested going to Case Management. The judge explained that this would be me, our vandal and his lawyer in a room, trying to work things out. I asked if I could have someone with me. The judge asked who, and I suggested my older brother, who owns the property. I had to explain that we are basically caretakers, and my older brother owns the property; the safety issue is about me, while the vandalism affects my brother. The judge agreed. So I won’t have to be alone and bullied by our vandal and his lawyer.
So, in the interest of speeding things up, the lawyer will have to show up in court a week from now, a date for case management will be worked out with the judge, and the lawyer will inform both of us.
By the time we left, it was nearly an hour, for what is normally a 10-15 minute session.
Near the end of it, our vandal tried to interject that there was a “bigger picture” involved and brought up his civil suit against me. He started to say how the property was transferred to my brother “behind his back”, that I’m keeping him from his possessions, and that I am using the courts against him. Which is a rich claim indeed, considering he is the one that caused damage and took so many things from this property, and he is the one who has filed vexatious litigation against me, in retaliation for applying for a restraining order. However, in his mind, he is the victim. He doesn’t even deny that he vandalized things. He just acts like it hasn’t happened, and my family and I are just persecuting him. He doesn’t deny that he’s taken things, either. He truly seems to believe he was entitled to it all. But then, he also believes he’s “maintained” this place for 30 years (my parents were still actively farming 30 years ago), my parents bought the property in 1952 (they weren’t even married yet), and they somehow managed to fun a fully functioning farm, without owning anything on it (he’s told me 90% of everything here belongs to him). It’s all part of why I want him to get psychiatric help.
The judge pretty much brushed his comments off as something to be dealt with in Case Management.
Given his mental state, I don’t expect anything to be accomplished by Case Management. But, at the very least, it will show the courts that we tried.
The year long delay for things to go to trial, though… good Lord! So much can happen within that year! Even then, ultimately it’s just a piece of paper. But it’s a tool that will, hopefully, get him help for his mental health, and maybe stop drinking (which hasn’t even come up, yet). The judge may even choose to have our vandals guns removed. Not that it would stop him from doing something like setting fire to the house.
The police recommended I apply for the restraining order back on 2018, when I first laid charges. It was already stressful enough to press charges – which got stayed, anyhow – and I didn’t want to go through it all. On the one hand, it feels like I shouldn’t have bothered now. On the other, I wish I’d done it back in 2018, before the world went crazy.
What’s done is done. I can’t stop now, or things will just get worse.
Meanwhile, we just keep on going, taking care of this place, and improving it any way we can.
And protect what’s left of it it from our vandal.