Apparently, I”m a “ringleader”

Oh, what I day.

At least I got to start it with cows!

When I went to unlock the gate, the renter’s cows (and bull) were in the old hay yard. The grass is too high to see, but it looks like there is still water in the low spot where you can see a bunch of them gathered. They did seem to be drinking, rather than grazing.

I just love the renter’s cows. They make me smile!

I left very early for my court date with our vandal today. I did forget on detail until I went over the paperwork again last night. He’s not suing me for $10,000. He’s suing me for $13,000.

I’m glad I left as early as I did. Aside from stopping to get gas on the way out, when I got to my usual route to a place I knew I could park without time limits, I found the road was torn up. There was only 1 lane of traffic, away from where I wanted to go, and it was several blocks before I was able to take a turn back to the main road and go around another way.

When I got there, I did have a bit of a heart attack when the security guard told me there was no court today. ???!!! The court office was open, though, so I went in to ask. At first, it was confirmed: no court today. Then I showed her my case file and she said, “oh, yes. There’s court for you.”

🀯

Because this was a civil suit, it’s Court of Queens Bench – a federal court, not a provincial court. When I filed for a restraining order against our vandal, it was all provincial, and in a different court room. The court rooms are just down the hall from each other, though. There are some benefits to small city courts!

After some time, I could hear our vandal’s voice, talking to the security guards at the door. When he and his witnesses came around the corner, they saw me sitting by the doors and just stopped, taking seats at the other end of the hall.

He had said he would have two, then four, witnesses, but three were there. His wife, of course. A mutual friend whose voice I recognized, and another guy whose voice I could not recognise at all. They had bright windows behind them, so I couldn’t see him. In the end, it turned out to be a neighbour of ours that we both grew up with. Not someone I would have expected to be there, though.

No matter.

Because he was the claimant, when we finally got before the judge (about 15-20 minutes past the scheduled time), he got to talk first, with an opening statement, then calling in his witnesses, one at a time.

The first thing the judge asked him, though, was how he came up with the $13,000 he was after. He rambled about how much he thought things were worth, and that some things had sentimental value, but in the end it came down to “that’s what I think it’s worth”.

As for his opening statement, my goodness, he rambled on. Then stopped. Then rambled some more. Then stopped. Then rambled some more. The judge was good at keeping a poker face, but even she was starting get that “are you done yet?” look.

In a nutshell, everything is my fault. I am the “ringleader” in trying to destroy his life. I have cameras because I want him in jail. I locked the gate because I want to keep him from his stuff. I call the police on him, over and over and over, and the police came to see him, like, THREE times, and he was fingerprinted and everything. I pressed charges for no reason (his vandalizing the gate was him “opening” the gate). I applied for a restraining order for no reason. I was using the police and the courts against him because I’m so very mean and don’t want him to have his stuff. The farm’s ownership went to my brother “behind [his] back” and “in secret”. He still seems to think he has some sort of claim to the land itself, not just the stuff he claims is his. Lots of rambling about how he and my late brother did SO much to take care of the farm, and how he went to auctions and stuff to buy things that were stored on the farm because he didn’t have room out of the elements to start it, etc. My other siblings did nothing. It was just him and my late brother. And I’m mean for not letting him onto the property.

Then his witnesses came in, one at a time, and basically said the same thing. He did lots of stuff on the farm. He helped my dad a lot. He had lots of stuff on the farm. My dad wanted the farm to go to him. !!! He should be able to go onto the farm and take “his” stuff at any time. His wife even tried to make it sound like he brought his own tools over here and left them, if my father didn’t have a particular tool. Which is hilarious, because when we moved here, all the functional tools and supplies were gone.

Funny. Other than passing mentions, it was as if my mother, who actually owned the land when we moved here, didn’t exist.

The witnesses really didn’t make his case. But then, he doesn’t have one.

When I finally got to respond, it was pretty basic. I don’t claim ownership of the property or anything on it. It was my mother’s, and now it’s my brothers. He has submitted additional documentation that I wasn’t able to go over in full until later, but it didn’t add to his case. I submitted the Statement of Declaration, sign by myself, my brother and my mother, explaining why we moved out here and what my role here is – and that includes keeping things from disappearing. Because of some of the things he said, I included the transcript of a phone message he left with my brother that basically admitted he took all that stuff, and that he was going to keep suing us, even if it meant he had to sell his farm and be homeless. With lots of swearing. I also had a transcript of my dad leaving a message with my brother, shortly before he died, saying he wanted my brother to take over the farm.

My affidavit included an old email I’d sent back in 2018 to our vandal and my family where, among other things, I’d told him that if he could take stuff if he could provide proof of ownership. He never responded.

I also had the chance to say what he actually did to the gate, and that I had cameras because we found locks glued shut and the barn doors boarded up. I mentioned I have a disabled husband, and if we needed to suddenly go to the hospital, that would be a major issue. I also had the chance to mention I have no income; we live on my husband’s disability, so what does he think he can get from me?

There was lots more, of course. As expected, without someone there to keep him on a short leash, he stepped in it a few times. One of them was when he said I was using the police and courts against him and got away with it with a sob story that had the “judge wrapped around [my] fingers”. That was one moment where the judge’s poker face broke, ever so fleetingly.

Oh, one other time I think he stepped in it. He started rambling on about how this farm is apparently “worth a fortune”. And the house, too. Ha! The numbers he threw out wouldn’t even buy a “handyman’s special” house in the city. His own place, and all the stuff he’s got on it, is probably worth three times as much, if not more.

Also, apparently I have ruined him financially, because I pressed charges against him and riled a restraining order, and he had to pay a lawyer $4000. But he’s “financially ruined” because of me? Even on his pension, not to mention the golden handshake he got, he’s probably bringing in more than my husband’s disability payments, and if it isn’t, his wife’s job certainly is. But he was clearly very obsessed with the monetary value of this property, and that fact that I “control” it.

We used to be so close, years ago, but now his hatred of me is palpable. It’s remarkable.

What’s done is done, though. It’s now up to the judge. She will make her decision and we will get it in the mail within 30 days.

I am glad for that, as it means she’ll have a chance to go over all the documentation. Even after going over the stack of papers he submitted (and it was quite a stack, though mostly of photos), he still doesn’t have a case. It all comes down to the fact that 1) I don’t claim ownership over any of it and 2) he had plenty of opportunity to take his stuff, and he didn’t. It’s not like I gave him a time limit on that.

She explained at the end that if she rules in his favour, it would be for the $13,000 plus potentially the court costs, and did he want to include that? He asked what that meant, and it could be up to $500 more.

If she rules in my favour, she asked about court costs, and I said yes, too. So I might get awarded up to $500 if she rules in my favour.

It should be interesting to see what her ruling will say. Whichever direction she goes, if we don’t agree with it, we have up to 30 days to file an appeal.

*sigh*

I find myself wondering how it ever got to this point, but then I see how he still sees himself as a victim, taking no responsibility for the consequences of his own actions, and realize… it got here because for the first time in his life, someone actually stood up to him, and he can’t handle it. So he escalated it.

I think the judge could recognize that, though. We shall see.

The Re-Farmer

Stepping up

This morning, before giving the scrap wood bench a final coat of paint, I spent some time scrubbing the stairs in front of the storage house.

This is how they’ve been looking since before we moved here.

I just used water and a scrub brush on it. I discovered the surface, once wet, became green and slimy. It felt like an algae. Very strange.

After I finished painting the bench, I spent a few hours mowing the lawn. I focused on the areas I didn’t get to, the last time I was able to mow. I started with the outer yard, including the outside of the driveway gate, where I was finally able to mow the spaces I normally keep clear. The last – and until today, only! – time I mowed the driveway, I was only able to make a few passes on the sides, and that was it. Unfortunately, we’ve got lots of poplars spreading into the space, like crab grass. We can’t let those take hold. I’d love to find a way to kill off those roots, but as long as the mature poplars are nearby, they will keep sending them out.

Once that was done, I took a lunch break. The girls raked up the grass clippings for me – there was so much of it! – and hauled it to the garden. I’ll use it to continue mulching the squash patch, tomorrow.

Before I got back to mowing, I checked on the stairs.

They were fully dry and ready for painting.

I discovered how incredibly spoiled I was while working on the bench. It was resting on the saw horses, at the perfect height for painting.

Painting the stairs, however, was remarkably hard on the back!!!

First coat is done, though!

Wow, that’s bright.

Now we just have to hope the cats stay off of it until it’s dry!

I’m glad I had the paint to do these, though. The stairs were already starting to show signs of moisture damage and cracking.

I’m trying to remember how old these stairs are. To me, these are the “new” stairs. I know when the previous stairs were replaced, because one of the steps broke under me while I was stepping down on them. The bottom stairs were completely engulfed in weeds and likely had been like that for years. That bottom step was quite rotten, which was hidden by the weeds.

My goodness. That was the year we got our first minivan and made a road trip to the farm for Thanksgiving. It was the last time I saw my late brother before he died, which puts it at 2009.

These stairs are 12 or 13 years old. I’m not sure if they got replaced that fall, or the following spring.

I guess I can’t call them “new” stairs anymore! πŸ˜‚

They have held up to neglect quite well!

Tomorrow, I’ll add another coat, and move the bench to its spot under the white lilacs.

I’ll also need to finish mowing the garden area. Yesterday, I’d scythes parts of it, which made it mow-able. With no more standing water at one end of the spruce grove, I finally got the space between the spruces and the crab apple trees mowed. I was really happy when mowing around the branch pile in particular. There is a thick, dense layer of moss growing under the grass. Just beautiful! I would happily have moss instead of grass for a lawn. With so much water this spring, the moss has actually spread, and I love it!

I worked my way from the outside, in, as the ground is less rough, and that way I could mow around the trellises early on, before fighting with the middle area.

For all that I know how rough the old garden area is from the last time it was plowed, it always surprises me when I actually try mowing in there. Just brutal. I finally got it to where there’s just a section of old garden area near where the squash and corn patch is before I finally just stopped for the night. I was too exhausted to fight with the uneven terrain.

I want to get the rest of the mowing done tomorrow (Sunday), though, as it is expected to be a relatively cool day. After that, we’re supposed to heat up again. However, I also have to do some preparation tomorrow. Monday is the court date for our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me; his retaliation for my filing a restraining order against him. It’s been more than a year, but with all the lockdowns, this is actually the first time a judge will finally see it.

I am expecting two possible results. One: the judge will see how ridiculous the whole thing is and throw it out. Our vandal has no case. Or two: the judge will want more time to go over the claims and set another trial date.

The things that I’m most unhappy with, however, is that my brother will not be there. He, as owner of the property, was supposed to be my witness. His job, however, has sent him to the States for a cyber security training course. Cyber security is a big part of his current job, and he really didn’t have any choice.

Which give another possible reason for the judge to set another trial date; my witness can’t attend.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, during the conference call “court” dates we have before, I heard our vandal saying he’d have as many as 5 witnesses. Witnesses to what, I don’t know. But it’s going to be me, alone, with him and his posse.

*sigh*

Ah, well. It will be what it is. I just pray we have a sane judge.

The Re-Farmer

Budding

I was so distracted by a conference call I had to make this morning, I completely forgot to schedule today’s Recommended post! I will post it tomorrow and be back to Mondays and Fridays after that.

I did make sure to feed the critters before the conference call, since I had no idea how long it would be.

The cats are much more laid back out the food and take their time coming out, even though the kibble trays were empty. Clearly, they are no longer as hungry as they were when it was still cold out. I only saw 8 cats in total this morning, which means we are “missing” about 10 cats. I know some, like Potato Beetle and Broccoli, will come by later, but others have not been seen in weeks.

After the conference call was done, I went back out to do the rest of my morning rounds. One of the fun things now on the list is checking on the tulip patch. Look what showed up overnight!

Whole bunches of them now have flower buds!

We will have to keep a close eye on them. This is the stage last year, when something ate all the flower buds. We still have some rope barriers and distractions, like bells and spinny, sparkly things, around it that seems to be keeping the deer away (I can see their hoof prints in the mud, going past it), but there’s nothing to stop any small critters.

It’s a chilly and overcast day today, and the crocus flowers are mostly closed, but I was seeing more of the purple ones again.

The first wonderberry in the sun room has started blooming again, and the younger two are covered in clusters of buds. I gave up pinching off the buds; there were just too many to keep up with! We still haven’t even found a spot for them, yet. As they readily self seed, it has to be someplace they can be treated as perennials.

I did try to peak into the cats’ house to see the babies. What I saw were two adult cats so wrapped around each other that, aside from their heads, I couldn’t tell one from the other. It did seem that both were nursing kittens, but I couldn’t really tell. I’d love to be able to get those windows cleaned on the insides; they are quite smeared from the cats rubbing up against them all winter, but we aren’t going to open that roof right now.

As for the conference call, it was to set a new trial date for our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me. It turns out the previous date was cancelled because the judge got sick. When it was cancelled, we received an email with alternate dates; three early ones, two in May, one in June, all in the city, or three late ones, one in November, two in December, at where we have been going for my retraining order application against our vandal. The only time we had to go to court in the city was for court mediation. I left something like an hour earlier than necessary, and still ended up late. The area is a disaster to navigate. Meanwhile, our vandal didn’t even show up. Just his lawyer was there.

He doesn’t seem to have any lawyer for this one. He has no case, so I doubt any civil lawyer would take it, though when it came up during court mediation, his criminal lawyer did say he’d be willing to represent, if asked, but he hadn’t been asked.

These conference calls run through a docket and, in the past it has taken a while, but this time we were the first ones called. After clarifying that we were there to set a new trial date, and asking if we wanted to attend in person or by video call (which neither of us can do), the clerk spent some time searching and found one date in August. After clarifying that it was at our usual location, I said I was good with any date at that location. Our vandal, as I expected, jumped in and asked if it could be done in the city, and brought up the date he’d chosen before – which he knew I couldn’t do. He said he just wanted to get it over with. Ha!

Anyhow.

The clerk told him it had be be where the “cause of action” was taken, and couldn’t be done in the city unless one of us lived there, or if we both agreed to it. He said he hadn’t known that. Then she said that the August date was the ONLY one that had an open slot we could take. So he had no choice but to accept the date the court gave us. Which is pretty much what I’d suggested be done when I tried to take the November date in the original email exchange, because I knew he’d never accept any date I chose. For me, it wasn’t so much about the date, but the location, so of course our vandal tried to choose the other location! With so many files being delayed over and over, the next available date likely would have been next year.

The main thing is, it’s done and we have a new date. Barring more crazy stuff happening, as it has since all this started back in late 2020, I look forward to a judge throwing it his case out in August.

At this point, even if we were able to do a May date more locally, I still wouldn’t be sure if I could make it. Our vandal may have vehicles that can get through the washouts, but we don’t, and those washouts might just get worse. The predicted rain started while I was writing this, and was coming down pretty hard for a while. We’re still getting weather alerts, and now they’re saying we might be getting 3.5 – 5.5cm (about 1 1/2 – 2 inches) at times. The Overland Flow Flood warning now reads:

High amounts of rainfall occurring in a short period could create overland flooding in these areas which may impact low lying areas, roads, and properties. As the ground is extremely saturated, a sudden rise in water levels could occur in some waterways and creeks Residents along these areas are cautioned about the potential sudden rise of water levels. Follow all directions by local authorities. Listen for updates and take all necessary precautions to stay safe.

We aren’t near any waterways, unless you count the municipal drainage ditches, but the washouts we already have will likely get worse. We’re supposed to get a couple of warm sunny days next, then two more days of light rain again. At least now, the 14 day forecast shows a week of sun before we are supposed to get rain again. For us, around the house and the inner and outer yards, that mostly just means more mud. The areas low enough to collect water are not a threat to any buildings we’re actually using. We are okay. I’m concerned about some of our neighbours, though. 😦

The Re-Farmer

Seriously???

A couple of “seriously???” moments.

The first is the flippin’ weather!

That “special weather statement”?

We’ve got another Colorado Low building up again. The Dakotas, southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, northwestern Ontario – even the central region we are in – are expected to be hit with possible 25-50cm/10-20in of snow over the weekend. Plus freezing rain. As if the snow wasn’t enough.

It does have the disclaimer that “Colorado Lows are notoriously difficult to predict” and to keep a close eye on local forecasts, but still… sheesh.

If the court date had not been cancelled, I would have been running errands while in the area. I’ll be heading out again today, anyhow, and hopefully find more big bags of dry cat food.

Speaking of court dates…

I was told on the phone that our vandal had picked two dates that worked for him; one in May in the big city, and one in November, in the smaller, nearer city. After talking to my brother, who needs to book the day off work to attend as my witness, we chose the November date.

Then I got an email saying our vandal chose the May date, while we chose the November date, and were told to come to an agreement on one of the other dates. After talking about it with my brother, we went with the earlier December date, but we figured our vandal wouldn’t accept that. When I responded to the court clerk, I mentioned being told our vandal had picked the two dates, and that’s why we chose the November one. I mentioned why we wanted the closer location and longer time frame, mentioned the December date, adding that I didn’t think our vandal would agree to it. I suggested the court simply assign us a date, and we’ll just have to work with that. It’s a shame the court didn’t have any summer or fall dates available.

The clerk responded to my email, adding our vandal to the response, saying that since we couldn’t agree on a date (I suspect our vandal already responded as well), we now have a May teleconference date specifically to set a trial date. At least for that, my brother should be able to book a meeting room at work and not have to take the entire day off. :-/

What a pain. And I know full well our vandal is just f**** with us out of spite. 😦

Ah, well. We’ll deal with whatever happens.

The Re-Farmer

Good news!

I just got back from taking Potato Beetle to the vet, and we’re much relieved!

The poor thing did NOT like being there. The vet quickly found a wound on the leg he was favouring – one we were never able to spot – but he had to be sedated before she could shave the area and get a good look at it.

Part of the area was already hairless from a scar, but hidden in the fur were two puncture wounds. One is barely visible in the photo. She thinks the critter that did it (and I have a good idea which one it was!) hit a tendon while yanking the way critters do. My guess is that one fang basically got hung up, causing more damage than a simple bite would have done.

The vet gave him a thorough examination and spotted another wound.

This was on his other paw, and probably causing him pain, too. She was thinking he probably had a hard time deciding with leg to limp with! It’s an older wound, though, and scabbed over, so she didn’t want to poke at it too much.

After a cleaning, both wounds got some antibiotic cream on them. Then, because as friendly as Potato Beetle is, he’s still very much a yard cat, he was given a 14 day antibiotic. He also got a 24 hr pain killer. We talked about the possibility of a pain killer we could administer at home, but that’s just not going to happen. He’ll have his 24 hrs of relief, and that’s it. We’re not going to torment him, trying to give him oral medications.

She also put a gel on his eyes so they don’t try out, since he wasn’t blinking while sedated. The sedative should wear off in a couple more hours.

I had arrived about half an hour early, but they were able to get us into an examination room right away. By the time we were done and I was paying the bill – which was quite a bit lower than we feared – we were leaving just minutes after the actual appointment time. Bonus!

For the next few days, we’ll continue to keep him in the sun room, continue to keep the wounds clean and use antibiotic cream on them. He should recover just fine. When I brought him into the sun room with the cat carrier and opened the door, I left him be and brought the food bowl closer. He actually got up and left the carrier, but kept slumping down every few steps. I put him in the soft pillow nest we’ve got for him in there. He rarely uses it, but it’s in a box and is a more secure spot. I’ve also left the cat carrier in there for now, in case he wants a “cave” to curl up in once he’s more active again.

In other good news, today turned out to be a very lovely day. While my phone’s animated display thinks we’re snowing, it’s been a lovely, sunny day. We even reached a high of 5C/41F. Things have been melting away quite nicely.

As for tomorrow’s cancelled court date, my brother chose a reschedule date that worked for him – in November. We should get a letter in the mail, confirming the date. Maybe over the next few months, our vandal will realize he has no case and withdraw the file. I doubt it, though. He’s doing this out of maliciousness, not reason. Whatever. It’ll work out. I’m just bothered by the fact that my brother keeps having to book days off work for this, and nothing is moving foreword.

I might still make the drive, though, if only to get to a Walmart or something, and hopefully find another big bag or two of kibble. I was only able to get one big bag, locally. The Walmarts have been out of stock on cat kibble a lot, too, but at least I’ll have other places I can try. We’ll see how it works out.

For now, I’m just happy that Potato Beetle was not hurt too badly, and should heal up soon. πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

Cancelled

I just got a call from the court office. The court date tomorrow has been cancelled. They did not say why.

They sent an email with a selection of dates to reschedule. The nearer dates are in the city. The courts there are a pain to get to, and expensive to park near. The dates at the nearer location are in November and December.

*sigh*

In the end, it’s up to my brother, as he has to book time off work for it.

Well, at least I don’t have to worry about driving on icy roads tomorrow.

The Re-Farmer

A quick good morning

I have just a bit of time, and decided to make a quick post, while I can. I expect to be on the phone for much of this morning.

So, here is a quick good morning from the kitties!

The heated water bowl was completely empty this morning! I was not fast enough with the camera, but as I was coming back from putting kibble in the tray under the shrine, I spotted Rosencrantz (the blurry cat in the foreground), sitting in it!

I guess a dry heated bowl makes a good butt warmer. πŸ˜€

Clearly, the cats were more interested in water than warm butts! It must have been empty for a while.

I did my morning rounds earlier than usual to get them done in time for my conference call. I would have been well on my way to court today right now, had our overlords not decided to re-impose more restrictions again. For my new visitors (hello! Welcome!), this is for a civil suit our vandal filed against me, in retaliation for my applying for a restraining order against him after his last attempt to break our gate again. More than a year ago, now. The shut downs and restrictions keep pushing things back, again and again.

This conference call will be just to reschedule, because this has to be done in court, in person. We haven’t had our first court date yet. He has no case, so I would hope a judge would see that right away (our vandal is suing me for $13,000 over things here on the farm that I don’t claim to own in the first place) and throw it out, but who knows.

If things go well, he’ll withdraw his suit, but that is highly unlikely.

As the court clerk will be running through a docket, the files with lawyers will be done first, and I don’t think our vandal has a lawyer for this, as he did for my restraining order application against him. If he does, it’ll be over fairly quickly. Otherwise, we just wait our turn with the rest of the people representing themselves. It could be over quickly, or I could be on the phone for hours.

Whenever it’s finally done, however, I still need to go out. I don’t think I’ll have the energy to do our full monthly stock up, but I at least need to go to the small city the courthouse is in.

We shall see after the conference call is done.

What a waste of time.

The Re-Farmer

Some news

I had to dash outside to do a meter reading, and the boys dutifully and adorably posed for me!

Aren’t they sweet?

Doesn’t Tuxedo Mask’s eye look great? It’s his left eye that was affected.

That, however, is not my news.

I finally got a call back from our vandal’s lawyer. He was quite apologetic for not getting back to me earlier, due to conferences he ended up going to all week. I laughed and told him I was starting to think our vandal had fired him, and he assured me that did not happen. πŸ˜€

So it turns out that our vandal somehow did not understand some of the wording of the conditions. I know the lawyer spoke to him about them before, but I guess once things were written down in the form of a court order, it seemed different? I don’t know, but I’m not surprised he wasn’t able to understand them. He has always had such difficulties. Did very well in spite of them, so this is not a knock against him. The judge gave him time for the lawyer to go over it with him, and he’s back in court this Friday. I do not need to be there, but the lawyer said he would be there (I believe he attended by phone, previously). He assured me he would update me with an email after it was done, and was confident our vandal would accept the conditions to a Peace Bond.

I did ask about the psychiatric assessment, for which our vandal is on a waiting list, and the lawyer said that this was a separate matter and still ongoing. Accepting the conditions of a Peace Bond does not change that. That is encouraging. I really hope this puts him on the road to getting the mental health help he needs.

On a more pleasant note, today is St. Nicholas Day, and I decided to make some Polish spice cake today, instead of our usual spice cookies. The recipe was enough for two loaf pans, and is in the oven right now. I will have to set some aside to give to my mother, when I go over later in the week. It’s an interesting recipe that included strong coffee – which my daughter made for me in her French press, because I don’t do coffee – a cup of dark honey AND a cup of packed brown sugar. This is going to be sweeeeeetttt!!!! It also called for a teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. We had just dregs of ground cloves left, because I couldn’t find any in the stores, so I used our little coffee grinder (which is never used to grind coffee) on some whole cloves. Freshly ground cloves are very different from store bought! You can really tell the higher oil content. That should really come out in the flavour, I think. Apparently, it tastes even better after resting for a few days. I’ve never had this kind of cake before, so I’m looking forward to trying it out. πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

My family is silly, and court update

First, the fun stuff!

My family is silly.

Yesterday, I roasted some chickens for the next few days and, since I had to get up earlier this morning, I had and early supper. I set out a bowl for the “bones and oogy bits” and labelled it before going to bed.

This is what I found this morning.

My younger daughter asked if “oogy” was a technical term, so which my husband said yes, while my older daughter added the headless chicken carcass.

What a great thing to find in the morning, when I was so dreading heading out!

I made sure to feed the cats before I left, but I was gone so long, the outside cats needed a top-op.

They were very appreciative! Another cheerful sight. πŸ™‚

As for my court date… it went as well as could be. It’s on our vandal to respond now, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

The session was booked for 9am. I planned to leave by 7am, if not earlier. I took the time to actually eat breakfast, which I normally never do that early in the day, before heading out, and when I started the van, the clock read exactly 7am. The drive to the town my mother lives in, where I stopped for gas, was not too bad, though there were parts of the highway that had been blown over and covered with ice and snow. Bad enough on their own, but it was starting to melt a bit, too, which added another level of “gotta be careful!”

Once back on the highway after getting gas, I thought things would be better, as that part of the highway is busier, but nope. It was quite a lot worse, which made for slow driving for a while. By the time I reached the divided highway, though, it finally cleared up… just in time to hit the construction zone, where four lanes with a ditch in between bottle necked into two lanes on one side.

Still, by the time I reached the city, I was making good time. While I knew where to go from checking on the map, I had my phone’s map on navigator, so I had a voice telling me when and where to make my turns, just to be on the safe side.

That worked well, right up until I reached the street the court offices were on, and I was to make a left turn. As I reach the lights, I see a sign under them.

No left turn.

Okay, I’ll just go to the next intersection and drive around the block.

As I drive through, the navigator auto adjusts and tells me to make a right turn at the next street. Which I can’t do, because I’m in the left lane during rush hour, and changing lanes was just not an option, never mind trying to move 3 lanes over.

Next intersection?

The sign says, no left turn.

No left turn.

No left turn.

No left turn between 7am and 9am.

One way only.

No left turn between 7am and 9am.

One way only.

By this time, I’ve crossed the river and the navigator is telling me to make U turns, which I could not do.

Finally, I found a street I could turn left onto – with my phone telling me to take a U turn again – drove around the block and made my way back. When I got to the street the court offices was on, I saw a parkade just up the block and went straight there, as I no longer had time to search for parking.

By the time I parked, walked back to the street I needed and found the building, it was just before 9am. I also just managed to get into the doors to stand at the back of the line to pass through security.

Thankfully, I had the phone number for our vandal’s lawyer, so I called him and told him where I was, and he said he would pass that on to the judge for me.

Thankfully again, the line moved quickly.

Our province is in an odd situation right now. With the pandemic response, emergency status was lifted a while ago. The mandates, as far as I know, expired as well. But the province is still enforcing mask rules (there were signs for distancing all over, which were being ignored by everyone). Also, as many expected, they brought in more restrictions after Remembrance Day, but most apply only to churches in the south of our province (where not a single case of SchrΓΆdinger’s Virus has been traced to) and kids from 12-17 who want to play hockey. There are others as well, that make just as little sense.

I expect them to implement another illegal full lock down before Christmas.

Anyhow, I didn’t have the energy for a hassle, so I wore my Mingle Mask and hoped for the best.

No one said a thing to me while I was in line.

As the line was moving forward, I remembered I had a pocket knife in one of my parka’s pockets, so when I got to the security station and put my things into a bin, I started reaching into my pocket to give it to them. The security guard, who didn’t bat an eye at my Mingle Mask, started to tell me I didn’t need to empty my pockets, my parka would go through Xray, until I pulled out the pocket knife and told him I’d forgotten about it. He was quite happy with that and took it aside while I went through the metal detector (none of this procedure is in the court offices we’d been going to in the smaller city!).

I fully expected to lose the knife. I’ve been through court security in another province before moving here, and they even confiscated the metal travel chopsticks a friend of mine had in her purse. Happily, I was wrong. When I got to the other side, another security guard had a Ziplock baggie with a form on it, got my name and got me to initial it, then told me where to go as I left, to retrieve it! I was quite pleased by this, as my husband gave me that knife, and it is a very good one. It got quite a few admiring glances from the security guards.

After getting directions, I found my way to the courtroom our session was going to be in. Just the lawyer and court clerk was there, and the court clerk left, probably to let the judge know I had arrived. It was about 10 past 9 when I got there, and it took another 5 or 10 minutes before the judge came in, so the lawyer and I had a chance to talk.

The first thing I asked was if our vandal was there. He didn’t actually answer, but started asking me about what conditions I might be willing to agree to.

Smart man, not having our vandal there. He would not have been able to shut up.

I actually feel sorry for the lawyer. Nice guy. Doing his best for our vandal, of course, but I think he’s figured out his client is a problem.

Then the judge came in and things got started.

He wasn’t wearing a mask. I could actually see his expressions! It was wonderful!

I think we spent about an hour in this session, and covered a lot of ground. The judge started by asking the lawyer about where our vandal was, and he explained that he’d told our vandal he could stay home, since the lawyer was there to represent him. The judge then began grilling the lawyer, before having a lot of questions for me. Much time was spent clarifying things like what our role was on the property, who actually owned it, when the ownership was transferred from my mother to my brother, and so on. Our vandal’s civil suit came up, even though it is a federal matter, not a provincial one, but the two files are so connected. The lawyer brought it up briefly and tried to move on, but the judge had a lot of questions. His expression when he clarified that the suit was against me – who doesn’t own anything here on the farm – and not my brother, was something to see. The lawyer is not representing our vandal on this case, but he did make a comment on how this was not the wisest of moves on the part of our vandal. Civil law is not the specialty of either of them, though, so they couldn’t say much else.

After much discussion, what I was willing to accept was a no-contact order, coupled with a restriction on drinking; our vandal (who does not believe he has a problem with booze) can drink all he wants at home, but he can’t leave his property while under the influence. The lawyer got an extra week to have time to bring the proposal to our vandal, so two weeks from now, he will have to show up in court. The lawyer had the option of calling in. If he accepts the conditions, we have a de-facto “peace bond”. A court order that expires in a year. If he does NOT accept it, it will go to trail. The judge made sure to explain that, if it goes to trial, then I take on the role of prosecutor and have to present evidence to justify my application. That would be a year from now, at the earliest. Of course, I have to give copies of any evidence I want to present to our vandal’s lawyer. The only issue is that, if I want to use the phone messages my mother got, my mother has to actually be there in court to confirm that yes, these are from our vandal and yes, these were from her answering machine.

Which my mother is willing to do, but she’d be 91 by then, and who knows how mobile she might be in that time?

I have no doubt the lawyer is going to impress on our vandal, the wisdom of accepting the conditions.

Whether our vandal is smart enough to do it is another thing.

The judge even knew where we live, more or less, so when he started to explain to me how to get a copy of the order (if our vandal accepts), he stopped and said he would just get them to send it to me, and made sure to have my mailing address to do it.

Once an order is in place, things then fall into the jurisdiction of the RCMP.

Which is about the best outcome we could have gotten out of this session.

So that is done for now. The lawyer will inform me of what our vandal decides.

After that, we’ll just have the civil suit to deal with, and the court date for that is in the summer. Unless our vandal is smart enough to drop that one, but I highly doubt it. I don’t know what he thinks he can accomplish. Not only do I not claim ownership of anything he says is his, but I told him long ago that he could take his stuff, if he could prove ownership. He never responded, and didn’t file suit until after he was served in regards to our restraining order application, more than two years later. He has no case, and just doesn’t seem to understand that.

Ah, well. All we can do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst!

As for me, I’m going to go debone some chickens, so my daughter can make some stock for a nice chicken soup later on. πŸ™‚ Life goes on!

The Re-Farmer

Manual labour is good therapy, and a court update

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!

Anyhow.

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.

And waited.

Court started at 10, and they went through the docket.

We waited.

And waited.

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.

*sigh*

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.

*sigh*

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.

The Re-Farmer