I’m now a week away from ….I don’t know – nothingness might be an apt word.
So this last bit of blogging is essentially risk-free and somewhat liberating, as lasthorsestanding remarked on another thread. My other life – the one where I had a home, an occupation and a “normal life” – is one you might find of interest, and how it led to today, where I have nothing and no one, and where there is no future except no future.
Several years ago, I was house-hunting for a small country place in which to be able to keep my two horses.
I wanted to move closer to work because my 120 mile daily round trip was horrible on top of my 13 hour shifts. I found a real estate agent through a co-worker, and told her what I was looking for. Had we been near a milton realtor we would have used them, but this was not the case. Anyway, she steered me to run down houses in far parts of the rural county, some with commutes almost as long as I already had. So I got out the multiple listings and looked on my own.
In short order I saw one that didn’t have an excessive amount of acreage, was close to where my other horse-friends lived and rode, and had ample room for my horses and rescued dogs and cats.
In fact, it turned out to have two enormous horse barns with a large hay mow, indoor riding arena, round pen and several paddocks. I was shown the acreage and told that it would be a farm split and surveyed to existing fence lines, which were pointed out to me and the agent. The farm house was old, but I was told that all repairs were current, and that a chimney fire had been fully repaired.
The remaining farm acreage was being tenant farmed by a township trustee, and I was given right of first refusal to purchase it if it was put on the market. Several of my horse friends remarked that they knew the sellers, and no one offered any warnings except to say that the sellers were well-known in horse training and showing circles.
At the closing, the real estate agent – the sellers – who was also a firend of my veterinarian, made no statements that anything was amiss with the farm. My agent’s associate told me at the closing that the mineral and oil rights were being retained by the sellers, but that practice was normal. I didn’t know better, and I didn’t have a lawyer present – my banker said nothing, and she was there. Stupid, stupid me.
A month later when the leaves fell, directly in front of my land was an enormous dump on the ridge of the farmed acreage that the township trustee was farming. It spilled into the creek. I went on a walk to investigate and I discovered jars of mercury, farm batteries, jars of unlabelled liquids, antifreeze, and piles upon piles upon piles of tires of every size – farm, commercial and auto. Plus the remains of farm equipment, this dump went on for a hundred yards or more. I picked up several jars and cans and took them on my own to local haz mat disposition events. And then came winter.
I couldn’t heat the house beyond 55 degrees no matter how much I ran the furnace or kept the wood burner stove fired up. And the next door neighbor’s front yard pond continually leaked and drained down my farm drive and directly into the horse barns, making many of the stalls unusable. The neighbor was also hostile and acted aggressive and dangerous. I asked him to stay off my property as he was wont to scream obscenities and then would yell that he didn’t want to live next to a farm.
One morning I discovered him putting up a mailbox on my property, and I went outside and told him to remove himself and his property. He picked up the post hole digger and swung it at my head like a baseball bat. I called the sheriff’s department and after a half hour, two deputies came out, spoke to him, and one told me that I should buy a gun and if I had to use it, shoot to kill. Otherwise, I was told, I would be paying his medical care bills. They refused to file charges against him.
That was just the beginning.
I called the county health department about the dump, and I was treated as if I was the culprit instead of the person trying to clean up a problem. So I called the EPA, and when I described the contents, I was fast tracked to a person who did take the complaint and apparently did follow through. A few months later, huge commercial dumpsters arrived in caravans, and it appeared as if a commercial entity was cleaning up the dump. A year or so later, the same trustee was interviewed by local media when another dump was discovered on a former trustee’s land. He was proud of that trustee and announced that dumps like those could be found everywhere, and they were perfectly fine. No one followed up.
I had a lawyer for a time, but he opened every can of worms and then after making a thorough mess, walked away, proclaiming that the lawyer for the sellers (who was also the lawyer for the township trustees, surrounding property owners and the sellers – oh and he was city council man for the next town over, too), was a “real nice guy”. He used up my window of time in which to sue, started a bunch of meaningless proceedings, exposed me to the wrath of the township trustees, and then disappeared after running up as a large a bill as possible. Legal representation.
That spring, I hired a company to re-side the house and another to install geothermal heat and a new furnace. What was discovered was shocking.
There was an 8x 10 foot hole in the side of the house from the chimney fire – coincidentally one fo the responding firefighters was on the property when the siders discovered it, and he told me he happened to be the one to make the hole in order to extinguish the fired in the wall. It had simply been covered with a patch of aluminum siding – no wall wes there.
The furnace had a large crack and had been leaking carbon monoxide. Only that hole in the wall kept the gas level low enough not to be fatal. My friend suggested I look into furnace repair as soon as possible so no one gets hurt.
The “neighbor” next door was a known trouble maker, and the house had been previously owned by the sellers of my house. They sold it to a sister who sold it to the aggressive new neighbor.
And the township trustee who was farming the dump property turned out to be the local factory farmer mafia. All of the surrounding property owners purchased services or goods from him, and I had been instructed to do the same – via hay sales or pasture mowing or other farm-related services. Soon the township trustee’s equipment was showing up on private property doing private work.
And because the EPA was investigating the dump, I was now a target by the township trustees for outing them. I was targeted by all surrounding property owners. My animals were shot, poisoned, lured to the road and run over, and I had loaded guns pointed at me on multiple occasions. I was told by the township trustee that they commanded the country prosecutor to do their bidding, and that they were “going to get me.” I was charged with building a fence too close to the road, with allowing animals to roam (when neighbors trespassed and opened gates) and with animal cruelty – to an animal that the county animal control officer stole that had just returned from a prolonged stay at the veterinarian’s and was awaiting an appointment with another veterinarian. I was stalked by neighbors and followed by sheriff’s deputies. I returned home to windows jimmied open, doors broken, my house and barns ransacked, new fencing destroyed, animals dead or missing, dog poop strewn throughout my house, and I began to come to the farm only to feed and care for the animals, and then I would sleep in my car at highway rest stops, only returning in the early morning to feed, do morning chores and get dressed for work. It’s probably about time that I start thinking about getting some replacement windows installed; ones that are stronger and more durable this time I think. It’s one of the many ways that would keep my property safer from what’s been going on. Thankfully my friend recommended to me that I use a company like Graceland Windows – this is their website (https://gracelandwindows.com/), to help get the ball rolling. When I get a spare moment, I think I may have a look. Anything to improve the security of my home. Sheriff’s deputies pointed out my security cameras to trespassing surrounding property owners as I was complaining about their trespassing. In other words, deputies were escorting trespassers around my property. They were never surprised when I reported break-ins, and they consistently refused to file reports. As to the gun reports – those were conveniently lost.
I was harassed when I went to vote, complained to the board of elections and was told that I would have to lie in order to get an absentee ballot. I had been a Republican (really a RINO as I never voted for them, just used it to shape primaries) in a Republican township, but I went to the BOE and changed my party affiliation to Democrat and requested an absentee ballot be sent. Of course, it never arrived.
The post mistress was related to a township trustee. My mail was routinely stolen or turned up months later in a culvert after a rain. The trustees dug up all of the road frontage of my property and destroyed my driveway. They re-routed culvert drainage from the road to go down my drives and into my horse barns, making them unusable. They harassed my horse boarders and visitors to the animal sanctuary. Another township trustee was related to the house sellers. Almost everyone in the town, township and county are familially related, and they all do business with one another.
People who knew what was happening to me were afraid to be seen with me. Visitors to the farm, where I had been trying to operate an animal sanctuary for old and ill animals, were routinely followed and boxed in my drive way. I was afraid to have anyone come to the farm, and I warned off my boarders. I had renovated a kennel building with my retirement funds and tried to do limited commercial dog and cat boarding to pay for the sanctuary expenses. On the first weekend with a full kennel, when I was away picking up supplies, someone opened the kennel, let all of the dogs loose, and shot one. Who? The next door neighbor, who faxed a report of doing so to the animal control officer, who took no action. I gave up dog boarding, and the tens of thousands of dollars I invested in the renovation were lost. I took another outside job in order to pay bills.
And while I was away at work daily, trespassers continued to wreak havoc on the farm. I never knew when I would come back for evening chores what animals would have been harmed, killed, stolen, and what damage would have been done to my property.
I finally fled in the middle of the night to try to get away from all of them in another part of the country. They have followed me everywhere. And now that I was treated by employers in three successive jobs in a hostile fashion for being ethical and standing up for worker rights and for patient safety, I am done.
I am exhausted. No one with power, authority and the ability to help will do so. I’m a dead man walking, but not for much longer. I can’t wait to be done with this world.
And this is how oppression happens. No one will stand together, and in my example, me standing alone, is ineffective, and it’s fatal.
The trustee’s threat to “get me” wasn’t an idle one. He did, and I’m got.