Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Our Barn

For our family and friends who are not on Facebook,
you may not know,
 that we lost our barn to a fire yesterday.
We, are devastated, sad and tired.
So, here are the posts, I have posted on Facebook, yesterday and today.

24 Feb 2015

Dear Friends
Our barn burnt down last night, killing all but 1 pup, some of the sheep and lambs in the barn.
 I am totally devastated.

Dear Friends
Thank you for the outpouring of love. We felt it. The many kind words are a balm to our sadness right now. Our grief, is of course shared, with the puppy owners who have also lost. Many would have received their pups this week. They too, are feeling the loss and sadness. They and many others have followed the weekly progression of these pups, have seen the videos of them frolicking with the lambs. One of the shar pups managed to escape and I think that reminds us to have hope. This pup (Brown), was always one of the really naughty pups, a challenge to keep in the pen, the escape artist among the pups; these talents, is what kept her alive. She made it out of the barn, through brambles and thorn bushes to our front door. Amazing, for a pup that has never been that far away from the barn and never been to our house before. I suppose, we shall name her “Lucky”. Unfortunately, Border Collie Ginger and the remaining 7 shar pups, and 30 ewes and lambs, and two cats, were less fortunate.

This loss of animal life is incredibly heart breaking.

For those who asked, our Meco (our Macedonian pup), did survive as he was not in the barn last night, so did Katcha, the mom of the pups, as she was being weaned from the pups.
We are thankful no human life was lost, all the adult dogs, the main flock of ewes, the horses and the cows are safe. The material damage is enormous, we lost our tractor, other equipment, feed, panels, troughs, waterers, gates, augers, a trailer, kennel panels, water pumps and so much more. Our barn was a huge structure (300 feet long x 80 wide by 24 high), and it is now leveled to the ground. Fortunately, barns can be rebuilt, and equipment can be replaced.
We need to stay focused, as our ewes are due to start lambing in 10 days’ time, we need to find a way to set up some form of shelter, or wind break, re-order lambing supplies, build some panels and focus on doing what needs doing.
We are grateful to our neighbors and friends who have jumped in to help, loaning us water tubs, and a tractor and whatever we may need. Their support and help is very much appreciated.
It feels so daunting and overwhelming right now, and spontaneous tears and sadness wells up at unforeseen moments. We are resilient and we will get through this.
Thank you for kind words, the hugs and kind thoughts. It really is very much appreciated.

25 Feb 2015
Another day.
We have more acceptance today. We are not as shell shocked as we were yesterday. The tears, and sadness are still, just under the surface. I personally do not like to “talk” about it, as I get a little emotional. Being emotional, exhausts me.
I, do not want to go to that deep dark place of horror, thinking about the animals and their fate. It is simply to tragic to “go there”.

Unfortunately, we are still partially in that “what if” stage. What if, under the rubble and roof, a pup did survive in a small pocket somewhere? That thought prompts us to go and look. Independently today, Eric and I both went and looked, if maybe, the border collie Ginger, may have survived. Moving through the rubble and the smoke, pushing the metal sheeting aside and peering under it, looking.
The realization that none of the animals survived, is seeping into our consciousness. Roy, spent most of the day yesterday combing the area around the barn, looking under bushes and trees for any remaining pups. That act alone, brings tears to my eyes, it is just so sad.
So, I try not dwell on it.

The work has started now; the claim to the insurance agency, writing down what we had in the barn, getting quotes and planning cleanup. 
We have to put a value to things, stuff that has been collected over the years. The wooden oak panels that came from the Netherlands with us, the tools that you gather over the years, handy things like duct tape, rope, chains, even baler twine. Dog collars, leads, food bowls, buckets, nails, screws, hose pipes. The little things that you have on hand are gone. I am sure, we will run more and more into these little inconveniences as we go along.
Their is an urgency to get power and water back on. These are priorities now. Fortunately, the big flock and the cows are used to eating snow for their winter water supply.
I have read a few comments and seen some people rallying to possibly set up a “gofundme” account, however, Eric and I were talking, we really do appreciate the support, however, we feel there are so many other “worthier” causes. If anyone feels a strong need to send us something, a card, a photo, a quote or a little heartening message would be welcomed.


  1. lieve familie, wat een verschrikkelijk drama voor jullie.
    jullie zijn zo goed voor de dieren en deze dan op zo'n manier te moeten verliezen... te erg voor woorden.
    ik wens jullie veel sterkte en succes met de wederopbouw!

  2. I am terribly sorry for this horrific loss, every farmers worst nightmare.

  3. Oh Louise and Erik.....this is so, so sad and I send all the sympathy I have your way. I can not imagine. I lost a house to a fire. But a barn....a barn full of loved heart breaks for you both. Heartening message ... hard to come by at this time... at least one that would make reason.. just to Hang in there, rely on friends near and far, and carry on. It never goes away, the horrible feelings, but somehow get easier to bear. I am so very sorry!

  4. I am so very, very, very sorry for your loss. That is my worst nightmare. I wish there was somehow I could help you. My very best wishes are with you.

  5. I only know you through your generous sharing of pictures and knowledge on Facebook, but I wanted to send you heartfelt sympathies on your devastating losses. It seems cliche' to quote often used memes, but the words are no less true.... "You only know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have."
    Blessings to you and your family. Blessings to those sweet lives lost. Blessings as you rebuild.

  6. This is the tragedy we all live in terror of experiencing. Please know that thoughts and prayers are coming to you from all over. It's horrible.... hearts are breaking for you. All you can do is put your heads down and press on since you have so much emergency work to do to prep for lambing. Stay strong, but accept help. Good deeds done on your behalf bless everyone.


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