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It’s Hiding In The Back Along With All The Animals

, , , , , | Right | July 24, 2021

I work in the gift shop of a theme park and open farm. The business is connected to a working farm, and when I was a kid, there used to be a farm shop selling produce, etc. This disappeared years ago; by the time I started working there, it had been closed for four years. Two years into my employment, a customer comes in.

Customer: “Hello, I’m looking for the farm shop. Has it moved?”

Me: *Brightly but apologetically* “I’m really sorry, madam, but I’m afraid the farm shop actually closed about six years ago. We still sell local honey and a few other things in here.” *Gestures*

Customer: *Suddenly affronted* “But I was in there last year! Why has it closed?!”

Me: “I’m afraid it would have been longer than that. I can only assume it wasn’t profitable.”

The customer just blinks at me and walks out, grumbling that it must have closed recently. My manager overhears the conversation, and after the lady has left, turns to me.

Manager: “Does she think we’re hiding it somewhere?”

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Insult The Farmers And You’ll Be Sure To Pay

, , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: USPO-222 | June 19, 2021

An attorney that I work with regularly as part of my job moved from an area with a very high cost of living to our rural community. He sold his $2,000,000 house — paid off and inherited from his grandparents — and bought over fifty acres with a huge house in a bedroom community that has a lot of dairy farms. He always used to say how it was much better living up here, both in terms of the lifestyle and monetarily, as his urban $2,000,000 house had property taxes in excess of $40,000 a year.

In addition to the huge house, the property was about forty acres of fields with a roughly ten-acre woodlot. After he moved into his new house, the attorney was approached by his neighbor, one of the area dairy farmers.

Farmer: “I had a handshake agreement with the former owner of your property. I mow the fields for hay two or three times per year and harvest a sustainable amount of trees out of the woodlot. In exchange, the old owner got 10% of the chopped wood, which is more than enough to heat your house all year long without having to run the oil boiler for anything more than hot water. I’d like to keep this arrangement going, as it worked out well for both of us for over a decade.”

The attorney thought the former owner was being taken advantage of and refused to do a handshake agreement.

Attorney: “Give me a week to draw up a proper contract.”

The farmer was not overjoyed with making this out to be more than a gentlemen’s agreement but agreed to come back the following week. The attorney decided that what would be “fair” was that the farmer should pay him $1,000 each time he mowed the fields for hay, since the farmer would feed the hay to his cows for “free” otherwise (completely ignoring that the farmer was using his own equipment and time to do the haying) and that the lawyer deserved 50% of the chopped wood, not 10%, or at least the 50% of the revenue the farmer got from selling the excess chopped wood (again ignoring the equipment and time investment of the farmer). As you can guess, the farmer refused.

This all happened in late 2019, when the fields were rather bare and the supply of chopped wood for the house was full. Well, then came 2020, and the fields started looking like garbage because none of the other farmers would pay to hay the fields. In fact, after speaking with the first farmer, the attorney found that all of the other area farmers were unwilling to mow the fields unless the attorney paid THEM $1,000 per mowing. And, of course, come wintertime, the attorney’s woodpile was depleted and he had to use the oil boiler to heat his entire home, costing well over $300 a month in winter heating costs.

Then we came to early 2021, tax prep season. The farmer, being a good and dutiful community-minded citizen, informed the town that he did not cultivate any of the attorney’s land for the entirety of 2020, nor did he know of any other farmers who had done so. Well, as it turns out, this was a big deal, because in our state, farmland is assessed at a much lower value than residential property and additionally has a separate and lower tax rate. The attorney’s land had previously been entirely zoned as farmland, except for the house and a few acres of lawn around it. The town sent out an assessor and rezoned the entire fifty-plus acres as residential, which more than tripled the taxable property value and imposed the residential tax rate rather than the much lower farm tax rate. The attorney was quite surprised and furiously told me, and everyone else we work with, all this past week how he’s going to sue the town because they now expect him to pay $50,000 a year in property taxes.

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Horsing Around And Being A Horse’s A**

, , , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: Shifting-Parallax | June 4, 2021

I live in a rural neighborhood on five acres and my nearest neighbors are a sweet elderly couple about one acre from me. They’re perfect and we get along very well. I own my own home and have two horses and a cat, and recently, my mom has also moved in.

Here’s where things go south. My neighbors’ son and his wife and two girls — four and seven — live in the nearest city and don’t feel safe during the health crisis. I don’t blame them, and because my neighbors are saints, they open their home and the brood moves right in.

One morning, I’m letting my horses — a Clydesdale and a Welsh Pony — out into the front pasture, and I hear the most high-pitched squealing from next door. I pop my head out and the two girls are losing their minds. And I get it — little white pony and the horse from “Brave” — but still, they’re large animals they don’t know, so they should have the sense not to approach, right?

Pfft. Not a snowball’s chance in Hell. These kids sprint to the fence shrieking. The pony runs around in panic and the Clydesdale stands there with the same “WTF?” look I’ve got on my face. Then, the four-year-old starts to go under the fence.

H***. No.

Me: *Firmly* “Don’t you dare climb under that fence!”

I admit I’m kind of harsh, but I’ll be d***ed if I’m going to have my horses mow over a kid. I walk over to them and they look like they’re about to cry.

Me: “These horses are big animals and could easily hurt you. You must never climb under or over the fence.”

They go home and I clean stalls. An hour in, I hear someone banging on my home’s door, and I can see through my barn’s hatch door that my mom and the kids’ mom are having a conversation. The kids’ mom then storms down to the barn. I’ve never met this lady, but I know an entitled parent when I see one. Joy of joys. She starts going off on me.

Kids’ Mother: “How dare you make my kids cry?! They just wanted to see the ponies!”

She goes on and on, but when she takes a breath, I get my point across.

Me: “Ma’am, your youngest was crawling under the fence toward two large animals none of you know. That Clydesdale is a 2000-pound draft horse; he can literally crush you, not feel it, and do permanent damage. The pony looks cute but needs an experienced hand as he is very untrustworthy, flighty, and tends to bite. Your children are not allowed near them without my consent and heavy supervision, and they’re never allowed in the pasture with them. Do you understand?”

Kids’ Mother: “Well, if they’re so dangerous, why do you have them? Are you even allowed to have them? I should call animal control!”

And on she goes again, until I find a space to interject.

Me: “One, they’re my personal horses; yes, I’m allowed to have them. Two, your kids trespassed on my property; I’m trying to keep them safe. Three, this is not a petting zoo.”

She huffs off and I continue work. Later that evening when the kids’ father gets home, I explain what happened. He’s understandably alarmed. I explain how dangerous that situation is and he agrees. I’m optimistic about his reaction, but I know he’s often not home so I stay cautious.

Later in the next week, I’m working from home and I suddenly hear screaming — not excited screaming but scared little kid screaming. I rush outside and the four-year-old is bawling in the middle of the pasture. The pony is doing laps around the perimeter of the fence as my Clydesdale slowly approaches the little girl. The seven-year-old is crying outside the fence and calling for her mom, but clearly, their mom is not watching them. My initial terror recedes a bit because my Clydesdale is essentially a golden retriever in a horse’s body — the sweetest pushover in the world. He’s gingerly approaching her in a slow, friendly, way and being as non-threatening as he can. And with him so close, the pony won’t rush them. He’s probably about three steps from her, but I yell for him to halt, and like a good boy, he does. I make my way in with them.

Me: *To the four-year-old* “Are you hurt?”

She’s not, but she’s clearly scared, so I pick her up and walk out, making my Clydesdale heel to me just in case the pony gets a dumb idea.

The mom is STILL nowhere in sight, so I take them to my neighbors’ house. What proceeds is about thirty minutes of screaming and crying. The girls’ mother is the one to open the door, she starts screaming at me and firing off questions before my neighbors intervene. I tell everyone exactly what happened and my elderly neighbors BLOW UP — at her, not me.

Neighbors: “How could you be so irresponsible and negligent?! Your daughters could have been hurt!”

Kids’ Mother: “Well, if your neighbor didn’t have those horses in the first place—”

The mom keeps trying to throw the blame on me, but they aren’t having it. My neighbors apologize profusely and I go about my day until the father gets home. He comes by my place.

Kids’ Father: “I want to apologize for my family’s behavior and especially for my wife’s behavior.”

Me: “Thank you. I understand; they’re little girls, and I, too, know the allure of magnificent, fluffy horses! Their mom is at fault for not watching them. I’m just glad everyone is okay.”

The girls were still really shaken up, so I extended an olive branch. I was an overexcited kid who liked horses once, too, and I didn’t want this to completely traumatize them from being around horses.

So, the next day, I properly introduced them to my Clydesdale, with him in his stall with the inside hatch open and the girls being supervised by their father and me. They loved it and the Clydesdale loved the attention. Everyone’s happy, right? Well, except the mom, who took my olive branch as an offer to teach them horseback riding, give free lessons, and other crap, but her husband shot it down hard, and presumably so did my neighbors.

Since then, it’s been quiet. I did install a second electrical wire on the bottom of the pasture fence — not just on the top — just in case. And yes, they did test it. The seven-year-old got zapped pretty good and got in trouble with her dad. Aside from that, there have been no incidents other than them wanting to pet the horses when I drop evening feed once in a while. Here’s hoping it stays peaceful.

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What Part Of “DO NOT” Confuses You?

, , , , , | Legal | June 2, 2021

We have several signs around our property that say things like, “Do Not Enter,” “Beware of Dog,” “No Trespassing,” “If you can read this, you’re in range,” “No Soliciting,” “Smile, you’re on camera,” etc. It’s a farm. It’s rural. We have dogs, livestock, signs, cameras, guns, and a half-mile-long gravel driveway. We are NOT “solicitor-friendly.”

I noticed that the cameras were alerting on the driveway on occasion with a red sedan, maybe once a week or so. A guy would walk to the door, knock, and then leave when there was no answer. He never left a card or anything.

Usually, if I’m out on the property, on the tractor or working with animals or whatever, I’ll have a gun on my hip to deal with snakes or other wildlife.

One day, I was at the house. There was a knock, so I opened the door. I just got in for lunch and was wearing muck boots, flannel, dirty jeans… and a gun. A holstered gun that was never touched. Not once.

Me: *Matter-of-factly* “Can I help you?”

This poor lad turned five shades of white.

Man: “I- I’m s-s-so sorry t-to disturb y-you!”

And he retreated quicker than a rabbit.

Thirty minutes later, a local deputy knocked on the door.

Deputy: “We got a report that you pulled a gun and threatened someone who came here.”

He knew me and knew that wouldn’t happen unless unavoidably necessary. My cameras showed only outside the house, not anyone inside the house at the door, so they didn’t show me. My cameras did, however, show this dimwit blowing past multiple signs warning people not to enter the property and him doing so anyway. The officer laughed, we chatted a while, and he left.

There have been no further uninvited visitors, and I still don’t know what he wanted.

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These People Sound Really Un-Stable

, , , , , | Working | CREDIT: MO11YY | December 15, 2020

I was like a lot of young girls; I loved horses. “That crazy horse girl” was me, and I was her. My parents weren’t rich, so when I got ten lessons at our local stables for my ninth birthday, I was ecstatic, and I literally fell in love. I saved up to ride more, and I always dreamed about becoming a professional horseback rider. But there was one catch: the owners of the stable.

They quickly saw my enthusiasm and, being a new yard knee-deep in work, they made an offer that I literally cried over with sheer joy. When I was ten, they said I could work there! So, I started working every Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm and some days after school. But I wasn’t getting paid, and I actually still had to pay them for my half-hour group riding lessons on Saturdays.

Not only was I working like a dog there, but they didn’t have any shelter for me and wouldn’t let me in their house. One winter was so bad that I sat in a stable and cried, trying to heat my hands up against a horse. I was an eleven-year old, freezing to death, and they wouldn’t let me in their mansion because I had “work to do.” The only toilet at the stables that I was allowed to use was in a rundown shed that had never been cleaned in the years I was there.

I got pneumonia; I developed hypothermia and I already had childhood asthma. I don’t remember a lot from that period of time, but I do remember going back to horse riding after recovering and getting yelled at for being away too long.

I was ignored, yelled at, and overall treated like crap, so my parents decided that at the very least I shouldn’t have to pay for lessons. Well, when I told the owners, they laughed at this and basically told me to f*** off, and I knew if I told my parents then I wouldn’t be allowed to go back. So, my parents stopped paying for lessons under the assumption I was getting them for free due to all my work, and I just pretended I was getting them when, in reality, I wasn’t.

Unfortunately, although my parents were aware it was a bad situation, they had no idea I didn’t have shelter or sanitary setups, but they knew the owners treated me like crap. I would lie and tell them plots of horse cartoons I’d seen, pretending I’d done it with my imaginary yard friends — sad, I know — and I told them that I was always given hot chocolate. And they did try to stop me going a few times, but I would cry for days and beg them to let me go back because I loved the horses so much.

I started dreading going, but I loved the horses and couldn’t imagine not seeing them every weekend, so I put up with the freezing weather, the abuse, and the exhaustion until I was fourteen. Something snapped and I had a mental breakdown and called my mum to come pick me up. The owners were furious because I was supposed to be leading a few lessons that day — another great perk of the job was walking around an arena for three hours nonstop, leading the new riders — and hadn’t finished mucking out all the stables. I couldn’t do it anymore and went home. For the first time in forever, I slept in and went out with friends.

A few months later, I started missing the horses badly and booked a lesson so I could see them. (I know, but I was desperate.) But when I got there, I found out that my favourite horse had died. No one had told me. I was getting weekly texts from the owners demanding I go in, but no one had even thought to tell me that the horse I had grown attached to over four years had died! I left right then and there in tears. They still made me pay for the lesson I never went to — even though it was a group lesson and this happened a few hours beforehand — and sent abusive messages to me until I blocked them.

They sold their school horses shortly after and became a livery yard. I walked away from horse riding after losing all faith in the sport. I do still miss the horses I looked after, and I hope they’re in the best homes possible. I gave this family my weekends, my time, and my childhood, and they didn’t give me anything in return. Sometimes they would even pretend I hadn’t paid for a lesson, knowing I was too anxious to protest, and I would cry at the end of the day, counting that $30 I had given them for nothing.

I eventually told my parents; they are racked with guilt to this day and have apologised a lot. I didn’t realise at that age that I was being abused because — even though most of the time the owners would talk down to me and shout at me — they would occasionally compliment me, and I would feel so appreciated and happy.

As I’ve told this story, a lot of people have pointed out that this was way more serious than I gave it credit for, and I’ve decided that I will try and take legal action, or at the very least, get the message out about how bad they treated the help. I’m not sure how it’ll go, but I’ve realised that if they did it to me, they’ll do it to other kids, and I will try shine a light on the truth of this company.

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