Fall 2021 (7/10)
**Trigger warnings still stand: If you’re easily bothered by things such as suicide, rape, child abuse, animal neglect, sex trafficking, narcissist behavior, and maybe some other related topics, you should skip these posts. It’s not my regular happy-go-lucky sort of deal. Previous posts here: (1/10) (2/10)(3/10) (4/10) (5/10) (6/10)**
School started back up. Ava had changed her entire look. She traded her cute summer dresses for baggy pants and shirts. Cut her hair short and redid her whole image. She would always mosey her way back home after school but she used to do it with a bounce. Now she did it with a scowl. You could tell, she hated going home. As soon as she got home, we could hear Coco yelling at her. Just constantly. We didn’t have any issue with the dogs after that though. In fact, I thought she had found them new homes.
We texted Hawg, “are you still our neighbor?” He said yes, Coco has gone off the deep end. What she’s saying is not true, it’s a big mess but it should be over soon and I’ll be back in just a couple weeks. I’m sorry for all of this.”
Winter was approaching
We knew they didn’t have propane for hot water, cooking or heat. A truck drives up our lane to fill their tank and we hadn’t seen it for a long time. Hawg had told us that propane was $800 a month to heat their drafty mobile home the previous winter. He had been working on switching over to wood heat. I also knew she only got $400 a month from the state for her disability claim. They were likely without those amenities. Early on I was told that she refused to get a job because she would lose her disability claim and she didn’t want that. She did try to turn her photography into a business though. All of her pictures were friends and family so I’m not sure how lucrative that was but I doubt it was enough for propane.
We knew they didn’t have power. James helped trouble shoot her solar issues with her. She was just overloading her solar and flipping breakers. When she blocked us again she stopped asking for help but we could tell they had no lights because their house stayed dark after the sun went down. Off grid life is an active process, you have to maintain the systems and be a fair amount of involved. We know from her own saying so, Coco didn’t have a clue about her systems. A winter in north Idaho isn’t a cozy thing with the best setup.
We were legit worried they would freeze to death.
She had different priorities
Coco though, was throwing parties and seemingly having the time of her life. Even though we were blocked from her social media, she was a proliferate poster and it was all public for anyone to see at this point. She liked posting about how great she was. Her friends and family were coming up to ride their ATV’s all over the hillside and throw late night parties. There were a whole bunch of random (and very sketchy looking) people driving in and out at all hours. All days. She posted often about how much she loved HER property. She was having bonfires at peak fire season. And she was dumping trash everywhere.
She had a big clean out party and filled all three trashcans; hers, ours and our other neighbors. You’re not allowed to just fill other people’s trash cans. I asked her to please stop.
She snipped back at me about how much she has to do, none of this was her fault. Like this was just our duty, to let he do as she pleased. Then she started dumping her trash bags NEXT to the trashcans. She wouldn’t fill any, even her own. The sanitation department charges for any trash outside of the bins. So I called and explain the situation. I didn’t want us or our other neighbor, getting the bill.
The sanitation gal called up Coco to explain how the trash system works. Apparently Coco had never had to be in charge of this before. She played all innocent and nice. The sanitation lady, exercised so much compassion and patience and really, went above and beyond in being understanding of the situation. She offered Coco to take her trash down in one big load and they would pick it up, free of charge.
Coco was adamant that it wasn’t her setting out those trash bags.
We literally saw them riding the bags down, one by one through our property on an ATV. But Coco said she didn’t need that offer, she didn’t do it.
Then she continued to dump her trash NEXT to the bins.
For weeks. This was our ‘welcome home’ each time we’d drive in, an ever growing pile of trash. I kept in touch with the sanitation lady. Over the course of one week, a full 8 pickup loads were dumped at the site. Bikes, couches, appliances, etc. I had pictures of the vehicles dumping and the trash pile getting bigger every time we got our mail. The vehicles were all the same ones that frequented our driveway. I turned this all over to the state to address since it was happening on state property.
We were essentially living in a growing dump though. The state and sanitation department eventually dug through the trash and saw all kinds of identifying information. It was indeed Coco’s trash. They brought charges against her. Still, it didn’t immediately stop. The state ended up having to barricade the area and post a whole bunch of signs.
So she just stopped dumping trash all together. This tidbit becomes important later.
It got colder
As it got colder she and her friends started cutting down trees to use for firewood. That wasn’t allowed via the purchase contracts, those contracts weren’t with her though. I was actually somewhat glad that they weren’t planning on freezing.
They had butcher parties where they killed a bunch of the 100 some odd rabbits and the two pigs. It sounded horrific from down the hill. I can only imagine what those animals felt hearing and watching each other die like that, up close. They are raised for food, I get that. I just feel like there is a certain amount of respect that ought to be given. That includes not scaring the crap out of them in their final moments.
I figured, “at least she has dog food.” Though, without power to run a freezer, and temps above freezing during the day, I knew it all wouldn’t keep very long.
She is just making herself at home
I was told Hawg was removed until she could find housing. I don’t think she was looking for housing. Infact, she invited her ex wife up to stay for a few weeks. The one that was abusive to Ava. They would hang out all day and shoot guns. Gunshots just became a normal backdrop sound. She was clearly prepping to squat in place over winter. I texted Hawg and asked “does she think she just gets to keep all of your stuff?”
He laughed and texted back yes, that’s exactly what she thinks. And she never even turned in our marriage license because she was too afraid to lose her disability check. Nothing is even valid. She should be off the property next week.
He has a LOT of equipment to run his businesses. He had since sold his business to his son. I think it was partly and exit strategy because he was getting too old have such a physically demanding job. I also think it was to avoid some of the lawsuits that had been raised against his company. His son bought the company, and I assume all the associated equipment and changed the name. Right at the same time, Hawg started a rabbit and dog food business out of his shop. He raised meat rabbits and pressed hay into pellets. All of this equipment was in his shop.
The courts allowed him to come back, during school hours, twice a week for 4 hours. He’s allowed in the shop only. For work only.
The first day he comes back, Coco invites all of her friends and family out and they literally sit out, in view of him, holding rifles. For four hours. He literally stopped on his drive up, flagged James and I down, gave us his moms telephone number and said to call her if we heard gunshots. It was totally in the realm of possibilities that he was driving to his death.
It was SOOOOO hillbilly! We were just SO MUCH more involved than we ever wanted to be! It was ever bizarre, but I said ok. Also, it went: them with riffles, Hawg working, then me and my kids. We didn’t feel safe. I mean we had a bad relationship with this person, too!
We heard baaaing. We didn’t know they had a sheep. I ask Hawg, is there a sheep up there? He said yeah.
Apparently, right before all of this happened and they were still together, they got a Katahdin sheep together. This sheep was a weaned, grown and in tact yearly. It was a meat sheep. Apparently the plan was to use him to rent out and breed to others’ flocks. He, a herd animal, lived by himself in an 8’x8′ pen. That may have been ok for the short term plans between breeding seasons. But then all of this stuff happened. He was in solitary confinement.
I knew the sheep made it through the butcher party because Coco had posted pictures of her friends all playing with him. At this point, our best guess is she had kept one of the dogs, her two new kittens and this sheep. This sheep baa-ed constantly. We asked Hawg to check on him. He said he can’t. He’s ONLY allowed at the shop and he’s going to follow all of the rules to get through this.
So the poor thing baaa’d all afternoon, every afternoon.
Still, it was getting colder.
Fortunately, as temperatures decreased she and Ava seemed to have somewhere else to stay. She stopped staying at the house and would just come by every 1-2 days for about 15 minutes. It usually coincided with when Ava got off the bus. I figured they probably changed clothes, fed the animals and headed off somewhere else. We started really hearing the sheep though. He would baaa all afternoon and into the evening. She was coming by every 1-2 days. I just knew he was lonely though. After a couple weeks, we stopped hearing the sheep altogether. We guess maybe she butchered him too, but we weren’t sure.
At one point someone called in a welfare check on her and the sheriff drove out. I happened to be walking between the house and the barn and flagged them down. He said he was there for a welfare check, asked when I had seen her last. I told him and asked if they would check on the sheep, too. He was not aware of the sheep. He was there to check on the dogs. I pointed out the sheep’s pen and said I was afraid he wasn’t being taken care of but also that maybe he had been butchered, I didn’t know. I just knew I was spending a lot of time worried about him and would just rather know if there wasn’t a sheep. He said he would check.
When he came down I walked out for an update. He said nothing was out of the ordinary. She’d left a note on the door that said she was still taking care of the dogs, “it looks like and there was no reason to think the the sheep wasn’t being taken care of too. If he was still up there.”
I was surprised to know there were actually dogs up there, with an s. We had long assumed just Lady, MAYBE Lady and Mocha were there. But I knew Mocha’s bark and I hadn’t heard it in a LONG time. We hadn’t seen or heard a peep in over a month actually. We assumed they found other homes. These dogs had been the bane of our existence for two years. Then they just weren’t.
Winter really happened
It snows a fair bit here. Our valley is mostly shaded, so it tends to stick around a while. We don’t have a snow plow. James and I work from home, we’re figuring things out. Our winter plans so far have been to stock up and cross your fingers. I’m not saying it’s the best plan but we can walk to the main road in an emergency to meet an ambulance. Other than that, we just hunker down.
Hawg, who was there the previous two winters ran a snow plow business in the winter. He was always up and at it well before we got up. In order for him to get out, he had to plow our shared drive. We got to benefit from his winter gig (and I tried to thank him with gifts and verbal appreciation often, because it was very nice). This last winter though, he was not allowed on the property. After being granted a court order to use his workshop, Coco insisted he had sabotaged her power (which had long before he came back, stopped working). She said he was too much of a risk to her being there. The courts sided with her and he was removed again before snow fell.
At a point Hawg’s son, who is completely uninvolved, tried to go get his tools out of his dad’s shop for a job. Coco had him removed and banned from the property, too. I actually spoke up to the sheriff at this point. This lady, who was essentially squatting, was now inhibiting an uninvolved, working person from being able to do his job. All while she collected a check from the state, paid for, in part by his wages that she was preventing him from making. It made me mad.
She made every effort to destroy his business on social media after that, too. She was clear she didn’t like it because it used to belong to a pedophile (which is not a crime). But it still belonged to a pedophile way back when it employed her… She just decided to make it her business to be mad about that now.
Anyway, snow removal
Coco drives a 2 wheel drive little sporty looking SUV. It looks cute but doesn’t do much in snow. So, as soon as snow flew, she couldn’t get up the lane. She could often make it up our driveway, where it’s not as steep, but had to back all the way down or risk getting stuck in the deeper snow in the field while turning around.
A couple times early this winter we needed to get in and out. James and I literally hand plowed tracks for us with snow shovels. But just on our property, we didn’t go up to hers. So she would often drive up and park right out front of our house, on our property. Then hike up to her house from there. We hoped she was just making arrangements to get the animals out of there. She was mean and rude to us every chance she could get, though. We were in the dark about what was actually going on.
At a point, our other neighbors got their plow working and were beyond nice, plowing our drive, even though they literally had no reason to go out of their way. They were unable to go all the way up the hill because there were all kinds of hidden traps. Random shallow wells dug, just off the road, that you could easily drive into if you weren’t careful. There are also stacks of concrete blocks that stay hidden below the snow that would damage a truck that didn’t know exactly where they were. It was too much of a risk to plow up there for someone who wasn’t actually staying there anyway. (I’m sure she was rude to them as well, and it’s hard to want to help someone like that…)
As temperatures dipped below freezing I started to worry about the animals more, still not even sure if they were up there. Coco and Ava were still coming out ever 1-2 days but not staying there. I made a deal with myself: if I didn’t see them for 48 hours I would call in a welfare check on the animals. It never got to that point. Ava seemed to have a warm place somewhere else to sleep at night, even if the dogs didn’t. Idaho has awful animal abuse laws as it is, I was sure it wouldn’t go anywhere even if I did call it in. But I determined to call it in if ever it went 48 hours. I started marking out the times I saw her so I could make sure it hadn’t been 2 full days.
Then came the coldest week of the year.