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Yesterday was my 41st birthday. It was also a day of torrential rain and flooding throughout upstate NY and Vermont. Perhaps you saw on the news? Because headlines were made and people literally swept away trying to escape the flood waters.

I, personally, was not aware of the gravity of the situation when I headed out yesterday morning for a trip to the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont. It was rainy, rained all night, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. My friend was visiting from Massachusetts, and the plan was to take me out to lunch at the cafe in the bookstore and pick out a new paperback as a birthday present to myself. On the right east, we did see the Battenkill rolling and brown, high and angry, the way it is after any heavy rainfall but it wasn't even as concerning looking as it was for the 4th of July weekend? I guess I assumed it was a regular day?

But when we arrived the cafe was closed, due to road closings and travel warnings all over the state. And there was an ominous air about the store, like I was in a library in a bomb shelter. So we grabbed a book each and we checked out and headed back to the farm. Luckily, it was light rain and no issues at all driving home but when we checked the news areas of the state got SLAMMED with over 7 inches of rain in a few hours. Wild times.

Here at the farm everyone is muddy but happy. My friend Becca is out on a run and I am typing to you. My car overheated yesterday and started steaming from the radiator, which isn't great, so we're dropping it off at a shop and I am crossing my fingers the only issue is low coolant or a leaking hose and there's no engine damage. Of course it happens right when I had EXACTLY the amount of money I needed to make a house payment and now I have to wait to see what is happening with the truck before I pay the June mortgage. So that's frustrating but that's life, and if I am lucky it's either fine with coolant or a new cheap hose and not a destroyed engine block?

But this is life. Some days you're on a river daydreaming and loving being alive and sometimes your car blows up on your birthday during a flood. But as far as birthdays go, it was probably the best one I have had in adult memory.

Becca came and brought all the ingredients to bake me a chocolate cake with cream cheese icing! She brought party hats and a pin that said "ITS MY BIRTHDAY" and she made me wear it in Manchester when I went to the bookstore! (To her credit, she wore a birthday hat in the bookstore as well.) The farm house was decorated with banners and streamers! She ended up getting us Chinese take out and we watched trashy TV until the power went out on the first episode of Queer Ultimatum! Then in the silent dark, I heard a sheep right outside the house... Turned out the lambs had escaped (repairing the hole in the fence is on our list today). Friday and Gibson herded them right back by my headlamp light in the humid darkness. It felt like living in another time. So we filled the house with candles and oil lamps and she lit the entire cake with birthday candles and decorations and it was SO bright it lit up the entire kitchen.

Honestly, a perfect birthday. And it reminded me how lovely it is to have someone, even for a few days, to be there beside you for broken down cars and escaped sheep and high rivers. And today she'll be able to help me drop off my car at the shop and work on repairing fences and I am so grateful she's a part of my life. Really a 180 from last year, where I spent my 40th alone trying to figure out what I was going to do with my heart and writing and life. It was so sad. And this year things are so much better, or at least more hopeful.

My only goal this week is to earn enough through online sales to cover this car repair and make a mortgage payment. The dream was to make enough to catch up but unless I win the lottery, that's not happening and I haven't so much as bought a scratch off ticket. So I am pushing pet portraits, logos, soap, futures of pork shares, anything I can think of to just make a mortgage payment this month with the rate hike and start saving for at least one cord of firewood by the end of July. I need to be stacking wood by Lughnasadh, which is three weeks (or less?!) by now - so if you ever wanted to invest in a logo or support this farm, please do. It's never been this hard to make it, and I know that's true for a lot of people, but I feel like there's finally a reason to keep going on this farm now. A new book idea (the river diaries), a farm still comfortable in the middle of summer, and while I am terrified of figuring out hay and firewood, I have figured it out every year before and that's proof positive I can keep doing this if I don't let fear overtake me.

So, please, support the farm if you're in a better position than I am. And if you don't want to or can't swing it, then please keep reading and checking in and suggest me if a friend or colleague mentions needing a designer or illustrator. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing there is and I am not above asking for help.

I want to keep farming. I want to keep writing. I want to keep sharing my story on the river and prepare this place for another winter, but right now I need to focus on paying for June and repairing my only vehicle. So that's today. And that's the first day of being 41, and that's the hope I choose to focus on now. And may the weeks ahead be gentle, and easy, and bring good news instead of opportunities for character development. Because I feel pretty developed, and I just want to feel safe.

I just want to feel safe again, even for a little while.

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