There has been a lull in the blogging. The reasons are pretty simple: busy and sad.
It's been a spring of true focus on keeping this place up to the routines, appearances, repairs, and lifestyle that was created by two people - with the limited resources of one. I'm not talking about the recreation or groceries of two people - I mean the state of the farm.
It's important to me that all the efforts and work put in through my last relationship do not go to waste. And so everything from the quality of home-cooked meals to planting the expanded gardens, to trying to heal spots washed away by erosion, to keeping the place warm (my wood ran out weeks ago and I have been buying in small loads to get by) has been churning non stop.
I'm running on fumes, skipping meals, twisted my ankle, and skinned my knee. These are not real problems. This is life in America for millions of people struggling to keep a roof over their heads and bills paid. My efforts have included lots of days never even leaving the property outside a dog walk down the road. I'm trying to not even get in my car to use gas to help save money. I'm getting up earlier, working harder outdoors and in, and sleeping less. And while that all may seem like too much or a little sad, it isn't. It's just where I am right now. Like I said, this is a normal struggle for many of us. I'm sure many of you reading this.
We can do this.
Here's what is getting done here.
Repairs and updates are happening, slowly. A man was here to repair the slate roof two weeks ago because I woke up in the middle of the night to water leaking into the first floor living room... $220 to replace 7 slates in an afternoon. The roof needs more work but right now house repairs are on a sliding scale of most important (sagging wet floors, more on that later) to less. [Sorted, for now.]
The sheep were shorn by a professional I adore, Mary Lake. I was going to have help but schedules started colliding and it ended up being the two of us, a piece of plywood, an extension cord, and three sheep. We got it done swiftly with beautiful conversation about writing, farming, and food in general. I was INCREDIBLY pleased that she loved my house when she came in to wash her hands and get the check. I care a lot more about people plying ancient trades' opinions on my home than anyone flipping a house on HGTV (no shade, loved working for them in a past life). Anyway, the sheep are now correctly, seasonally, naked and currently sunning themselves while I am inside writing. [Sorted!]
Water collecting near the house has finally caused the floorboards in the bathroom, kitchen, and living room to sag and warp dangerously low. This is something I can't even walk around my house without worrying about. This is something thad has probably been happening slowly over the past decade, but is starting to cause noticeable issues now. But there is a plan! Starting with the bathroom in May and part of the kitchen, repairs and replacement of the floorboards will begin - my friend Chris and I will try to repair it together with Home Depot and weekend warrior tactics. So, not started or sorted. But a plan has been made. [Kinda beginning the sorting-out process]
I have finally registered my pickup truck that replaced Taylor over a year ago! She's ALMOST safe to drive, but now needs brakes up front, looked at or replaced. I have the number of a guy. I'm not dealing with repairs on the truck until April is sorted. Priorities. [Not Sorted.]
This also means working out a way to keep water from collecting near the house. Another issue to tackle while I try and repair it before it collapses. [Not Sorted].
Good news: the March mortgage is paid. I am not even 30 days behind as I type this.
More Good News! I have met with and started the process of taking on my first falconry apprentices! A father/daughter duo from town! I am more excited about this than most things in my life!
Also Good News: the cost of shearing, hay deliveries, truck title and registration, taxes, hoof trimming, groceries, heating oil, insurance, etc... All of it has been figured out this month..
Bad news: But not in a way that lets me pay off April's mortgage yet. But, good news, it is STILL April. And I still have a third of the month to try and make that happen. So... [Possible Sortation in my future?!]
Been dealing with a lot of joint, jaw, and back pain. I think I grind my teeth a lot in my sleep and TMJ is causing pain from my teeth down through my collarbone and neck and arms. I am certain it is a stress reaction so I have been trying, so damn hard (ironic really), to dedicate myself to feeling less stress. Yoga, it has become like brushing my teeth - a daily necessary thing to care for my body. I do think that and less caffeine is helping. [Not sorted. Hopeful but in pain now.]
As you can see, I've been dealing with a lot.
Emotionally, it's been really hard. Winter was tough, sure. But spring is harder.
I don't regret my relationship ending but having two people here was a game changer. I felt safer. I felt like someone had my back when things got scary or hard. I felt like as a team anything could be tackled and dealt with. 2021 was the year I worked the hardest, grew up so much, and had a huge shift in priorities.
Being single again isn't like it was before. It doesn't feel like a fresh start as much as a challenge I need to overcome by putting in more hours to make myself fit enough to have the confidence to date again. Right now I feel like a wrinkling potato. I am hoping the days will warm up, tan my body, burn off more calories, and I can start using my body harder for both work and pleasure.
I hope, if you're thinking of dating me beyond the casual, you read this blog. Life is hard here. It's beautiful and sacred and connected to the earth, spiritually, work and hope but it's hard as hell. It gets a little easier every year as my body gets older. That feels right.
Life here is uncertain. At least the future here feels that way. But the work isn't. The work of the farm, the animals, the gardens, even seeding the lawn and trying, again, to have grass in the shade of a tree the size of the house (it will fail) - all of that still drives me and excites me and gives me a sense of purpose and luck. After all. I made it 12 years here. That isn't nothing. That's a lodestone towards more of the same.
I may take on a roommate if the right person shows up. I might take on a second part-time job. I might sell every little thing I can on ebay. I might start being one of those people addicted to scratch off tickets (Lord and Lady, I hope not).
I might change. I might fail. I might die*. I might heal. I'm in the same place you are, darling, and animal living on this anxiety-ball of a dying planet doing my best.
So I farm on. I struggle and figure it out every morning with my daily to-do lists, community, small income goals, chores, and ever-increasing frugality in hopes that I can keep going. But that really hasn't changed. It's always been hard here. I always figured it out. And I believe I will continue to do so in this time of transition and growth forced by circumstance and choice.
So in the words of Taylor Swift, songwriter of my generation; I might be okay but I'm not fine at all. But! In the words of fellow singer-songwriters, the Indigo Girls, I am, in fact, closer to fine.
*Not suicidal ideation. I meant who the hell knows when our time is up.