Saturday, May 31, 2014

A bit of this and that

Gosh, it's been ages and ages since I posted, and I apologize to any readers who still check in from time to time.  I think about blogging on occasion and then I feel a bit overwhelmed and think "where do I start?" and just keep putting it off.  I think it's time for a bit of an update though, so I'll just chat about a few things from the last 6-8 months, and do a random round-up of thoughts.

The Farm:  It's still the pit of despair.  That said, there have been some improvements.  A new roof went on the place last fall, and it doesn't leak any more!  Hooray!  It's a nice forest green colour.
Some more minor projects have continued inside. The stairs were re-routed after my mother took a terrible tumble on them, in order to make them wider and more safe.  A hand rail was also installed.

In the process, a jelly cupboard was installed, or one could call it a pantry area.  It is a good use of space and my Dad made excellent shelving for it.

This summer I will be proceeding with the kitchen renovation, finally, only 3 years after it was supposed to happen.  Did you sense me rolling my eyes during that sentence?  If not, surely you can now!  The overall plan with the farm is to keep improving it until it's actually worth putting on the market, and then to sell it.  It's too isolated, too inconvenient to get to, too much land for my needs, and full of bad memories.

In the long, horrible winter that we had this year, there was an issue with burst pipes, and then an issue with blocked drains.  The basement was flooded for months, sometimes over a foot of water, and the source and drainage issues were not easily dealt with.  In addition, despite repeated attempts, it is difficult to get tradespeople to come out to my location - even when they make appointments, they often don't show up. My carpenter is the glowing exception to this rule, and I am thankful for that.  He does great work.  Anyway, the whole house ended up smelling not unlike a swamp (because it sort of contained one) and was really quite awful to live in.  I was spending more and more time with Marc in Moncton, and also more time on the road with my work.  Eventually, it became clear that something had to change, and so Marc and I decided that I would move to Moncton to live with him, which has been a great move and a source of much happiness.  We purchased a second-hand truck earlier this spring, which has proven very useful so far - I missed my old Iowa pick-up!

The Business:  Things have been very busy for the past year or so with my business.  I have had increasing amounts of work as a subcontractor for a number of clients and am enjoying keeping busy with lots of different projects.  Most of my work continues to be focused on ISO 9001 quality management, as well as HSE (health, safety and environment) program development and implementation.  I have also done quite a bit of instructional design work.  I still have a hand in the intellectual property world and wrote a full patent application earlier this year - the first one since leaving my former job in Iowa.  It was good to use those skills again.  I continue to seek new opportunities and clients but I am fairly busy already so I can't take on much in the way of new work at the moment.

The Critters:  Obviously, with the move to Moncton and the regular work travel, it became clear that I had to do something with the critters for a time.  I managed to find a wonderful home for the angora rabbits at Feathers and Fiber Microfarm in Bridgewater, NS.  They show angora rabbits and are well versed in angora rabbit care.  The sheep and goats were a bit more difficult to part with, but I managed to find excellent long-term boarding situations for them.  This allows Marc and I to proceed with our plan of working on the farm with the plan of selling it, and then finding our own place which will be a smaller farm with a fence in place where I can re-unite the gang of five.  I still have the chickens and they are kept in the big barn where I visit them regularly to refill the large feeders and waterers.  They are doing fine with minimal intervention in their feathered lives, and are producing lots of eggs for me.  Twilight, my ewe, had a lamb this spring, as a result of a tryst with a Blue-faced Leicester ram on her boarding farm.  I can't wait to meet the lamb, Wika! Caramel is also pregnant and due in July.  I really miss Lucky Nickel and Fezzik but they are in good hands and I hope to visit them soon as well.  So for now, I just have Jet and Izzy with me at Marc's.  As you can see, Jet feels right at home.

The Man:  All is well with Marc and we are enjoying our life together.  This June marks our first year together and what a wonderful ride it has been.  Marc starts a new job on Monday as Parts Manager of the local VW dealership.  I am very pleased and excited for him - his former workplace was neither a positive environment nor a rewarding one.  This will be a great new challenge for him, and an opportunity for growth in his career.  Our dogs have come to be more tolerant of each other....and our cats not so much.  We went for our first motorcycle ride of 2014 this week - a tour along the Bay of Fundy coastline.  The scenery was stunning despite the cold winds, and we really enjoyed the time out.  I continue to feel incredibly blessed to have found Marc, and to be loved by him each and every day.  Here we are way back in February on Valentines Day making silly heart shapes with our hands and having a good laugh about it.

The Hobbies:  As a result of the increased pace of work, increased travel time and the enjoyment of time spent with Marc, I haven't had much time for spinning, sewing, or other crafty pursuits.  I did recently finish a bouclé mohair shawl which took me months to complete, simply because the only time I ever worked on it was when Marc and I went to estate auctions.  It was simple, mindless knitting that I could do while listening to the auctioneer and keeping an eye out for items of interest.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.  I also did a little bit of spinning just this past week, and am pleased with the thick-and-thin yarn skeins I completed.

So there you have it, that's a little bit of life, lately.  I really should try to post more often, but sometimes the muse isn't there, and my attention is often being pulled in too many other directions.  Rest assured, I'm still carrying on!