Saturday, August 25, 2018

Offline

The internet was out for a few days, a problem with Verizon and a couple hundred rural customers. It meant checking emails and trying to make sales while using public Wi-Fi at the laundromat (though I did get a lot of laundry done!) or at friends' homes. I didn't really mind it until evening when being alone in a farmhouse without audiobooks, movies, or TV shows streaming felt lonesome and there was nothing to distract me from end-of-the-day anxieties. Same for getting up in the middle of the night. It would be 3AM and there was no twitter to check and laugh at the friends and comedians I follow. For someone who prides herself on living alone on a farm and considers herself somewhat misanthropic at times - it was a kind reminder how much I love hearing other people talk. How much I want to connect with people - even online. It's back and I'm balmed. But I did make sure to spend a healthy time offline today.

This morning started with a ride with Merlin and what I lovingly call the Trash Saddle. It's a comfortable Collegiate saddle someone had thrown into the community potluck area of the dump. A space for space heaters, old claw-foot tubs, vacuums that kind of work, and old siding or building materials. I scooped it up and cleaned and polished it. I added leathers and stirrups. I got a girth that fit it. Now it's my favorite English saddle and today I rode Merlin in it at a walk, trot, and canter feeling comfortable as can be. A win for this Saturday.

The afternoon was dedicated to a hike at Folded Rock, a tough five-mile round trip to the lookout and back. I hated this trail the first time I did it, then adored it at the lookout. I went back with a friend and shared the struggle and view and today I went alone (no dog or friend) to see how fast I could ascend the 1200ft ascent in half a mile. It was tough, but I did it faster than before and instead of talking to dogs or people I just focused on music the whole way up. My arms were glistening, my back was soaked, and my entire 3liter water supply was GONE by the time I made it back to the truck on the humid day. Between the ride and Folded Rock I was beat. I came home and read in the hammock under the King Maple and took a nap.

A perfect Saturday. Ride, hike, read, nap. And now I'm checking in with you. I have my hawk inside tonight to start hunting season training which means right now she is sitting on a perch indoors around human and dog smells and sounds. Later she'll watch a whole movie on my fist, getting used to the hood and being touched again. Every fall she has to be reminded of that first training period back when she was first trapped and trained. Summer has her fat and wild. Time to start slowly dropping weight, getting used to me, flying to the fist, and then hunting by October! It's been a bumper crop year for cottontails so I am excited!

Some updates on the farm: 

 The breeding flock and goats are gone, as you all know. Right now the summer lambs, piglets, and egg/meat chickens are the bulk of the income from the farm right now. There are also my gardens, the geese, the riding horses and the hawk but the production side of things this coming fall and next spring will be raising off-farm reared animals seasonally. I am okay with the decision. Morning chores are already so much faster. I am using so much less hay and grain. It feels like the right choice though I do miss the flock and herd. I will breed sheep and goats again, just not this coming season.

My wood stove is opened up and cleaned out and being taken apart for cleaning and repairs. I bought the flue piece but I can't figure out how to install it. But while I failed at that I did get the gasket rope redone, cleaned the glass, and started scrubbing the rust off with steel wool to prep it for some repainting of stove paint. It's not ready to use yet but it is getting the necessary repairs in time, I hope!

Still no firewood in but I am optimistic. I have placed an order I just need to get the funds to pay for it and have it delivered. But before I do I need to get a mortgage payment out so I am promoting soaps, logos, illustrations, and classes like nuts on Twitter (my largest social media presence). I can say I am 3/4ths of the way there. I may not make it by the end of the month but even if I get close I'll be okay. I just don't want to see leaves changing colors and nights dropping into the thirties without heat, at least some, set up and ready for a cold night. It's less about comfort than it is about anxiety.