It’s December 20, and I have done just about zero with regard to Christmas shopping. I tried to go Christmas shopping over this past weekend, but didn’t get too far before I threw in the towel. I think I’ll have to shoot for New Year’s gifts at this point. And I’m okay with that. As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve got a few things going on right now and know that piling on more isn’t going to work. My brain is elsewhere.
Another factor in my stress level is the ongoing, seemingly never-ending construction project. I hired Rob (the same fellow who fenced off the pasture for me in September) to build a confinement area for my sheep – a 30 x 40 pen and shed (the shed is basically an extension of the garage roof, so not too elaborate, by design) to get them off the pasture and out of the weather. I called him at the end of October. He got started in mid-November. Right now it will be a Christmas miracle if it’s finished by the end of the year. There are so many things about this that are bugging me that I don’t know where to start, but suffice it to say the time it’s taking is the primary factor. This has been compounded by the fact that we’ve had some hellacious weather in the past month, where I was near tears (okay, in tears) over the fact that my sheep had no shelter. The snow over Thanksgiving was no problem – the sheep stay warm with their thick woolen coats, and the snow just piles up on them, insulated as they are by the wool. It’s the rain that bothers me. They seem to handle it okay, but to see them out there in the pounding rain (and it has come down by the bucketful for a couple of weekends) and howling winds, with next to no cover, well, I’m feeling all kinds of terrible about my caretaking – I never should have gotten these animals before I had things built. I just had no idea this job would take in excess of six weeks, and I suppose it’s my own fault for not clarifying things from the beginning.
On the plus side, these little guys seem to be doing okay, however awful I feel about their lack of cover. I called tonight to inquire about “how soon”, and hopefully my inquiry will spur faster work. I realize that Rob has other commitments, but it’s time to prioritize. He does nice work, but timely completion is important too.
Besides the snow over Thanksgiving, we’ve had several very wet storm patterns come through, with several days where rainfall records were set, and the ubiquitous fall flooding last week (the snowfall and flood pattern is backwards this year, as we usually have flooding in late November; and it ain’t over yet, either). The valley flooded, with the river coming over its banks and several area roads closed due to overtop flooding. This meant that my evening commute more than doubled to two hours in length. My regular commute route was flood free, but many of the other arterials were not, so it was gridlock as everyone tried to get home by the same two-lane road.
My place was fine, though I was a bit astounded at the amount of water flowing down the hill. The northeast side of the property is a county designated wetland, and the drainage during the downpour turned the whole north side of the pasture into a torrent of water, much of it in weird underground streams that gushed up like small geysers in several spots. There’s still a lot of water flowing down the hill, though most all of it is underground at this point, and the geyser action has abated. The underground streams are bizarre to me, and it can be a bit nerve-racking walk the fence line or pasture in that area, listening to the water flow under your feet. What surprised me even more than this area, though, was the water flat out flowing down the hill behind the house. The entire chicken run was a 25 foot wide watercourse, and water flowed under the coop too, all of it heading for the wetlands gully to become part of the north side drainage. Thankfully not at flow volumes or directed enough to do any undermining of the coop itself, but still disconcerting. The back yard behind the house was drenched, with 3 or 4 inches of standing water in places. And the year-round stream on the south side of the property was a raging froth of brown water as the flooded banks sloughed off. I know it’s only December – solstice tomorrow – and we’ll get more of this kind of weather a few more times over the coming months. I only hope my sheep are under cover by then.
As the year winds up, and we experience the solstice lunar eclipse tonight, I’m thankful for the great year that was 2010. For me it looks like 2010 will close out with as big a bang as it came in with (new home purchase and move in January), as Cutter’s bright light wanes and fades out on this plane. There was lot of joy this year, as well as this near-unbearable sadness now, but I’m so grateful for the time I had with my buddy as I eek out the last days with him in his physical form. It’s been quite a ride.
I’m looking forward to a fabulous 2011. I have big plans and more big dreams to come true. Stay tuned.