September 12, 2015

I am still here, but my mood is unedifying so I haven’t wanted to write. Over-tired, cranky, more than a little self-pitying. (Ugh!)

We are still not moved. I need to finish emptying the apartment this weekend. I have no energy or motivation.

Of course I will take the dogs and go work on it anyway.

We hosted an all-staff party at the new house last night. Students return tomorrow. Classes start Monday.

After work next week I hope to be able to start unpacking. Next weekend I will tackle the garage.


*   *   *

An hour after writing the above, I was backing the truck to the apartment garage, to make it easier for me to load. Unfortunately, somehow instead I smashed into the garage, punching a significant hole in the siding and meanwhile obliterating my right rear light assembly and bending the back bumper so the truck tailgate does not open and close properly. I couldn’t believe it.

This brings home two ideas to me:

a) I am too tired.

b) One should never complain, as matters can always and so quickly and easily be worse.

p.s. I know they could be much worse than damaged siding and a damaged truck… but that was enough for today.

A Break in the Action

September 3, 2015


The days have rushed by in a hurried blur: sorting, packing, moving, faculty orientation, meeting buyers at the farm, trying to nail down a myriad of family details in the interstices… I forgot that yesterday was Kyle’s 24th birthday. His family is away in Ireland for a wedding. Normally I’d have baked him a cake, but in these harried times, I not only don’t know where my cake pans are, the stove itself is buried under a stack of boxes. So I stuck a candle in his lunchtime Klondike bar.

Kyle has been a boon to my life this summer. During these humid, sweaty, pressured days of moving, he has been indispensable. My gratitude to Kyle (and God) is immense.

I packed until late and am up at 4 AM today to shower and drive Lucy to Maine for college visits. It was something of a comedy last night trying to locate basic items like loafers and underwear in the welter of moving. We will be back around midnight Friday.

I am eager to snap on my seat belt and get started. Though we will be covering a lot of highway miles, it will be a break from mess and decisions, a two-day respite with my girl.


September 2, 2015


We are in the thick of moving. This photo was taken Sunday evening when DH, Lucy, and her friend Anabell and I were all having frozen pizza on the new house porch in a cheerful stupor.

I found out Saturday before noon that the move was a go. Kyle and I spent hours cleaning out the spaces at the farm where most of our things will go into storage, and Sunday afternoon I worked with kids to pack a truck and start hauling. Kyle has been my indispensable right hand man. I could not be doing this without him.

I started my school year yesterday so my time for work on the move is now limited. We are a little more than half moved out of our apartment. Tomorrow Lucy and I head to Maine for college visits. I think it will be another week before I have this old apartment bare and clean.

Last night I sold my dear cow Dorrie to a very nice couple about an hour away. They are starting an organic dairy. They do rotational grazing and farm with work horses. I think it’s a perfect home for Dorrie. I was sad to see her go but relieved to find such a great home.


With the big steers and Dorrie gone and so many of the sheep sold (and the rest still down at Betty’s) the barn feels almost empty.

So many changes in my life these days, and such an exhausting pace, it’s a little hard to keep my balance. However I know the changes will be positive in the end.

When I feel too sad I sit with the dogs on the porch and look at the beautiful view.

The Stress of Uncertainty

August 30, 2015

The new house sale closed Friday afternoon. I started packing up the apartment yesterday. Then I learned there is a possibility we may not be moving to the new house after all. I have scheduled kids to come this afternoon to help move furniture and boxes. I rented a U-Haul truck and it is sitting in the driveway.

I would be fine with not moving. But not knowing the plan is making me anxious and testy. I understand that this is a “first world problem.” Nevertheless it is hard to be part of a community where so many people have opinions and potential control over your life.

DH got back from China exhausted. His 14-hour flight had been delayed, and despite sprinting through both terminals in Chicago, he missed his connection. Thus he spent the night dozing on the floor of the airport before being able to catch a flight and drive home.

I had spent Friday driving eleven sheep to Vermont, a commitment I had made two weeks earlier. It was a lovely day but a long, long grind in a pressured time.

We are both very tired. I know we will get through this, no matter what the outcome, but I’m ready to be done with limbo.


Breathing Deeply

August 27, 2015

I learned yesterday that the move that has hovered as a question mark over our heads is now a reality. It appears I may be scheduling a U-Haul moving van for Sunday or Tuesday, depending on whether the house closing happens tomorrow or Monday.

I was on the road all day yesterday. I drive sheep to Vermont tomorrow. I go back to work next Tuesday. I am taking Lucy to look at colleges next Thursday and Friday.

Therefore today and Saturday are my days to pack everything we own. We have lived in this apartment for sixteen years and have a great deal of “stuff,” including 23 six-foot bookcases. Every room in the apartment is paneled with books.  Moreover, as both DH and I lost parents in the last decade, there are boxes of inherited things under beds and tables, and stacked in closets. The garage is crammed. I can feel my heart race and I am breathing deeply.

DH will return from China exhausted late Saturday night. I hope I will have the apartment significantly stripped and packed by then.

The house to which we are moving is absolutely lovely. We are very lucky. It should be a fabulous new chapter in all our lives for the next five years … once I get us there.


A Good Night’s Sleep

August 24, 2015

The last week has been a relentless push. We had more than 200 guests on campus for the big school and camp reunion. Lunches and cocktail parties and dinners every night. Lucy had a friend as a house guest. There were two memorial services on Saturday — which brought many old friends and acquaintances I haven’t seen in years — and a real estate walk-through. In between, I’ve mucked and milked as usual, moved fences, mowed grass. I’ve shown sheep to buyers, and loaded sheep leaving to new homes. In all of this rush I have not been sleeping, getting up at 3 AM each day.

By yesterday, when the reunion was over, I was so tired I felt a little delirious. I had the strange sensation that thoughts would rise in my mind only to slide away before I could catch them, like eels. DH was just as exhausted but he got up at 4 AM dutifully and drove to Albany to catch a plane for China. (China!) Lucy woke up with a vomiting bug and spent the day limp on the sofa. I worked on the farm all day and the two of us had a quiet supper of toast. We were both in a stupor.

This morning my eyes snapped open at 1:30, my thoughts racing with the lists of everything that must be done in this last week of summer vacation before my teaching year starts. I looked at the clock with despair, got up, and took a Benadryl to knock myself out. It worked and I slept groggily until 6.

I feel much better today. DH emailed that he is safe in China. Lucy ate an apple muffin for breakfast. I have potential sheep buyers coming to the farm this morning. I have walked the dogs and made my day’s list.

I think I am going to make it.

Becoming a Shepherd

August 20, 2015


Here is Kyle leading the rest of the sheep flock out to the north pasture yesterday morning. The geese are waddling behind, honking with enthusiasm.


Kyle has learned a great deal about sheep over the past six weeks — always lead, never chase; stay out in front so they will flock behind him, etc. He has helped catch sheep, worm them, sort them. He can set up fences and move shelters. He is a huge help.


When I told Kyle he was becoming a real shepherd, he exclaimed happily, “All I need now is a crook!”

Though my fields have slowly improved year after year, I am almost out of grass on the farm. Summer is nearly over.



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