Back to Work

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I have taken a long hiatus from blog writing, partly to get caught up on some paid writing online, and partly because of illness. What appeared to be a year-long struggle with an allergic reaction has, perhaps, resolved as a thyroid issue, and I am just beginning Synthroid. I haven’t felt so exhausted in years, without really doing anything strenuous. Low thyroid function would certainly account for that.

Today I am optimistic. With health issues getting under control (God willing), other issues will also get resolved. Finances. Work. Scrubbing down the house, which while not terribly out of sorts, is starting to show neglect around the edges.

Nicholas has been very good at keeping the barn running without me. The hens are still laying, the goats are snug, and we have hay and grain aplenty. We are down to one silky, who is promoted to pet status. I suspect the lame one finally died one afternoon of heart failure from the stress. The last one is improving from her eye infection, and eats like a horse. Nicholas asked for a name for her, so I called her Tootie. He claims that silkies sound like they are blowing little trumpets. When spring comes, we will get a few pullets to add to the laying flock.

It is deep winter here. We haven’t a lot of snow cover, but we have had hard cold, cold enough to drive the dog inside after a few minutes. She considers it her duty to prowl the barnyard while Nicholas works, guarding against wolves and eagles. Usually this means she gives the compost pile a bit of a snuffle, runs down into the hedgerow to see if the rabbits are about, and may even venture up the dirt road to check on the last whereabouts of the neighbours’ dogs. But when it was -25C, she would make a quick patrol, and sit on the doorstoop until Nicholas came back.

The Amish-made wood-stove is keeping the house warm. We have had to go back and forth to the landlady’s yard for firewood, as I don’t have the stamina to make more than one trip a week. The wood is stacked against their workshop, and we have had some freezing rain at odd times. So the wood is frozen together, and a little saturated. To pack it into the bed of the truck we have to take a small loose branch piece, and tap along the top of the stacked cord. Sometimes we have to drop a frozen lump of cordwood to shatter the ice binding it. This is slow; it is cold. I climb into the bed and stack as tight as I can, keeping the level of the wood below the window level. I don’t like the idea of braking suddenly and having a couple of hundred pounds of cordwood coming in through the rear window. Just stacking level with the bed edges is a heavy load, and the truck bounces and wallows as we head back. It is up one hill, down a curved hill, some sharp turns, across the wooden one-lane bridge, and another curve uphill and then back down after a very tight acute angle onto our dirt road. It is a challenging drive well-burdened. And since all locals drive in the middle of the road in winter, where the sand truck has sifted its stingy load, it is also a bit of an obstacle course.

Our truck has four wheel drive and good tires, but I am still quite cautious on our icy roads, after last year’s guard-rail accident. We’ve had three incidents in a year – guard-rail close encounter, lightning strike (see my article on that at www.homestead.org) and the flue fire. I am hoping that 2012, despite the popular tabloid predictions, will be much less eventful.

chalet via All Things Xmas

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