Caution, Mushy Feels Ahead

Hello friends!
It’s the early early morning right now, but I’m up listening to the coyote’s yell. They’ve been pretty close lately, not that that’s terribly unusual. This time of year, when they move in because food is scarce and the neighbors have cows and sheep and the like.
We are slowly settling into winter routine, although admittedly under protest. But there are some nice things about the long stretch of winter after the last firework has exploded on New Year’s Eve and before the first little sprouts of spring come up in the garden. This is the season of warm lamplight, endless hot beverages, and cozy blankets, so it’s time to revel in that. I’ve definitely been making a point of turning my workday into a series of little winter treats. Mornings under the blanket next to the heater, coffee at 5 am (I’m up earlier, but I’ve been trying to break the zombie walk habit straight to the coffee machine and now I wait about an hour or two for coffee), warm tea at 10 am ish. I haven’t turned on my overhead lights in easily a year in favor of the cozy lamp look, and this time of year the warm white of the bulbs compared to the cold white of the snow is incredibly cozy. I do these little rituals during the weekends too, Christopher often jokes that I spend most of my life trying to be cozy, whether it’s an early summer morning ride, or my midmorning tea when the whole world is frozen. Trading out overheads for lamplight and the little morning ritual of clicking them all on and throwing open my shades to watch the sunrise.

My Desk! A constant work in progress to balance productivity and warmth. Things to note: My traffic cone phone stand (courtesy of my dad, gifted in middle school!), the little horse that has been on my desk since high school, and Animal Crossing water glass which was a more recent gift, both courtesy of my sweet borther! Can’t help but feel loved sitting at this desk (worth noting though, usually the mic is out only on the weekends and my work laptop takes its place, also, it’s absolutely chaos if you look too far to the left or right… work in progress, remember?)
My weirdest and favorite lamp! A gourd! (It’s turned off here to show off the dragonflies, a gift from my parents). Most of my lamps are stolen from my moms old classroom supplies, as she believed the harsh florescent lights made for a hostile learning environment and retired with more lamps than we had outlets.

He’s not wrong. I spend a lot of time being guilty about the past, stressed about the present, and anxious about the future. It’s my default state to be a worried mess, I’m pretty sure I was born that way. So, taking time to make my space warm, enjoying the big and small moments in my day, and just being grateful, those things have to be a conscious effort on my part, or I definitely get bitter and cranky. I don’t wanna live like that my whole life, so if taking a five-minute moment of peace with my tea helps, you can bet I’m on it.
I’m also very lucky to work a job where if I say “I’m walking to the barn, I’ll be back in twenty” generally no one bats an eye. Although lately it’s been closer to thirty because of the very slow going down to the barn across frozen ground. Winter vibes aside, I still anxiously await the coming of spring.

Joe really likes that I work for a pet friendly company and he can join me for work meetings!

Another thing I’ve been really trying to focus on more is gratitude. I’m definitely the kind of person who gets caught up in the stress and forgets that a lot of what I’m stressing about others would kill for. For example, I was really worried about being my cousins bridesmaid this year, what if I mess it up? What if we forget a major part (DIY wedding)? What if a guest gets crazy? But I had to keep reminding myself that the bigger point here was my sweet cousin has four sisters and still wanted me as a bridesmaid as well, that she included me in all the fun bridal trips, the decision making, and trusted me to help keep the groomsmen in line. It was such a fun experience that I am, and will always be, grateful for.
Another good example is being grateful for my job. I really like my job, but like any human, I’m naturally predisposed to grumble about anything i have to do or perceive i have to do. Heck, occasionally i grumble about needing to post a blog entry, and i enjoy this project! But reframing things like “i get to go to work tomorrow and have coworkers who are understanding and respectful” instead of “ugh, i don’t wanna go to work” can really change a Monday. In remembering to stay grateful I’ve also started what I call my gratitude mug. I was gifted a little zebra mug that’s beautifully hand sculpted and painted for Christmas 2020, and I decided to use it as a visual reminder to stay grateful. Every time I think, wow I’m so thankful that turned out that way, I write it on a scrap of paper and stick it in that mug. Then at the end of the year I read them out. Last year was really difficult in some regards, and there was a lot of tying knots and holding on for dear life when I hit the end of my rope, but looking at everything that I was grateful for, reliving the memories, and realizing I had so much good I couldn’t even fit all the little notes in a Ziploc, it was a wonderfully humbling reminder that above all, I am blessed. I hope you all are as blessed as I am, and if not, I hope more than anything that you get there some day.

Isn’t it adorable! This little mug was a gift from the company I worked at, every employee got a different customized animal mug! She’s got cousins all over the world!

Alrighty, enough mushy stuff, back to regularly scheduled farm shenanigans next week.
Until we chat again my friends.

She Cleans

Hello friends!

Well, I’ve been trying to clean a little bit around the house, but decluttering is so hard when you’re basically a borderline hoarder. I wish I was joking.

But since we’ve had to be inside more, and more importantly, since I’m working from my actual home now, it’s becoming increasingly necessary that the house actually work for us, so I’m slowly going through bits and bobs. I figure if I try to pick a single project every weekend (that isn’t already jampacked) eventually the house will come together. 

This weekend I tackled the upstairs linen closet. I wanted to get it cleaned out because I’ve been trying to utilize it as a first aid center as well as a bit of a long term project storage and laundry basket space. Frankly, I’ve been trying to annex it because my room is a bedroom, office, project space, part time tack room, and this year, I fit Santa’s entire dang toy shop in here. Understandably I need a little more space. 

And to be entirely honest, having baby clothes and fancy antique linens in a well traversed area of the house seemed a bit like a disaster waiting to happen anyway. So theoretically, they are going to be much safer in the downstairs closet. 

But at the moment they are all living on the guest room bed because I need to order space bags. At least I think I’m getting space bags, although I think technically the generic name is vacuum bag because yours truly isn’t really into spending a bunch more on a name if they generic works just as well, so were gonna test a cheaper, but still exceedingly well rated option. Fingers crossed.

The other main clutter I’m trying to figure out is my coffee mugs. You see, I have quite a little collection of mugs, some from different experiences, some that were gifts, and all that my family won’t use because most are handwash only. I totally understand that, it’s hard to not just be able to throw a dish in the dishwasher. 

So, to be respectful, I’ve been trying to move my mug collection out of the kitchen space, so that my family can have easier access to the mugs they want to use daily. Unfortunately, at the moment my mugs are carefully stored away in a drawer my brother wasn’t using in his dresser, but he really kinda needs that back now. The boys very sweetly offered to build me a custom display shelf, which I absolutely love the idea of, however with wood prices being what they are, most of their carpentry projects need to be on the back burner.

I have been looking at those mug storage containers, that people seem to use for moving and long term storage, but I worry because so many of my mugs are oddly shaped. I have one shaped like a Boo from Super Mario and a giant Snorlax mug I was gifted this Christmas that is literally 51 ounces. Its giant, I adore it, but I’m not sure how to store it. Eventually I was thinking about getting a little fake plant and making it look like a pot (without needing to drill any actual water holes, also, due to where my room is in the house, it’s not really light or airy enough for real plants, those tend to stay in the communal spaces) but that’s a little ways down the road since I don’t actually have shelf space at the moment.

Speaking of cute mugs, I found an adorable little mug that says “it’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine” at our local department store that I’m sending to a friend (although admittedly, if they still have it next time I’m in there, I might pick up one for me, since that’s one of my go-to phrases). She is going through a rough spot life wise, and I thought she might need a bit of a care package. I picked up the mug, a nice blanket, a couple of my favorite little kitchen things since she’s moving and somewhat starting over (a spoon rest and some magnetic scissors, both have been invaluable in my kitchen), and finally a good dose of the artisan chocolates my little town is known for. Got everything wrapped up with little inside jokes, a little card, and some protective tissue paper, and it’s now on its way to the coast. I hope she likes it.

Please Ignore that I propped it up on a lightbar for photos… also no stress, she doesn’t know about the blog, so there’s no spoilers here
Joe was reaaally trying to help but got reaaaallu bored too.

But other than that, it’s been pretty low key around here. I started trying to build out a digital to do list as a paper and time saving method. I like physical planners, but for the minutiae of a daily to do it feels like such a waste of paper. It’s also the only way I get things done, so just dropping the to-do list habit wasn’t going to work (I tried). I liked using my whiteboard for a while, but its big drawback was lack of portability. So, I’m trying Notion, which is basically fancy online excel, and that way I can have a weekly to-do list and add to it from my pc or phone. So far, I’ve been more pleased with the computer over the phone, but their roadmap shows planned improvements so I’m hopeful the mobile experience gets better.

That’s all for me, I wish you lots of luck in your new-years-new-organization endeavors. Lemme know if you have many good mug storage ideas, I need advice.

Until we chat again my friends!

Cabin Fever

Hello friends!
Let’s talk cold. Like -2 degrees cold. Because over the holiday weekends that’s where we ended up. I know we talk about the weather a lot here, but like, I lived in a place where it rained about 70% of the time and was always grey and overcast! You know why the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle?! Because you get so used to the grey you can’t fathom another color! I’m sure it shocks no one that at one point my little heart considered studying meteorology, but really it is fascinating.

Believe it or not, these were warm estimates, although it has slowly started warming up a little. I am sitting under a comforter next to a space heater though, so not fast enough.

Or, in the case of -2 degrees where its normally not that cold: its terrifying. Sobering. Punched a big ole hole in my “we’re prepared” mindset.
For one main issue: it turns out my heating system stops working at about 20°. This is normally fine because while we regularly get down into the teens, it’s usually only for a few hours overnight. It’s a big problem when 11° is the high for the day. Its been ridiculously cold in the house. I’ve had two comforters on my bed and basically don’t go anywhere without some form of blanket. My little space heater has been working hard because most tech devices don’t appreciate the uncharacteristically cold temperatures either.
It also caused the heaters to my outdoor water supply to quit. Which means literally everything froze up and I had split hoses turning my property into a lovely ice rink the minute we got a little thaw going. Not ideal.
I finally snuck out to get some hay, i was kinda worried about it because we haven’t really had the flatbed out in the snow yet, and due to the temperatures and such neither county had bothered with plowing the roads. In their defense, its been scary cold and dumping lots of snow, plus this time last year they accidentally parked a plow in my neighbors field, which I’d imagine is quite the deterrent. It was very odd to walk into my room look out on a pretty white snow patch (I wasn’t completely over it last year like I am already this year) and just seeing one poor gentleman and my neighbors standing out staring at a plow sitting askew down an embankment into my neighbors field. I’d imagine that was a very scary ride.

Poor dad took a fall in the snow this year, which has not helped his love of the snow, but he’s doing okay now. Jammed his back for a while, the poor thing. He’s already fighting a bad back so I’m trying to help keep him off the slick stuff as much as possible.
The upside to cold temperatures is it’s made staying inside a little easier. I’m less tempted to spend a whole day puttering around outside, which works out since we’ve been crazy swamped at work the last few weeks. My boss made sure we all got lovely holiday weekends, which I am so grateful for, but we are in a highly time sensitive space so there’s always a million things to be done and we are now playing a little more catchup than I think we had realized. I’m simultaneously glad and a little bit regretful I didn’t take any extra PTO for the holidays, because I was able to keep most of my plates spinning, but also, I’m kinda missing the usual new year refreshed feeling.
But it’s also cool because for the first time ever in my actual career I might be able to take a few days off this summer. I always got magically called in on days off in previous roles (except for the last one, to be fair, I just wasn’t there long enough to try a vacation). My first “grown up” role I worked 365 days a year because my boss always forgot they needed something on the weekend or on the rare holiday and I didn’t meet the priority standards for using any time off. We were not in any sort of hurry either, so I never understood. Oh well, each chapter of life is a learning experience. Some lessons blow but whatever.
In any case the crazy hours at work have meant less time to properly focus on the blog, or the farm, or laundry (its getting a little dire, not gonna lie) so I’m hoping to figure out a way of better juggling it all. Especially come springtime because I have plans! I have so many farm related plans. Some may be cost and time prohibitive, most involve me not breaking myself midsummer and needing to drastically scale back everything, and all of them require a good work life balance.
Also, in a completely unrelated realm of topic: I totally selfishly want credit for recording two 45 second snippets showing off some of the snow and my plans were dashed! Dashed I tell you! By the fact that they simply will. Not. Transfer. Off my phone. Help!

Imagine this, but in video form.

(This may be a sign this blog needs a companion YouTube channel so I could upload off my phone… but that sounds really, really scary). Anyways, if I figure this out, I’ll tack them on to the next post, or maybe just put them in their own little mid-week thing? But that’s putting a lot of confidence in my abilities to make my phone talk to my computer, and they simply won’t! Hatfield’s and McCoys dressed up as windows and android.
Welp, this went entirely off the rails, didn’t it? This is what happens when I can’t be outside. I need spring!
Until we chat again my friends 

Auld Lang Syne

Hello friends!
Happy 2022!
We made it. 2021 was an objectively very weird year, to be honest, it almost made 2020 look mundane, and I was scarily unemployed and surviving on my savings for a portion of 2020.
2021 had some extreme highs and lows.
Obviously some of the lows included losing family members both of the two and four legged variety. And the unfortunate issue of really screwing up my elbow with a pretty crazy wipeout off the back of Ro. I’ll eventually have full range of motion again, right? Hopefully?
But the highs were crazy too!
Obviously a big one: I started this blog! I can’t believe I sat down in March to get started, that feels like so long ago. Which is entirely weird since I feel like I still have no idea what I’m doing. I have so many ideas for this little corner of the web and am slowly figuring out how I want to implement them. But to think, I’d talked about starting a farm blog for a while, and it took leaving a job and my then coworkers wanting farm updates still for me to actually start. Its turned into quite a fun journal entry for me of sorts, a way to keep accountable and really think about what’s been happening. It’s also exercised a muscle I haven’t in a long time, like many kids I loved to write, mostly fiction, but our school system did it’s best to kill that love. I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

I was not a fan of the first few hours of the new year, meteorologically speaking

Another huge high was how close Ro, Nel, and I got. Everything from pasture picnics to figuring out mounting without both arms, we kept bumping into moments of growth and trust building between the three of us, and while they weren’t always easy (looking at you, frustrated tears over mounting block woes) we came out with an easy sort of calm about hanging out, something I’ve longed after for many years. Something that can only be achieved when you get to work with and love critters that are solely yours and beyond a weekly lesson or show-lease relationship. I’m so grateful for those horses and trainers that came before but am happier than I’ve ever been with Ro and Nel. Truly, while I’ll never be Olympic levels of good at this sport, I firmly believe I was destined to be a horse mom.
Other great highs include starting at a job I really love! After job hopping a little, entirely unintentionally, I think I have finally found a place to settle. My boss and coworkers are pretty understanding, I don’t regularly get put down, harassed, or threatened with termination over silly, inconsequential things or unavoidable circumstances, and help is generally a git comment or slack message away. Plus, I work with one of my best friends (different teams, same department) and just the comfort of an always friendly face is invaluable. One day I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve learned during my short time in the software development world and the difference between a terrible job, a good job that’s a bad fit, and the right job. Also, the concept of the right role for now. Might make a good post.

Quite proud of our new years dinner too, but ignore my yorkshire pudding. It tasted yummy but didnt poof

So, the standard question this time of year: any resolutions? Not really, in that I’m a firm believer in starting whenever you can, so I generally don’t wait for the new year. But I would like to continue with some current goals. First, I’d like to shake off the work burnout I’ve carried with me from earlier roles and figure out the best way to put lack of confidence and imposter syndrome in its place. I just told you how much I love my job, but the painful truth is no matter how great a position is, if you’ve hit exhaustion and senseless anxieties, you gotta find solutions. I’ve been trying out solutions for much of the latter half of 2021. Secondly, I want to get my health generally more stable (no more constant colds) and lose some extra pounds that seemed to follow me home from college and set up permanent residence. Even if the numbers on the scale don’t move, I want to feel better and more in control of my health. And not huff and puff up my driveway. Finally, I’ve been working more on “acting on ideas”. Not in an “impulse shop” or “start 80 new hobbies” kinda way, but more in a “I really would like to rearrange this space” or “I really want to finally add that section to the blog” kinda way. I tend to get locked in the planning stage, and sometimes something as silly as hanging an art piece on my wall is procrastinated in the name of “thinking it through”. This blog almost didn’t happen for that same reason. This actually affects every part of my life, so I’ve been really keen to start practicing that new habit. Stay tuned for progress.
So what are your goals or resolutions for 2022? What were your highs and lows? Got ideas for the blog? Funny new year’s stories? I wanna hear it all!
Happy 2022 y’all! Let’s make it ours!
Until we chat again my friends!