Talking about the weather…

I’m beginning to think that Spring in the Midwest is really just a nasty rumor.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.  I do, after all, live in Central Illinois.  Weather seldom makes a whole lot of sense here, and this year was worse than usual.  Today especially seems to be a regression for us, back into the low forties for most of the day.  It’s a damp cold, and to be honest, all I want to do right now is leave work three hours early (obviously, it’s not busy; I’m blogging from the office…) and curl up under my heated blanket.

But then I remember, it could be so much worse…because, you know, a few months ago it was.

Enter the Arctic Vortex…

A few months ago, it settled directly above us for weeks, bringing record lows and buckets of snow. We were out in the thick of it, braving the sometimes almost impassable roads between our house and the ranch.  (Thank God for our big-ass diesel truck is all I can say.) L and her husband were away on a trip at the time, and we were taking care of the llamas in addition to our own horses.  When you have a wind chill of negative twenty to thirty degrees, it’s difficult to pile on enough layers to ward off frostbite.  My husband, who used to be a professional fireman, went straight for his ARFF gear.

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Our snow covered grasses look like tiny, attacking aliens.
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My hero! Shoer of horses, rescuer of hedgehogs, and cleaner of snow covered car and truck windows.
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Jeremiah approaching Vinny. My OTTB wasn’t even afraid of the silver alien…probably because it brought corn.

The llamas have a heated barn.  They were livin’ it up!  30 degrees!  That fact admittedly made llama-barn chores easier.  The horses were a different matter entirely.  They live in the back pasture with access to a large stall in the hay barn.  At the point of the polar vortex, the three horses regularly refused to go into their stall, so when we got there to take care of them, all three looked kind of like yetis…

If I’m being completely honest, the worst part of it was the water.  Sometime in the middle of all of that cold mess, the waterline to the horse barn froze.  If there is any one thing worse than freezing cold weather, it’s carrying waterbuckets down iced over lanes in said freezing cold weather.  I spent hours out there carrying buckets to fill our 100 gallon trough.

It’s still cold.  The raindrops early sent chills down my spine, and the damp chill refuses to leave the air.  Looking out the window, everything is playing out in shades of gray; if weatherbug is correct, a storm is rolling in.  But it’s not hard to find things to be thankful for, even in this cold, tired blah.  For example, it was rain earlier, not snow.  Also, we have hose lines hooked up to fill the water trough (now that we don’t have to worry that they’ll freeze), so I won’t have to spend my evening hauling water buckets.

I’m almost sure that Spring will make it here eventually.  Nearly positive.  In the meantime, I’ll just act like a crazy Midwesterner and wear sandals in 45 degree weather while pretending that I’m not cold.


Overwhelming, wonderful insanity… Or, a move of a lifetime.

I had several windows open in Microsoft Word when I got up this morning.  One was a letter I edited for my husband’s business.  (He’s a farrier, among other things.)  The others were grading sheets, my Spring syllabus, and a sign up sheet for grammar presentations that, God willing, my students will pull off Monday without a hitch.  I’ve decided that this is my last semester teaching English 101 at the local University, giving me the chance to focus full time on my job in aircraft sales; in a couple of months, I won’t need those documents anymore.

Other than the immediate area around my desk, which is only sort of organized, the office is complete chaos.  It’s been the catch-all room since we moved into our current house in 2011.  The printer is sitting on a stepladder.  My guitar amp is functioning as a pseudo-shelf for our router and a box of files.  If I try to pull my chair back too far, I hit a pile of airstone boxes, some weird metal conduit, and a bag of mortar mix.  This room serves as a constant reminder of the renovations that haven’t stopped since we bought this place.

We both thought we’d live here for a long time, and we renovated accordingly.  Quartz countertops, expensive tile, landscaping for days…we never meant to flip this house.  But now?  Now we’re preparing for the move of a lifetime, out of the city and onto a working ranch complete with twenty-five llamas.  Our three horses moved onto the property in October; our plan had been to join them in early March, moving into the guest house before our current property went onto the market and living there until the current owners move out of the big house themselves.  The best laid plans of mice and men, right?

Our current house when we moved in:

house move in

Our current house last summer:

Our house last summer

The guest house surprised us, needing all new electrical and plumbing, a new bathroom, and a new kitchen.  I will admit that we budgeted neither time nor money for those repairs to begin with, but now we’re waist deep in a whole new set of renovations.  My husband, God bless him, has spent every spare moment over there since the last tenants moved out.

It’s insane, and overwhelming, and wonderful.  Sometimes all at once.