I just got in from hiking the dogs and am enjoying a bowl of homemade corn and spinach chowder before getting down to work.  I decided to start today with exercising all four dogs to see if that lends to a better rhythm for getting my work done.  The last few days I’ve been doing all my chores first and then it kept getting dark before I could do what I wanted with the dogs.  Now that I’m caught up on chores (umpteen loads of laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping etc.) I can just run the dogs and get down to work.

I am extremely fortunate to have access to the place where I run the dogs.  This morning I brought them there for 10:30 am and we hiked for nearly two hours – all four dogs running full out, off-leash – and didn’t encounter a soul.  Now that the weather is definitely winter like and summer is long behind us, few people come to the conservation are during weekdays.  The dogs had a fantastic run and, after demolishing a large rabbit, are passed out around the living room as I type.  It feels good to have them all well taken care of for a change, and it only took me 2.5 hours.  I actually plan on doing a little agility training with each dog when I take my supper break, but that will depend on how much work I get done between now and then.  I am absolutely swamped and have roughly 100 hours worth of work that I need to squish into my schedule this week.  Somehow.  Gotta love the end-of-semester rush (not!).

During our walk I started day-dreaming – once again – about my future.  I recently was told that the place where I currently work would like to give me more work for next year.  This would be fantastic, except that they can’t actually afford to pay me more to do it.  The experience would be really helpful in getting a full-time job down the road, but I can’t survive on $15,000 a year (for full-time work that requires that you have a PhD!!), which is roughly what I’d be making.  I would have to take on another job to supplement this, meaning working more than full-time.  I guess time will tell what options I will have.

It is really kind of silly for me to spend much time thinking about what is coming next, but it might be coming very soon.  My roommate doesn’t know what she’s doing past January, and she very well might get a job and have to move on pretty short notice.  Her ideal would be to stay in the area but, like me, needs to stay open to her options.  If she  moves, I will have to move as I can’t afford this house on my own.  Or rather, if I am going to pay for a full house on my own, I will move to a place that at least has some land attached.

I am bound and determined to have sheep of my own by this spring, regardless of whether I move or not.  I am sick of driving everywhere and have not found the energy (or time) to make it to the farm to train my dogs since last week.  And I won’t get a chance again until probably just before Christmas.  If I do, it will be sporadic, and I don’t know that I’m doing my dogs any favours by training them a day here and a day there.  We tend to then work for too long and they are prone to getting stressed or injured from not being in working condition.  They are in good shape as we hike almost every day, but the muscles used for work are slightly different and need to be worked regularly to stay in shape.  I believe I should be working the dogs at least three times a week, but ideally every day for a few minutes at a time.

This morning I spoke with the woman I get milk and lamb from and she said that there were two nice little ewes needing a home that they would like to take but couldn’t afford to buy right now.  The ewes are for sale for roughly half their actual value as the person who owns them has become ill and they are being kept at someone else’s farm who doesn’t want them.  I believe they have been bred.  I started thinking about perhaps buying them myself if we could work something out for them to stay the milk & sheep farm.  If I end not finding a place for them come spring, I could let them keep them in exchange for a lamb for the freezer.  Otherwise I’d move them come spring.  They’re a breed that doesn’t work that well with dogs (Jacob’s) but have beautiful fleeces and tasty lambs.  My goal is to have several breeds of sheep: Scottish Blackface, Border Cheviots, and maybe something that has a nice fleece (like the Jacobs or Shetlands).

This time last year I started to wonder (and worry) about where I would be moving in the spring, and here I am in the very same place again.  However I am not really worrying this time.  This last move has been really wonderful and healing in so many ways, and I am now much clearer about where I want to go next.  I am sure the universe will provide interesting options, as long as I stay true to myself and stay focused.  Speaking of which, I had best take advantage of the snoring dogs at my feet (well, “Ever-ready” Kestrel is actually chewing on a bone) and get down to work.