Gosh, another busy week.  This is the first time I’ve had all week to sit and write.  And I really shouldn’t be writing right now – I have a stack of essays to grade, a lecture to prepare, readings to select for my students, dogs to train and a house to clean before my roommate returns on Friday (and I work 14 hours tomorrow).  But, I thought I’d take a quick moment to post a note here, not that I have anything in particular to say today!

I brought the dogs to the conservation area this morning and that was a real treat.  The sun was shining intensely, the sky was blue, and the air was…WARM!  It was solidly above freezing (by a good 5 degrees) and, given that I was wearing a down coat, a wool sweater, long johns and an undershirt, it felt downright tropical.  At one point I put my coat on a log and lay down in the sun and took a nap.  It was absolutely glorious.  I am so, so fortunate to have access to such a beautiful place in which to let my dogs run.  I didn’t see a soul today for the entire two hours that we were there.

I know this is going to end – soon the park will get busier and I will no longer feel comfortable having all four dogs running at large at once.  It is definitely an intense experience for others when all four of them charge up to say hello, which they tend to do, particularly if other dogs are involved.  The dynamic is very different when I just have one or two out.  The pack mentality is much stronger the more dogs you have.

I have decided that I absolutely must move as next year I will have to drive to town up to four days a week, and the hour commute each way is just too much.  How many times have I written about how much I hate being away from home all day, leaving the dogs locked in my room without even access to a bathroom?  Since Christmas this has really only been twice a week, and I can see a big difference in both how I’m feeling and how they are behaving.  Twice a week seems to be OK with them. Ross’s coat is coming back nicely, and Mira is remaining stable.  But bump that up to three or more times a week (like I was doing before Christmas) and they start to deteriorate.  And so do I.  If I am going to work that many days a week, I need to live closer so that my days are shorter.

A few days ago I did a little scouting of the area I am considering.  I basically decided I want to be closer to both work and sheep, and drew 30 minute circles around my place of employment and the farm where I train.  Then I looked at the towns in the overlapping area.  I have my eye on one place that has a lovely downtown core and is set off the highway.  That would be my ideal, but there are a couple of other smaller communities that nevertheless have a nice feel and a proper downtown core.  Most of the communities around here are lucky to have a stop sign to indicate their existence as the highway blasts through them.  A few houses, maybe a gas station, a corner store, and you’re back into cornfield.  No thank you.  I either want to live right out on a farm (my first preference but unlikely to find in my price bracket), or in a community with a sense of energy to it.  One where I can walk to a bakery and a pub.

Unfortunately finding a good place to live is likely going to take time and energy, and I have very little to spare of each!  So I have to put my faith in the powers that be, and hope that I will be directed to where I need go to.  Right now, I need to get down to my essay grading, and then some house cleaning.  Thank goodness I was able to get out and enjoy the sun today!  Tired dogs and glowing cheeks makes working later in the day much more pleasant.