I’m still here…barely!  I think I need to resign myself to the fact that my life is simply not going to slow down anytime soon.  Tonight I started to feel really overwhelmed by all I need to get done.  I have 220 exams to grade between now and next Tuesday.  I have a conference paper to write and present this Friday.  I have two more conference papers to write for next month.  I have an entire dissertation to write by August.  I have four upper-level university courses to plan, design and prepare by September.  More immediately I have to do my taxes, and put together a budget for the summer.  I also have garden beds to weed and build up with soil, which means I have to pick up compost etc., and empty my own compost bins.  I have completely given up trying to start seedling this year.  Everything will either be purchased or gifted transplants, or grown from seeds.

And then there are my poor dogs, rotting away while I run around like a chicken with my head cut off!  I actually was home for Sunday and Monday – the first time I’ve been home for two days in a row in weeks now.  It was wonderful!  I cleaned house, sorted my work space, found my lost wallet and the missing DVD from the library, and otherwise got on top of my life.  I also get the dogs out for good exercise, although I still haven’t done any brain work with them.  I really need to get on that asap!

Because I have so much on my plate, I have to just break things down into little chunks that I can accomplish each day.  Tomorrow my plan is to run the dogs, put chicken wire up around the beds in the fenced in dog areas.  Dogs have an uncanny knack for stepping on delicate shoots, or peeing on things I’d like to eat.  During my venture into town today, I picked up some stakes and a roll of chicken wire, so I can get that done tomorrow.  I also want to turn over more of the south bed up against the house.  I never got around to doing anything with it last year other than chopping down the weeds.  It has several nice peony bushes and some lilies.  I’m working at getting rid of the weeds and turning over the soil before these get big and bushy and make that difficult.  I cut back the big bushes near that bed so it will get more sun.  I’m thinking of setting up a couple of raised beds in front of it to grow some veggies.  We’ll see if time allows.

I also would like to do a bit of agility work with the dogs as we’ll have a lesson next week and I want us to have progressed since our last class two weeks ago.  So far I have done nothing to that end, but hopefully tomorrow I can spend 5-10 minutes per dog, in addition to their morning hike.

On my way home tonight, I stopped at a second hand store to see if I could find a decent sheet to use as a bed cover.  I have a pretty patterned sheet over my bed because the dogs are on it all the time (they are locked in my room whenever I go out, so pretty hard to keep them off).  Kess chewed a hole in it a while back, when she was still chewing everything.  Because she actually ate some of the fabric, I couldn’t just stitch it.  The hole has turned into a tear, and now the sheet is only good for rags.  It’s nearly 10 years old, so I’m not too broken up about it.

I didn’t find a sheet with the right pattern for my bed, but I did find a nice dark blue one that I can use in the living room on the couch.  Currently we have a white sheet which of course always looks dirty.  I also found a very nice cast iron frying pan, a 12 cup Pyrex measuring cup, three pretty Pyrex bows (nested, a matching set) and a pair of Born sandals in almost new condition.  I can’t get over the great stuff you can get second hand if you have the time to shop regularly.  There also was a nice crock that I could have used for fermenting pickles or sauerkraut, but I didn’t get it.  Now I’m thinking I’ll check back on Friday and buy it if it’s still there.

Yesterday I finally caught up with the owner of the sheep farm where I usually train.  I haven’t been there since November!  He was happy to hear from me and wanted to know when I was going to start training again.  I said this weekend.  He bought 100 more ewes, all of which are due to lamb soon.  So by the end of May, they’ll have nearly 400 sheep.  That should make for a good flock to work with!  He’s fencing in an extra 40 acres to feed them all, so more space to work in as well.  I expect I’ll be lending a hand with some of the work that needs to be done this spring!

Time to go to bed so that I can hopefully get up early and have  productive day.  Workwise I need to get a good grip on my presentation for Friday, and mark at least half of one of the sets of exams, in addition to the garden work and spending time with the crew.  I’m tired just thinking about it all!  Time to hit the hay…