Change after Christmas

For some the day after Christmas, means returning to work. For others there are still some people to meet and gifts to exchange. For me, my days usually do not change much: chores, housework and writing take up most of my time. But changes near the end of this year has put different tasks into my day starting now that Christmas is over.

Now that Christmas has been celebrated, it is time to pack up the decorations, then start packing up the house. Preparations for selling our home is to begin. This year while decorating for Christmas, there was a little bit of sadness, decorating this home for the last time. I have made decorations to go above the cabinets and other places to add Christmas color from ceiling to floor. What will my new home look like? What decorations will be used and where will I use them? These were the questions that went through my mind as I decorated my home this year. Now, the decorations will return to the boxes, and be stored until we make the move.

We will start packing away items we do not use daily, and a lot of the home decor. Family pictures will be placed carefully in a labeled box. Dishes will be sorted, some will be sold or donated, others will be packed, leaving only the necessary items for food preparation and eating in the drawers and cabinets.

I have informed family members, both my children and his children, we will be moving and getting rid of items we do not use. Some items should be handed down to the next generation, but my husband’s children have stated they do not want them. I am torn on what to do with these heirlooms, they are not junk but fine crystal dinnerware. Perhaps I will store them until a time arrives for them to be given to a family member. The other option is to sell them, add some cash to our pocket and lighten our load. I will have to think on some decisions for awhile, but if I am in doubt on if I should get rid of an item, I will carefully pack it and store it until a decision can be made.

The thought of moving is overpowering. We have moved three times since our marriage, storing some items in Colorado and others in storage units here. When we arrived at our current home, we were able to move everything to one location. This past year, I have been going through things, tidying up and getting rid of items I did not use. But I have not touched the barn or storage sheds.

Besides the household and tools, there is the farm equipment, trailers and livestock to move. I am going to have to come up with a plan on moving fencing panels, then the livestock, yet keeping enough panels here to pen up the livestock before we move them to their new home.

As I pack up a room, I will paint and get that room ready for the house to sell. Some rooms we need to finish the work we started before we list the home for sell. Others just need a new coat of paint.

I look at my home and see all the work I have done in twelve years. I have made flower beds and pens and shelters. Build storage sheds, working sheds and repairs to the barn. Many hours of work and sweat to make my home what it is today. I know every inch of each acre, some places hold special memories. The burial place of a mare I owned since she was a year old, and died at twenty. The burial place of my last broodmare, who we had to put down due to a broken shoulder that would not heal. A faithful dog, who my daughter and I had when it was just us two. The places where foals were born and played, now lambs. Memories of our years, that can not be moved and taken with us.

Change can be very exciting, and a little frightening, with sadness for leaving what was behind. Change it will have to be, as we can not stay where we are. The area is getting crowded with smaller lots and more houses. In order to grow our sheep flock to the size that can support us, we will need more acres, more space.

Yes, we will have to make a change, begin in a new place, make new memories as we build a new life in a new home.

amtolle

Change and Comfort Zone

I do not like change very much. I like to stay in my comfort zone that I worked so hard to get to. I am very uncomfortable meeting new people, being in a crowd of people I do not know. I have trust issues, I do not trust people.

Today, I learned a big change took place. The sheep and goat auction where I sell my market lambs and ewes that are getting old, is closed. For a reason unknown to me, the placed was forced to close for an undetermined amount of time.

It took me about four years to get comfortable with the main crowd of people who attend that sheep and goat auction twice a month. I have developed a couple of friends there. Now, I have to find a place to take my sheep for sale.

Some suggest to sell the sheep online. I tried that once. There are so many people who scam. I was sent “bank checks” that were not from the bank institution on the check. I had people copy my pictures and try to sell my animals as their own. Plus, people coming to the place is not a comfortable activity for me. The dishonest people I have been involved with when I was selling dogs, I just do not want to go that route.

Today, I did research on livestock auction places. I looked at the reviews, how long they have been in business, how many animals that are sold there and what the prices are. I have found a couple who were in lawsuits concerning the animals representation at the time sold-I will not sell at those places. I did find one livestock auction a couple of hours away I am planning on visiting. I have two months to find a place to sell my sheep, I have time to research and ask questions.

I will be uncomfortable for awhile until I learn how people show their emotions and react to things. Although it will be stressful and tiring for me to go, the upside is I will meet new people and maybe get more contacts to sell breeding sheep.

The closure of the sheep and goat auction near me will effect a lot of people. I have already received texts and calls from small butcher shops that slaughter and market the meat near where I live. The big buyers at the auction are no longer able to purchase because the is closed, so their clients are looking for sheep. There are even more people looking for a place to buy sheep for pets, to raise for income and to sell their sheep. I am not alone in this situation. I am sure I will see a few familiar faces as I look for a place to sell my sheep.

The next two months will be interesting, frustrating and something that I have to do.

amtolle

How does anyone live here?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I lived between two extremes. The small town of Cortez, Colorado is located on the edge of the desert and San Juan mountains. I was a five minute drive to either extreme.

In 2009 I met my wonderful husband. Shortly after our marriage his job transferred him to north central Texas. I was excited to move to a new state and a new area, only I did not know how different it would be from the area I grew up in and lived in my whole life.

I enjoy many hobbies or activities. I garden. I love the feel of dirt touching my hands and fingers, moving the soil to cover seeds or roots. Garden soil smells good and life. I plant vegetables, flowers and herbs. I prepare and store the food that has grown by freezing or canning. Growing a garden is a part of who I am, the same with raising livestock. I just really love to grow plants and animals, watching them thrive and grow brings satisfaction to my inward self.

The place I live in Texas.

Where we relocated to in North Central Texas near Dallas/Fort Worth is green, lots of trees, bushes and vines. The winters are moderate with a week or two of freezing temperatures. The summers are hot and humid. The amount of plant growth was amazing to me, if plants grow like this without assistance, what would my garden be like. I imagined green plants, huge over size fruit and a vast number of fruit per plant. We moved in November, I planted my first garden in the first part of May.

The grass, weeds, vines and every other plant grows well without human assistance. I tilled up an area for my garden, I planted the seeds and plants. I watered it. Then I would pull weeds and unwanted plant growth every day. But, the grass, coastal grass, it grows under the ground, on top of the ground in long vine like tentacles. You can pull out of the ground, leave it on cement and if water gets to the grass it will grow on top of the cement until it finds dirt. Not through the cement but on top of cement. Those vine like tentacles would grow up my plants and weigh them down. My first garden there were no huge fruits, I had no fruits. There were no thriving plants….just coastal grass and weak garden plants. I grew beautiful gardens in a desert area, and I could not even get a plant to survive in a place with abundant plant growth. Frustration for sure set in.

Another very different change a I had to make was going outside barefoot. There is a phrase” In Texas it will bite you, sting you or stick you.” The phrase is so very true. The first time I stepped out with no shoes on, my foot soul was greeted with multiple sharp painful pricks. There are many plants with stickers. I looked at the ground to find out what plants the stickers came from and what to my amazing eye appear…… the ground was moving, literally with millions of insects. I learned the hard way to spray the ground I like to sit on with insect killer. I went to sit on the ground with my dog and play with her, I was covered in fleas.

I love to sit outside to think, meditate and just chill. Outside is the best place to be. One day I am sitting in the chair outside enjoying my morning coffee and suddenly a thud of something landing on the ground four feet in front of me. A black snake fell out of the tree. No more sitting under the trees.

I had moved to a place where the grass takes over everything, insects and spiders are everywhere, and snakes fall out of trees. I am terrified of snakes. ( on another blog I will share my Marilyn Monroe Moment in Texas). I was frustrated and unnerved the first year with all the challenges of Texas.

I do not give up easily. I read about coastal grass. Coastal grass is not native to the North American , it was brought into Texas for erosion control. They sprig plant coastal grass here. Which means they pull up the grass plant with a machine, let the sprigs dry, then spread, not till, just spread on top of the ground before it rains and it grows. With fertilization it provides a nutritious pasture and hay for livestock. I can raise ten times the number of animals per acre in Texas than I can in Colorado. I raise 50 head of ewes on twelve acres. This has a real benefit to me as a sheep farmer, my occupation.

I learned a new way to grow a garden using containers and raised garden beds. I still have to pull coastal out of my planters and raised garden beds, but I can stay ahead of the coastal grass. We have to treat the yard living area with herbicides for the stickers and insecticides for the insects. The dogs get regular flea bathes. I do not go barefoot outside anymore.

The first few years I hated our move to Texas. But I am not one to give up. I learned how to do things differently. I looked for the positive in the area. Such as I do not break ice twice a day on the water troughs for the livestock for four to five months. I can grow flowers and plants I only dreamed of having. I can have a garden ten months out of the year.

I overcame the frustration with education on what was frustrating me, such as coastal grass. And focused on what I gained, the milder winters and gardening ten months a year instead of four.

My game plan for any challenge is to identify the challenge, educate myself about what the challenge is and form a plan to have the challenge work to my advantage.

Amtolle