Hey baby, you come here often?

Because I sure as heck don’t. It’d been so long since I logged in, WordPress forgot who I was (and there’s no way I’m remembering a password). It’s all good, now, though, I got in – clearly, since I’m writing this and you might even be reading it.

What have you been up to, people? I’ve been doing everything except writing.

Not quite 80 degrees yet but over 90% humidity. It should be in the mid 90's by noon. #gainesville #nepark #dailywalkI’ve been walking a lot. I got a FitBit Flex about two weeks ago, and since then have walked 50 miles, given myself shinsplints, pulled every muscle in my legs, gotten new shoes, taken a few days off to do mild stretches and let my legs talk to me again, gotten a shoulder holster for the dog’s water bottle, and generally felt a little bit less like a slug. Except for the days when I’ve been resting, THEN I feel like a slug.

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Ghost

I love a good ghost story, especially haunted houses. But do I believe in ghosts? Hmm. Well, I’d have to believe in an afterlife in order to believe in ghosts, and since nobody has ever sent me a postcard from the afterlife, well… Well. So, what then? What are hauntings? I suspect that what we think of as being haunted by something is more (subconsciously) reading our own regrets/fears/memories into a place or event. Things like regrets bring up a lot of emotion, and not emotion that people are comfortable feeling, owning up to, accepting.

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And we’ll just get a goat instead of a lawnmower. HAHAHAH j/k

If you didn’t know us, you might think that in dreaming about getting some property we’d be dreaming about filing it up with animals — especially food-producing animals to go with our garden, or fiber-producing animals to go with my yarn hobbies… or better yet, both, because neither one of us wants uni-taskers.

But nothing will harsh your dream of having livestock like having had livestock already.

Cows Cows Cows
Cows Cows Cows

My folks (bless their hearts) (and “my folks” at this point in my life refers to my father and his second wife) had this grand plan to raise a few cows and sell meat… somewhere? A farmer’s market? It doesn’t matter because of course none of that came to pass, because they screwed up and gave the cows names. WAY TO GO. Once you name them, they become pets. Even if their names were things like “Whopper” and “Big Mac”. So, essentially, we wound up having four or five super-expensive, big, ornery, hungry, completely non-snuggly pets. I hope to Gawd I have faced down my last bull while blocking a broken fence. ::shudder::

Sheep Sheep Sheep
Sheep Sheep Sheep
Lamb meets nose Sheep Sheep

Sheep? Cute as buttons. I love the smell of sheep, the sound of them, the stupid way they butt their heads at you for attention. Do I want sheep? Fuck no. I’ve had sheep. My folks (and again, bless their hearts) had a great idea to get a few sheep and sell the wool (profit!). Do you know anything about sheep in Florida? Florida is very hot. Sheep are very wooly and warm. About the only sheep that do well down here are Gulf Coast sheep, and about the only thing their wool is good for is making scrubbies for dishes when steel wool just won’t get off the grime. Our sheep were also notoriously horrible mothers, and a good portion of them abandoned their young… meaning come February or so, we usually had at least one lamb in the house, sectioned off from the dog, near a heat vent, getting bottle fed. So that wasn’t awkward. And having seen my dad do it, I have less than no desire to wrestle a sheep to the ground and give it an inoculation. It’s like going ten rounds with a wild animal that can kick in four directions, and bite, and screams the whole time. Also it weighs a couple hundred pounds. GOOD TIMES, YO.

Chicken Ducks Ducks
Rabbit Rabbit Dog meets duck

Chickens. Ducks. Rabbits. About the only one I would even consider doing again would be rabbits (and the place we’re looking at has wild rabbits, which would be close enough to “having rabbits” for me). Roosters are mean as fuck, chickens are great fun to watch but dumb as stumps, ducks thinks everything that moves are a food source, and rabbits breed like, well, rabbits; they will also eat their young at the drop of a hat.

If you think it’s hard to get someone to come feed your cat while you’re on vacation…? Imagine asking someone if they could come out and also feed and take care of your livestock. No, we don’t want livestock. Been there, done the time. Tim had horses when he was younger, and he doesn’t want the work of it any more than I do. We’ll stick to dogs and cats. And wild birds, owls, chipmunks, raccoons, rabbits, foxes, whatever else lives on or near the property we get.

In which I tell you everything and nothing.

An old tree with a swingEven though it’s all I want to talk about – and trust me, my friends have figured that if they hold still long enough I *will* talk their ears off – I’m trying to be rather vague about things on the blog. The Readers Digest Condensed Story is that some friends of ours are moving soon, and we want to buy their place; their neighbors don’t know yet that they’re moving so we’re trying to keep everything on the down-low until they announce. But at the same time it’s all I’m thinking about. All Tim is thinking about. All either one of us can talk about with each other.

We’ve always wanted property — I think I might have said this in a previous post. But just like wanting to win the lottery but never buying a lottery ticket, we have never really started to move towards buying property. This feels like the kind of thing the universe is lining up once you admit you want it; yes, we’re saddened that our friends are moving far away. But what could be more convenient for them than having someone lined up to buy their land and house, which otherwise might spend weeks – but might spend months – being up for sale? And their land and house is offering almost everything we had mentioned to each other we want? We had always kind of imagined that whatever piece of property we bought would have a stream, or pond, or some sort of water on it… but really, in the grand scheme of everything else our friend’s place has to offer us, that’s negligible.

And I’m fully aware that anything can happen; of course we’re hoping for the best case scenario (they tell us a price that nobody wants to haggle over after which we easily get approved by a bank for a loan) but the worst might happen (the price is out of our range, and we wouldn’t lose friends over haggling, or we don’t get approved for a loan, or for some reason they decide not to sell after all). Anything can happen. But I have to live in a place in my head where it’s going to happen, because worry doesn’t do me any good, but planning does.

SO ANYWAY. Because I feel comfortable that their neighbors don’t know me (although I have met one family, years ago), I feel comfortable rambling on for a little with no specifics (and if you recognize any of these photos, please be vague in your comments, just because)…. It’s five acres, about a twenty minute drive outside of Gainesville, the house is a little bit smaller than our current house BUT it has a garage/workshop that is almost the same size as the house and it can be used for HaldeCraft, it’s got a lovely porch, is mostly clear-cut so there’s wonderful areas for gardens, and enough trees to block the sound of traffic.

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Living in the future is awesome but it makes me feel like I’ve turned into my grandfather.

I can't do that, Dave.

So much technology this week. So much wow.

A couple of weeks ago, my laptop shut down unexpectedly, while I was doing something. Since then, it’s been overheating (OK, it’s always run a *little* hot sometimes, but this was noticeable), I’ve gotten the Blue Screen of Death at least twice, and it keeps telling me to run diagnostics but then tells me that nothing’s wrong. PSYCH. It’s also been telling me things like, “your battery is at 80%, plugged in, and not charging!”. Er?

Yesterday it shut down again as I was doing something, and forget it. Restarting was not happening. I spent probably an hour and a half as it offered me restore points earlier and earlier in its life-cycle, but none of them would restore (even though it would think about it for a really long time before telling me that). Finally a “restore to factory settings” was my only choice. Did I want to back things up before then? Oh, sorry, just kidding, I can’t do that, Dave.

I had backed up when this all started happening, so it looks like I only lost a few things — most of the best photos I upload to Flickr, all the photos I took the other weekend of the property we’re going to try to buy are still on my camera, and with the exception of photo editing, all my HaldeCraft stuff is backed up online. Ooo. Except for my most recent quarterly sales tax file; it looks like I backed up the day before I did that, and then didn’t back up again. Whoops. Good thing they already cashed the check — guess I did it right, then! ANYWAY. My point is that I haven’t lost much. I had a bit of a flurry finding the disc for the program I used to make my yarn labels for HaldeCraft – those would have been a pain to recreate in a new program – but for the most part, backing things up to my super-old desktop computer, and relying on the cloud, seems to have saved me many a headache.

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If you think you’ll want a custom order over the summer, read this first

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I hesitate to even say this out loud because I don’t want to jinx it, but there is a good chance that HaldeCraft Headquarters will be moving over the summer. I KNOW! So much excitement; such wow (as the kids say these days).

Under normal move circumstances you might expect production to cease for about a  week… however, the place we’re looking at (and please knock on wood for us) has an unfinished garage workshop that we’ll need to insulate, drywall, paint, and otherwise fix up and get ready. That Poor Man is estimating this might take about four weeks (he does have a job, so can only work on it on the weekends and evenings, and I don’t want to make him sacrifice 100% of his off-work time with working for me, so he can have SOME time off – The Queen will allow that, haha).

We’re looking at this happening – if it happens – in the six-to-eight week range from now, so late June or early July. I’m going to go with the eight weeks because it seems like things never happen as fast as you think they will (of course, if I say that, it’ll happen sooner, hahahah!) so the HaldeCraft production line is looking at being closed for the month of July while we renovate the workshop.

What does that mean for buying things during July?
- Nothing! We’ve already talked it over and the HaldeCraft things for sale on my online shop will be the last things packed and the first things unpacked, so barring any extenuating circumstances there will be no delays in shipping out products currently in stock.

What does that mean for placing custom orders?
- Starting Sunday, May 11th, I will no longer be taking custom orders until the beginning of August. It takes 5-6 weeks to work a custom order into my work rotation, and get it finished, and I want to have all custom orders finished and out the door before we move*. So. If you want to place a custom order to be finished before the end of June, you have until midnight on Saturday, May 10th, to place that custom order with me. If you want to order something for any time after that, you’ll need to wait to talk to me about it until August 1st. Remember when I start taking orders in August that there will still be a 5-6 week turnaround for completion.

What does this mean for the Sept-Nov yarn club?
- Hopefully, nothing. Current club runs though May, June, and July; May is ready, I am almost done dyeing June’s yarn, July’s yarn is on order, and I hope to have all of June and July dyed and wound by the end of May. August would be my off-month for club anyway, so even if we get the place and renovations take longer than expected, we should still be on track with club.

What does this mean for Christmas orders? Don’t you usually stop taking holiday orders in October?
- Well, yes, it does mean you’re going to have to either think about what you want me to make for your loved ones early, or buy off the shelf (trust me, I have a lot of awesome things that would make a wide variety of people happy). As usual, I will stop taking ceramic custom orders (for December delivery) around the middle of October, and custom soap and yarn orders (for December delivery) towards the beginning of November. The good news is that this new workshop is going to have a lot more storage space than I have now, meaning once the renovations are complete I can really get cranking on having a lot more backstock than I have now (so hopefully I won’t run out of popular items so quickly).

So, now. Everyone think happy, positive thoughts for me, because That Poor Man and I really want this, and are actively working towards making it happen. “Pray for help, but row for shore.” And of course, if our offer is accepted, you will all be living the renovations with us because trust me, I will be taking so many photos you’ll think you’re doing the work with us. Your backs will ache with ours!

* If we move; we have not yet closed on the place, so even though I want this to happen with every fiber in my being, and the universe seems to be setting this up pretty darn perfectly, I’m trying to be realistic.

Cross-posted on my work blog, except for the following paragraph:

I feel weird talking about this, like it’s going to happen, six or eight weeks before I know for sure that it is. But I’m trying to put my head in a positive area, because when you put out positive, you get positive back (and the opposite – how many times have you been in a bad mood and everyone around you seems to be in an even worse mood?!). And I would rather put this out there, tell people I might not be able to take custom work in July, and have to say “damn, we didn’t get the house” rather than get to July and tell people with no notice that I can’t take custom work for a month. So. There it is.

This week, by the numbers.

This week is going to be hectic. Bring it! #mugshotmonday #ceramics #mug #putabirdonit42 skeins of yarn for yarn club wound.

34 sets of yarn club swag finished.

2 meals with Tim’s aunt and uncle, in town for his uncle’s granddaughter’s graduation.

4 International club packages mailed.

12 skeins of yarn for next month’s club dyed.

6 more people signed up for club.

6 skeins of yarn for this month’s club about to be dyed.

6 more sets of swag about to be made.

2 spots of Ravelry advertising purchased.

9 bars of soap set aside for donation to Peaceful Paths (one brain needed to remember to actually donate it).

1 book on ceramic studio design devoured.

9 pieces of greenware cleaned.

0 loads of laundry done.

4 catboxes cleaned, twice.

36 bars of soap made.

0 bars of soap wrapped because HUMIDITY.

3 belated emails answered (lord knows how many forgotten).

2 check-ins with Tim’s sister, who is staying with their parents while their mother has some surgery.

0 dogs walked.

1 dog pee found on floor because of dog who is afraid to pee outside when it’s raining.

0 books read (other than on ceramic studio design).

1 vet called to get the puppies check-ups scheduled.

1 windshield repaired from mysterious sudden crack that I forgot to get a photo of.

2 times went to post office; going for 3 in a few minutes.

1 time fortuitously met postman driving down road while on way to post office, got to hand him my packages and just go on to grocery store.

…. is that all I did this week? Wait, isn’t that enough?

That time I lived on a farm

Tree Frog Farm, the forty acres my dad and StepMonster bought the summer before I turned 15, has been much on my mind the last few weeks. Probably because I feel time echoing. The Farm was down a limerock road; the place Tim and I are looking at is down a limerock road. We moved to The Farm over the summer; Tim and I are looking at (hopefully) moving over the summer. My parents put in a large garden; Tim wants a large garden. The Farm (eventually) had a really great porch; the place Tim and I are looking at has a really great porch. My dad bought the property when he was 43; this year I am 44. Does that mean I’ll make a better decision, since I’m a year older?

When we first moved out there, it was into a mobile home we bought. There was no house there, although there was a large circular driveway that would place a house smack in the middle of the forty acres. They bought a double-wide. They had it moved out on a Friday but it took so long to get out there, there wasn’t time to put the pieces together. They sat, uncoupled, for the weekend, albeit covered. Apparently not enough to deter curious tree frogs, because the next week when the crew, supervised by my father, put the house together, on the walkthrough my father kept finding frogs. And for weeks, desiccated frog carcasses. My dad felt so bad he named the farm after all the treefrogs who gave their lives.

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