Writing …

I’m currently taking a class at UNC-Greensboro entitled, “Telling Stories: the Memoir” and it made me realize how long it’s been since I last wrote here. I just checked – March 19! That’s horrific! What good is a dead and dusty journal?

A lot has changed since I last wrote here. I’m no longer working at the paper. I quit three weeks or so ago. I got tired of, let’s just say financial difficulties that had been going on for about a year. ┬áMy paycheck from my part-time job as the Lincoln County Community Cat Coordinator (that’s new too!) was being automatically deposited and was actually more than what I was getting from the paper. The stress of managing both job was getting too much coupled with the stress of the feelings I had about the reasoning behind my paychecks not cashing. I elected to quit the paper job and focus all my efforts on the Community Cat job, school and the farm.

I took the Community Cat job in May. It’s managing the county-wide TNR (trap-neuter-replace) program. Basically, what I do is go and round up cats, loosely defined as “Community Cats,” take them to a low-cost spay/neuter clinic, have them spayed or neutered and vaccinated for rabies and then return them to where they came from. This is all done at no cost to the property owner. When I first saw the advertisement for the job, I thought I shouldn’t even bother to apply because I expected animal services would already have someone in mind for the job. Given it seemed to be what I’d consider a dream job, I elected to apply and got an interview and subsequently the job. I can put up to 29 hours in a week which is pretty easy to do given how many cats in the county need help. There were some growing pains but it’s going quite well now.

School is going really, really well. So far, I’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA and enjoyed every minute of it. I let go of most of the farm production, including milking the goats when I accepted the Community Cat job. I realized towards the end of the summer that was a stupid thing to do. It was a stupid hot summer – as it has been for some years now. Rain was not as frequent as it needed to be for good vegetable production but it was enough rain that we had worm issues with the sheep and goats.

As has been the case, I can’t quite get to the point of committing to another dog. We’ve had some nice ones, most recently, Annie. The issue with Annie was she needed a lot of work and working the two jobs and school kept me from doing that. I sold Annie as a goose dog – that’s been a great outlet for the dogs that I can’t keep. I feel comfortable that they are going to really good homes and getting work which is what they wanted. I bought a puppy from a goose dog breeder in July. I like him a lot. I also started acquiring some agility equipment and the plan is to work him both in agility and stock. He’ll be 16 weeks old next Tuesday so it’s time to start working him. He’s starting to look at sheep which is cool.

Because we’ve had so much trouble with the sheep this year with worms, I realized how important it is to be able to get my hands on the sheep to get a good look at them so if they are wormy – they can be wormed immediately. I miss having a good stock dog – in retrospect, I should have held on to that trained dog I had, but she was expensive ($2,000) and not a spring chicken (seven years old) and right at the time we got her, Wally had his mild heart attack (this was last year) and we decided to sell all the sheep. At that time we were dealing with hoof issues (may we never have to do that again). Rex was a good dog, should have kept him, Annie was a good dog, should have kept her. I’ve been casually looking for an older dog – one already started – to get up and working for spring lambing. I almost got a daughter of Annie, but at the last minute and somewhat underhandedly, she went to someone else. Then an imported dog, fully trained, for a price I could afford, but that lady changed her mind on selling her for that amount of money. I’ve reached out to a local trainer whom I really like and he’s got a couple of prospects so I need to be patient.

I like training jobs, it teaches me patience and is good exercise – something I desperately need.

There seems to be a lot of correlation between how my courses are coming up, the work I’m doing in these courses and my life. The memoir course is one – I think to myself as I write this, who reads this, who cares? Likely no one, but I care and I’m a writer and I know keeping a journal is important to my good health. Also, the other course I’m taking this semester, “Visions of Creation.” I don’t like some things about it but the research paper turned into something that I think will be useful. We’re studying creation myths (boring for the most part and hard to understand). Our research paper had to be related to creation myths. Originally I was going to work with Native American myths and their relationship to animals. That would have been interesting, but Buddhism was calling to me. I took several courses in Buddhism while in Massachusetts at Harvard University. Buddhism, as a practice, speaks to me. The Memoir class has some aspects of it to meditation and sitting. It’s since made me break out my dusty Buddhism and meditation books and to look at the prospect of trying to tame my wild mind or at least direct it to a good place.

Photography – that’ll be dealt with tomorrow.

Until later …