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Friday, 23 December 2016

What a year

Well what a year it has been, one I would not like to repeat in many ways, emotionally, but I have to thank family, friends and followers of the blog for their support through the tough times. There are far too many to mention individually, but you know who you are.

At last the legal issues that I have had to deal with since Sara died have at last been completed, so over the last two months my mind has been on overdrive contemplating my future. There have been occasions where I wanted to sell up and go back to the UK. Partly due to feeling I was stagnating and not going forward emotionally and partly due to frustration with the language barrier causing me at times to feel very isolated. Due to the daily lottery pick of emotions, another time I felt like selling up to then buy property elsewhere to then expand the goat herd to enable me to produce more cheese. Viewing a few houses made me soon realise, ultimately any profit made from the sale of this house would soon be eaten up with repairs to a new house, so would be a situation of 'cutting off my nose to spite my face'. So for the time being I will stay here for at least to the end of next year when I will need to renew my residency. possibly requiring me to create a company due to the UK deciding to pull out of the EU (Brexit) or that I am not in a financial position to stay as I have a few years to go before I will be able to get a pension, but for now I live for the day (with a little immediate forward planning) for know one really knows what tomorrow may bring.

So as the winter draws on and the winter solstice has passed meaning spring will be here before you know it, not much has happened in the garden. This being the case then I have been concentrating on jobs indoors or some jobs outside when the weather permits. We have had temperatures well below freezing at night (the lowest being -12) for a couple of weeks now and a little snow so the fire is constantly burning during the day which keep the cats and dogs happy and is very welcoming after working outside.


Partly due to the cold weather and partly because Isaac is very much an athlete and regularly jumping over into the girls stalls at night when I separate them for the night I have finished making the upper stable doors to each of the goat houses. What with deep litter and the doors keeping the heat in at night water buckets are not freezing at night and all the goats are keeping warm which is good as all the girls are now confirmed pregnant with Duchess due to kid at the end of February. Now that Isaac has done the business he has become a little bored and gets into all sorts of mischief as he is still less than a year old and seeks out attention. So I spend a little time training him to stand at various points in the enclosure on blocks and to start lifting his feet on command which he seems to enjoy the attention. Eliza on the other hand is very aloof and does not crave attention, which causes problems when hoof trimming. All the others once tethered will stand and allow their hooves to be trimmed, but Eliza she is like a bucking broncho and so at the moment I am not forcing her as she is at the stage she could abort. So each day all get their treat of bread which she now comes up for and even pushes her way in for. In addition to this wen she is separated at night with Duchess I sit in the stall with them as Duchess is very much a calming influence on her to try and bond with her.

Eliza is turning not a stunning goat albeit a little bonkers

Cheese production is very limited at the moment as Millie's milk yield as gone down, but I have started experimenting with semi hard cheeses such as Caerphilly and Roquefort.  The first Caerphilly has be tasted and even some sold after friends tried it and wanted some, so hopefully once the car boots start up again and tasters provided that will become as popular as the Garlic and Chive soft cheese.

     
Novo Nachalo Caerphilly type cheese
Novo Nachalo Roquefort type cheese in the making.

Grace the dachshund is at a testing time at the moment for each time I go out she is into disemboweling sofa cushions and the like. I do not think it is separation anxiety, I think it more that she is in her terrible teens stage and being a Daxie tends to dig a lot. The evidence in the garden is apparent as she has dug up newly planted bulbs and the like and so I think she is just doing the same when indoors. Still hopefully she will soon grow out of it, we had the same problem with Bella until she was eighteen months old and then she was fine (fingers crossed).
 Butter wouldn't melt - NOT

DISgrace - Crime scene
A morning foray on the bed pillow disemboweled 
and not that being enough she decided to chew a pen up
 so ink stains on a jumper.
     
Being colder and trying to move forward, I have started decorating the house in preparation for when hopefully my parents come and visit in May next year. So to brighten the place up, out with white and magnolia in with red and yellow in the living room and kitchen. Maybe I am reverting back to my youth for I remember my dad being a little more than annoyed when I decided to paint my bedroom wall pillar box red, but the paint was gloss paint. There are times when Bob Marley or Kate Bush is playing on my computer, with vibrant colours in the room, incense sticks burning I feel I am back in my teens. If only it was that easy to turn back time.  

 Living Room

 Living Room

 Kitchen to Living Room

Invariably the stress and build up to Christmas has been a bit much at times for me. Trying frantically to re-create what Sara and I used to do making gifts for neighbours, I took to making mince pies, biscuits and chocolates for them. 
Chocolates

 Ginger biscuits

Mince pies

I have not made any hand made cards this year I just cannot get my head round it as that was Sara's thing, but with all this ups and downs of emotions through creating the gifts I will not be making them next year. It is not that I am letting go of Sara's memory that will never happen, but it is a thing we did TOGETHER and I have to create a new life without her by my side albeit in spirit or memory, I have to create MY new life of my own. 

I have not put paint to canvas for a couple of months now and have never considered myself a portrait artist, but one of the things I really want to try and do is do a portrait of Sara. So here is the start. A long way to go and it currently hangs in the bedroom ready for me to continue with it when time permits and when I am in the mood. At least it is hanging which implies I am relatively happy with it at the moment for I will never put a painting up that I am not happy with.   
Darling Sara

So I am up early this morning to write the blog (apologies it is so short) and prepare for the day ahead as I am making steak and mushroom pudding instead of doing turkey for tomorrow, the big day. A couple of close friends are coming round for although initially I just wanted the day alone I know deep down that would not be moving forward with life and be dwelling on what has been not what will be. It may be a tough day, but I have gone this far and there are certain to be more days like these but by the strength in me I know I can go forward, I have come this far already.

Anyway you guys have a really good Christmas. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support and kind words over the year. Be sure to cherish every moment not just tomorrow, but every day. Be sure to tell those loved ones around you you love them, not just tomorrow, but every day. You have one shot at this life, make it a good one. 

God Bless you

Love you always Sara xx
Dave.