Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hindsight Faith is 20/20

My grandmother, Mama, had many sayings, including "hindsight is 20/20." We learned again this week that we are simply not in control and even our best efforts to be in control and solve everything would leave us with solutions less than desirable. We've had a roller coaster week. We signed listing papers last Tuesday for our house and it actually went on the market with MLS/ on Saturday. The mother of a friend of a friend came by last week twice to look at the house--after it was on the market. We thought the visits exciting and a good start to indicate interest. Then on Sunday afternoon, the realty company called to schedule a showing for Sunday night. Monday morning after my walk, our realtor Jodie called and said "I have a full price offer for your house."

As MeiLin's book "Lily's Purple Plastic Purse" says: "Wow! That is all we could say. Wow!"

We had to hustle some this week as we had not actually received any confirmation of if Mike was in the July class so we were in a bit of a quandary on possession dates. We decided on Monday to counter with a rent back until June 19. If Mike was in the July class, we would move by then. If he was in the September class, well, we might be living in the pop up camper for awhile. The buyer accepted our counter offer Tuesday and we found out Mike is indeed in the July class.

We took a walk last night after a spring rain. The air was cool and damp. Mike tried out his "moo" cell ring with the cows; they seemed interested, maybe too interested. We just can't believe all we have experienced, done and been a part of in the last 17 years. God is amazing and we are humbled! I vowed (again) to try to stop controlling things. I might make it through the week.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

That's not a knife...

This last week I've been recovering from back surgery. Finally, relief from the nagging, sleep-depriving pain in my right leg we've been struggling with for the last six months. I have to say I was pretty nervous about the whole thing as I had never been in a hospital during my first 40 years. Talk about an impetus for a mid-life crisis - hit 40 and stuff stops working. But, despite some early hiccups in my care and a rather lengthy diagnosis phase, I ended up with a superb doctor and woke up pain-free from my surgery (less the pain associated with the surgery).

So, at home this week, trying very much not to twist/bend/lift/stress my back. It's tough not being able to pick up the girls, and the desire to mow the lawn or organize the barn is strong. But, the fresh memory of the last 1/2 year is enough to not want to do any more damage. I did do some walking (the doctor said I could and should walk) and am now very sore since I haven't done any exercising in months.

Our lives continue to change in other ways too. We're moving closer to our move to Monterey, CA, with a projected class start date of 5 July. Two weekends ago we moved the rest of our alpacas to Oklahoma and sold our stock trailer. Last weekend we sold two more shelters and a bunch of other farm stuff. We also purchased a popup camper. Yesterday we sold the Ford F250 Pickup (snif!). Next week we're putting the house on the market.

The next three months will be interesting to say the least. Another adventure for the family, a new place to live, new experiences for us and the girls. In all this we are always blessed and thankful - especially for friends and family who supported us. Thank you.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Alpacas

This weekend the last of our alpacas left our small ranch. We transported eight alpacas down to Oklahoma to a new owner. Outracing thunderstorms and tornado wall clouds, stopping at Braums on the way for a nostalgic burger and sundae and driving 730 miles in one day, we said good-bye to our daily life of alpacas. Today, new owners came to our place to take home our last two alpacas, our stock trailer, scale and miscellaneous items. We cleaned out the barn this morning and gave these new owners even more than they had purchased from us, at such a pitch was our purging fervor.

The odd thing is that we don't really feel the sadness everyone asks us about. While we will miss individual animals and many of the people we have met in the industry, the fact is that now with two small children, busy work lives, upcoming move and Mike's continued disc/nerve issues, we have felt overburdened. I felt joy today in how little was left in the barn and that I now do not have to feed anything more than two barn cats and our family everyday. I don't have to worry about worming schedules, shots, fly spray, breedings, pregnancy tests, transport to other farms, alpaca shows, marketing, business plans...
We loved the business, but we started it when we were childless. We had a lot more free time.

And yet, tonight when I looked out at the boys' pasture, it did seem odd not to see Cleveland munching on grass, rolling in the dust spot or spread out drying his body after the night's rains. Cleveland was the first baby born on our farm. He is now a proven sire and, after a restrictive diet, weighs in at 185 lbs. Cleve is the best of alpacas -- the poster child. He doesn't spit, kick or get flighty when perfect strangers want to love him and squeeze him and hug him. I was pleased when his new owner recognized his special qualities and declared she would never sell him. MeiLin fed him carrots, grass and stones (he passed on the the latter) through the fence since she was a year old. We'll miss him more than the others.

I feel lighter tonight. And, yet, just a little jealous of Cleve's new owner--she could be feeding him carrots and giving him a quick hug right now.