It was a standard winter bug that Steve brought home from his place of work. All the joys of coughing and a blocked nose. My sleep pattern was so severely disrupted that daily thought processes were kicked to the bottom of the 'too hard to do' list. I was able to function with tea and biscuits, the animals were all well fed and supplied with hay. That in itself was interesting as another storm front bared down on us for the second time in as many days. I was walking gingerly like a crab, sideways over wet grass trying not to slip, carrying a large sack of hay being blown along by the strength of the wind. It was most certainly not fun and highlights the issue of choosing this lifestyle. A choice to keep livestock means you never get a day off, and I mean ever. So even at your worst unless totally incapacitated, you must head out regardless of the weather.
I found myself getting annoyed on dry days I wasn't able to achieve much outside, but my body knew what my mind was saying I should be achieving was never going to happen. The last day of the illness culminated in Steve being home, thankfully. My sleep pattern so utterly ruined, and many nights spent lying on the couch with the dogs in an uncomfortable attempt at dozing left me at the bottom of my reserves. I was irritated and Steve kept telling me to head in, go rest. Eventually at 5.30pm I could take it no more, I crawled into bed, put a bit of TV on with the heated blanket on and I slipped into a deep and nourishing sleep. Steve came to bed at 8.30pm, I found myself awake then needing a drink and to cool down. The heated blanket was set to 'high' and I was on the verge of cooking. After a little drink I felt amazing, literally, which unfortunately took till 1.30am for me to need sleep again. It'll take some time to reset the body clock after all that.
It was also worth stopping packing soap orders for a bit. We took our COVID tests over a few days being mindful that a negative first test would not mean we were both actually negative. I felt it was the safest thing to do. Now I've reached the end of the orders, I'm sure I can squeeze in one more or two if people locally wanted something specific but honestly for this year I'm happy to bring it to a close now. We have been so busy this year, more than most in some respects but after 5 1/2years building this place up to what it is I really could do with some time off.
I'm looking forward to making the finishing touches to the new Sheep Keeping & Crafting Workshop which I've co-written with a lady called Esther Howie. She's been running workshops on crafting with fleece and processing wool for a while now. Spinning her own sheeps fleeces into wool for knitting with. My first introduction to the wonderful world of sheep and their fleece was a quick lesson making drier balls with fleece and a quick intro into using a peg loom. I've been sold on it now. I now have two looms, the larger one 1.5mtr long. Every time I make something my technique is getting better and my ambition grows as does the fleece collection I now have. It's been a wonderful thing to make gifts last year for family to have and cherish in their homes. I know I prefer something I have made now in place of a bought rug. I'd give all the dogs a wool bed also if I didn't absolutely know some of them would try to eat them.
So what will I do this Christmas time at home? Well the National Trust has ordered again so soap making must continue, however without the pressure of dealing with orders I might just take a few days to myself; Get on tidying up the gardens, getting some much needed weeding going on. I have so many plans to grow more plants for planting out this coming spring so I better get moving. I've also got to drop the back end of the greenhouse to repair what I think is some snapped screws in the base...there is always something that needs a coat of looking at.