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Tuesday, October 16 2018

Wet sheep shit squishes through the cracks in my boot like wet coffee grounds pushed through a child's Play-Doh machine. No. It's wetter than that. Sloppy wet. And much more unpleasant. It's the sheep pen behind the barn. After months without so much as a hint of rain, the dried and barren pastures are finally getting some relief. Grass is awakening and springing back to life, bringing me with it. I know I've been gone too long when readers begin to send me personal emails and Facebook notes.

"Are you okay?"

Yes. Yes, I am. I'd like to say that I've been busy writing my next books. I haven't. Well, I have been writing some, but life got in the way this summer and I had to take a break. I lost my mojo. Temporarily. Not lost. Just shelved. The summer was spent driving back and forth to the doctor. Eventually, after a total hysterectomy, my oncologist declared "No cancer cells" and my life, which had become a merry-go-round in slow motion, began to unwind and spin again.

Now come the medical bills. They are delivered, not by a Harry Potter owl, but by vultures perching on the mailbox. The healthcare industry has a complex billing system, which either by accident or design, leaves the reader scratching the head in confusion.

"When did I see that doctor? Didn't we already pay that? Why did I get a bill for ABC and XYZ when I already paid ABC? Why am I getting bills from clinics on the east coast? I live in Texas."

And so it goes. Life goes on. The farm and its cast of characters is doing just fine. No, that's not true. I lost my beloved pet chickens Margaret Thatcher and her friend, Mrs. Gray in the wretched heat due to a miscommunication with a farmsitter. Everyone else on the farm survived the godawful heat and are now enduring the near-daily rains. And the mud. Other Half and I made a trip to Colorado to meet with friends and deliver some sheep. It was a nice vacation for us. A dear friend of mine from Houston farmsat for us that week. After months of no rain, it poured. She was stuck juggling sheep and ten dogs in the rain. With no cell phone coverage. I'm sure she was in hell. She endured it like a champ. A retired Crime Scene Investigator, nothing a farm could throw in her direction ruffled her feathers. After all, what's muddy dogs in the house when you've dug through brains in search of a bullet? Experiences like that shape and define you. After that, everything else is smooth sailing.

This summer has given me a greater appreciation of friends and living in a small town. There are no secrets in a town this size. That can be unnerving when you want to crawl into a cave and lick your wounds.  In a small town, people will lift the rock you're hiding under, and reach down with a helping hand to pull you back into the sunlight. They will wipe your tears, ignore the dog hair dust bunnies you couldn't clean, bring over their own Border Collie, and set up camp in your house to help you until you can help yourself. And they will bring food. Lots of food. Friends in the country will not let you starve. Think funeral food without the funeral.

Our farm has been a revolving door of houseguests recently. That brings its own stress. Ours is a rather extreme lifestyle. I understand that but always worry that guests won't until they experience it for themselves. It's like a farmyard version of Jurassic Park. We live in a barn. With the animals. The line between house and barnyard grays considerably here. I try to stress that before people visit. Dogs. Twelve dogs. Large dogs. Some are the size of small ponies. If you are afraid of dogs, don't come. These dogs are our friends and co-workers. They belong here. This is a working ranch. We need them. Some of them are retired and living on disability.  They still have a place here. (We should all have a retirement package this good.) Our door is always open to guests who understand that twelve dogs live here and the barnyard is just outside the back door. That raucous racket you hear outside the kitchen door is a group of guineas talking to my Other Half.  That rubbing noise is a sheep scratching her ass against the wall. I am not kidding when I say there is a very thin line separating the barnyard from the house. And the dogs walk back and forth over that line like square dancers in a high school gymnasium. Some people can be unnerved by that. Others think they're in Disney World.

I'm writing this straight onto the website because my Other Half accidentally deleted Microsoft Office from my laptop. I know, huh?! How the hell did he do that? (Everyone in our small town is asking the same question and he's tired of hearing it.)  So I no longer have Word, thus I cannot open my documents. When I remedy that problem I will share with you the first chapter of the new murder mystery ghost story I've been writing. Yes, I am still writing a sequel to FARM FRESH FORENSICS but this isn't it. At the moment I'm calling this novel BENEATH THE BLUE BOTTLE TREE and it's the story of a crime scene investigator who sees ghosts.

But at the moment, I still don't have Microsoft Word, it's cold and has been raining for days, I'm out of hay because it's been raining and I can't get hay, the sheep are stuck inside and are making a muddy, shitty mess of the barn, and dogs are sprawled all over the house like college students the day after a frat party. Sounds like a good time to make chili.

And for the folks who thought I fell in a well because I wasn't blogging. Here is how the other folks reached me:

Facebook personal page: Sheridan Rowe Langford

Instagram: sheridanrowelangford

Twitter: @rowe_langford

You can also check out my sheep facebook page at Red Feather Navajo Churros.

Come join us on social media. You can catch up on farm pictures there. Bramble is growing up so fast that you won't recognize her!

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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