I have good reasons, though.
On August 22, 2014 we took custody, through the foster care systems of two states, of our only grandchild. It was just days after his first birthday, and he is now 18 months old. Things have been very, very busy around here!
Right now we have four dogs (Zoey, River and Remy - Border collies, and Penny, the red tri Aussie, now 10 months old). We have four housecats; two never go outside, two are indoor-outdoor; and we have two barn cats who never come in. We have three Nubian (or nearly-Nubian) dairy goats, two girls and a boy. The girls will be giving us babies in the next month or two, and then we will have goat milk again. I stopped milking and dried the girls off shortly after the grandchild came to stay with us; things were just too busy.
We also have four Angora bunnies, and still have chickens.
It has been a long, miserable winter. We had a multi-day power outage over Thanksgiving. Thank God I have a gas range that doesn't need electricity to run. Thank God, also, that we have a good generator, and a generator transfer switch that makes it easy to plug the generator in and run it. We've had lots and lots of snow, and it has been bitterly cold for weeks at a time.
I've gotten very little knitting done, although I've started picking up the crafts again over the last month or two. It helps that there's now a knitting group that meets at our local library, twice a month. I really look forward to spending time with some knitting friends and, as much as I love being a grandmother, away from the grandchild.
He is a marvelous grandchild, and we really feel blessed to be able to take care of him. He's beginning to do things like color with fat crayons, and "read" books with us. We do love Dr. Seuss! We watch Sesame Street, and have started attending a toddler group once a week at the library where we sing and make hand motions, and ring bells, and listen to stories. And he loves music!
It was because of his love of music that, last October, I started taking guitar lessons. I've never been musically inclined, and have zero musical background (except for 4th-grade recorder, and forced music classes until 7th or 8th grade). I can't read music, but I can now read guitar chord notation. I have an awesome purple Ibanez guitar that I found secondhand through a Craigslist seller, and love it!
I am still taking the guitar lessons; I'm getting closer to being able to play an actual song, at something other than halting pace. Improvement is coming slowly, but it is still improvement, and I'm having a good time with it.
I started running again, and have been running off and on all winter - more off than on at times, but still. I've done several races this year, and signed up for the entire Millennium Running series of races. Those include a bunch of 5Ks and shorter races, but also a 5 mile race, a 10-miler and a half marathon, in October. My next race is the 2-mile Shamrock Shuffle, on March 29.
Last week we picked up a dozen new baby chicks to add to our flock.
We got a combination of Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Cuckoo Marans and Silver-Laced Wyandottes. They're still in the brooder (aka stock tank) and have a heat lamp. We lost one of the Marans chicks, but the rest are doing great.
I have several knitting projects in progress. One pair of socks only need the second toe finished, and that is already mostly done. I'm at the decrease every round part. I'm working on a baby sweater from Encore chunky. I'm re-doing it because I didn't like how it came out the first time. I've also picked up several three-skein sets and a few patterns, for a few more baby sweaters. Looking forward to making a worsted weight cardigan (possibly zippered), a hooded cardi, and a Wallaby. He's wearing a size 2 now, so whatever I start is probably going to be in a size 3 or 4, so it will still fit by the time I finish.
So not a lot of fiber arts or critters, but I'll try to update more frequently. Now that it's starting to warm up, I have bunnies to groom, and I'd really like to get back to some spinning. I'm looking forward to being able to take the baby out in the jogging stroller for my runs, instead of waiting for him to take his nap. We have two little Shetland sheep who will need shearing soon (I'm looking forward to that fleece!) and I will definitely be continuing my guitar lessons. Music lessons, along with learning a new language, are supposed to be among the best things to keep your brain young.