2012 is drawing to a close and it’s been a hard year. We have had a lot of sadness and some joy mixed in. Sadness, as we have experienced a number of losses, joy as we celebrated a new arrival and we did reach one of our long term goals.

My father passed away in March of this year. He had a heart-attack while I was in India and, although I made it back to Scotland in time he never regained consciousness.  Melisa and I had been planning a trip to the UK later in the year to spend some time with him but, unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

Melisa’s grandfather Sam passed away too this year, and Norman, one of my favourite cousins. When I was a young boy, I always looked up to my cousin Norman, more I think, than even he realised. He was into many hobbies that I later followed and his taste in music partly formed my own. The saddest thing, I think, is that the last two times I saw him were at my mother, then my father’s funerals.

In December a good friend of Melisa and I suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Dr BJ Ferrell was our first and best friend in Colorado. We first met her when we were visiting  in 2004 and remained close friends ever since.

During the year we also had to take the hard decision to put down one of our livestock guardian dogs, Mitch.

One bright ray of hope during the year was the arrival of our new niece, Isadora. She and her mother, Jessica, came to visit us on the ranch for a few fun filled weeks.

Overshadowed by the sadness were all the achievements that we had on the ranch. We reached one of our long term goals in that we managed to clear all the debt that we had, both in the UK and the US. Our ranch is paid for and all we have at the moment are our everyday living expenses.

New livestock on the ranch have arrived, with four llamas and, for now, seven nigerian dwarf goats. Of course we had the usual battle of attrition with new kittens and cats lost to predators.

We did manage to build a new barn, partly to house the ever expanding fleet of vehicles. This year we added a number of vintage vehicles namely a 1960’s Serra Scottie Travel trailer, a 1970 VW bus and a 1972 VW Karmann Ghia Coupe. The trailer is immaculate, as it had been recently renovated, and the VW’s are mechanically sound and only need a little cosmetic work.

Work wise it has been a busy year, especially the latter six months. Long trips and short leaves made it very tiring. As much travel as I usually have, but not as many destinations, particularly compared to 2010 and 2011. Norway and the UK multiple times, a transit to Malta and a short trip to India.  Finally, spending Christmas and the New Year on the ship in the Shetland Islands.

So 2012 comes to a close and there is little time for reflection as we already have big plans for 2013. Looking forward… the way it should be!