Okay, so for most people 2020 was pretty weird, what with lock downs, quarantines, mask mandates, working from home and the like. For me, there wasn’t really much difference from normal life.

2021 on the other hand had been majorly different. A combination of the situation at home, coupled with the ongoing global pandemic, really threw a curve ball.

Aside from starting the year offshore (it was my rotation for working Christmas and New Year) I only had two trips away. One for three months and the other for two and a half months. Whatever happened to the “five weeks on five weeks off” you ask? Well, me too!

I did have a lengthy leave after the New Year trip, primarily due to a health problem for Melisa. The ship was transiting to Australia, and work was accommodating in allowing me to simply skip a trip to let me be at home. In retrospect, we realized that that was the longest we’d actually been together in all the time we have been married. As Melisa said, “we didn’t kill each other, so that’s cool”! Another side effect of the longer leave was the thought that perhaps it was something that we could do again, perhaps even on a regular basis of skipping one trip each year.

My next trip was then to Australia, which had a policy of a mandatory 14 day quarantine for anyone entering the country, whether a visitor or a citizen returning home. Thus for crew-change, we had to arrive in Australia well ahead of time, and we had also arranged to do longer trips to try and avoid extra time in quarantine. The only up side was that I did manage to try my hand at some watercolor painting to pass the days while confined to a hotel room. The results of those endeavors were featured in my previous posting.

The Australia trip was long, and to avoid the other crew having to do a second stint in quarantine, we didn’t crew-change again until the ship got to South Africa on the sail back to Europe. The other crew completed the transit back to Norway and commenced the project work there. That gave me another eight week stint at home, before I had to return to the ship.

The Norway trip ended up being longer than anticipated because of a combination of continual bad weather hampering pipe-lay operations and the fact that the planned maintenance stop in the Netherlands was extended when some unexpected issues were discovered with the vessel necessitating an unexpected visit to dry-dock. At least I still made it home for Christmas and New Year after a nine week trip to Europe.

During all this time, long leave in the Spring, three month trip to Australia, extended leave back home, and a two month plus trip to Europe, we also had a lot going on on the ranch. Not just the seasonal kidding of goats, but some major landscaping.

What started out as a small project of clearing an small area and repairing the pond and trails turned into a fairly monster project. Clearing a small area to create another goat pasture ended up being more complex and expensive to the extent that we decided that no way was it going to end up just being grass for the goats? A plan emerged, and then when a rainstorm threatened to wash the entire area away, the plan was modified and with each disaster and resolution taking us further and further over budget we had to just bite the bullet and go all in.

We now have a plan… and a situation that we can hopefully utilize to generate a small income in the future.

Stone Circle
Stone Circle

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