Yup, it’s almost the end of another leave and I have to ask myself, where the heck did it go??? Almost five weeks since I left the boat last and do I have anything to show for it?

well, this time the answer is YES actually, quite a lot in fact!

Most importantly I am now officially  a legal permanent resident of the United States. That in itself is a big deal (well, it is to my wife and I!)
The Green card interview, last friday, went well, and my passport was stamped with the temporary I-551 visa (the stamp equivalent- good for 1 year) and I should get the proper card in the mail within the next 3 weeks or so. The stamp in the passport means the same as the card though, so I can travel without any issues before I actually get the card. Apparently, when I’m in the US, I’m supposed the carry the card with me at all times!
Its funny, as the I-551 stamp is so much less impressive than any of the visa’s I’ve had, its hard to believe that it is so much more important!
The interview itself was almost an anti climax. Myself, Melisa and our attorney, were together in the room with the interviewer, who went over the YES/NO questions on my application… and that was more or less it. I did pick up on something that the interviewer said early on (which Melisa and the attorney both missed) which lead me to believe that she had already reviewed our case and decided that everything was okay unless we said anything really stupid during the interview. She photocopied a lot for my passport US entry stamps and she was going to check that I hadn’t out stayed my welcome on any of them, but the computer system was hung up, so after waiting a few minutes with nothing working, she announced that she’d just take my word for it. We then even digressed into the entomology of her surname, which I told her I knew was Norwegian for sunday as I’d worked a lot in Norway. She said that she knew that although there were no Norwegians, that she knew of, in her family tree.
She asked when I was likely to be leaving the US next, and when I said within the next 2 weeks, she gave me the covering letter to get the I-551 stamp before I left the building. She was quite amused with my “african” passport and all its nigerian visas as she said that they have to be particularly vigilant with applications from Nigerian nationals as there is such a high proportion of fraud from them.
All in all the process was a lot less intimidating than I expected (and nothing like the film ‘green card’) but then, as our attorney said, rarely has she had such a genuine and well prepared case.

So green card adventures aside, we had a lot of other goings on this leave. Melisa made a lot of preserves and jams, which meant that i had to build new shelves in the well pump house to store them all, I also got our old British washing machine plumbed up in there so that she can wash the ranch stuff when she is on the ranch.

We built new planter beds to start growing some veggies and other produce, and we also built new composting bins to start composting some of the waste produced on the ranch into useful… well, compost, I guess!

We’ve had a bit of coming and goings on the livestock front, to the extent that we are currently down to 25 head of goats/sheep which I think is the lowest we’ve been for quite a while.

The final thing for the leave was the annual Property Owners Association Meeting which was held today. We went, we had our say, we contributed, we feel fulfilled (not!) Okay, so it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. Let’s just leave it at that! hahaha

Did I get any painting done??? Did I bu&&£r!

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