So I’m 60. It sounds a lot older than it feels. I will admit to some aches and pains and bouts of forgetfulness but all in all, I feel good and getting older has its compensations. I feel less obligated to do things I don’t want to do and more able to ask for what I need and want. I feel freer to take some risks and step out of my box for the sake of trying something new. I spent time with family this weekend and also time with friends, old and new.

Here were the weekend highlights. I had a great evening with my family. I got a rain barrel. Now a rain barrel may not be glamorous but I really wanted one and this is a beauty. It has a screened top and a spigot on the bottom so I can hook up the hose and water away. This will be especially helpful for water my greenhouse. I also got a gift certificate for a kitchen supply store and pots and pans for the summer kitchen are in the works. Add in a trip to the bookstore sith gift cards from my sister and brother and I’m in Pig Heaven.

On Sunday, I was up at the crack of dawn to head to Cambridge to spend the day with Michelle (Gardengirl) and Jenna Wogonrich at Cold Antler Farm. I taught candle making (boring unless you enjoy watching wax set up) and learning to make soap. I have long wanted to see somebody do this and I do feel ready to tackle it. Some of my old pots will be dedicated to this process and I can envision making a year’s worth of lovely herbal soap in one long afternoon. I’m on the lookout for molds. Everything else (except the lye) is right here. I will pick an afternoon with no children around. There are some dangers to working with lye and I want to pay total attention to what I’m doing. I’ll also be looking for a used welding helmet. The face shield will be just the ticket for protecting my face. As part of our package from Jenna we got a nifty little soap making book. I can’t wait to try it.

It’s hard not to see what other farmers are doing and not catch one bug or another. Jenna had what I think is probably the cutest lamb on the planet and the competition for that title is pretty stiff. Of course, I went to sleep with lamby dreams. The bug was not helped by watching Michelle work on a totally gorgeous sweater. How cool would it be to make a sweater from lamb to wearing? Very cool. How likely? Not very.

I bought myself a new book. The Homemade Pantry: 101 Things You /Can Stop Buying And Start Making is a really fun read. Homemade Twinkies, peanut butter cups and filled chocolate cookies are in the offing soon. There is one funny line. It claims that the cookies will last for 10 days in the refrigerator. I’m thinking 10 minutes is more like it.

The great purge is ongoing in preparation for the clothing exchange this coming weekend. I think my junk has baby junk when I’m not looking and I’m quite sure my shoes do too. The work is loathsome but the gains will be well worth it. I think I can carve out an actual office in my bedroom if I get creative with the space. I just need to watch my propensity for letting stuff fill in the vacuum.