My alarm was set for 4 am this morning but it didn’t go off. I was out of bed at 3:42 and making coffee, alarm disabled. Saturday mornings are market mornings and I always beat my alarm to the punch, sometimes by minutes, but usually by hours, tossing and turning, trying to stop my brain from worrying that the alarm won’t go off, and that I’ll sleep in.

And therein lies the most undelicious irony. I will never, ever miss market (or anything else) because I’ve slept in. I am always awake and worrying long before Apple’s soothing “waves” sound gets a chance to lull me into consciousness.

This was a busy market day. The weather was good, Covid restrictions were lifted, and people came out in droves. By the time 1pm rolled around and market came to a close, I was highly caffeinated, depleted of energy and burritos, and in serious need of a nap. Not that I’m capable of such a thing.

Post-market clean up takes about an hour. Then I do deliveries on the way home. Usually I’ll avoid the highway and take a more interesting route to avoid nodding off. By 3:30 or 4 I’ve unpacked my car at home, separated food, garbage, laundry and other market remnants, and planted myself on the metal stool in the kitchen for more coffee, or something stronger yet.

Around 5 Troy and I put the animals to bed together. While he wrangles sheep, I wrangle goats. He tosses hay to the horses, I milk. Chickens are fed, water buckets refreshed. By 6 we can call the day mostly done, eat a nice meal that he’s cooked, and settle on the couch for an hour of mind-numbing entertainment in front of the tv.

But then there’s the bedtime barn check. That’s my gig. Most nights it’s a quick peek to be sure everyone is settled, or to top off some water. Occasionally it’s a scramble as I realize that one of us forgot to latch a pen and goats are turning the barn upside down.

And then there are the nights when things are born.

Tonight at bed check Harriet was in labour. I almost convinced myself not to bother tonight, that everyone would be fine. But I threw on my coveralls over my PJs and checked anyway. Good thing. Poor Harriet was huffing and puffing and panting, dragging her swollen ewe parts across the straw. Well into labour, she was having a hard time. I lifted her tail and realized that the lamb she was straining to birth had one leg bent into a less-than-optimal position. I pushed it back in a little, straightened it out, and gave a gentle tug. The first lamb slid out coughing up mucous and the second one followed in quick succession. I helped her clear their airways and dry them off, and waited for them both to find their feet, her teats, and a few good gulps of colostrum before I finally headed back inside at 10:45.

It’s now 11:27 and I’m still wide awake. As Troy gurgles and snores next to me, unaware that I’ve even returned to bed, I wait for my brain to wind down for a few hours sleep. Tomorrow is Sunday, the day that, technically, I could sleep in a little. But I’ll be awake dark and early, worrying about whether the lambs made it through the night. I’ll be up, putting on more coffee, and wishing I had more sleep.

Sometime maybe I’ll learn the joy of a good night’s sleep. Some night perhaps I’ll be able to hit the sheets at a reasonable hour, pass out, and sleep through the bad dreams, anxieties, dogs who need to pee at 2 am, snoring husband and panicky pre-alarm wake ups. Some day maybe I’ll experience that guilty pleasure of hitting snooze.

In the meantime, lying in bed wide awake, I’m making plans, writing blog posts, solving problems, making mental lists. Some call it insomnia, but I’ve come to accept it as “getting things done”. And despite a serious lack of sleep, somehow I do.

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