Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Jet Planes and Tearful Farewells

I've been staring at the cursor on my computer screen for about an hour now, and still I am having difficulty beginning this post. So rather than beat around the bush, I'll cut to the chase. Today is really hard. To pack my bags last night took all my strength, and to hug my little Icelandic family goodbye was incredibly heart wrenching and there were many tears shed on my end. Helgi and Snaedis were the most gracious hosts and amazing people to work with. I cannot begin to put into words how phenomenal this experience was, but I will do my best to describe my current emotions...

To be 100% honest, I feel numb. I am ecstatic to my fiancé, family and friends, but leaving Iceland is like nothing I have ever experienced before. This place of fire and ice has become my home away from home for the last month, and will forever hold a special place in my heart and soul. The jagged mountains have provided me with comfort and shelter as the wind viciously whipped across the farm at night. The midnight sunsets gently kissed me goodnight at the end of every long day and greeted me with warmth as I woke. Lambs sang to me as I tried to fall asleep (they were really just screaming for their mothers after they got distracted by something and lost track of her, but I like to think of it in a majestic manor). I watched as the lambs grew magnificent horns in the short time they had been out on the fields. The lambs never ceased to surprise me with their quirks and playful demeanor, jumping and climbing, bouncing off their mom and each other. These creatures of the rough North have taught me to be soft and patient, understanding, forgiving (sometimes) and calm.

Now, to brighten the mood just a touch, the crew of Hestur farm has compiled a list of laws to live by during lambing season. I hope you enjoy - just remember, not all of them are super serious, because sometimes you just need to laugh.

Lambing lessons

1. Wear good socks
2. Make sure boots are waterproof….100000000% water proof
3. Shower frequently…seriously
4. Keep your mouth shut for more than one reason. No one wants birthing fluids in their mouths.
5. Sleep is irrelevant and nonexistent so just accept it
6. Don’t forget to brush your teeth
7. Sheep will ALWAYS inconvenience you
8. Deaths are inevitable, but hard to handle sometimes.
10. If you have a question, ASK IT!!!!!! There’s never a stupid question. Ever.
11. Don’t forget to say hi to your family every now and then to let them know you are still alive.
12. Ladies, don’t’ forget to brush your hair before it becomes dreadlocks
13. Drink water as frequently as possible.
14. Don’t’ forget to relieve your bladder at least once every 8 hours, before you know it you’ve gone 13 hours without peeing and that pain your feeling is your body screaming and cursing at you. 
15. Be sure to cut your fingernails often so you don’t slice the sheep’s vagina in half, cause they are already going through a lot.
16. Sweat pants are the sheep god’s gift to the dedicated farmers that serve them.
17. The necessity of quality music is a very real thing.
18. Lambs need to be snuggled and told they are cute in order to grow properly. Snuggles are at the top of their food pyramid, they thrive on this stuff!
19. Reading ear tags from a distance may seem impossible at first, but with some time, you gain super vision and can spot the numbers from a rather impressive distance.
20. Epsom salt baths are a perfect way to relax those bruised and beaten muscles from the days labor. Pun intended.
21. Advil
22. If pillows smell like milk replacer, all is good. Just remember it could be worse.
23. Koko mjolk (chocolate milk) is the best energy drink and can bring a nearly dead farmer back from the grave. I speak from experience.
24. If Helgi offers you coffee, say yes, you WILL need the caffeine boost.  
25. Swans may be majestic birds but they are assholes. You’ve been warned.
26. Nothing smells worse than digested colostrum stuck to the backside of a wooly baby with energy to spare.
27. Learning to knit may someday save you from freezing to death, and is a great way to pass the time during the midnight shift when the ewes just want to sleep and eat.
28. Wrestling the rams is a new sport I have invented. Why run with bulls when you could stare down, capture and restrain an animal with a skull like a cement wall.
29. Never be afraid to cry after a hard day, or from happiness. Emotions are beautiful. Express them.
30. Do the best that you can to provide the best life possible for the animals and no one will ask questions.
31. There will always be new challenges, so don’t be surprised when they crop up.
32. Love the life you live, live the life you love. It’s that simple.

This list could go on and on, but for the sake of the sanity of my readers, I will spare you. But I will say that this experience has completely changed my life for the better. I have found my passion in life and I cannot wait to design my own farm with a goal of creating a comfortable and happy life for my animals and my family, which are similar to the values I observed and lived while in Iceland. I am excited to fill my brain with more knowledge and to get back to Iceland as soon as possible to expand my talents. This will definitely not be my last time toIceland. It's never goodbye, it's see you later. 

Until next time Iceland.

All my love,


  1. You never fail to educate, to amaze and to provide warm feelings and laughter. Well done as we welcome you back to Orono! Nonni

  2. Welcome Home!!! Our sincere thanks to your new friends in Iceland, for their care and love while you were away.