I don't think you are going to be seeing a ton of blog content from me for a while.  I've been at Microsoft over 13 years now.  6 years ago I earned a "sabbatical" under a program that was in place at that time.  A sabbatical is a 2 month "leave".  It's basically an extended vacation.  We'll I've finally decided to take it and have been preparing for it for the past several weeks.

As with so many projects it's been slipping a bit, but I'm starting it this week.  Being the workaholic that I am, I expect I'll troll email occasionally, pop into the office every once in a while, maybe even write an occasional blog post.  We'll see.

So, you might wonder - what the heck are you going to do with 2 months off?  Well, I generally keep this blog to professional stuff, but I'll make one exception for this.

As strange as it may seem, last summer my wife and I bought a farm.  Yes, a real, honest to goodness working farm.  It's about 100 acres of pasture, 3 barns, 5 ponds and an unbelievably beautiful place.  It's been kind of a life-long dream for my wife and me.

Right now, the operation is small.  We have 10 cows and one bull.  The cows are calving right now so we have 5 calves (4 bull calves, 1 heifer) and are expecting 5 more.  We also have a donkey, 5 sheep - my children's 4H projects, and about 125 chicks.

I am planting an orchard of about 3-4 acres, consisting of apples, peaches, pears, plums, persimmons, figs, pawpaws, and blueberries.  I am also planting a sizable garden.

We are also in the process of building a house on the farm with the hope of moving in by the end of the year.  The good news is that it's about the same commute from work that I have now - just less time driving through town and more time on the highway.

This being the first spring that we've owned the farm, I have a ton of work to do to get all of this done.  In fact, I started by asking myself what I'm going to do with 2 months and now I'm asking how am I possibly going to cram all of this into 2 months :)

So why on earth am I doing this?  It isn't rational.  I can't explain it - lord knows I've tried to the many people who have asked me.  All I can say is that I love it.  I don't expect it to affect my commitment to Microsoft - it certainly hasn't for the past 9 months.  Some day, when I retire from Microsoft, perhaps I'll become a full time farmer :)

Peace

Brian