How did it get to be Christmas Eve Eve? Seems like it was JUST here last year, a fresh ice storm wreaking havoc on our roads, trees, animals and ever-loving souls.
This year, it's in the 40s and rainy. A slight improvement, I suppose, but for the 10th time our ground is thawing again and the mud is rising up to claim our boots, the grass clinging tightly to the Earth, and plenty of other things I'm sure we haven't realized we've lost yet.
I've been carrying a running dialogue in my head about the differences between last year, our first year here with the Farmstead, versus this year. Most of my punchlines are FARMING: YEAR TWO. It's a good way to blow off steam when I'm dealing with a frustrating problem, but it also gives me hope for YEAR THREE. Each year we will change our practices, refine our approach, improve our methods and, hopefully, produce better meat from happier animals on improved land.
An example, in case anyone was wondering about my inner joke-alogue...
Year One: "Oh I can't find my gloves. I can't lift [______] or tear down [_________] without gloves! It'll tear up my hands!"
YEAR TWO: "Gloves? Ain't nobody got time for dat. Oh hey I just tore a callous on my hands."
Maybe one more...
Year One: "Please buy from us! We'll give you a discount! Free farm tours 4 lyfe! Desperation!"
YEAR TWO: "Dear Customer, you're fired. Please don't contact us again, as we are clearly not the farm you are looking for."
[Yes, we really did fire someone this year. Listen— you can argue with us about pricing and whatnot all day long, but at the end of the day, if it's not worth it to you, it certainly isn't worth it to us. We pay for it all up front, spend a lot of time taking care of animals & infrastructure, such as it is, and you STILL want to argue about 50 cents/lb.? No thanks, we'd rather keep it for ourselves.]
Anywho. It was a great year. We made a number of huge improvements, including but not limited to, adding a wood boiler to heat our house [bye bye propane!], building a permanent goat fence that none of them can climb out of, building two doors for our little red barn, improving the "driveway" that goes down to our shop, planting 50+ saplings, clearing scrub trees & weeds, reseeding with forage mixes & cover crops, and building 3 mobile coops for brooding chicks, ducklings & poults. We also added a barn from Mid Michigan Mini Barns and brought our horses home!! No big deal, just my lifelong dream becoming a reality. Life is sweet.
And, we got married. 10.18.2014. Amanda VanVels Photography captured the day beautifully, and many, many hands pitched in to get the house and the farm looking its best!
The sky threatened rain that day, but instead it was cool and breezy. The trees held their leaves and released them softly, one by one, rose petals of autumn. All of our animals behaved, the guests had fun, and the food was delicious. I'll post more photos at some point, but for now, I'll leave you with wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Hammy New Year to you and yours.