Bringing in the New Year
Homestead Reflections, The Daily Ramblings of April

Bringing in the New Year

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It’s the beginning of the new year. A fresh start.

2016 had to get one last punch in, however, and took with it another hen from our flock.

2017 will be better.

Because it started with coffee with my best friend.

It started with sunshine, and birds singing. It started with a teeny tiny look at Spring. It’s January and very far from Spring here, but the breeze was warm, the snow made the most delightful crunch under my boots, and the coffee was hot.

Sometimes I can’t believe that this is my life. Despite the fact that I want to hibernate, like the fruit trees in my yard, I love the coziness of winter. I love the wood stoves, and my knitted hat, crocheted scarf and wool coat. The warm smell of manure and hay in the barn. The fuzziness of the goat’s coats. The puffs of white air that float up above me with every breath.

I love pulling out the newest seed catalog and pouring over each variety of vegetable. The planning, the hoping, and finally the warm breath of fresh air that will put everything in motion again.

The dark days, the cold winds, and the piles and piles of snow make me love it that much more when the sun finally gets warm enough to bring the green back. The dead of winter makes me love the warmth of Spring and the revival that it brings that much more.

So during these dark months, I’ll settle in with my best friend, curl up on the couch and sip hot coffee by the fire. I’ll read books. I’ll drink lots of warm beverages. I’ll wear thick socks. And I’ll dream. Dream of the garden. All those days that I sat there this past summer and soaked up the sun, the smell of the tomato plants, and dug my fingers down into the soil. Those memories are what’s going to get me through the rest of the winter, until I can do it again. That, and my best friend.

Not to be mistaken with my BFF. No, my best friend lives with me, talks with me, dreams with me, and helps shape this life with me. He works ridiculously hard, is always there for the ten thousandth conversation about where we want to go with our life, and eats ice cream while binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix with me. He’s my best friend, my husband, and my support.

But it is very very rare that we get to have morning coffee together. Afternoon coffee, usually, but there is something so wonderful about morning coffee. Just sitting, soaking up the rays of sunshine peaking through the trees and into our window. An entire fresh day laid out before us. We laugh, and joke and dream. While of course sipping on the best coffee in the world. Organic, roasted in Canada, freshly ground that morning, and made in a French press. It doesn’t get any better than that.

We don’t have New Years resolutions, just a large to do list and a dream. Each year we push closer to that dream. At the beginning of every year we look back at the last one and see how far we’ve come.

2016 was a hard one. But it was also a year that had many new beginnings. After 2 years we started our home renovations. Which is huge work in process. We’re doing the work ourselves, which hinges hugely on when we have the time, and every once and awhile we have to stop for a couple of weeks to let the paychecks catch up, but we are mostly debt free with this reno which is such a liberating feeling.

2016 was also the year when I started drinking coffee. A wonderful source of life that I now drink too much of.

2016 was the year of lacto-fermented foods, and lots of soup (I am very much a soup person).

But it was also a year of constant loss. It was a year where we lost almost half our chicken flock. It was a year where in 1 week we lost 5 animals. It was a year where I tried far too hard to do it all. It was a year that taught us just how fleeting life can be. It was a year where we learned that nothing is guaranteed. It also taught us what we’re made of, and despite the constant struggle, it was the year that showed us that this is what we want to do.

Only someone who has soil in their veins and a dream would choose to do this. Farming is a life of loss. Farming is hard. Farming takes every ounce of you, and just when you think you can’t give anymore it demands more. It takes your social life, it takes away travel plans, it takes away animals that you grow attached to. It takes away your sleep, your money, and your sanity. Being a farmer or a homesteader means always being on the loosing end. And for some unknown reason we absolutely love it. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. It’s the dream that pushes me forward every day, despite everything.

So today, at the start of a new chapter. A new archive on this blog, and a new year to write about, we sat in silence. We drank coffee. We listened to the birds, and felt the sun on our faces. When it was time to get to the never ending to do list we talked about what this year will bring. We did mutter a bit about the amount of snow. And we took one long breath together.

It all begins again. Time to get to work.

Our Morning Essentials:

 

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