Happy Winter Solstice!
The long days are returning again. I couldn’t be happier.
This is also a time for reflection. Reflection on the year that has passed. Winter solstice, Christmas, New Years, this is the best time of the year. Reflection, rest, rejuvenate.
And currently, we have been reflecting on 3 Birch Farm.
We drove away from 3 Birch for the last time on Sunday. Everything was cleared out, everything cleaned, polished, and ready for the new people who will make their memories there. In a sense we were so relieved that we just spent a good 5 minutes laughing like two giddy school children together. But, there is also sadness. Sadness over saying goodbye. Happy, sad, happy, sad. It’s been a roller coaster.
On Saturday I proclaimed I couldn’t wait for this to be over with so I never had to go there again. Appointments, inspections, phone calls, arrangements, constantly signing more and more paper work. It was an exhausting week and by Saturday, the day to move all the incredibly heavy stuff that we had been putting off, I just wanted to crawl into my bed, pull the covers up and disappear. But then, Sunday afternoon after cleaning and polishing, we pulled out of the driveway for the very last time. And amongst the relieve, there was sadness.
3 Birch taught us how to farm. It was our first little patch of earth that we tried to turn into something special. It was the first home we ever owned. It was our little patch of something.
Morel mushrooms in the Spring scattered all across the front lawn.
We planted a small orchard of 4 apples trees and 2 pear trees, we’ll never get to enjoy the fruit from.
There was a massive blackberry bush that I finally had the time to harvest from this summer. We ate blackberries until our mouths were stained purple and we were so sick of them I couldn’t bear the thought of eating another. Until now, of course.
We learned that you can house goats and chickens in the same area, but it is a whole lot easier not too.
We learned about life there. Our first baby goat. Our first broody hen hatching out babies. Our first time tasting fresh goat milk. Our first egg.
And we learned about death there. Our first time butchering a rooster.
Our first time raising meat chickens.
Having to pull the trigger on my favourite hen to end her suffering. So many tears were shed there.
We learned about predators and livestock guardian dogs. How to rebuild soil, how to make do, and how to carry on when nothing is going your way.
We tapped our first maple trees, and spent a good portion of March boiling syrup. I still have some in the fridge that we use on our pancakes.
We completely gutted the back half of the house. Replaced windows, put up drywall, redid all of the flooring. We made it exactly how we wanted it, and then left it behind.
I will probably forever miss that kitchen. It was huge! So much counter space, so many cupboards, a walk in pantry and a walk in cooler, from its old restaurant days, that we used as a second pantry. When you live in a tiny house (like we do now) where do you store all your canning equipment? Where do you put your stock pots when you have hardly any cupboard space? This is stuff we’re still working through.
But with its giant living space, tons of cabinet room, a cold cellar the size of my current living room, dining room, and kitchen combined, it didn’t have the sky like we have here.
It didn’t have the view of the sunset going down over the ridge.
It didn’t have the endless vast acres for the dogs to wander.
It didn’t have a pond (that I am so excited to go skating on).
It didn’t have the potential that we have here.
And for as tiny (and currently messy) as this place is, there really is no place like home.
Goodbye, 3 Birch Farm. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for showing us what we want to do with our lives.