Just like that…

Just like that…

I didn’t believe the adults in my life who told me, when I was still young and free and hadn’t a care in the world, that the older I’d get, the faster time would pass.

And yet, here I sit on the third day of a brand new year, wondering where the time has gone.

It’s true that 2017 went by in a bit of a haze for me.

In the big picture, it was a rough year, full of shattered perceptions, a full awakening as to how truly broken and divided our country is, and continuous awareness around how deeply privileged I am/we are.

The pendulum swung hard and knocked many of us on our asses.

So much internal work was done and there is still so much more to do (internally *and externally), but I firmly believe our wounds must come to the surface so they can truly be seen, addressed, and healed.

And so it shall be.

Of course, farm life has its own ebb and flow.

An abundance of life can be followed by sudden and devastating loss (like a handful of ducklings pecked off one by one by the neighborhood ravens).

And sometimes the puppy you thought you’d watch grow into an old man has another path to follow.

But of course, baby goats help to balance it all out and a bountiful harvest doesn’t hurt either.

Though the pain remains, Nature has a lovely way of tempering it all with fluffy butts and an endless cycle of reflection and hope in the sowing, growing, and harvesting of it all.

2017 also brought a couple of injuries and health challenges that have reignited our insistence on self-care and a determination to find a healthy work/life balance.  Not only do Kim and I want to grow old together, we deeply long to continue pursuing this whole farming thing and in order to do both, our physical / mental / emotional / spiritual health must be kept front and center as we move forward.

And so it shall be.

2018 lies in front of us like a perfect chapter just waiting to be written, with words and actions, experiences and dreams just on the other side of the bend…just out of sight and imperfectly perfect…and I couldn’t be happier for the journey.

And so, as we slide into moving our entire homestead two hours south of our current location in what we hope will be our final move before finding our Forever Farm, all free hours of each day will be spent packing and purging and preparing for new beginnings and steep learning curves.

I’m already tired and we have (literal and figurative) miles to go…

But I find strength in the knowledge that we will be rewarded for our efforts with berries galore next summer, so there’s that 😉

In terms of “resolutions”/big picture goals for the year ahead, I (and we) do have a few:

Get Organized / Simplify

This will happen/is happening out of necessity already as we slowly go through our belongings and purge that which no longer serves us. Throughout this process, however, we’ve become acutely aware that we have spent the last few years stretching ourselves in ways that are not healthy or sustainable.

We’ve done too much too fast.

Our Farm Life is so full and incredibly lovely and…so very exhausting.

When coupled with full-time non-profit jobs (read: heart work), an hour commute each way, and a small child running about, something has to give.

We’re working on animal management plans and division of labor and aiming to really and truly work smarter, not harder in the coming months. With 50 animals to care for on a daily basis (plus us three humans), there is no other choice unless we want to lose ourselves in the process.

Which is exactly what we don’t want to do.

Work Less, Play More

We love our jobs, we really do…and we’re blessed to work for organizations whose missions we are passionate about (Kim: empowering girls to be their truest, smartest, and boldest selves, Me: local agriculture and food access), but we have come to the realization that we give way too much time and energy to our jobs. They follow us home via endless conversations, brainstorming sessions, and answering emails on our phones at all hours of the day and night and even sometimes on the weekends.

It’s not good for either of us individually, as a couple, or as a family.

And so we intend to do better and make some shifts in our habits.

We have also been made acutely aware of our lack of actual vacation time. We tend to say, “Oh yeah! We should go to ___ in May!” And then January turns in February, March, and April and we’ve made no plans and life gets busy and so we don’t go anywhere in May.

Then, we make another “plan” and the cycle continues.

2018 will be different.

There will be actual plans, reservations, and follow through.

Experiences will be had, memories will be made, damn it 🙂

Put Pen to Paper (or something like that)

I write poems and paragraphs in my head all the time, the problem is in taking the time to put the words down on actual paper (or on whichever screen is close enough to grab). Whether in my journal, in this space, or on a random piece of scrap paper, I intend to gift myself the space and time to take the words floating in my head and get them out into the world in 2018.

2017 held the least posts in this space since I began writing here in 2011 and the worrier in me fears that so many important moments, not captured, will be lost to me, to us, since they are not captured here. In reality, I know each moment lives on and will float on up to the surface when the time is right, but oh how I miss using this space as a keeper of records.

I have toyed with the idea of goals (you know, write X words every day, etc.) and have decided not to put the intention into a box, but instead let it flow however it needs to…so we’ll see how it goes. Feels a little loosey-goosey, but I’ll take it for now.

That’s it. Three (not so) little goals for the year ahead.

Should be easy enough to accomplish, right? 😉

Of course, this wouldn’t be a proper reflections post without a couple end-of-the-year lists, would it? Nawwww… 😉

My Favorite Posts of 2017 (in no particular order)

Top 7 DIY Posts of 2017

  1. Homestead Hacks – Pinterest is a magical beast, having driven over 11,000 people to this post in 2017 alone even though it was written in 2014 and has been ignored by me for almost as long. The Internet is a trip, isn’t it?
  2. Sowing, Growing, and Harvesting Echinacea – Another oldie that Pinterest loves despite my absence there. Who knew?!
  3. 1/8 acre Urban Farm– This page continues to see consistent traffic which makes my heart happy. I’d love to see everyone in an urban area cultivate a tiny patch of dirt, no matter how small.
  4. How to Pressure Cook an Old Laying Hen – Though I can’t imagine over 2500 people have found their way to this post in 2017 because they are actually looking to pressure cook an old laying hen, I guess anything is possible. If I had to wager a guess, most are simply looking to pressure cook a regular old chicken, but I’ll take the traffic regardless 😉
  5. Three Ways to Store Roasted Hatch Chile – Anyone looking to store green chile is good in my book, no matter how they’ve found their way to this space.
  6. How to Re-Hydrate Dried Cranberries – The continued popularity of this 2013 post blows me away simply because all of the traffic comes via Google Search and comes right around Thanksgiving and Christmas when fresh cranberries are actually in season and there’s really no reason (to my mind) to mess with the dried version of such a delicious jewel. But to each their own, right?
  7. How to Make Tomato Powder – Because everyone loves the taste of fresh tomatoes no matter what time of year it is.

And there you have it. Another year in the books…and another one already in progress!

Thank you for sharing this journey of ours through this space!  I am so grateful for you! 🙂

Wishing you and yours a joyous and abundant 2018!

xoxo,
M

Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

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