As 2019 comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on how fortunate I am. As I do my rounds during the peaceful mornings to bring out breakfast and again in the evening when I make sure everyone is tucked in safely for the night, I realize how thankful I am. For beautiful moments like like this. For the feather family that makes me smile every day no matter what kind of craziness is going on in the world around me. For good health and to be able to grow our own food and care for our animals. For my amazing husband who helps me live my dream in more ways than I could ever count. For the support of family and friends. For all of this. I. am. thankful.
Sure there were a few moments of heartache on the farm this year, it wouldn't be farm life without them. But overall, it was a year filled with many successes and fun memories. After losing both of our bee hives last winter, we installed a new package of honey bees this spring. The hive has gotten well established, and it is now in winter hibernation mode, and we won't see much of them until the first warm sunny days next year. We let our turkeys hatch poults (which is what turkey chicks are called) this spring as we have done for the last several years. The momma turkeys were not quite as skilled as in years past, so we lost a few poults at hatch which was really sad, but one momma successfully raised a pair of turkeys, a hen and a tom, which always adds a lot of fun and entertainment to the farm. The new turkey hen is fairly tame and will eat out of my hand, and I'm hopeful that one day I'll be able to make a lap turkey out of her! Most of our turkeys are pets, but the young tom turkey we raised this year was our contribution to the family Thanksgiving dinner. It's not an easy thing to do. But as meat eaters, taking responsibility for our food choices is so important, and this is one way that we have decided to do that.
It was a good year in the garden, as I wrote about a couple of posts ago. The glass gem popcorn was a highlight of the late summer garden. Another late season treat was the Brussels sprouts. I decided to grow them just for the fun of it since I got some seeds in a seed swap this spring. It's such a cool looking plant in the garden, and to actually get to harvest some was a thrill. This was the year that I finally did something with the quince that I've been feeling guilty about letting go to waste every year since we moved to the farm. I discovered that these odd fuzzy fruits that are surprisingly hard even when ripe make delicious jams and quince paste, and are quite sought after by people who have learned how delicious they are. Needles to say, I won't be letting those go to waste any more!
The silver lining in the passing of our beloved flock matriarch Raquel a couple of months ago is that I reunited Brown Rooster with the chicken flock. He had been picking on Raquel so I had him separated from the rest of the flock for several months. Now he is back in with the flock, many of which are young and in need of a protector, and the timing couldn't be more perfect due to the recent sighting of a young bobcat on our back deck! The photo below was taken looking through the kitchen window out into the coop that our bantam chickens live in on the back deck! We are on high security mode here, with no unsupervised free ranging and electric fences on 24-7, and thankfully everyone has stayed safe.
Some days, actually most days, are a lot of hard work. But other days I make time to just sit and enjoy watching the ladies grazing on the green grass, or laugh at the antics in the turkey yard, or take photos of pretty eggs, or if I'm especially lucky, get Mr. 5R to take an American Gothic photo with me for our holiday card. It is a deeply satisfying life being connected to the land, our food, the seasons, the natural cycles of life and death. I turned 50 this year, which makes you stop and take stock of everything in your life. I can honestly say that I am living my best life, and I'm so grateful to all of you for your support and for coming along for the ride.