The cold month of December is one of most depressing here on the farm. It’s cold, everything appears to be gray and lifeless, it’s dark at 5:30, and spring is SO far away, or so it seems. I’m constantly breaking ice in the stock tubs and in the chicken waterer. I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be sub-zero temperatures for frost bite to begin to set in. I’ve also determined that although my beat-up, 5-year old pair of Ariats have served me well, I need some insulated boots (Santa take note for next Christmas!).
However, January brings new hope and more positive thinking:
• Seed catalogs arrive, inspiring thoughts of gardening and warmer weather
• New farm projects are born, such as planning for a new, bigger chicken coop and garden expansion
• I’ve finally regulated the temperature in the new incubator; it’s now ready for eggs!
• All of that horse manure that I’m shoveling every other day = Black Gold for the garden!
• And how can I possibly overlook the very pregnant cat who is now residing in my office?
This weekend, I was reminded of the circle of life (cue the Lion King song), and that the circle is never ending. With one ending comes countless new beginnings. And so it is here on the farm. Even during the coldest, seemingly lifeless month, life abounds. It lies dormant under the soil, within an egg, in unexpected places such as underneath a barrel… and yes, under my desk.
And so it is that January is one of my favorite times of year to be planning and setting goals; the weather is too unpredictable and cold to really accomplish much outside, however it’s perfect for sitting by the fire with a glass of wine and thinking about what I want to be doing, and what we can be doing as a family. It’s a time of making lists of projects and new plants I want to try, and figuring out what resources I need to do these things.
When we first moved to the farm, my daughter was 2 and I was pregnant with Ben. At the time, I was very overwhelmed with managing a farm basically by myself… it wasn’t until last year that the children could really help. But now that the children are getting older, they make fine farm hands; they already know that they will be picking vegetables as well as handling some of the horse-related chores.
And of course our planning wouldn’t be complete without thinking of fun things to do together, such as the 2013 Epic Road Trip (more on that later) and other family activities. We have many new beginnings planned, and in the works!
What new beginnings do you have planned in the coming year?
Although Stacy De Smet grew up on a dairy farm in south-central Pennsylvania, she never anticipated becoming a farmer herself, but that's exactly what happened when she and her family moved to a small farm in Taft, TN, in November of 2005. Over the years they have turned Misty Ridge Stables into a thriving family farm. In addition to boarding horses and running a local CSA, they also offer classes in canning, gardening and many other farm related topics.