Looking out my window at the beginning of this new year, I see a big garden slumbering under a blanket of leaves that was bountiful and beautiful this summer. Beyond that, I see a large plowed field growing a winter cover crop and an enormous pile of wood chips waiting to become more pathways and mulch. In this still time of winter, when I look back over the past year, I see a lot of hard work and dreams realized. I also see that I'm going to need a little rest before I jump back into it out there, and thank goodness winter is a time for resting.
So, here we are on a frosty morning at the beginning of the new year. Whenever I feel that progress on our homesteading endeavors has been incredibly slow over the past couple of months, it helps to look at the big picture of the year as a whole.
Here's the place when we first looked at it a year and a half ago in May. It was a lot of open ground, a lot of grassy field with potential, and a very solid old farmhouse. After our long, exhausting house hunt, things fell into place very quickly and this became home. Getting our family and our flock of chickens moved and settled occupied the summer and fall, as well as the important tasks of installing a wood stove and re-lining the chimney to meet code. Then there was the search for firewood and construction of a woodshed. Our agricultural pursuits were limited to building a flower bed that wrapped most of the way around the house and transplanting all of our rag-tag bunch of herbs and perennials we had been hauling around with us all those years. Our neighbor plowed the future garden and we sowed a winter cover crop. By the time the holidays were over and 2010 began, we were ready to jump into a year of living on a small farm and get our hands dirty...really dirty.
We gave our chickens their own large pasture to free range on in anticipation for all the new chicks we ordered from the feed store. They were sure happy to roam around eating all those bugs and fresh green things, and with around 30 chickens in our flock by the end of the spring, they all needed the extra space!
We built some raised beds and planted potatoes in straw, and put in rhubarb and raspberries out in front of the kitchen window. Little by little, the lawn was giving way to food production space.
It was a good feeling to look out at that open space of possibilities.
The winter came and things were very quiet outdoors.
Beyond the garden gate, it looks as though there isn't very much going on right now, but some of the most important things in life are unseen. Little seeds and dreams lie dormant, preparing and saving up energy for a new year of work and growth ahead. With all the work of this past year under our belts, we have a lot to build upon from here. In the stillness and resting time of the new year, I am looking forward to germinating more dreams and continuing to create this life I have set out to live.