Eight Years from Sunday
Last Sunday marked the 8 year anniversary of our move to the farm. Every year that we've been here, I've thought wow - already? But 8 years sounds like a LOT more than any year before. This farm started as a ridiculous dream after I saw a few episodes of a TV show about some guys living on a farm in an old house in upstate New York. Then it became our reality and I still cannot believe it.
I always love to reminisce this time of year and look through photos of past years. It's a great exercise and reminder for me to focus on how far we've come, instead of dwelling on all of the things we haven't accomplished yet. (barn quilt anyone???)
I am always grateful for our ignorance and naiveté in buying this place. If we had truly thought about all of the work that would need to go into this farm - all of the money we would spend, all of the sacrifices we would have to make - we never would have done it. I know that with 100% certainty. And man, I am just so glad we did it. It's given us a life we NEVER could have fathomed, and a relationship that couldn't be closer. It is a life that is so much harder at times than we ever could have imagined, and always, always, always SO MUCH BETTER.
It's a real life on this farm, a raw life with a lot of loss and a lot of beautiful, simple moments.
I'll always remember when my Mom walked into our house for the first time. She turned around and looked at me, with tears in her eyes and said "this is the best thing you've ever done." And she was RIGHT!
It's taken 8 years for us to feel comfortable here. To feel like we really fit in and belong in this community, and in Wisconsin. We have the best neighbors and friends here and sometimes I feel like I live in a sitcom from the 50's. Especially when my neighbor Herbie drops the church donuts off.
I've learned that you become a lot stronger as a person when you live somewhere where it is sometimes a challenge to do something as simple as leaving the house. When you have to brave daunting elements to complete simple, everyday tasks, you appreciate the days and times when you don't have to. A lot.
Year number 8 was a great big, blurry year. We had some of the greatest days we've ever experienced here, as well as some of our biggest losses and lowest lows.
We lost our neighbor Frank this year. Our wonderful, hilarious, supremely well-mannered and dapper friend. The hole he left in my life here is immeasurable and I miss him, his advice and his overall presence like crazy.
We lost our faithful companion, our best girl and loving dog Gigi. While it wasn't completely unexpected - she was 14 and had really slowed down - it took us down.
We've once again experienced the loss of life that comes with owning a farm. And even though many people will say "that's farm life", it still hurts so much. A few weeks ago we lost Tammy Wynette for reasons we don't know or understand. Her calf cried for three days until she was hoarse and that about split our hearts in two.
The only thing we could come up with was that she may have not been able to get up while sleeping in a small dip in the pasture. We've since had that area filled in and flattened. But who knows if that was really what happened. It's so frustrating and mysterious, and I don't think we will every really know.
Our big moments this year were pretty big.
We grew our herd to its largest size at 15; 5 momma cows, 5 yearlings and 5 calves. For the first time, we sold 2 yearling heifers to a farm just across town. It felt so good knowing that they were going to a good home.
We fought for our event space and liquor license, and won. We are now waiting for ONE MORE THING to happen and we will have the green light to go full speed ahead.
Our farm was featured with Brian Kramp on the Fox 6 Milwaukee morning news. There was yoga and flowers and plein-air painting and Chef Abel Rosas cooked for everyone. It was an out-of-this-world experience - we were on a high after it for weeks.
We went on vacation together, just the two of us, for the first time in 10 years.
We grew lots of vegetables, berries and hops.
While the flowers took a bit of a back seat due to lots of work travel, we still had some lovelies show up.
Looking back on this year, I am humble and I am grateful. For this beautiful, messy, heartbreaking, delicious and incredibly full life.
I can't wait to celebrate number 9.