Reflections on 2012 – Life in the Country

2012 turned out to be a big year for us, full of many little victories.  After all the horrible setbacks of 2011 we are mighty grateful!  Words can’t even express how blessed and grateful!

Last year at this time and through February, we were clearing dead trees to create our little home site.  We put planted the garden in March and installed about 300 feet of water lines.  The house was delivered in April and we moved in towards the end of that month.  

In May, we celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary and we also added to our furry pack – a pup from the shelter that we named Cisco.  Gracie the cat still doesn’t like him, even though she has always lived with dogs.  Go figure.  (Cisco weighed 10 pounds when we brought him home, and now, at 9 months, he’s up to 70+ pounds!) About a week later, a lost kitty found her way to our little farm.  We named her Two Socks; she’s the best dog we have.

In June we started fencing a backyard.  We came up with our own design, and now that “phase one” is done, we have to brag just a little – it’s a pretty darn nice looking fence!  

In June we also canned 30 pints of homegrown diced tomatoes and I started making homemade yogurt every week.  We ate tons of zucchini and yellow squash from the garden and put 15 pounds of homegrown tomatillos in the freezer for making green enchilada sauce later.  The backyard fencing project continued all summer.  

In August, our wonderful, sweet, oldest dog Maggie passed away unexpectedly.   Oh how she is missed by all of us!  But her spirit is ever-present in the pasture.  Furry sister Ellie has never quite been the same.  You’ll never convince us that animals don’t grieve! 

In September we celebrated our one year pasture anniversary!  Looking back at pictures, the pasture looked like a moon scape the year before.  But with some tender loving care and some blessed winter rains, it came roaring back to life!  We’re in desperate need of rain still, but hope to start cutting hay this next year.  I also started making all of our own bread in September – we don’t buy it from the store anymore.  

In October, an itty, bitty kitten showed up at the farm.  He couldn’t have been more than 6-8 weeks old, if that.  He started out as Kicking Bird (KB), but he’s so fast, we now call him Dash.  Then a few days later, another kitten, about 3 or 4 months old, showed up.  We named her Nala because we had just seen the Lion King on tv and she kind of looks like Nala.  So now we have barn kitties, but no barn…yet.   In the meantime, Dash has recently decided he likes being a man of leisure and has moved inside and made himself right at home.  It frightens us to think of what they went through to make it to us – especially Dash.  How dangerous it was for them to be on their own out there.  Whatever happened, we’re glad they showed up to be a part of our family.  

We had broccoli and green and purple cabbage in the winter garden.  The wild extremes in our temps killed it all off.  We weren’t prepared this year with a cold frame.  And after days of high 70s and low 80s, who could have predicted it would drop to 18 degrees in 24 hours!   And it’s done that a couple of times.  Unseasonably warm to unusually cold.   But the beauty of mild winters is that there is time to try some cabbage again (I’ll be growing heirloom varieties from seed).  I’m getting the seeds started in the house and will transplant in January.  It should be done producing by the time the spring air starts to warm and spring garden seedlings and are ready to be transplanted.  

On that note, we are already making plans for the spring garden.  We will stick with strictly heirloom varieties like we did last year.  Only this year, we will endeavor to save seeds.  Learned that lesson just this week…one of the tomatoes we liked the most was the Sioux variety.  But the seed company we bought from last year doesn’t have them this year.  I’m sure there are other great varieties, but we will hopefully still have good germination from the seeds we bought last year and will definitely save our own seeds for the future.  

We have also started phase two of our fencing plan, which will include a chicken/duck run and coops.  We were planning to have it all done in time for spring chicks/ducklings.  And we’re making good progress now that it’s not so hot outside!  But everything has been kicking into high gear after receiving a surprise Christmas present of a pair of two-week old chicks!  They are living in the laundry room in a large box for now, but will need outdoor quarters in the very near future!

Oh!  I almost forgot…we have some bees ordered for this spring too!  We’re excited to try once again and hope to have better luck this time around.  The hives are already built, so we’re ready to go. 

Happy New Year to you all!  May your year be filled will health, joy and creativity!

Until next time…worms rock and bees rule. 

Published on Jan 1, 2013

Grit Magazine

Live The Good Life with GRIT!