It's funny -in an odd sort of way- to recall the path you've meandered during the last twelve months. To see how far you've come, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes. At the time I remember you still struggling to figure out which way to go. The gorge placed before you that you felt you'd either sail across like a free bird on a thermal or plummet down crushed against the rocks, drowing. Both were frightening ideas. Even just remembering it now, my heart quickens. Perhaps it's because I don't think you've quite made it to the other side.
The year started off with a rabbit. White like a cloud and intimidating as hell set in a cage on a covered porch in the city. Chores were easy and minimal then. In the spring, when the temperature soared close to three digits shaking hands and sharp shears cut virgin swaths of the softest substance known to man. I still have the reaped rewards in a ziplock bag in the closet.
One turned into three and death turned it to two. Another two, another loss and now there are three rabbits growing fat on organic oats and all the hay they can eat. So much was learned. So many mistakes made. Now steady hands will clear away winter coats in the springtime.
We learned to spin last year. The mechanics of turning the hair of animals into long strands of twirled yarn was awe inspiring. Another intimidating thing we quickly overcame. I look forward to warmer weather, a spinningwheel set up on the back deck, as kids run rampant through the yard.
The dog came next. A black and white thing we're still learning to train. But she's a good girl and smart. Sometimes too smart. Getting her working will help, I think.
The summer garden wasn't all we hoped it could have been but now two years of gardening experience grace us. There was something magical about stepping outside and bringing in food for the children. The taste of tomatoes hot from the summer sun is unlike anything else on earth. You can taste sunshine, did you know that? It's rich and pure. It bites into your tongue, radiates down your throat and fills your stomach with more than just food. Amazing stuff, that is. And throughly addictive.
This coming year will see yards and yards of garden and hours and hours of work. Square feet turn into percentages of acreage. But I look foward to it and my tongue can hardly wait for it's reward.
With rabbitry under our belts we expanded in the fall to include a handful of chickens. The weeks those puff balls sat on the freezer in the laundry room was both exasperating and exciting. A chicken coop was built and we learned how to free range and what that really meant. By the end of the year and help from family, four turned into eighteen. This year we're reaping the rewards of our backyard flock. A crate nearly full of small blue-green eggs with yolks the color of ripe Florida citrus are piled in the fridge next to the carcass of one of the four chicks from the fall.
But those things don't really add up to the leap we wanted. The leap we needed even though it was still so scary to think about and kept me up late nights with a head full of worry and doubt. The final act of the year was our move North. To land larger many times over than our small city home. To a house moved in on trucks and not the century old home filled with other people's memories. To a place filled with the safety of the woods and the wild danger of it.
This new year has already started out with a bang. Goats in the barn, draft horses working the field. Friends in neighbors and annoiance of seclusion. Early mornings and long days and the appreciation of working in my own farm and not a fantasy one online. This year we're doing, being, learning and bleeding out every drop of life we can from these next twelve months. Living with the motion of the seasons as Life carries us onward. Making food and friends and love. We might not be leaping, or flying or taking a plunge but we might just be building a bridge.