Ewe've Come A Long Way, Baby
Just surviving 2021 is an accomplishment. You made it through setbacks and hard times and endless bad news. I’m so proud of you. - Juliet, the little lambie that just kept on surviving.
Here’s What’s Happening On Good Spirits Farm
I can’t help but spend the last few weeks of this year reflecting on everything that has happened on the farm in 2021. This year had so many little miracles, like Juliet somehow beating the odds over and over again. I can’t believe the tiny, slimy, wonky-legged, rejected-by-her-mother lamb I found nearly lifeless in the field is now thriving.
But it’s also had its fair share of heartbreak. I think about sweet Sebastian often. He deserved a better life than what he got. I’m glad I could show him love in the blink of time he was on this planet. I still wish there was more I could have done to help him, though.
There was the heartache of losing our family dog after 14 wonderful years together. (Losing her while Chris was out working on a wildfire was especially awful.) All of the sudden, our farm had a little animal cemetery on it. That was a real low point.
Then there was the joy of walking out to find a hen had secretly hatched a clutch of 13 eggs. This happy surprise was followed a few weeks later by the sorrow of Mama Hen dying defending her babies. All 13 babies survived a predator attack, but we found nothing but feathers from our devoted Mama Hen.
Remember when Petey was born in a late spring snowstorm and Julia, a first-time mom, wouldn’t let him nurse? Oh, how I thought we were going to lose him as he got colder and colder and our window of getting nutrient-rich colostrum into him started to close. What sweet relief it was when we finally got Julia to trust us as we held her in place and helped Petey latch. Then, getting a nervous mom (who was still working on passing her afterbirth) and a wet newborn calf across the farm to the warmth of the barn was its own challenge. Even a newborn calf is surprisingly heavy—I think Chris may have thrown out his back carrying Petey to safety. But we did it.
I have laughed, I have cried, I have had my heart filled with joy, and I have spent oh so much time worrying about everything. I have wondered if the physical demands of farming are something I can do long-term, and I’ve yearned for a weekend off the farm—just for a tiny break. I’ve looked at real estate sites and wondered if we should sell while the market is hot. But: I’ve also had so much warmth and love brought into my life by the company of these critters. I’m not ready to give that up just yet.
Here’s to 2022 being a better year. I know a little more than I did last year, and in farming, knowledge is such power. There will still be farm emergencies and catastrophes. The sheep will get loose, the cows will refuse to cooperate, the chickens will go on strike when egg demand is highest, the electric fence will give up the ghost. It’s all just part of it.
But I tell you what: Not a single day will be ordinary. And considering that, as far as I know, I only get to do this life thing once, that feels pretty extraordinary. I’m so lucky to be here, and I’m so lucky you all are willing to share this adventure with me.
Here’s What I Loved This Week
All of you who have cared about our little farm in 2021. Thank you for reading, sending notes of encouragement, and sharing this newsletter with your friends. Farm work can be lonely work. It means so much to know that somewhere out there, a community of friends is cheering us all on.
Oh, also: We are starting to think about next year on the farm. For folks that might want to be customers of ours — near or far — would you mind filling out this survey on the farm products you’re most excited about?
Merry Christmas from our silly little crew. See y’all in 2022.