First and foremost, I want to wish all of my readers happy holidays. Whether you live out here or simply enjoy reading about it, these occasions are often a time when families and friends bridge the …
First and foremost, I want to wish all of my readers happy holidays. Whether you live out here or simply enjoy reading about it, these occasions are often a time when families and friends bridge the gap between city mouse and country mouse, enjoying each other’s environments, if only to be a little closer to one another.
As I write this, I’m enjoying a quiet late-December evening, reflecting on all of the blessings of the last year, while my most recent one rocks in the bassinet beside me. Yes, my second son was born a week before Christmas; he was just shy of 11 pounds. He and my wife have been relaxing and recovering since then, and it’s been nice to take refuge in these still moments in between the hectic days. And yes, young Mr. Walker Hill is a good cuddler.
Of course, I wouldn’t rank anything this year as momentous as his arrival, but all the same, it has been quite a big year for the family. If you’ve been following the column, you’ll know that my wife and I started the year by reaching new heights with our meat chicken business, before shelving it in order to sell our home of four years to look into purchasing a larger farm.
While we haven’t yet secured a new farm to call our own, we’ve made offers and had some skin in the game, so to speak, and will hold out for whatever God has in store for us. (Anyone want to sell their farm?)
While house-hunting, we took up the mantle of the old Mueller vegetable stand on 652 Beach Lake Highway, launching our own business, Hillstead Farm.
Along with that we had our first successful harvest of garlic scapes and of course garlic bulbs, and attempted to grow other crops to be sold at the farmstand, including tomatoes, potatoes, onions, corn, squash and more. While we weren’t 100 percent successful at these endeavors, we learned a lot and gave ourselves a good leg up for next year.
My wife, as I write this, is on the other side of our son, completing our order sheet for spring seeds and equipment.
If all that weren’t enough for one year, I made the switch just two months ago from my desk job to butchering full time at my wife’s family farm. I have a few scars from my short-term education, but I already feel like I’ve been there forever, and I look forward to being there for quite some time.
We’ve done so much in the last year in terms of major milestones, let alone the smaller achievements like learning new canning recipes and other skills that will go toward our future farm business.
As I try to recall just how many little accomplishments and interesting adventures we’ve shared, the to-do list in the back of my mind is reignited with ambition for the New Year and what we can do with the momentum we’ve gained. I pray we do find our future farm this year and begin to build the infrastructure of our chickens and vegetables and other projects like honeybees and orchards. Perhaps we’ll have enough success to get our first tractor, even if it is a good find from an old barn.
I’ll say this: while the goal is, of course, to make money and have a successful business, the real goal is to keep living this great adventure I’ve had the privilege of sharing with you good folks.
No matter what the new year brings, the way out here is much like a quote from one of my favorite authors, Terry Goodkind: “Your life is your own. Rise up and live it.”
As a country man, I embrace the spirit of this quote to step up and work for what you want. As a Christian man and a father, I would amend it to my sons and my readers alike, that while our lives are our own, they are God’s, most of all, to do with as He wills. I close this year with thankfulness, not only for the blessings He has given my family this year, but that He has led me to live the way out here, and that each day I wake up, He continues to give me breath in His creation.
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