We End Up Together

"Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize - we're floating in space -
Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round."
-Wayne Coyne

There are many things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my lovely wife, Sarah. This year, we celebrated our 11th year of marriage, and our 14th year together. She is my favorite artist, and she adds the color to my life.

While we may have differing opinions on many things, including how much stuff should hang on our walls, I am glad that her taste in decor is second only to her taste in men.

She loves me despite my faults and is the best thing that ever happened to me. I feel blessed to share my dreams with her.

I am thankful for the two beautiful, unique girls we get to spend our days with, Dagan and Talia. I can't believe that they are (nearly) 12 and 9.

Their energy is infectious, and they help keep things fresh. I hope that their love for themselves, each other, and the world around them continues to blossom as they do.

I am thankful for our parents. We were both lucky enough to grow up in homes where love and respect came before everything else. We would obviously not be where we are without their love and support. They were the first members of our farm.

I am also thankful for our siblings and their
families. Sarahs's sister Emily is a horticulturalist who has worked at some of the best botanical gardens in the country, including in Omaha where she met her boyfriend, Neil. She is currently teaching kids gardening at UT-Knoxville. Emily has always had a special relationship with our girls.

My brother owned a painting biz near St. Louis for more than a decade, before giving it up last year to start a new business with his father-in-law. Luckily for us (and our house), he kept some of the equipment and all of the knowledge. He married Karen the same year that Sarah and I were married, and they have two wonderful daughters.

I am equally thankful to our friends and neighbors whose emotional and physical support helps this farm function. Bob and Sharron down the road have lent us equipment for nearly every project over the last year. Gale has helped keep the critters fed (one in particular).

I am thankful for the home that we share together. We bought the farm, so to speak, five years ago next week.

When Sarah saw it for the first time, she called me at work and told me she found our home. We put a contract on it that night.

I am happy to say that it was one of the best decisions we've made.

I am thankful for our CSA members. When we moved here, we knew we wanted to grow food, but were intimidated by the prospect of trying to sell it.

We didn't even know what CSA stood for, let alone how vital it would be to our livelihood in such a short time. Without our members, transitioning to full-time farming would be impossible, but thanks to them, it may be a reality within a few years.

Our members this year endured all of the trials and tribs of belonging to a new CSA, in addition to what some locals say was the worst drought in memory. It is nearly impossible to meet all of your own expectations for the coming year as a farmer, but with the encouragement of our members, we all persisted and have many positive experiences to look back on and another season to look forward to.

Last, but not least, I am thankful for the animals in our lives.

Yes, even Pee-Wee, though he decided he would move to his "retirement home" down the road instead of staying with us.

I will keep telling myself that there were 6 reasons for this, and that the humans weren't one of them.

We got three shipments of chicks this year. We now have two hen houses, with 21 & 28 hens each.

We also raised two rounds of broilers this year. One of them will be dinner today. Perhaps next year will bring turkeys to the farm.

With all of the growing going on at the farm, it is not without some sadness.

A few days after I thought I heard crying coming from the treeline, I went out to feed the broilers, who were still living in a mini "coop", at the time. I was startled by a gray blur, which darted from the box into the woods.

After a couple of days of coaxing with some chicken, she came close enough for the girls to see her. They caught her while she was playing on the woodpile.

Though Pepper had a contusion on her lower lip and was quite thin, she was happy to take up residence on the porch. She was determined to be about ten weeks, and grew to be a wonderful addition to the family. It was as if she found us.

Sadly, during the painting of our house, she ran off to avoid the commotion, and probably the dogs. While she had really gained her legs, she was still small and naive. I didn't think much about moving her usual perch into the yard to clean the porch for painting since it was daytime, but it was truly a fatal mistake.

After a long night and morning, we found her. We are unsure whether it was the Great Horned Owl that had claimed some of our broilers earlier in the year, or one of the pair of Red-Tailed Hawks that live near here.

Her life was short, but we like to think she found a little happiness at the farm before she left us.

She taught me that I am not just a dog person. I am very thankful for that.


Dave said...

Jason, Sarah, Dagan and Talia,
We are proud of the hard work you have put into the farm the past 5 years in making it your home!!!
We love you all,
Mom and Dad

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