Christmas 2018 and New Year 2019

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Merry Belated Christmas and a Happy New Year! I have taken a short hiatus from writing. It was much needed. It was starting to become a chore rather than something enjoyable. But the fact that the last week and a half before winter break is incredibly busy, doesn’t help. I teach high school special needs. Among actual teaching, it is also my job to insure the students on my caseload take any end of course exams for any of their general education courses. It is also my job to ensure that my kiddos are getting the accommodations they’re supposed to get. That stress is probably the main culprit in making writing feel more like a chore. Now Christmas is over and I’m feeling normal again. I don’t holiday well, though I do try. My husband gets into the Christmas spirit easily and my kids make it a lot more enjoyable, obviously.

Reflecting on 2018, I’m amazed at how much we have grown in just 3 years as a farm. It all started with six chicks after all. We got Apollo on our farm and he’s been a wonder. I’ve never had a working dog before. Even though he’s being encouraged to form strong bonds with other animals on the farm (including our house dogs), he and I really do share a special bond. We have our routine perimeter check we do (which also tips me off to any attempted escape routes we need to remedy for our new little explorer). We meet with the animals and he is greatly praised for being the calm natured boy that he is.

My biggest worry was introducing him to the donkeys. Donkeys instinctively hate dogs, and with good reason. The first two days were rough, but both pup and donkeys responded well to my presence as mediator. Now our youngest donkey, Merida, finds Apollo fascinating and she often gives him a good sniff and greets him when he enters their area.

We are forever revisiting plans for the hydroponic greenhouse. This is going to be a huge project. It’ll actually be a hurricane proof building though, big enough to make and store homemade soaps, tinctures, and salves. This greenhouse and my ambitions are what originally prompted the downsizing of our goat herd. I want to do it all, but simlpy don’t have the time. We’re going to add fencing and enlarge the animal roaming area, especially with Apollo and his future sister (coming in the springtime once she’s born) being added to the mix. I always find with pack animals–and I don’t know why–that the male/female partnership works well. Our huskies, Ghost and Novi, are male and female and inseparable. I’m all for gender equality, but there’s a pretty even balance in male/female pairings. I’m juggling between two names for the future sister. I’m thinking Artemis (I know a Diana and cannot pick that).

We also downsized–a lot. Over 50 trash bags full of stuff acquired in thirteen years that no one needs anymore. The decluttering feels phenomenal and I’m personally very happy with it. I’m looking for a clutter free new year, filled with animals and music. I’m determined to play more music than I allowed the past four months.

Merry Christmas, everyone! And a happy new year!

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Thanksgiving and the Importance of Family 2018

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Fair warning. This post is going to be pretty picture heavy. Although we were home for Thanksgiving, we traveled to Pennsylvania Monday and came home Wednesday night just before Thanksgiving.

I won’t lie. I was very antsy for several reasons. One being that this was the first time we have spent the night away from home (out-of-state even!) since we’ve lived on a farm. I was very hesitant to leave my animals. I have a very deep bond with my rabbit and I was very nervous to leave him behind. Our neighbors did a fantastic job keeping an eye on the animals. They even kept Willow, our bunny, at their house and let him out of his cage for exercise.

The other reason why my husband and I were both antsy is our children’s great-grandmother (my husband’s grandmother) is very ill. We went to be present while she was signed into hospice and to spend time with her. We’re very happy to see that she was open to the idea of hospice and that she was in such high spirits. She was very clear to what she wanted as she entered this phase of life and we’re grateful she has the opportunity to make these choices as too many in our world don’t get such an option. Our daughter is one of granny’s biggest fans. Although our children don’t understand the reason for our journey into the cold, they embraced the adventure with grace (first time flying and leaving Florida) and were more than ecstatic to see their family.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

We visited Granny at least once a day since we were there. She was in great spirits and was even up to a dinner outing with several family members on our second night there.



We took the kids into the snow on a small hike. It was their first time seeing snow. It was a great introduction because it was in the 40’s and the snow was melting. After spending time in nature, our son decided he wanted to move into the mountains.


We also had a small break on a playground, where both parents and children got to be kids.





We visited one of my favorite places to go: Gettysburg. I had to use the camera on my phone because I didn’t want to fly with my DSLR. So much happened there and although I love the rich history, it gets quite draining knowing what happened there and the terrible price many had to face in the name of war.

Both children were eager to know when our next trip will be. I wish we had an answer for them. I would love our next trip to be a warmer one. Like my children, I do love and miss mountains (never being one for the beach), even though I prefer the warmth of Florida. I was very happy to get to see Granny especially. She is a firecracker, but has always been especially kind to my family and to me. I have always enjoyed sitting with her and listening to her stories. This Thanksgiving, we were very thankful for the opportunity to spend time with family.


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