And now  we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.

– Rainer Maria Rilker

 

What a year 2016 has been here for us on the farm. I can’t believe we have already celebrated Christmas and that tonight when the clock strikes midnight, we will be welcoming in the new year, 2017. Where does the time go?!

We can confidently say that we accomplished a lot here in the past year. That we faced our fair share of challenges and obstacles, that we met and exceeded goals we’d set for ourselves and that we’ve created new opportunities and dreams for our future.

Perhaps my favourite memory for 2016 is that the manIMG_20160824_082100 I love and want to spend the rest of my life with, asked me to marry him! That he got down on one knee, in the rain, in the mud and asked me to spend the rest of my life making a living with him. And I can’t wait to do just that! While we don’t have anything set in stone yet, there are 365 days in 2017, and I am sure one of those days will come to find us married. I cannot wait to become Mrs. Burch.

This year brought with it too its fair share of hard times and challenges, that together we weathered through and grew because of. This time last year was one of the last days of work Dan put in with a company he had worked hard for for ten years. When the oil slump hit Alberta, it also hit us hard as well. Unforseen finanacial costs put a dent in savings and a life lived comfotably had all of a sudden taken a turn. It was a great learning experience for us. Learning what the most important things in life were, that together we could make it through anything and that we maybe really were meant for the simple life after all. We made it through the slump, and after a year of no work, Dan has found himself in the perfect job for our future. I am a true believer that things happen for a reason.

In this past year we have watched our land grow from a piece of property to a homestead in the making. What started two summers ago with six laying hens as a birthday gift, has turned into twenty laying hens, two different coop setups and a big chicken enclosure. We rescued three little pot belly pig brothers and welcomed them to our farm this past summer, as well as four pigs we raised for butcher in November. We just got all the meat back and we will be heading into the new year with a freezer full! Last, but certainly not least, for Christmas I received two miniature donkeys as a gift. Our little farm is surely growing and I couldn’t be happier about the direction we are going.

We increased the size of the vegetable garden in the summer, and while Mother Nature may not have been on our side, we found Fall with lots still to harvest and add the the pantry. We planted a few more varieties of fruit trees, a couple fruit bushes and new flower beds. We tried our hand at some new preservative recipes, including a family favourite Tomato Chutney, from Dan’s Grandma Sweetie Pie. We are hoping this year to make the move into exploring life with bees. It will be a work in progress and a learning curve for sure, but we are excited to move forward with our little farm and to help out nature by raising bees.

More land and cut lines were cleared, new trails forged through the bush and a big watering hole dug out in the back. This year will be a year for adding the last touches on fencing, planning out corrals and new barn plans to be thought of. It may find us with a few more critters in our care, you just never know!

msjeanThere was also sadness brought with the past year. We lost my Grandpa William who had battled with lung cancer and kidney issues. He was a strong man who held on. My Grandma is even stronger for continuing on with life and for being there for our family. We also said goodbye to my little Emma Jean, my first and only dog, my little pugger, my shadow my best friend. It was so hard to be out West away from family while all these losses happened, but I have an amazing support network and could feel the love all the way across the country.

We are playing this New Year’s Eve low key, as we have had a crazy couple of weeks celebrating the Christmas holidays. We are not venturing far from home, and plan on spending the day tending to the animals, perhaps checking some of our game cameras out back and even getting in some snow shoeing. With the sunshine the last couple of days I have been out shoeing around our back fence line. It is one of my favourite winter past times! I love creating a set of tracks in fresh untouched snow, listening to the way the shoes crunch along. And of course having my side kick Lily to guide and keep me company.

May everyone enjoy their evening, may you be surrounded by friends, family or the one you love. May you look back on 2016 with happiness and accomplishment and look forward to 2017 with hope and eagerness. A very Happy New Year to all!

Here are my resolutions for the new year:

A new skill I’d like to learn: bee keeping, shearing, and fibre spinning.

A place I’d like to visit: Bora Bora, Nashville

A book I’d like to read: I have a pile of books I received through a book exchange, I want to have each one read before the summers end.

A letter I’m going to write: I want to make sure I send more letters to my Grandma and more phone calls. I want to make it a Sunday evening thing.

A new food I’d like to try: Not really a food but I want to try Kombucha and try making my own.

I’m going to do better at: Being patient, being kind and being me!

 

See you all in 2017!!!

 

 

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