The new year

Any given year offers many chances for fresh starts. As a student, I loved September, with brand new notebooks, and the promise of exciting classes. For gardeners, spring heralds a beginning: new seeds to experiment with, adjustments to soil or placement of plants, and plans for more diligent weeding. And of course, there is January 1, the start of a calendar year. Twelve months stretching ahead in which to tackle those unfinished projects from the previous year, and to undertake new ones.

Every New Year I make a few resolutions. Nothing formal; a mental checklist of things I hope to accomplish. A few items repeat each year: I am still working on patience…I always seem to have room for improvement there. By December I have eaten too much sugar (and flour, and butter) and am eager for a healthier diet and exercise regimen. Mostly, though, I look forward to new opportunities and challenges.

2011 has been an interesting year. Not all great, but in balance it has been happy, and exciting. Cherisse and I got married this past January in Northampton, MA in a very small outdoor ceremony—making legal a relationship more than two decades long. We got our chickens, which have provided endless entertainment as well as a steady supply of eggs. Cherisse, with help from Cathleen and Mat, built a chicken palace. Thanks to Jack and Lucy, the chickens have electricity and a clever pop-up door. We added a second beehive and harvested our first honey. We planted pear trees, a gift from Greg Peck. A few new vegetables were tried out in the garden; some of these will make the Fedco seed list for 2012, but not all. Eight days without power prompted us to finally get a generator. A huge oil bill hastened our switch to a woodstove. And throughout the year we were lucky enough to enjoy the company of family and friends.

All of which makes me look forward to 2012. High on my unofficial list is to volunteer more (I have something in mind). Cherisse and I would like to create a product (or products) from Maggie’s Farm. There are those house projects carried over from year to year (slowly whittling down), and the barn roof needs replacing. Will we get goats?

No doubt many surprises will occur during the year, shaping our lives in unexpected ways. I enjoy the unknown, secure in the love and support of my wonderful family and friends. They make anything possible. Happy New Year.

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