This whole year has been both a struggle and a blessing. It seemed to just fly by and at times I wasn’t even sure what month we were in. Our 2012 was weird from day one. After talking to others we noticed that everyone’s year was a little “off” or “odd”. I couldn’t ever put my finger on it, but nothing about 2012 seemed to stick to the history of previous years… even our growing season! This past year we had the longest, hottest summer ever after an unprecedented mild winter. Pure craziness.
Two-thousand and twelve also seemed to be a time of true personal change. Perhaps you can relate as well. People have tired of stressful and draining relationships –both physical and emotional– and have decided to cut ties with whatever is not working in their lives be it a job, a friend, a life choice, an activity, a living arrangement, or a fill in the blank. We are all breaking bonds from whatever was previously holding us back. Yay us!
This year meant great change for our family as well. It was our first genuinely experimental year. Sure we have been here for longer than a year, but this was our first calendar year of farming from beginning to end. We were able to see what would and what wouldn’t work on our small rented lot.
We have experienced and learned from hardships, and prospered through successes. We learned so much more about the intricacies of honey bees, found happiness and friendships through rabbits, and laughed at and with silly chickens. Our biggest learning curve has been with the garden surprisingly. One might think that animals are the real mystery, but plant life has truly been our toughest subject. You can read and read all you like, but nothing can prepare you for actually working in the soil and relying on what it may or may not produce.
Between the lack of fencing in our neighborhood (there are no separating fences between yard lots for six houses on our side of the street) and the perpetually hungry deer that roam the housing development, we are limited to growing exactly within our 32×22′ garden. We have learned that anything outside that garden fence, even “deer-proof” plants, is food for the deer. Plain and simple. If you want to eat it, fence it in eight-feet high.
Our year was not solely in the garden as many of you regular readers know. Much of our “weird year” has been in the Rabbitry. Our best wool producing doe is not the best at producing offspring. I’m not going to say she was a perfect angel, but I also know to keep in mind that rabbits are notoriously bad mothers and perhaps she decided to go on a breeding strike but forgot to tell someone. Who knows. My favorite buck Seven, also had a rough time this year sealing the deal with the ladies– most undoubtedly due to his age, but I’m sure he will prove his worth in this next year.
Through all the lessons we have learned about potatoes and molting, planting and bacteria cultures, we have had fun. And we hope to continue to learn, grow, and thrive next year and for many more years to come with more DIY projects, a bigger more productive garden, and a love for everything we are doing here. Thank you all for reading about our tiny farm this year. The three of us love to hear from each and every one of you and the stories and experiences (and even insight) you have to share with us. We are in this journey together. Life should be an adventure and I hope 2013 will be just that!