Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, in part because it hasn’t been entirely corrupted by capitalism (yet). At times, though, the gratitude talk gets a bit inauthentic–as if we remember to be grateful one day per year.
Having a homestead has definitely made me more grateful, though. When you rely on the weather, seeds, starts, animals, soil, and many other factors to produce food and wool, you become more cognizant of how much we depend on the natural world. That dependency is even more apparent to those who farm to survive. However, many in the industrialized world now take adequate rain or good germination rates for granted, although they may be nonetheless affected when crops fail or animals die–and prices go up at the grocery store. Higher prices for eggs or avocados are less tangible and immediate, though, than when you actually see dying plants (or, alas, animals), dried up soil, or all weeds and no crops.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are some of the things we are grateful for this year at White Pine Farm.
- No drought this summer. Much less schlepping water, dragging hoses everywhere all the time.
- Grass that grew and grew and grew in the sun and rain for the growing season, supporting 11 sheep and 1 llama from early April to mid-November, only winding down in the last week or so.
- Adequate rain so that we weren’t hit by extra high hay bills when hay is scarce.
- An apple tree that completely fell over during a very wet and windy spell in the spring, but miraculously went on to produce many nice apples in late summer.
- Tomato plants that patiently held on through a relatively mild summer, waiting for a surge of heat in late summer and early fall.
- Mason jars. What did we do without them???
- Tom the rooster for helping protect the hens and chicks.
- Caroline and Ella for being good hen-moms and raising new cohorts of chickies.
- Chickens who eat everything (for better and for worse).
- Organic, truly locavore eggs (that also make non-organic, pasture-raised eggs now hard to eat).
- Worms and bugs, which help feed the chickens (mmm).
- Compost for doing its miraculous compost thing.
- Chicken and sheep poop, which goes into the compost, decomposes, and enriches the garden.
- Cinnamon for delivering Chaco and Francisco so easily, especially given how the next two ewe births went.
- Delinquent, first-time mother June Bug for eventually bonding enough with Crescent and Joseph to become a good ewe-mom after a very rough start.
- Cutie twins Crescent and Joseph who are, well, complete cuties.
- That sweet Joseph was “only” injured in the coyote attack in early August.
- Cornell vet for providing world-class vet care for little more than a house call fee. We couldn’t do this without them, especially sheep specialist Dr. Smith.
- Diego the llama for adjusting to our farm (unlike his father who lives up the hill from us and has not adjusted to his new home) and becoming a fierce protector and sweet friend of the sheep.