This year, in short, has been hard. There have been so very many good things too, in regard to the farm, the fiber, connections with people, and personal growth. Looking back, it seems impossible to say that it was a "bad" year, because the difficulty and hardship feel inextricably bound to the all the good. 

I am living a life that I love. I feel blessed with the sheer number of wonderful, giving, talented, kind souls that have made their way into my life. Though difficult at times, homeschooling has become a part of this lifestyle, as opposed to it being just another commitment. I am able to use my creative inclinations almost on a daily basis...whether with photography or knitting or just in the way I choose to fold the laundry. My life has become one of deep connectedness to the natural rhythms of the earth, seasons, life and death. 

Those words, life and death, are scary for the general public, I believe. We tend to think of them only in terms of what they represent in the physical realm. Anyone that farms can tell you many stories of life's beginning and endings, as we have no choice but to face them on a daily basis. We are all quite matter of fact around here when a chicken meets its demise with a fox or fisher, and the children even more so than I when we lose a goat or a sheep. I still weep when I recall our first trip to the butcher with the lambs this fall, and I don't know for sure that it will get any easier. And I think that's okay. What helped me to get through it was being handed the still-warm skins to prepare them for drying. My tears mixed with the salt I was scattering, and as I witnessed the twitching and death of the nerve endings, I felt I was being given the opportunity to truly worship the process. I gave my thanks over and over and over, and even now, as I have the softest and most beautiful reminder of that life and death process beside me, I question it all. I question my right to take their life, I question my right to even raise them. But, as I watch so many of todays children and adults become more and more comfortable with not questioning these hard things, it feels right. How can we learn not to fear the most difficult of topics unless we understand that its all a part of a much greater picture?

This year, in other ways, has been a year in which I have had to truly question many things, as those closest to me are aware. A year that demanded major life-changing decisions and deep, heartbreaking talks with many tears. A year of hurt, of healing, of grief, of growth and ultimately, the birth and death of self

As this year approaches its end, I am ready. It has been long, and hard, and wonderful and sad, filled with sorrow and joy and excitement and frustration. I am grateful to every single person that played their part, little or big, in the story of 2017. Time to move forward.