2014 was a sprint of a year for Peter and Mo: we started a farm, built a CSA, started a homestead and started a family all in one very swift season.We purchased our land in February, moved into our tent in March, moved into our homemade yurt in April and sealed up the timber frame studio in November. We planted 8,000 hawthorn, apple, oak, hickory, and hazelnut trees by hand. We grazed 55 chickens, 10 mama cows and 9 calves, 8 steers, 2 heifers, 17 pigs, 25 lambs and 2 goats. We began clearing out white and red pines from the old plantation, built a new 16x 16 timber frame studio all from wood harvested on site, hosted 50 people at two separate design courses and sold thousands of pounds of pastured meat to customers around the country. We felt overjoyed, overwhelmed, tired, exuberant, insane, satisfied and frustrated, sometimes all at the same time.
Now from the comfort of the couch by the woodstove with a solstice sun streaming through the windows and two dogs by my side, I feel blessed and thankful for the experiences we’ve shared and the people who have helped us. We are thankful for our parents, who have become partners in real estate with us, opened their doors to us for warm showers, wireless internet and a place to sleep in the worst of weather, and for letting us run about like dirty, wild kids without too much criticism. We are thankful to our customers, who have trusted us to provide them food throughout the year, and opened up the avenue for us to share our passions for ecology, eating and health with them as we build a network of conscious eaters and really good people. We are thankful to the friends and community we’ve made, both near and far, and those we’ve never even met, who have inspired us, encouraged us and kept us sane when we sometimes felt most alone. We are thankful to each other, for toughing it out in the big thunderstorms when rain poured in through the roof, when we hid out in the Liberty Bar eating frozen pizza when it was too cold to cook outside our tent, for endless days moving electric netting through gazillions of prickly plants, for working in the freezing rain, hail, heat and snow, and for smiling all the while. Thank you, little farm, for always welcoming us home with your sunny valley, dancing oaks and burbling spring and for affirming in us the belief that true joy can only be known through humility, tenacity and trust.
And of course, none of this is finished. There is still more gap-filling and siding and building to be done on the timber frame, there is paperwork and business stuff, and another year (and a baby!) to plan and get ready for.We’re designing our own farm and homestead as well as 3 others in the Midwest. We are planning more courses for next year, tree planting and water management projects, as well as more infrastructure, grazing layouts and revamping our farm and design businesses. Even as we charge ahead into 2015, it feels good to take a breath in reflection and gratitude of the year now past. Honestly, we wouldn’t have done it any other way.