It feels like decades since I’ve sat down to write, reflect, and share anything beyond a quick Instagram post or recipe. The past year brought a lot of big change for me and in true introvert-fashion, I hibernated into myself, not really processing any of it while it was happening, and just muddled through what felt like a busy year. It wasn’t until actually writing about it month by month that I realized how transformative all of it was. I felt like through all the beautiful and painful moments, a lot of solid ground work was put in for all the goals and dreams I hope to see flourish in 2023. I’ll admit that it’s been a hard post to proofread and edit as there’s a few months that still bring up grief and heartache for me, but it’s always been my goal to share honestly, even when it’s hard.
So here’s my photo filled 2022 year in review update for you..
January & February: We adopted another dog! A spunky little gremlin of a puppy we named Lucy, who was being fostered by some family in Texas. She’s learned how to keep up with and wrestle Kita who is nearly twice her size, loves to chase deer out of the field, and is the best snuggle demon ever. I was lucky enough to take a good chunk of time off work (thank you Emma!) to work on some house projects with my dad and to potty train her.
March & April: At the beginning of March our town of Winterset was hit with a massive F4 tornado that took us all by surprise since the sirens malfunctioned and didn’t go off to warn everyone in time. I was home and watched it come right at our house, but was spared by about a quarter of a mile. Many people lost their homes and some.. their lives that day. It still gives me chills to recall that day, but it left me in awe of our community and how many people came out to help with clean up, provide donations, and offer their support.
At the end of the month and into April, we welcomed a new batch of chicks to the farm and this year’s theme was “The Band-Aids.” If you’ve seen Almost Famous then you know what I’m talking about, so the little grey floofs all got named after fictional and some real life groupies. Sable, Sapphire, Beth from Denver (“Your aura is purple!”), and of course, Penny Lane.
May & June: I finally made friends with the cows.. one of my many city girl turned country girl goals. We also became vendors at our local Farmers Market! We sold reclaimed wood crafts, plants, eggs, bread, and a little bit of everything else! The garden finally got underway after some temperamental spring weather and I started running my oven for about 8 hours every Friday after work to keep up with the bread demand at the Farmers Market.
July: I made the choice to step down from my full-time store manager role in retail after 3 years so that I could focus on our budding farm business. I was also FINALLY able to take a vacation (first one in 4 years) with my dear friend Lindsey. We met in Colorado for a week long adventure of hiking, hot springs, and much needed relaxing.
August & September: This is where things get painful…
The end of August my dear sweet Junie, my little chicken soulmate, suffered a terrible eye injury. We still have no idea how it happened, but I was able to get her medical attention right away and things were on the mends. She was healing quick and seemed to be getting back to herself after several days, but then overnight things took a turn. She was showing signs of neurological damage and the vet theorized that she could have had bleeding behind the eye or even suffered a stroke.
During all of this one of my other hens, Loretta, started having some issues with her crop. I tried to do everything I could to clear up the issue and made another trip to the avian vet. It was during that check up that they discovered in addition to her crop problem, she also had a tumor in her abdomen. The news was devastating as I was still hoping June’s condition would improve and it wasn’t. I spent most of my days just holding them both and crying knowing that our time was limited.
After three weeks of giving June medicine, food, and water with a syringe she finally couldn’t hold her head up on her own anymore. I took her outside and held her to my chest as we laid under our favorite tree on a blanket together one last time. I write this with a full face of tears as I still don’t think I’ve fully grieved this loss. She was my best little buddy, my shadow that followed me all through the yard, and my companion through grieving the loss of my cat, Punk, in 2020. I felt like I lost Punk all over again with June’s passing. One week later Loretta passed too.
The rest of September I threw myself into the Farmers Market and prepping for another event, The Madison County Fall Crawl, in which we would be a vendor at as well. The final Saturdays and this event ended up being some of the most busy and lucrative days, which was a welcome distraction from the grief I felt. I still couldn’t quite escape September without a few more pieces of bad news though. On top of getting Covid for the first time, I also had been through a series of pelvic ultrasounds that revealed a pretty bad ovarian cyst. On the 30th (my birthday) I had a follow up appointment and the decision was made to schedule surgery.
October: I tried not to let the dark cloud that came with September follow me into October and made sure to spend a lot of time with friends and family. Pumpkin patch outings, the Covered Bridges Festival, hiking, annnnnd Chris proposed! It was the perfect fall day, laying on a blanket in the backyard watching leaves fall with chickens running around and he surprised me with a turquoise engagement ring and asked me to marry him.
November: When I stepped out of my fulltime position at the end of July, I stayed with my company, but took a part-time, more behind the scenes role, focusing on visual merchandising. I spent a good chunk of the month traveling to other stores to assist them with floor-sets and had the opportunity to work on a brand new store launch.
December: The time finally came for my surgery and when they were able to get a better look at the ovarian cyst, they determined that it had done a fine job at damaging my left ovary, which was removed as well. Not to worry… I still have good ole’ Righty! 😉 Chris was really helpful through my recovery and really grounded me when I was starting to throw myself a pity party about the outcome. We had two amazing Christmas gatherings, one with his family, and one with mine. Then we had a pretty low-key New Year’s Eve with unseasonably nice weather, so we got the chickens out and enjoyed the last sunset of 2022.
A fresh year always brings about optimism and hopefulness, but I have this gut feeling that this year for me personally will be a very trying one. The goals and visions I have in mind are ones that can come with a lot of challenges and set backs, but as I write this and look up at one of my favorite quotes I turned into wall-art.. “The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens.” – Brene Brown.. I’m reminded that it’s in those challenges is where you really transform and find that inner strength.
One of those 2023 goals will be to return to this space more often. I really miss sharing personal stories, recipes, house projects, etc.. I thought I had to make this a creation that also made money and it really took away the joy and desire to do it anymore. So anyway.. if you made it to the end you’re either A. My mother, B. My fiancé, or C. A genuinely interested and compassionate person that cared enough to check in and see why I’ve been so quiet these last several months. Thank you for hanging in there through thick and thin with me. I truly hope that this year brings a lot of fulfillment and great change for you too.