To say this was A.YEAR. would be an understatement.

Pandemics, hybrid schooling, shutdowns, modified shutdowns, wear your mask, stand 6 feet apart, etc. I’m sure we’re all ready to ring in a new year. In times when we’re kept away from loved ones, watching as some get sick and some never recover, it’s hard to find things to be thankful for.

As I reflect on this past year, I’m choosing to look at the strength we’ve shown as a community. I’ve watched people come together even as we need to stay apart. Finding new ways to stay connected with family and friends (yay Zoom and FaceTime!) I’ve also noticed the community focusing even more on supporting our local businesses and economy.

Personally, while my kids can be quite the handful, secretly I’ve been enjoying having more reasons to stay home. The days are long, but the years are short. With one heading off to University of Delaware in the fall:

And two that are in Kindergarten and Pre-school:

Now more than ever I’ve enjoyed being able to slow down, stay home, and just soak it all in.

Our cows have been quite the source of entertainment on the farm these days. This guy has taken a liking to standing on the snow pile almost like he’s overseeing the herd.

I tried my hand at bees this year as you can see in the background of the picture above. I’ve once again been humbled by an experience. It’s much more difficult than I thought it would be! And that’s not even referring to the stings received that assuredly ended up in a swelled body part with each inspection.

I also gave handmade tallow soaps and lotion bars a whirl. I must say, I enjoy making soaps and lotion bars much more than getting bee stings. 😆

When I left my career three years ago, I found it hard to process having a purpose other than caring for our kids. I felt like I needed more to feel fulfilled. I’m happy to say that this was the first year since I left that I haven’t felt that void. Between soap making, and community involvement I feel like I finally have a balance.

This year I successfully ran a campaign to be elected to the Lebanon County Republican Committee. I was also asked to be part of an initiative supporting women in farming. From those standpoints, I felt like I’ve been part of something bigger and at the same time have been doing things to make a difference for my kids.

The Mid-Atlantic office of American Farmland Trust came to the farm to interview me on my perspective as a woman farmer, and the end result of the video (created by Wonderscope) literally brought my husband to tears. We’ll forever have this video of our farm and kids to show to our next generations.

Before I share the video with all of you, I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you how thankful we are for you– our customers, family and friends. We pray that you all have a blessed, healthy, and happy new year.

~JA

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