Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Look Back 2014

Things have been really busy around here and I haven't been able to steal much time to write. The holiday season can be insane. So many things pulling you in different directions. But it is all good. So many good things are and have been happening. I thought I would take some time to share the many blessings that we have experienced this year. I would also like to hear what has been going on around your homestead.

A Christmas Miracle

Right now we are not only trying to get ready for Christmas, we are also preparing for a big event at church where we will be helping our community's poorer families. The church is calling the event a Christmas Miracle. This will be the largest community service project that our church has undertaken since I have been a member.

I work with the children's ministry and the food ministry. We are a pick up location for One Harvest food ministry. One Harvest is a low cost food option that is available for everyone. You don't have to be in need to participate.  The church will be giving away several boxes of food and handing out menus so people will learn about other food options. I am so looking forward to being a part of this.

The End of an Era

This will be the first Christmas since the death of my grandfather. This year will be tough on the whole family, but I cannot imagine how difficult it will be on my grandmother. They were together for over 66 years. That is a long time. 

I have countless memories of the Christmases that we spent at my grandparents' house. Some of the best memories involved singing. After the meal and the gifts were opened the instruments would come out. My aunt would play the piano and the rest of us had guitars or various other stringed instruments. We would sing Christmas carols or old hymns. The harmony was incredible. The world just seemed right when the family sang.

I am trying to bring back the tradition of our family singing together, but my children are shy. So a lot of times it is just me or my wife and I singing. It is funny how much that means to me now.

Looking Back on the Year

The Homestead

This year has been full of ups and downs. The garden produced more than ever since I moved to my new home. You wouldn't think that just moving one county would make that big a difference, but it does. Things that always grew great for me, didn't do so well, other things that I hadn't tried before were great. I planted my fall garden too late in the year and while it is growing, it is doing so very slowly. I learned several lessons this year, so I am confident I will have an even better harvest next year, Lord willing.

We got chickens again this year and are doing a much better job of keeping them. Last time we had chickens that just vanished. Not even a feather was left behind. If there were feathers I would think predators, but with no sign, I honestly think someone picked them up and took them home. Our hens went through a shock when I did some renovations to their coop and pulled off laying for a while. The girls are back to laying, but with the shorter days have slowed considerably and I am just not willing to add supplemental lighting to keep up the production.

The Blog

This year has been incredible as far as the blog goes. We have grown so much and have met many wonderful people along the way. I am honored that so many of you have taken the time to get to know us, support and encourage us along the way. 

I am expecting The Rural Economist Facebook page to top 5,000 likes by year's end and to have achieved 100,000 reads before 2015 begins. By some people's standards that is not a lot.  When I started this I really did so to share what was going on in our lives and hopefully teach a few people along the way. I am thankful for each and everyone who has taken the time to read and follow us in any way.

I never in a million years would have thought that I would spend so much time on social media. I have learned more about social media and marketing in the past year than I did 4 years of college and I have a BS in business management with a minor in entrepreneurship. I am putting some of those lessons learned to work and learning so much more.  

The Family

It is difficult for me to believe that this school year we will have our youngest son graduate from high school. We will be down to only two in school. He has really turned on the "want to" this year. I am really proud of him for his extra effort this his last year of high school. We will still have two girls in school and they are getting more active in their classes. 

Our youngest just started band and is learning the alto sax. I do not know if she realized how supportive we would be. She is already learning well and I am looking forward to her being able to play actual songs. Of course this means that we will have to go to football games. I have always enjoyed high school ball. 

So what things have happened around your place? I really would like to hear. I hope you all have had a productive year and I wish you all... 

Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

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