I am thankful for the smoker that we got last year for Christmas. We will use it tomorrow to smoke the turkeys for our dinner.
I am thankful to my parents, who just replaced our old stove, so we can use the new one to cook our side dishes.
I am thankful for healthy children. I know many others out there are not as fortunate.
I am thankful for our flock of birds. We went from one goose and two ducks last October, to now having four geese, two guineas, 23 ducks, and about 40-50 chickens. They've stopped laying eggs at the moment, but they still bring me great enjoyment to watch.
I am thankful for the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets we get to see every single day. We truly live in paradise.
I am thankful to have electricity, running water, and gas to run our heater and stove. I am thankful to Dave the delivery driver from the gas company who came and filled our tank this week when our tank was at 0.0.
I am thankful for having an internet connection so I can continue to blog, email, and meet new people though our Facebook page and other ads.
I am thankful to our rabbits, who thus far we've been able to sell or trade all and have none left we need to slaughter.
I am thankful to the processing place that we will be working with later this month to process some birds for us, so I don't have to.
I am thankful for food in my cupboards and in my refrigerator.
I am thankful for my health, even though it's been a challenging few years. I am thankful that I'm starting to get to know what I can and cannot eat so I can avoid the painful repercussions of eating the wrong thing.
I am thankful for a supportive family, especially my husband. He puts up with my Asperger's issues, my weird food requirements, my mood swings and meltdowns, my bad days, and of course my good ones too. He reins in my crazy imagination when I get a little too excited about new projects, and keeps me sane on days the kids are really challenging. He's not home as much as I would like, but I am thankful he has a job that he loves that pays the bills so I can stay home with the kids.
I am thankful for the family who lived here before us. For maintaining the house, for imbuing it with love and positivity, and most of all, for accepting our offer so we could make it our own.
I am thankful for friends. I don't have many, but those I do have I cherish.
I am thankful for craft supplies and my Grandmother teaching me to crochet when I was a child. I have put these skills to real work this year exploring what I can make with no patterns. Scarves, purses, bags, coasters, dish cloths, and now I'm working on a quilt!
I am thankful for garden space, seeds, and the bounty of the land. Our harvest was very small this year, but rather than lament the failings, I am thankful for the lessons learned. Our potato towers didn't produce a single potato, despite growing nice plants throughout the summer. Potatoes will not grow in moist soil, it must be better draining. More soil and less compost next year. Some varieties of food grow well in containers, but some do not. Growing tomatoes in 3-5 gallon buckets will result in stunted, small tomatoes. Melons and squash do not like to grow in buckets. Chickens like to eat any and all garden produce they can reach, and will perch in trees to eat apples right off the branches! The apples that the chickens knock down are quickly devoured by the geese below who aren't as capable of flight. We also learned this year that pulling up the entire sod portion to work with fresh ground underneath seems to work better than trying to fight with the grass and weeds to create new garden space. It's a lot more work, but I suspect in the long run it is less work over all. I am thankful to our excessive collection of seeds, which continues to grow as we buy more and trade. When we do get our garden spaces up and running we will have plenty of options on what to grow.
I am thankful to our little orchard. We planted a lot of trees, and lost almost all of them. I think I may have watered them too much. Clay soil doesn't drain very well, and I was so worried about letting them go dry, I suspect I killed them by doting too much. As of autumn it looked like we still had two apple, two plum, and a peach tree that might still have hope of coming through the winter. That's progress! And next year we will try again, with a little more moderation on watering.
I am thankful for my dog, Moose. He's been awesome this year, not only working with #5 and I with our Asperger's issues, but now laying with #4 as she reads aloud to him, encouraging her to become more proficient in her reading skills. I am thankful for Mazikeen as well. Though we only had her for four months, she was a good puppy. I wish we had had more time with her, but alas, we got through all the tough stuff like potty training, basic obedience, feeding routines, not chasing the birds, and playing nice, and do not get the luxury of spending years enjoying her once she was settled and trained in. Cancer sucks.
I am thankful for our cats, both indoor and outdoor. I love the cuddles and companionship the indoor cats bring us, and I am thankful for the rodent control and affection our two outdoor barn kitties provide.
I am thankful for a bed to sleep in, a roof over my head, clean air to breathe, and nature all around me.
I am thankful for supportive parents who are there for me no matter what I'm going through. They're there to offer advice, direction, or child care if I need it.
I am thankful for my brother. Though I don't get to see him very often, I adore him. He's one of my favorite people. I'd be lost without him. I am thankful for the random conversations we have about anything and everything.
I am thankful for a great therapist. I'm not embarrassed to admit it, my therapist is wonderful. After many not-so-great therapists, finding one that "clicks" and really "gets" me is amazing.
I am thankful for all the people I've gotten to meet both in person and online, thanks to our website, blog, advertisements, and Facebook. I am thankful for the updates I get from people who've bought bunnies from us. I am thankful for hearing other peoples' ideas for projects and sharing experience with homesteading.
Last, but certainly not least, my mind is on another family. In February 2017 a man I'd gone to grade school with ended his own life. I adored him in school, I just knew he was special, that he'd be successful in whatever he chose to do. After high school I never saw him again. I thought about him from time to time, but since I had been too shy to speak to him in school, I figured he probably wouldn't even remember me if I found him on Facebook or something. I don't know what was going on in his life, I don't know the circumstances or the manner, and I don't want to. It's none of my business. But I know he left behind a mom, a dad, and a sister, who now have to celebrate Thanksgiving without him. His birthday was just before Christmas, so I can only imagine that November and December are incredibly hard for his family. I think of them often here at the end of the year. Our African gander, Josh, is named in his honor.
I try to find a positive in every situation, but suicide is hard to feel positive about. I have had a couple of friends who've been battling depression this year and made some posts on social media. Because of Josh's lost battle, I made the effort to reach out to my friends when otherwise I'd have probably stayed silent (mind my own business). This has lead to some great conversations, new connections, and expanded friendships. It has allowed me to shine some light in some dark places and offer a hand to help friends out, even if in a small way. For this, I am thankful.