Updated: Sep 7, 2022
When the pandemic hit in early 2020 it didn’t touch us much on our ranch. We were already in the habit of buying food in bulk so we wouldn’t have to go to town all the time for groceries. We also had our garden in the summer, and eggs from our chickens. It was easy to stay home.
But when 2021 arrived, it was a different story. It wasn’t so much that we were affected by the pandemic, although the worry and stress over what was happening in our country did seep in.
On top of that added stress, we had some very difficult personal issues to walk though with our son this year. The ranch stuff kind of felt… extra.
Even though we tripled the size of our garden this year, added five more chickens to our flock, and did major renovations on our land there were many days when the work was done out of necessity rather than there being any motivation or excitement behind it.
At one point I thought I was losing my joy for what we were trying to do here.
In October, after the garden was done, the hoses and tools were all put away for the season, and there was more free time, I evaluated the year and this sense of “lost joy”. I looked across our land (which still looks a lot like a construction zone covered in snow) and it just looked messy.
The vision I have in my head of what I want this place to be is beautiful. Full of life – plants, trees, fruits, veggies, animals, and humans. But what I saw out my window was a far cry from what I envisioned. I recognized the work that still needed to be done, but it felt overwhelming in that moment.
I wrote down what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it. The theme that came out from that exercise was Connecting, Educating, and being Authentic. The exercise also helped me focus my vision more.
So, looking forward to 2022…
I want to connect with people in real life more than I want to connect with them online. Social media is a great tool, but it can also be addictive, and messages can be mixed or misunderstood. It’s also a terrible distraction and time waster. (Hello reels. I’m looking at you!).
One of the things I envision for this ranch is that it becomes a place where people want to be. Not just to shop for local goods, but to come together in community, to have fun, to be in nature, to learn.
I want to educate people. I love teaching people. I taught children’s church for twenty years. I taught English at a homeschool co-op for two years. I’ve taught people how to crochet. I’ve written guided Bible studies. I’ve led church groups. Teaching is in my blood. But in order to teach, I first have to learn. And I love to learn, which is where I am right now.
In the midst of all our projects and all the things we’re doing right now, I’m learning a lot. I don’t exactly know what will come from all this learning, or what I’ll want to teach, but I do know it’s something I want to incorporate on our ranch.
And being authentic. Over the past three or four years I’ve learned a lot about mental health and the things that keep us from being our true selves around people. I’ve also learned a lot about how to get healing from some of the things that cause us to wear a mask, or retreat, or react in certain situations. And I’m committed to staying on that journey. This is a journey I share more on my author account than here because my writing has largely become about mental health.
But being authentic means different things for different people. It can also depend on where you’re looking. For example, being authentic on social media tends to mean someone is willing to show you their messy house and real life issues and they don’t use filters.
For me it means this:
I believe we were all created to live a life of joy in community with one another. And to be my authentic self, I need to learn how to keep my joy in every situation so I can share that joy. Because when I’m living from joy, I have more energy, I’m happier, I can connect with people better, I can think more clearly, and so much more.
When I’m feeling blah, or sad, or angry, I don’t want to connect with people. I want to hibernate. I don’t have motivation do to the work that needs to be done. I shut down and block people out. That is not living my best life. That is not living authentically.
There is a lot that goes into this for me and at the moment don’t know if it will become anything more than a personal journey. But it’s definitely an important part of what I want to do here because if I’m not living authentically, then I won’t have the energy or motivation to bring my vison for JulBud Ranch to life. And that would feel a lot like living 2021 all over again.
Some of the things we have planned for 2022 include:
Getting a fence put up around our fields.
Landscaping the pond.
Planting more trees.
Finishing the building of the goat shed.
Start our goat herd. (eek!)
Amending the soil in our field.
Tilling up the alfalfa in the field and replacing most of it with grass hay.
Finishing the flower beds in my tea garden area.
Starting my tea garden.
Having another amazing garden!
Possibly build a greenhouse.
Participate in more local markets.
So here’s looking forward to 2022!