Happy Lunar New Year! The first twenty-one days of January have been a total bust for me for various reasons, so I am officially starting 2023 today! According to some traditions, it is the year of the Rabbit. The last year of the Rabbit was twelve years ago which was when we moved onto the farm (Jan 26, 2011).
I recently published a memoir about how I stumbled my way into farming, started a family and a farm, and fell in love with the Skagit Valley and sheep along the way. In the fall, I did a small book tour around the northwest and I was able to include food from our farm at several book launch events. At the first book launch event at Village Books in Fairhaven, Chef Christy from Evolve Chocolates & Cafe made sweet and savory appetizers with our fresh sheep cheeses, lamb and herbs, like sage. It was a blissful evening and Chef Christy, her partner Shannon, and Village Books events coordinator extraordinaire Claire made me feel so supported.
. Photo: Anna Rankin
At a second event at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, the amazing Courtney from Street Cheese (also the ED of the Washington State Cheesemakers Association) created a stunning cheese board (pictured up top) that featured cheeses from creameries in our little valley, including our award-winning tomme, La Bertha. I was truly touched by this beautiful spread that paired well with Nancy Leson’s bread made with Skagit-grown flour. Farming and writing are labors of love and I felt a genuine sense of pride showcasing the book (which took over seven years to write) and our farm-grown food together.
According to Chinese astrology, I am a sheep (I know, so fitting!) and the year of the Rabbit is supposed to bode well for sheep supposedly. In a previous post, I found a bunch of pictures from the first year on the farm and it reminded me of how far we have come as well as all the energy I had when I first arrived in Bow. (I had WAY too many ideas, too!) It was a year of major growth and change and over the past twelve years I have learned many hard lessons. As we age and as our children blossom into individuals with their own ideas, I want to make room for more growth. When the Rabbit comes along again, both girls will be off on adventures of their own which is hard to believe.
Mother nature has thrown us some major curveballs recently from record snow fall and freezing temps (hello last Christmas!), record flooding (November 2021, you beast), and unbearable heat waves (June 2021, I am looking at you!). In these first three weeks of January, I have been letting my ideas and intentions for the year ahead gestate a bit longer than normal. I have been listening. What does the Earth need from us right now? While I have let many naive ideas about farming go, I am trying to renew my energy and excitement levels (circa 2011) while entering the new year carefully and with deep gratitude for the people that have helped us over this first long cycle on the farm.
Welcome back Rabbit, I am ready for you!