Despite the importance of the rabbits to our homestead, a lot of my reflection on the year is focused around the gardening and our tentative first steps into it. The biggest thing about gardening and this year with the homestead in general is acknowledging the huge amount of benefit we have had from the kindness of others. Our garden, modest though it may have been fed us a good many meals with the promise of more if we learn to use it better. That cost us very little due to the generosity of others through the Hilltown Seed Saving Network and it's seed swap and seedling exchange. As a note for folks in the area, this year's seed exchange is coming up November 23 in Cummington. You should come by! That group has been very generous with their advice, their seeds, and their seedlings. We didn't have as much to give as we'd like to have since this is our first time gardening, but that didn't lead to hesitation on their part. So now we have peppers drying, tomato seeds separating from the goop, drying stevia, a bunch of frozen tomatoes, and a few squash having eaten liberally of Kale all summer, much of it on the generosity of others.
Some of the largest of that I'd like to reflect on and touch upon was from Tevis and Rachel at Crabapple Farm who have tolerated our questions, helped us learn to grow, and even shared in some of our enthusiasm for the rabbits. The inspiration and friendship of people of like ideals has helped us sustain ourselves while things aren't easy and our garden looks like it isn't getting anywhere. The other obvious inspiration and teacher is Michelle Chandler and her Blessed Acre Rabbitry, in all ways our mentor in rabbits who has continued answering questions, inspiring, and helping us as she can, including the loan of a vehicle for a month(!) while we were in trouble.
There are many individuals and things that have been part of the year in terms of helping, inspiring, and teaching. Keeping us on our feet, and not giving up.
I think in the end of this reflection for me the biggest thing is, this is a partnership. Without the Lady of the House I wouldn't be doing this. Even if I had the inspiration, the drive, and the skills to do it I don't think I could do this alone. I don't know what that says to those looking to homestead in the future, if it's just me, but I think I'd recommend to people considering our path to not try to do it alone. Maybe find a community, an individual, a life partner, or even just a friend. This isn't a solitary activity, and that in the end is what I have taken away as I reflect on this year.
And last mentioned, but first in my mind, I'd like to reflect on the animals that have given their lives for us to eat.