Growing hope in 2021


So it’s finally here: 2021.

I think we’ve all been hoping for this date since back in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic closed everything down, people were uncertain of their futures and all we wanted to do was get on with our “normal” lives. We held onto the hope that soon, all of this would be over and we could start with a new perspective. A new year can definitely bring that hope that things can be better.

On the farm, it feels a bit like that at the start of every new spring season.

If farms and farmers don’t have hope, they will never make it through to the next year. I know early on in my conversations with well-seasoned farmers, I heard them mention that the season of winter was for planning — planning on what new things were going to be tried in the next growing season, planning on what would be added or changed from before, planning on how to make things better from what happened the growing season before.

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Each new growing season is a chance to “do it better” or fix what maybe didn’t go so well the season before. Have you ever talked with a farmer during a year when maybe the crops didn’t yield so well or the animals didn’t thrive? More likely than not, during the conversation, that person will tell you “There’s next year.”

I know for myself on the farm, the addition of meat chickens this past year was a welcomed success, eggs from the layer chickens seemed to sell very well and the doggy treats that I make seemed to thrive in spite of so many opportunities to sell being canceled. I was very blessed indeed.

Now, as the temperatures turn more bitterly cold and the landscape turns from lush green to stark brown, I think “There’s next year,” a whole new year to look at what went well behind me and take those things that didn’t fare so well and update them.

My plans now for 2021 include getting more meat chickens, more laying hens and, I’m very hopeful to make it happen, start with honey bees to help the fruit trees that will be entering their fifth spring season this year. The winter is long, though, so who knows how much planning will be completed before the first dandelions start peeking their heads up from the brown scrub of the open field.

As we begin the first day of a new year, my hope for everyone is that this next year is one of renewed hope and better things to come. After all, it is next year.

Until next time…

Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Read her blog at Send comments to [email protected].

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