Sunday, January 3, 2021

Here's to 2021 - a Sunday walkabout

2021 started in the best possible way…

...or at least for a shepherd…

My very first trip to the barn of the new year revealed healthy twin lambs. Mama sheep was fine, too. No human interaction was necessary.

That is indeed a good thing.

I suppose I could claim this as an omen for 2021…maybe I should. But, if 2020 taught us anything, there is NO predicting the future.

2020 rendered me speechless.

(okay, anyone who knows me in real life would point out I talk far too much to ever be considered “speechless”…would you accept unable to write coherently?)

Words failed me in 2020.

They really did.

So, I will leave the review of the year to others, as well as the argument over if it was the “worst year ever”. But, if you need a chuckle, you should read Dave Barry’s take on the whole thing.

Suffice it to say, 2020 was not what anyone expected. As a matter of fact, that sentence alone is a huge understatement. I feel completely safe in saying that every single plan we had made for 2020 met with some sort of revision, re-work, or removal. Keeping with the “r” theme, 2020 was, in a word, revelatory.

The pandemic, the social unrest, and the historic election cycle showed us things about the country, society and our family, friends, acquaintances, and even ourselves that had remained hidden in plain sight, and accepted, unchallenged and overlooked for far too long. Some of those things I truly wish I did not know or feel responsible for. But, others granted some real freedom and opportunities for personal growth. Now, perhaps with our new insight, we can make some much-needed changes to ourselves, our community and the world. That alone is a reason for hope.

I had planned on writing some sort of retrospective about 2020 last week, but the internet went out. Losing the internet is not exactly a tragedy, but it certainly seems to impact every aspect of our lives. And, then I always feel like we go through the whole “seven stages of grief” before it ever comes back, generally getting stuck in the denial/anger stage. (if this seems like an overstatement, try “unplugging” for a couple of days…without the benefit of planning the event) I never regained my train of thought even after internet access returned two days later as unexpectedly as it disappeared.

The source of the outage was never identified…simply one of the quirks of living at the edge of nowhere, no doubt. Back in the days of the landline telephone communication, we lost service at least twice due to a groundhog expansion project next to the phone pedestal. As the ”whistle-pigs” dug for larger accommodations, they chewed through the phone cable. While it was annoying, it made a great story and gave the repairman a laugh. With those days securely in the past, you might think that communication all high-tech and constant. Not so. Our internet service is beamed from the mountaintop to an antenna in the middle of a cow pasture, to another site, to us (or something like that)…I am nearly certain the outage had an equally “interesting” cause, although we will never know for certain. I’ll just rejoice quickly that it is working…and get that seed order placed post-haste. Another lesson of 2020, (or maybe it was all that mindfulness work/meditation) it would be to appreciate this “one perfect moment”…because you never know what is coming next.

While 2020 could only be described as annus horribilus by so many, we were not terribly impacted. I don’t know it that means our life is incredibly lame and pathetic so that isolation is somewhat normal…or we are truly approaching self-sufficiency. This is not to say the year wasn’t without difficulty, but by comparison, we have no cause for complaint.

So, it is probably best that I leave the retrospective and synopsis to others and spend some time looking forward. Instead of any verbose ramblings, here are a few photos...

carolina wren in redbud tree

stunning sunrise


female cardinal in the snow


morning icicles


ice formation at the creek

frozen pansy seed-pod

turnips in the hoophouse

strawberry leaves in the early morning light

white-throated sparrow in the snow/hoarfrost

the great conjunction 2020
(due to cloud cover we didn't see this until 12/22)


sheep in the early morning light

sunlight through frozen collard leaves

first light of day

early morning ice crystals


chickadee at the feeder

cardinal in the snow

female cardinal in the redbud tree



birch branches against the December sky


Although, I’m not even sure how/why/if we should try to plan for 2021…I lost track of what day it was somewhere around July…now, it seems to feel like a never-ending Thursday, or maybe Tuesday on a continuous loop…like I said, I have no idea. Without the rhythm of the Market, we seem to have lost our sense of time, and some of our sense of purpose. One thing to attempt in the new year is to find a new focus and direction.

woodpecker in the redbud tree
(although I was incredibly sad to lose the backyard maple
I had no idea that I was missing so much bird action in the backyard)

song sparrow

another amazing sunrise

(he might be flossing his teeth on the fence...?)

pretty pink sunrise over the barn



collard leaf
ready for New Year's

busy bird feeder

mid-winter lettuce crop is growing

the Cold Full Moon sinks behind the trees


But, I would be remiss if I made it sound like 2020 was all bad. Oddly, it was not. (and I feel a little bit guilty and over-privileged for being able to say that) 

The lambchop crop grew well, we were able to get them processed, and despite the pandemic-weirdness, our amazing customers came through and we had a very good sales year. THANKS, Y’all! Fingers crossed that we can do it again.

And, while I can assure you I am NOT a fan of practicing social-distancing with my family, I miss hugging all those little guys SO much…video-chatting with my grandsons is one of my newly discovered amusements. It’s wildly hilarious, despite the fact I miss a whole lot of the conversation while we’re running, dancing, singing, riding four-wheelers, or I’m laughing too hard to see.

...and if you're not using the 
silly filters...
you're doing it wrong!

So, as we begin a New Year, as we wait for more new lambs, it is a little easier to feel just a little bit hopeful. It is my sincere wish that you have some reasons for hopefulness as well.

even the ewes are "looking forward" to the New Year

Happy Sunday! 

I think I found a "message from the Universe"
a little heart-shape in the ice crystals on the hoophouse

 Thanks for stopping by. Come “visit” again soon.


  1. Wow! You certainly do get stunning sunrises! I also feel lucky that I am retired and can stay home safe and sound. Best wishes for a New Year filled with everything you need to make your life sweet!

    1. Sunrise is probably my favorite time of the day. So filled with possibilites...
      Thanks for reading and commenting. All the best to you in the New Year!

  2. Super photographs Barbara - here's to a better 2021 for us all.

    1. Thanks, Pat!
      Sending good thoughts to you "across the pond".

  3. Hello Barb. So good to see your post. Here's wishing us ALL a safer, saner & healthier New Year. ~ Kris

    1. Hey there Kris!
      Hope all is well with you.
      I join you in your wish for a safer, saner, healthy New Year! (kinda having some doubts as to whether that's even possible...but, let's think positive)
      Take care and thanks for reading.

  4. As always, a treasure trove of words and thoughts. May the Good Lord bless y'all in the New Year!

  5. It certainly was a year unlike any other, wasn't it. I'm grateful to have seen the back of it, but if it's taught me anything, it's that 'the little things count' and I need to relish them. Your pictures of frosty mornings and extraordinary birds are a delight, thank you. May 2021 see some sanity and reconciliation .