My alarm went off today at 5AM, like it always does on a work day. Yes, I work a full-time job as an nurse and work our family farm (also a full-time job). I pulled on my coveralls and headed to the barn. Winter in Western New York is brutal to say the least. This morning the wind was really howling, causing the sliding barn door to bang repeatedly. Once inside the barn I noticed an unusual draft that wasn’t there before and quickly realized that the wind had blown out one of the barn windows. Now, that is some fierce wind. Besides the wind, this is a pretty normal day for me, except that today is New Year’s day, the first day of 2019. Today as I was walking through the barn to greet and feed all of my hungry friends I felt gratitude, even despite the winter, wind and early morning (I am so not a morning person).
One year ago, all but two of my barn stalls were empty. My barn was a dark, lonely place. Only a year ago I had so many hopes and dreams of what I wanted my farm to become. And as I look back through all the events and memories from the last year I am grateful of how much we have accomplished and how far we have come. This morning my barn is full, full of life and love. Every pen is filled. Every space is occupied with little faces anxiously awaiting my arrival each morning and evening. I know they only want a meal, but they great me with happy faces and noises. They know they belong to me and that I will take care of them. Today my barn is full and my heart is full.
2019. What a crazy number. Where did this come from? My life seems to be flying by without a moment to think. What a year we have had. So many accomplishments. My family is incredible. How could I ask for more? My husband, who like me, with almost no previous farming experience, has turned out to be a pretty decent farmer. Also, like me, he still works a full-time job as a Butcher and then must also help run the farm. My two older children amaze me every day. My older daughter graduated from college with a Baccalaureate degree in Psychology and was “Woman of the Year” for her college. My older son, who is a father himself, also has made some amazing progress this year. He has ambitions to get his own business up and running. I am so proud of him. As for my younger two, I am grateful that they keep me young. They have a long way to go, but how I love watching them grow and become two very unique individuals with so much talent and energy.
Today I feel blessed and loved. I truly love my life. And for the first time in my 40-something years I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. Today I am grateful. Thank you 2018, you have been a fabulous year. Dear 2019, here we come!
Melissa Keller currently manages the farm, works full-time as a nurse and is a mother of four.