And it's been a great one! As I mentioned earlier, it's been just over a full year since AGP and I made the move from our nomadic urban homelessness to the permanent bliss of these four stone walls. Now here I sit, with a cat on my lap, looking out over a rag-tag team of chickens and our bucolic babbling brook while counting my proverbial blessings.
Here are a few of the things I am thankful for this year in Vermont:
1. Chickens in the yard
It's been a whirlwind of adventure with these chicks in our lives, that's for sure. But what you may not know is that when I received them in the mail (yes, that's right) I got SEVENTY!!! And no, not all of them met that same brutal fate. Sixty of them were raised for a friend of mine since I had the patience, passion, and space to do it. Actually, the patience and passion wore out pretty fast once I realized what poultry husbandry really entailed (read: shit and dandruff EVERYWHERE). But now that the leftover crew has grown up a bit, we are starting to get the hang of it and are really looking forward to that wondrous day they start laying eggs. Yum!
2. A garden... kind of
Growing things is my jam. And, yea, even though my garden beds didn't exactly pass with flying colors this year, I still learned enough to make it worthwhile and have a blast doing it. I started planning and scheming in the dead of winter, growing all my plants carefully from seed in late March and you better believe that watching those crisp green sprouts grow while the winter tempest wailed outside helped me make it through to spring. So what if I'm not knee deep in zucchini and beets like I had imagined? The chard is doing great and every few days we get a handful of cherry tomatoes. And better yet, we eagerly look forward to next year so we can try again! If only winter wasn't in our way, damn!
3. Love = cats
My two insanely precious cats have lived perpendicular lives, intersecting here in the woods of Vermont. Sweet Phyllis was a city cat who lived the first years of her life inside yearning to be outside and Tina was a prairie cat who lived the first years of her life outdoors yearning to be indoors. Now they both get to go wherever they want, whenever they want. And to me there is no better feeling than watching Phyllis frolic outside as dirty as can be or watching Tina sleep the day away in a nest of blankets knowing that warmth and safety are her present and future. There is nothing like a happy animal, amiright?
4. A tiny house or two!
Another thing you may not know about us forest dwellers is that we are in the business of building tiny houses! These miraculously tidy houses are built on wheels so you can pull them anywhere your heart desires. It's amazing that we are able to sustain ourselves with these projects while at the same time providing affordable and alternative housing for others. And, dudes, there is nothing quite as nice as walking out of your front door and being at work! We are currently working on our fourth model. Feel free to ask questions! I will post more pics soon.
5. Friends for the duration
And of course, I am grateful for my friends, who reassure me time and time again that I may be gone, but I am definitely not forgotten!
I won't lie, living in Vermont is definitely a bit lonelier and a bit more hostile than living in the city. Winter seems to last forever and there aren't a lot of opportunities to meet people our age. But as I walk barefoot down the dirt driveway or hike into the state forest behind my house to catch the view of Magic Mountain at sunset, overwhelming feelings of pure delight override any niggling feelings of isolation. As we slip into a countrified routine, I feel more natural here than ever and that's a feeling, I think, that will last a lifetime.