2021. The year of… hmm… what will this be the year of? While there's nothing magical that happens at midnight on the 31st to somehow transport us to a new time and space, away from all our bad habits and shortcomings of the previous year, maybe there is.
Like my friend Angela recently cried out on a recent episode of Homemaker Chic podcast “What's so wrong with New Years resolutions! What's so wrong with me holding out hope, for like 20 minutes, that I can be a better person!”
This made me laugh harder more than a mother who has birthed four babies should laugh (if you know what I mean). And herein lies the new goals for the coming year.
I, for one, always appreciate times of reflection and direction. As a forward-motion-machine far too determined to be overly nostalgic, I revel in setting priorities and writing out lists. So to heck with it.
Hello 2021, you beast. I welcome the challenge.
January always makes me smile as we celebrate the years in our little cottage beginning to pile up. What began as a meager dream ages ago has now – as of today – been 5 years in the building. 5 years ago we moved just a mile down the road to our cottage farm – in the worst winter we've had in a century. Snow fell hard in early November and didn't leave until March. It snowed, and snowed, and snowed. But enough about that dreadful time I don't like to think about too much. We're here. Happy 5 year anniversary to our little cottage.
Just a few days ago, I put the final coat of polyurethane on my kitchen floor. I began remodeling this kitchen FOUR AND A HALF YEARS AGO. It's been the slowest, most painful renovation in the history of all slow and painful renovations. Inch by inch… scrap by scrap… through the blistering PAIN (did I mention pain?), we're here. Dang, I'm glad to be here.
So what's next for the cottage?
Well – let's pretend for like 20 minutes this list will be accomplished, shall we? Let's set goals! Let's explore ideas! Let's dream!
Pour a glass of champagne. We're going for it.
Shall we start inside or outside?
My largest priority in the house is this dang kitchen. My poor, beautiful kitchen. It has been through no less than eighty seven micro-renovations – as time and budget have allowed – and it's in the homestretch. A new French vintage draw-leaf table arrived just yesterday, finally taking care of the last furniture needs in the space. The fireplace was finally piped in (so we can actually use it! Imagine!), the vintage terra cotta tile was finally grouted and sealed, and the entire “dead corner” has been rewired, re-sheetrocked, wallpapered, and beautified. I PROMISE to share a winter-kitchen update soon.
In the kitchen, I still need to:
- Texture and paint the root-cellar stairway that drops down from the kitchen
- Retread the root cellar stairs that are broken and loose
- Seal and paint the concrete walls that go down into the root cellar
- Replace the wood countertop around the kitchen sink with marble (I love the countertops but after ripping down the stucco on the walls… which was not part of the original plan.. we're left with a lot of wood squished into a small area. To counter this, we'll be replacing this one counter piece with Carrara marble.)
- Tile a backsplash behind the stove in a gorgeous vintage tile I have yet to locate
And then done! Fin! Can you even imagine putting the finishing touches on a project four and a half years in the making? I can! And it tastes sweet.
- A fresh coat of paint in the dining room
- A fresh coat of paint on the stairs to the basement
- Sealing the new wooden stair treads going down to the basement and installing a stair runner
- Finishing the trim in our bedroom
- Working through and organizing all the hidden, forgotten, horrible spaces that have been far too neglected for far too long
But let's think bigger… what about our farm? In our almost-decade as farmers, we've explored all kinds of different avenues. Originally, we anticipated running some sort of commercial or “for profit” farm – perhaps a vegetable CSA? Selling lamb? Mushrooms? Escargot? Yes – we've thought of it all. But in the end, as the Good Lord would have it, our farm has been able to stay purely for our pleasure and enjoyment. All that we've poured into it in this time has been a beautiful nod to pure imagination and enjoyment of our space.
This coming year, however, we're getting ready to install a brand new 5,000 square foot market garden. Not only for vegetable production, but also for beauty, my hope is to take you – my dear blog readers – along side me as I grow this year's crop. It can be seemingly impossible when you're new to gardening to even fathom the work and schedule and production of a market garden. My hope in this new market garden is to have a bed that is easy to photograph, film, and monitor so that I can share its progress and details with you in earnest.
Sharing my gardens on this blog in 2021 has become one of my very most important tasks I've set. Varieties. Details. All of it. I eagerly look forward to sharing all that it has in store for us. But more on that next week…
- Install and plant the new market garden (the beds will be rows lined in rock… swoon!)
- Install a new brick floor in the potting shed/greenhouse
- Build a patio/pergola off the back slider door by the pond
Compared to the work we've tackled the last five years, this list seems painfully small. But as all farmers know, the maintenance of milking, cheesemaking, fence building, gardening, weeding, pruning, planting, harvesting, and preserving is enough to fill three full-time calendars. We'll do the best we can.
Our little Cooking Community has had the most beautiful year indeed. Hundreds of home cooks from all across the globe have flocked to our digital-kitchen to be inspired, learn new skills, create new recipes, and enjoy a community of like-minded individuals. I cannot express fully how blessed we have been by the support of you all in this work. My goal this year is to sink deeply into the work in front of me, that it will be beautifully inspiring and encouraging to all our Cooking Community members. We take this work seriously and spend hours and hours and hours each month creating new recipes, filming instructional videos, answering questions, and leading our community. How blessed we are by this work! 2021 is going to be a wonderful year for our sweet community. If you'd like to join us for the ride, you can do so here.
My podcast, Homemaker Chic, that was but a small twinkle in mine and Parisienne Farmgirl's eye this time last year has now become a #1 rated Home & Garden podcast in over half a dozen countries across the world. Because of the incredible attention it's been receiving, we've been able to pour more time and effort into it. What a hilarious and joyful ride it's become to bring you two new episodes each week! I look forward to putting another 100 episodes under our belt this year. Homemakers! We're here for you!
Have I even mentioned the new still-life project I began to explore in November of last year? Perhaps my career calling. I've never fallen in love with work in the same way that I have this still-life project. I can't wait to share more on this in the coming year.
In addition, we're committed to loving on our YouTube community by sharing bits and pieces of our life with you in video form – one of the hardest and most rewarding ways to share. These videos are hard to film and hard to edit. As a family that actually lives the life we present to the world, between homeschooling, milking, cooking, gardening, and laundry, it can be quite exhausting to haul the camera to-and-fro. But, as with many things in life, the rewards of the work outweigh the challenges. Your kind comments and encouragement have kept us going – continually eager to share our emotions, lessons learned, and pockets of inspiration. I'm slowly gaining confidence to make the types of videos I wish to and the creative expression continues to bubble over. I truly do look forward to what 2021 with bring out in us.
The word that comes to mind is STEADY.
I don't need explosions of excitement, passion, or expression. I need steady.
The world spins, but mine doesn't have to.
My world, here on our little cottage, can be steady. Calm. Grounded. Sure. Steadfast. Confident. Restful. Beautiful.
I'm posturing my heart to accept what the Lord will bring to us this coming year and praying for a heart that trusts in it all.
Head down. Heart and hands open. Steady.
As always, I look forward to marching forward and onward with you my friends.
Thanks for being here. May your 2021 be richly blessed.
Hello 2021, you beast. LET'S DO THIS!