My daughters and I were discussing our favorite holidays this afternoon while we were hauling firewood to a customer in Meadow Vista. Lara, our oldest, said that Thanksgiving and Christmas were her favorite holidays, and I have to agree with her. I enjoy the short days, the cold weather, the sense of stocking up and settling in. I also enjoy the chance to think about those things that make me grateful. In many ways, this has been a difficult year for us. We experienced more problems during lambing than we've ever had. We found ourselves spread thin geographically and physically this summer. This fall, I've struggled with the realization that I'm missing some of my girls' growing up time in order to market our products at farmers' markets. Despite these challenges, I'm grateful for many things on this Thanksgiving eve.
I'm thankful for my family - Sami, Lara and Emma put up with my long hours, my frustration (at times) and my exhaustion. My extended family has always been supportive of my farming dreams. I'm thankful that I get to spend part of every day outdoors doing something physical. I'm grateful to my dogs - the border collies and guardian dogs make it possible to raise sheep - and I'm grateful to my sheep. I'm so fortunate to be able to do work that I love. I'm thankful for the customers that "vote" for our products and our production system with their dollars every week, and I'm thankful for the friends I've made because of our products. I'm grateful to my friends and colleagues who extend a helping hand without expecting anything in return. I'm thankful that I can heat my home and feed my family with my own labor and with the labor and skill of people I respect and enjoy.
Tomorrow afternoon, we'll sit down to a feast that features food grown by people I know - a turkey grown by the Diestel family in Sonora (where I grew up), stuffing that includes Basque chorizo that we produced, spaghetti squash from Melon Jolly Farm in Auburn, salad with lettuce from Natural Trading Company in Newcastle, and mashed potatoes from Twin Brooks Farm in Loomis. As we say our prayers of gratitude tomorrow, I'll remember Tim Diestel, Mike Holcomb, Shaun and Allison, Bryan Kaminsky, and Francis and Jan Thompson. I'll think about my friends Roger Ingram, Cindy Fake, Ann Vassar, Allen and Nancy Edwards, Ellen Skillings, Courtney McDonald, Paul Lambertson, Alice Woefle-Erskine, Callie Murphy, Pat Shanley, Bud and Jean Allender, Rich and Peggy Beltramo - all of whom helped make our sheep operation work this year. Thank you!