Happy New Year!
(From Sue, and Joanne) If you receive our New Year’s letter, this is just a duplicate. It’s me being lazy because I am still recovering from my after Holiday bout of Bronchitis with a side of Sinusitis. So… for those who haven’t already read this… enjoy!
After 2020’s slowdown 2021 caught me by surprise. Now it is after the Christmas season and we are still playing catch-up. I had several plans for this holiday time, many centered around baking, but like most years, we were overcome by events and thus – here we are getting our cards and letters out at what could be considered a very tardy pace.
These are the highlights, I suppose. We had a steady stream of chicks this past year, some layers and 4 batches of meat birds, so it was a busy spring and summer. We butchered over 100 birds this summer!!! We sold all those that were marked for sale, and still had people wanting more. We had a frank discussion about the viability of continuing at this pace, did some financial investigations, and decided it just isn’t worth the amount of money, time, and wear on us. We’d have to charge an outrageous amount per pound to make it worth our while. So, we’ll only be doing enough for us – and maybe some presents – this year. We also raised the cost of our eggs to help adjust for the increase in organic feed prices, and reinstated our .50/dozen delivery fee. Our gas prices are climbing higher and higher, like everyone’s I suppose. We had a very nice monsoon season this year and everything turned green, beautiful, and LONG! It was a year of weekly lawn mowing and tractor mowing in addition to the normal chores that come with almost 100 chickens. We worked on several projects, but the biggest one was to dig a ditch and install piping for irrigation to the swales in the west field. We want to plant a bunch of trees to make a ‘food forest’ eventually. This is step two, first the swales, second the water and finally next year planting the trees. I am looking forward to the completion of this project this year.
About midsummer our church moved from streaming weekend services to live services and suddenly things got busy. Choir rehearsals, band rehearsals and organ practice time started to cause the week’s schedule to become very crowded! It seems that from September to December time just flew by and Christmas was here before I was ready for it! Sue continues to be the church organist and often fills in as either the choir accompanist or the choir director, depending on who is on vacation any given week. She is the keyboardist for the praise band, does backup vocals, and sometimes plays acoustic guitar for them as well. She continues to sing in the chancel choir, I join occasionally. Sue and our accompanist, Dorothy, played several great four hand pieces throughout the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons – I never tire of hearing them together!
We lost Sweet Pea last year to a kidney disease and adopted Chase a German shepherd mix . He was abused and after a year is just now starting to get comfortable. We tried to adopt another dog, Layla, but she was very prey driven and just couldn’t pass the chickens or Katie the cat without trying to jump them. So, despite her wonderful personality with us, we had to give her up. We’d been trying to adopt for over four months, and just had not been getting any response from rescues, we were so hopeful that Layla would work out. We were able to get her back with her Foster family and they’ve let us know that she continues to thrive and improve.
Joanne’s parents came at Easter and Thanksgiving to visit. It is always such a pleasure to have them come. It is like a mini vacation for me, and the food is always extra special!
Irie (Sue’s Granddaughter), Dustin and Alexis’ daughter started pre-school this year and had fun. Dustin also took her camping and fishing it seems like every month. She even got her own sit on top kayak and went all over the lake with Dustin, fishing.
Joanne has been working lots this year. She finally quit working at the church as the bookkeeper and started working ¾ time at the ‘2nd Amendment Family Gun Shop.’ There she does sales of guns but now also of properties as she received her real estate license. She is also busy with “Real Wishes” a charity that is run by the local real estate offices. OK – here’s my input on this. I work “out of” the gun shop because that’s where my boss, David Greenberg, keeps an office for me. I am his Licensed Assistant; I can sell you a house and the firearm to go along with it! I did receive my Real Estate license in July of last year, so David has been prepping me to take over for him when he retires… not sure that I really want him to retire. I am the Treasurer of the Real Wishes Foundation which is the charitable arm of our local Realtor® Association. When I was still the CEO of said Association, we received the State Level award for our Charitable work through Real Wishes, so I am happy that I am able to continue my relationship with this foundation in my current capacity. The people on this board have the most generous hearts, and the Realtors® continually step up to support their good works. In 2022, the parent Board of our Association (WeSERV) is taking our Foundation model to all their chapters and creating a network of Real Wishes throughout Arizona; we are all very proud to be a part of this expansion.
For this coming year, I’m hoping that we are able to do more of what we love here on the farm. For me, I hope that I can find that elusive “work/life balance” and be able to work more here than out selling property or guns. It’s a means to an end, real estate, it’s not a passion. That passion is here for me and I’m working on working it out. My hope for Sue, for this year, is to get her out on a vacation… or several vacations. We are actively looking for someone who could take care of everything – for short weekends to start, then branch up to maybe a week – ten days. If you know of someone who might be interested in doing that, please let us know.
Nothing much else has been happening here. If you follow our blog (https://wingandaprayer.live) you’ll notice that I’ve been noticeably less active this year. It’s been an odd year. We are always busy, even though we often say that there’s not much going on. Sue continues to collect bottles for her bottle wall. We have plans for that, together with a patio, pizza oven and outdoor kitchen area. We keep working on our orchard, but lost several chestnut trees in the over 80mph winds we experienced this year. Sometimes it’s difficult to see what we’ve accomplished as we look back at the end of the day/week/month/year. Then someone will visit and we take them around and show them what’s been going on, and we say – hey – we’ve done some things! This year we had a first time visit from Dinah and Paul who were interested in visiting Bisbee and came along for the farm tour. They met some of the characters that make appearances in our blog and seemed to enjoy themselves. They helped us to see what changes have been made over the years. We always look forward to visitors, so if you are thinking of coming out this way, please stop by! Maeve would love to make your acquaintance.
Blessings of peace to you and yours this year.