The ones where you stop and stare at your child, wondering how someone so small could have so much wisdom.
The ones when the smile starts deep inside and breaks across your face watching them.
The ones where you can feel yourself beaming with pride and you want to shout to the world that’s my kid!
But my favorites are the small, quiet moments when you get a glimpse of your child’s soul and a preview of the type of person they will become.
You know the moments.
This weekend we were at our local farmer’s co-op picking up feed and our kiddos asked if they could spend some of their Christmas money on a toy. Like many of you, we’re trying to instill a sense of responsibilities in our children, so we let them make some of the decisions with their money.
Both of them carefully combed the toy farm equipment, miniature animals, and leftover Christmas items, asking prices and weighing the options.
Have you ever seen a miniature alligator with a farm set? I hadn’t either. But that’s what my son found. An alligator. We looked it over and I simply asked if he was sure that was what he wanted to spend his money on.
He thought about it and then gravely put it back. I let him know it was okay if that’s what he wanted, but he had to be sure because once the money was spent it would be gone. This is where he got me.
He looked at me and said he didn’t really need another toy, but could he spend his money on dog treats for Brusher? My heart caught for a moment and I stumbled over the words. Of course you can, I think Brusher would really enjoy that. But you can spend your money on yourself if you’d like.
“No Mom, it’s okay, I think I just want to get Brusher treats. Can I feed them to him too?”
You know the moments. Let’s celebrate more #proudparent moments this year.
#proudparent moment: my son showing off the treats he bought for our livestock guardian dog instead of toys for himself.
Do you remember the first time you successfully used a pressure canner?
Did you careful comb the instructions, checking the weights for the third time and the steps for the fifth? Did you feel anxious as you impatiently watched for steam, fascinated, but hesitant to get too close?
Did you feel trepidation when the pressure began to build and hiss out around the air lock, wondering if you should turn the heat down? Did you momentarily panic… asking yourself, “Is that supposed to happen? How long should it take?”
Did you cringe a little inside thinking perhaps you didn’t put the seal in correctly, forgot a step, or worse yet… had a faulty canner and were sure to have it explode in front of you at any moment?
Did you peer from around the safety of the refrigerator door, silently praying that the air vent popped and that the lid was locked before the entire contents took out your microwave and spewed across your kitchen?
Did you stare at the pressure regulator, hearing the pressure of the boil and willing it to rock so you could start your timer? Did you jump back, startled, the first time it lurched?
Do you remember how quickly the rhythmic rock became background noise as you went about your day? Or the moment when you reached over the pot for the first time without worrying about it… and how the familiarity of it all took you by surprise?
Tonight I opened a jar of our homemade stock and thought about how many years I missed out on these small comforts (and precious freezer space) out of fear and doubt.
Let’s face it, pressure canning can be intimidating.
For years I convinced myself that I was satisfied making pickles, salsa, jams, and jellies. I told myself it was just as easy to freeze stock and vegetables out of the garden. It got to the point that my husband joked about taking his life into his own hands opening any of the freezers (yes I’m spoiled), knowing that at least one carefully placed item would likely fall and that he would never be able to fit the puzzle pieces back together in the same way for the door to close again.
All of that changed after catching up with an old friend with a passion for #puttingfoodby. It’s amazing what a handful of conversations and a friend willing to act as a mentor can do for your self-confidence. Armed with her recommendations, we purchased our first pressure canner and found a new sense of pride in both mastering a daunting piece of equipment and stocking our shelves with a greater variety of winter stores. Sure, it’s not the flashiest new toy, but learning a new skill is worth celebrating!
As I see people sharing resolutions and goals for themselves in the New Year, I keep thinking about what a difference we can make on the lives of others, in ways big and small. Janet probably has no idea the difference our conversations made in pushing me to finally attempt canning low acid foods or the sense of accomplishment that came with it. What an incredible gift to share with someone. Her willingness to acknowledge my fears and ease my hesitations, despite how silly they may have seemed from her vantage point, empowered me to see past my own self-doubt. That is a small win that I celebrate every time I open something I’ve pressure canned at home.
Those little kindnesses, frequently overlooked and taken for granted, are often the very things that keep us moving forward.
They say one of the greatest gifts you can give others is your time, but don’t underestimate the difference small investments can make. Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes of your day to completely change someone else’s.
Is there anything better than receiving a surprise care package of homemade goodies? This small gesture and ample supply of homemade candy made our Christmas a few years ago.
Gift a jar of jam or some of your favorite (or least favorite for that matter) homemade candy. Share your friend’s small business post or leave a positive review. Take the time to be a sounding board for your partner’s latest project ideas…. even if you know they may not last more than 48 hours. Send a note to someone when you’re thinking of them. Shop local and learn the stories of those working to grow your community. Get excited about a friend’s new hobby, even if you only ever see pictures on social media. Privately cheer others on as they struggle with an unexpected burden or life change. Act as a resource for someone. Be a mentor. Open up a new realm of possibilities for someone, just like Janet did for me.
Forget making another resolution, make connections this year.
These days you can find a “National Holiday” for just about anything. While I’m all for people celebrating things that bring them joy, I rarely partake in the more obscure of these festivities (I’m looking at you Talk Like A Pirate Day).
December 18 is different.
National “I Love Honey” Day is something I can get behind – and not just because I love the golden substance. Honey is a celebration of honey bees, pollinators, and the incredible role they play. We started raising bees for the honey, but have come to love the fascinating little creatures. These days we’re continuing to expand our apiary and planting new pollinator-friendly plants around our farmstead.
Seasonal allergies. If you, like me, have suffered through itchy eyes and (at times) debilitating sneezing fits when pollen counts are up, honey may help. Regularly adding raw, local, and minimally filtered honey to your diet can help build your immunity and reduce future reactions. Check back after the spring honey flow for Farrow Family Farmstead natural, untreated honey.
Mead. Honey wine… sign me up! Mead may have ancient roots, but you can now find modern commercial blends in many metropolitan areas. Try celebrating with some local mead this holiday season. Looking for a tasting room? Try Honeytree Meadery in East Nashville.
Some days you’re trying new things, others you stop to enjoy the view, and thenthere are the days you stumble on the trail and your biggest accomplishment is just picking yourself up and continuing on...
Welcome to the Farmstead Favorites blog and Farrow Family Farmstead! We’re just getting started with our online presence, so stay tuned for more. We look forward to growing with you and cultivating an online space where we share a love of reconnecting as families, stewarding our land, and sharing everyday joys.
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