Happy New Year! (I started writing this post on the 2nd and now it’s the 6th… but still, Happy New Year!) I love the start of a new year, don’t you? Did you have any big plans to celebrate? On New Year’s Eve our electricity went out, and our family played Yahtzee. Yahtzee was a big part of my childhood, playing it regularly at my mom’s, at my grandparents’ house, and with that side of the family during summer visits to Minnesota where we stayed in cabins by a lake and did lots of swimming, fishing (my uncles and cousins), fort building (all the kids), and game playing. My mom usually plays Yahtzee with B when she visits us and the older he gets, the more he wants to play, and now requests it. I had what was probably the best Yahtzee game of my life last week and Jeff and I joked that we better run down to the store and play the lottery quickly before my luck ran out.
On New Year’s Day we had a bonfire on our property. Our family loves going to the ocean to celebrate the new year and have done that in years past, but this year we all wanted to have a bonfire. We had a pile of things we’d been cleaning up around the property, that we had been waiting to burn. Around here (in western Oregon), we wait until wintertime (when it’s our rainy season) to have an outdoor fire of any sort. Much of the year it’s too dry for that, and throughout the dry season we have burn bans around here.
We were out there in the rain into the evening. B remembered a container of sparklers he and Jeff had been saving. I remember fondly how much fun my siblings and I had with sparklers on the fourth of July when we were kids, so I can understand the excitement he has about them. In July though, when most people do sparklers, we usually feel a bit too nervous to do them at our place- in the woods, when it’s our dry season. We’ll do them in other spots with parking lots (concrete) or somewhere else safe, but as for at our place… saving them for the wintertime is actually perfect here. B declared sparklers for New Year’s a new tradition. We all love that idea, and agreed it would be a great way to celebrate the beginning of each year.
Having the fire felt symbolic too. As I watched the flames, I thought about our family letting go of what was no longer needed, as we moved into a new decade. 2019 was a challenging year for us, as those of you who have been reading this blog over the last year already know, and perhaps it was a challenging year for you as well. It also was a year full of growth, blessings, and deeper strength and connections- so I’m grateful for the gifts last year brought, and the changes it continues to inspire us to make. It feels like we’re being guided in new directions this year. Jeff and I are both feeling a shift to be closer to home these days, and it feels right for us on many levels.
We had many years selling at the weekly art market where we felt like we were at a constant run. (One day packing and preparing and pricing everything- packing our car, packing our food, etc., one long day there- leaving super early and getting home late- and for years milking goats before we left and when we got home and caring for our other animals, one day unpacking/preparing for the next week, four days to make up the stock from the week before and hopefully make more.) Then we shifted over to a busy schedule of fiber festivals throughout the year. It was a better fit for us because there was more time for all the stages of sanding/polishing/drying that Jeff’s style of woodworking requires (without trying to squeeze it into a few days), but if we thought the shift from busy weekly schedule to busy monthly schedule would be less crazy… well, we were still at a run.
It has sometimes felt like we’ve been running a marathon all day, every day, year after year. Sometimes I felt the energy and drive inside to keep at it and sometimes I felt completely exhausted. We wanted to simplify, but the aspects of our life that kept us busy were all important to us. Jeff and I have made a good team- raising our child together, running our business together, prioritizing healthy home cooked meals together, and doing our best to keep up around the house and property. But it’s been a lot for two people to keep up with. And since the health and well being of our family is so important, living life at a more sustainable pace feels essential.
As it’s become more and more challenging to keep up with wholesale orders and custom orders while keeping a busy travel schedule for work, it feels like a good time to work from home more. (I wrote about this a bit before, in this post.) Keeping up with our property has been something we haven’t had as much time for as we’ve wanted, and one thing our family is really excited about this year is spending more time gardening, and fixing up our place! I want to take the time to thank all of you for your support over the years, it has meant so much. Every kind comment you’ve left on the blog has been appreciated. Every purchase you’ve made in our handmade shop online or from our booth at a fiber festival has been appreciated. It takes a lot of work to make a living as an artist, and Jeff and I are both so grateful we’ve been able to support our family and get the bills paid through the hard work of our hands… we wouldn’t have been able to do it without all of you. So, thank you! And we wish you all the best in 2020!