2021...It Almost Broke Us.
When 2021 began, we were all excited to put the year of Covid behind us and return to normal life. While 2021 was more normal, I can't say it was the year of moving on that we were all hoping for.
We thought things couldn't get much worse than 2020, but our 2021 brought some epic challenges and roadblocks that we never saw coming. We survived, but I can honestly say we are anxious to put this year behind us and move on to a better 2022.
January brought us the struggles with our calf, Christmas and nursing her back to health.
Little did we know that January would set the tone for the rest of the year. It was a year of "what just happened" moments.
January ended with an emergency text from my work letting us know that our computer systems had been compromised (a.k.a. hacked) and they were shutting down all systems to repair and rebuild. If you don't understand what that means...we had nothing. No phones, no computers, no copy machine, no voicemail, no phone numbers for co-workers, no documents or anything that we had access to just the day before. Until some of the legal aspects were resolved, we weren't even allowed to tell our families. It was an interesting time.
Almost a year later, and we still all remember that day. We had to get scrappy and pull out the pen, paper and old school methods to power through. It made some of the "old timers" really popular when they were able to tell us how we used to do things.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...right? We have said that a lot this year.
February brought a rare weekend snow storm where we were able to go to our cabin in Hocking Hills to sled down the giant hills.
By rare I mean...when we do get good sledding snow, it is rarely on a weekend where we can just take the day to play in the snow...and the roads be in good enough shape for us to safely travel to the cabin.
March was highlighted by returning to the Ohio Beef Expo, Wesson winning Grand Champion Bull and the first live Miniature Hereford auction to be held at the Expo.
It was a lesson in grit and determination. Things don't just happen...you have to make them happen.
April was pretty low key.
The weather started warming up and the grass started growing. We were able to move the cows out of the winter paddock and onto the green grass for a while. Not only did they get their bellies full, but we were able to haul a mountain of manure and clean out their winter pens.
Some years it is too wet for any clean up until mid-summer, so it was nice to get a jump start.
How do I describe May...except it was when the tears started.
Just when we thought my job was starting to stabilize, Daniel's job went into a downward spiral. If we had faith in the goodness of people....well, we questioned every bit of it.
I was done. One hundred percent done! Pack up your office...life is not worth this...done.
Remember that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Daniel stood firm, and I now know he was right.
Good thing he didn't listen to me.
As a result, Daniel was given an unexpected week of vacation, which just happened to be perfect timing for us to get all kinds of house projects done in anticipation of Isaac's graduation party.
So yes, the tears that started at the beginning of May didn't subside as I was making memory videos and watching my baby graduate.
June was perfect.
We travelled to Duncan, Oklahoma for the Miniature Hereford Breeders Association Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals, and we had a blast.
One of our best vacations...even though it really wasn't relaxing...but it was pure fun.
We all did things outside of our comfort zones...and it paid off every time.
We spent the week with good people...and we needed that more than we realized.
July's highlight was the Knox County Fair and Isaac's final year in 4-H.
And yes...more tears from me.
August began with a Grand Champion Heifer and a Reserve Grand Champion Bull win at the Ohio State Fair.
The month ended with moving Isaac into college...and I only cried a little bit.
September started out with Daniel, Isaac and Walker crossing an item off their bucket list. They all three skied at the same time. They really wanted me out there with them...but double skiing terrifies me, so there ain't no way I am going to be #4!
Over the summer, Daniel's job had stabilized, but my job took a drastic turn in July. By September, after many months of tears, it became apparent that doors were closing in my current situation and I made the decision that it was time to move on. After thirteen years, it was not a decision I made lightly.
One by one, new opportunities presented themselves and one by one each or those doors also closed. I knew that I couldn't continue in the situation I was in, but God was not showing me where to go or how to get there.
Daniel was always scared to answer the phone when I called in the middle of the day...because he knew it could be me telling him that I had walked out. He did get one of those calls...but for some reason, I pushed the up button on the elevator to go back to my office instead of going to Human Resources and turning in my badge.
October was pretty routine. Getting settled into the school routine for Walker and having Isaac home with us on the weekends.
We spent some much needed time just catching up around the farm and getting things ready for winter. Never enough done...but progress.
We also learned why God had closed all the doors on me leaving my job.
Daniel got another one of those middle of the day calls...not because I was quitting, but the situation had been resolved in a way I never dreamed would happen. Things are far from perfect, but I don't think I have cried since September.
In November we returned to Louisville, Kentucky for the North American International Livestock Expo.
While it was a little dramatic and difficult behind the scenes, it was a week that I needed. A week to accomplish something good, turn an obstacle into an opportunity and to come out the other side knowing I can do things well. It was the beginning of healing from the months that I had barely survived.
It was a time for our family to heal together. When someone in your family goes through something hard, they never do it alone. The entire family goes through the pain and we have felt that greatly this past year.
This is one of my favorite pictures. No longer were we holding each other up...we were moving forward together as a family.
In December, we did get back to showing in the OCA BEST program, but I don't think anything could trump Walker's 21 point buck.
He can't wait until spring when he gets to hang up that monster...and claim the prize for biggest buck on the wall.
2021 certainly held it's challenges. Did we have the worst year ever...probably not, and there are others that endured so much more than us. I will say that last year pushed us in ways we have not been pushed before. I think Daniel and I both hit low points that have forever changed us.
We have learned a lot. I can't tell you all that I have learned, because I still don't understand it all or why we had to go through it, but I know we will be better able to understand in years to come.
For now, I learned to appreciate the strength of those around me. There were days that I didn't have the strength to hide the pain and struggles, so many rode the waves with me. I learned what it means to have someone ask you how you are doing, and it not just be the polite way to start a conversation.
I learned that sometimes you have to fight. The choice to fight cost us a lot, but Daniel and I both chose to fight with our eyes wide open. I have no regrets about choosing to fight. I learned that sometimes I am not just fighting for me, but for those that don't have the strength or resources to fight on their own.
2021 did not kill us, so it must have made us stronger. It will take time to heal the scars, but we will move on. We are ready to face 2022 head on. Whether good or bad comes, we are a stronger together and we will always choose to fight for what is right.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.