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January 2023

It's January 1st, 2023, and I sit staring at this date and wondering how we got here so fast.  
2022, although seemingly uneventful upon reflection, was a good year for us as a family.  And perhaps, it has everything to do with the uneventful that made it feel like this.
After two years of on and off lockdowns, and life being shifted off its axis… this year felt like a chosen life of quiet and not a forced one.
We finally had the choice to go out and live that over-scheduled life again.  But it seemed every time we left, the draw back home was almost always immediate.
Our family finished out the year prior with a sick Jess. 
Perhaps this is really where our newfound reclusiveness began.  The need to hunker down and build a protective barrier around our little family unit.
To slow down, and appreciate the what and the who that is our home.
The kids on the other hand, are thriving.
Living a life lost to them for two years.  
Jack has blown us away with what he's been accomplishing at work ( I still nod a lot when he tries to explain what he does in a day…) and the job has taken him to California, Georgia, Utah, Montreal and Texas in his first six months.
Jess just completed her first semester of year two at the University of Guelph and she was happy to see she passed after some gruelling exams this fall.
She also accepted a summer job with the company she worked with last summer, which means dad is stuck with me once again this year as his right hand.
Mark has been in full construction mode since last winter with his cabin.  It's amazing what can get done in a year when it's a project they're excited about eh? (the house is falling apart, but whatevs.😉)
The cropping side of our business this year was a nail-biter to say the least.
June 9th was the last significant rainfall we saw for a good six weeks, and July was a continued disappointment for forecasted rain that never came.
So, when August finally decided to open up the skies… she literally saved our crops (and my mental state).
We ended the year with amazing harvest conditions that we haven't seen in years and yields that were shockingly good.
So now for me.
The sheep side of things stayed fairly consistent to previous years.  Lambing in March, June, September and December.  Breeding in January, April, July and October.  
The wool was an added detail to our business that I'm happy to say is using up ALL our wool we produce in a year and is not sitting on a shelf in some warehouse somewhere doing nothing.
However, the cost of doing this shocked me this year, and gave me a whole new appreciation for local retail store owners with tight margins.  Needless to say, 2023 will be a year of really studying this new side of the business and confirm that it is indeed holding its own.
Youtube continues to fill up my mornings, and sometimes nights.  The channel has grown significantly this year, not because I'm that interesting, but because I wasn't afraid (lies… I was petrified) to try new things.
But, now for some truths…
I'm tired.
I'm rounding into my sixth year on Youtube, and push out 2-3 videos each week while still trying to work my actual job.  (I know… all self-induced problems…)
I've hit some major milestones, but it doesn't come without sacrifice.  
I rarely see my friends, and if it weren't for my sister doubling as my bookkeeper, I bet I wouldn't see much of my family either.
I need to outsource, but the nature of my videos are so last minute, it's hard to get someone else to edit… (and if I'm honest, I actually love the editing part).
So, that's where I'm at as I write this letter to you all.
I haven't picked up my camera in a week now… and the thought of picking it back up today sort of makes me anxious.
I'll come out of this little funk, but I need to really strategize 2023 so I don't come to resent this craft that once was my stress-reliever. 
Wow… sorry about the therapy session.
Looks like maybe I've been stewing about this longer than I'd like to admit.
Thank you for being here for us.
For watching the videos and making us feel like we are a wee part of your life.
Thank you for helping push me, but also support me when I push too far.
Thank you for the letters, cards, gifts and emails.  I know I can't respond to you all, so this newsletter is where I feel like I can reach you.
Thank you for supporting our little wool endeavour, and for always inspiring the next new idea.
Here's to 2023.
May it be healing to those hurting.
May it be giving to those without.
May we be kind to each other, instead of polarized.
May we be accepting, and find the invisible string that connects us, instead of throwing a grenade because of the things that make us different.
May we love, and be loved.
Happy New Year!!
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