All things considered 2015 was a pretty awesome year. You may think that coming on the heels of 2014 and 2013, the worst years of my life, it wouldn't take much to make me happy, and you'd be right. But even if it hadn't followed 2014, I'd still say that 2015 was a good year.
However, as I said, 2015 would have been a good year even if I had never been diagnosed with Hashimoto's. Why? Because I lost 38 pounds without even trying, and many little health annoyances have disappeared or are improving. For example, I used to wake up in the middle of the night feeling nauseous, and that no longer happens. After 30 years of migraines, I no longer have them either. After a lifetime of constipation, that rarely happens now. My arthritic knees are also much happier, which is no doubt a direct result of giving them 38 fewer pounds to carry. I have actually never weighed less than 150 pounds since I was 14 years old (other than when I was breastfeeding), and now I've been at 132 pounds for more than six months. But if I'm honest with myself, I never would have made so many positive and healthy changes in my life if I had not been diagnosed with Hashimoto's, so it appears to have been a blessing in disguise.
As a result of my health challenges, I became certified as a health coach, and I've decided to start a new blog, which will be launched very soon. I've been working on it for a couple of months. So many people have asked me how I put my autoimmune disease into remission -- and accidentally lost 38 pounds -- and there is no short answer to that question. What worked for me may not work for anyone else, but the path I followed, which was long and winding, will lead many people to a healthier life, so the new blog will be called Healthier Paths. I'm hoping that by sharing what I've learned, others will be able to find their own healthier paths.
In addition to my personal goals for 2016, I have also been working towards my goal to turn Antiquity Oaks into a teaching farm, as well as a truly productive farm. This year we will be partnering with one of our former interns to create a market garden and sell produce at farmer's markets in the Chicago area. You might remember Sarah from three years ago, as she wrote some wonderful blog posts on here, such as this one about Gerti the blind goat. After leaving here in 2013, she went to the west coast and interned on several farms there before coming back to the Chicago area to work on some farms in this area. We are really excited about her coming here as our garden partner this year.
We are also partnering with the wonderful people at Nature's Farm Camp to have an overnight camp here on the farm for five weeks in the summer. Each camp runs from Monday through Friday. Four weeks will be for kids 8 to 12 and one week will be for young teens. I can hardly begin to explain how excited I am about this! It's going to be so wonderful teaching children where their food comes from and how to prepare it, and I'm so happy and honored that the wonderful people at Nature's Farm Camp found us and decided to have us host the 2016 camps.
I'm also increasing my online teaching load for the University of Massachusetts in their sustainable food and farm program. For three years now, I've taught a class in raising dairy goats sustainably, and this spring, I'll be teaching a class in pastured poultry. Their sustainable agriculture program is growing by leaps and bounds, and US News and World Reports ranked them as the 8th best agricultural university in the world with only two other US universities listed higher.
Thursday marked 11 years in our house, and it's still not finished. When you live on a farm, there are always more important things to do than put trim around your windows or baseboard on the walls. Mike did finally put tile around the master bathtub this year, and I was planning to do a blog post as soon as he gets the grout on, but it's been five months without grout now. I should probably go ahead and show you how great it looks, even without the grout. Then I can celebrate again when he gets the grout on.
Later this month, this blog will turn 10 years old, which is hard to believe. One of my goals for this year is to get better about posting on here.
So, that's where I find myself at the end of 2015 and heading into 2016.