The premise of Thanksgiving is one I really like to hang on to. Just ask my family — get togethers consist of group hugs I insist upon (despite multiple groans), and Thanksgiving dinner always includes taking a moment to really think about what we are thankful for, before of course digging into tasty foods.

As I sit outside on my deck in shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt headed into the second weekend of October, I can’t help but think it’s time for that reflection.

2021 isn’t a year that will be forgotten easily. Here on the farm, we had one of the worst droughts in recent history. Commodity markets soared. Fertilizer — do we even want to get into that? Calves went to market in July. Stakes were (and are) high. Stress levels had to have reached record levels as well. Oh, and we had a little something called the Delta variant of COVID-19 throw us into a fourth wave.

Reading that paragraph alone doesn’t lead many to think there was many things to be thankful for. Sometimes the little things in our heads become big things when they are troublesome, so why can’t we make the little positivities big?

So, here are my little positivities.

As always, I am incredibly thankful for my support system I have around me. I am surrounded by people who challenge me intellectually every day, present me with new challenges and opportunities, drag me out of the house to get some sunshine, and above all else, make me laugh. Laughing so hard that your stomach hurts has got to be one of the best feelings in the world, especially when everything else seems to be tumbling down. These moments are what I’m focusing on this year.

As I mentioned earlier, part of gratitude for me is sharing with others, too. I reached out to some of my wonderful colleagues (which I too, am thankful for.) Here’s what they had to say:

Shaun Haney, Founder

Every year I ponder this question, as Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday of the year. I am so thankful fo the closeness of my family. The ability to share experiences, face adversity, or celebrate together makes the bond even stronger. Whether it’s a glass of wine with my wife, golf with my boys, or talking about a book with my daughter, there is much to be thankful for.

Lyndsey Smith, field editor

I’m thankful for the friendships I have. I haven’t seen my Manitoba-based family and friends in person since January of 2020. I miss them heaps, and in their absence, I’ve leaned on new friends here in Ontario. From the very south of the province, to just a few miles away, I’m so appreciative of the support network I’ve built here. Good people in your corner are priceless.

Bernard Tobin, field editor

I’m thankful for the strength and support that surrounds me every day. During turbulent times we all need people to lean on and trust to offer counsel and guidance. I’m surrounded by these people at home, in my community, at work, and in the agriculture industry. Thank you all.

Lara de Moissac, staff writer

I’m thankful for outdoor space to do activities, being healthy, having time to read, good coffee, and good company (thanks Jose). Appreciating simple things keeps me going. I’m also thankful I have knowledge to grow a garden, even if it was tiny this year. It’s been awesome to see sunflowers out my window every day this year and I look forward to watching some birds eat the seeds this winter. A 15-pound bag of bird seed helps out, too.

Kelvin Heppner, field editor

I am thankful for our family and friends, and things that bring people together and help put life into perspective, like good visits, and food (especially pumpkin pie.)

As always, I love to hear from all of you as well. So I also I took to twitter (yes — it can be a good place too). And you guys — I’ve been feeling the positivity warmth flow through me. I’m thankful for all of you, too! If you’d like to see some of these beautiful responses, click the tweet, below:

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone. Be safe and no matter what you are busy doing, remember to take a few minutes to appreciate whats around you.

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