Archive for December, 2011

Redeeming the Dirt – “Lifestyle Entreprenuership”

What a joy it was to see the temperatures rise above 60F today!  Though it was very muddy, we just pulled on our boots and enjoyed being outdoors today for the first time in weeks.  Praise God.  It really was enjoyable.  We saw hundreds of ducks flying south for the winter pass over our heads, we watched our chickens and turkeys being chickenish and turkeyish, the kids danced and ran free, we looked over our land to survey it for the upcoming chicken season, we marked out our new garden plot and finally, Keith rototilled our new garden plot!  Woohoo!!! It was a blast!  We are going to plant it with some wheat as a cover crop over the winter for two purposes:  one, to choke out the weeds with the crop, and two, when we turn it under in the spring it will provide “green manure” or extra nutrients and fertility to the soil.  It will be fun to watch the wheat grow up in the back yard.  😉

She was enjoying being outside, for sure!




We are so looking forward to the coming year.  So many things we’ve been working towards this year we will finally get to do with out own two hands next year.  And it’s only a few months away… woohooo!!!  (We actually say that a lot around here).


Country livin' fun!








~Turkeys being turkeys~







I read a blog today and liked it so much I am going to post it in it’s entirety.  Anyone interested in the country life, farming, or even hobby farming will enjoy and appreciate this blog.  This guy’s got some good perspective.

Farming is considered a business today, like any other occupation. And it is. However, several years ago, when my father was encouraging me in entrepreneurship he pointed out that there are two types of entrepreneurship: money-making entrepreneurship and lifestyle entrepreneurship.

Money-making entrepreneurship is what most people think of when they think of entrepreneurship. Basically you come up with a business idea based on whether you think it will be successful at making money, and you start it. Hopefully you will be right and after the business has grown to a certain point you will be able to hire others to run it, or sell it. Then you will be able to afford to live the lifestyle that you want. Basically, the best money-making business is one that provides the most amount of money with the least amount of effort.

Lifestyle entrepreneurship differs from money-making entrepreneurship not necessarily in its goal, but in its means of achieving that goal. Ultimately, the goal of both is the ability to be able to have the type of lifestyle you desire. And whereas money-making entrepreneurship seeks to find a business doing something that you don’t necessarily like in order to be able to afford to do what you like, lifestyle entrepreneurship seeks to find a way to merely make a living doing what you want in the first place.

Because of the time, devotion, care, and work that it takes to farm it doesn’t qualify very well for a money-making business. Too much work for the pay if you would rather be doing something else. However, because of the beautiful work setting, the opportunity to work with your hands, the ability to spend time with family, and the satisfaction you get from growing things, farming makes a great lifestyle that can provide for your needs and the needs of others.

The trouble is that most people today don’t value an agrarian lifestyle. Most Christians don’t value an agrarian lifestyle. So most people wouldn’t farm for the lifestyle, and the only other option would be to farm for the money you need to live another lifestyle. And, again, there are easier ways to make money than farming.

The following, widespread story of the businessman and the fisherman illustrates the principle of agri-lifestyle vs. agri-business.

The Businessman and the Fisherman

The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.

The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions, señor? Then what?” The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”

-Author Unknown


December: the perfect time to start a garden! :)

The finished Advent Chains! We've been learning about the symbolism behind Christma traditions!

That’s right, it’s almost Christmas and we’re about to till up our back yard.  However, we will not be planting tomatoes – not yet.  We will be planting a cover crop, winter wheat, to help choke out the weeds and add green manure to the soil when we turn it under this spring.  We could have planted it a month earlier, but we think it will come up alright since we actually just planted some wheat in a field a few weeks ago.  So I’ve been busy listing the kinds of vegetables we want to grow, estimating how much of each we could eat and preserve, and how much garden space we will need.  It’s exciting to be “gardening” in December!  I’ve ordered some seed catalogs and downloaded my county extension office’s planting timeline recommendations.  We have located a cheap source for lots of compost and hay, and before long we’ll have a cute little patch of wheat growing up in our back yard.  Right now I have 22 varieties of vegetables planned as well as a strawberry patch.  We’re on our way to the tastiest tomatoes and sweetest sweet corn you’ve ever had!

~our turkeys at 3 weeks old~

The time it takes to do chores around here has significantly reduced since chicken processing day.  It’s a good thing, too, because many days it’s tooo cold to leisurely enjoy the chores.  We just keep their water from freezing and throw some feed out there for the turkeys and hens, and toss some hay in when it needs to be replenished.  We have put together our list of winter tasks to be done, and that too has been exciting to think about

~ our turkeys now free-ranging on my back steps! ~

preparing for our coming year.  We got to raise one batch of meat birds this year, and have a few birds still roaming about here, but for the most part this fall was a trial run.  This spring is the real deal, and we are preparing for a farmstead in full swing!  Oh yes, we’re dreaming of all the farmy things we’d like to do, and wondering how many of them we can do this coming year, and how many of them will fit right here on this small acreage we are renting.  Wohoo!! It’s going to be fun!!

Speaking of where we live, a few months ago I posted about the possibility of moving into a mobile home sometime soon.  We have decided not to go that route, and will be staying in this rental house for the coming year.  There was lots of reasoning and debating that went into that decision, but the short of the story is that we’re staying put.  And we’re happy about it.

~ Judah's knitwit ~

I’ve been enjoying the art of sewing this month, lovingly crafting some stuffed animals for my children.  I made two stuffed bunnies, a knit-wit doll named Lilly for Judah, and a “monster” named Mongo for Jeremiah.  I have finally stitched together the first 3 rows of squares on my circles quilt.  I am hoping to make Judah a baby doll sling for her January birthday and maybe a purse/bag for myself also.  The sewing machine is humming again and I am loving it!

~ Honey Whole Wheat Bread... still warm!! ~

Life is so full, each season filled with wonder and joy.  Spring sweeps us off our feet with baby chicks, sprouting seeds, and beautiful flowers.  Summer settles deep in our souls, sharing iced tea and grilled burgers on the patio table, spending happy mornings harvesting colorful veggies and relaxing evenings outside in the porch swing.  Fall refreshes our hearts, blowing over us with cool breezes, stunning foliage displays, and holiday warmth.  And now winter.  Winter sends us indoors to discover our homes all over again, to reflect on our lives as we stitch a stuffed rabbit or savor the smell of a fresh loaf of bread baking in the oven.  We enjoy long evenings with the early setting of the sun, and late mornings snuggled under the covers hiding from the cold.  How different each season is, and how perfectly they compliment each other.

As Keith and I walk forward in life, approaching 10 years of marriage this coming September, we are so thankful for what the Lord has worked in our lives.  We have grown as a couple, and continue to work out our relationship with communication and humility.  We have grown into parenthood, and are filled with love for our precious children.  We have enjoyed many things about the first ten years, with our involvement in missions and the beginnings of our family.  But we are also very happy to enter a new season in our life together, as always focusing on the Lord and His goodness, with a new focus on our family life, simple living, raising our own animals and gardens, and self-reliance.  There is a settling in my spirit these days, a contentment deep inside, and a thankfulness for where God has lead us in life.


I thought I’d share a few pictures of our new kitchen arrangement.  A new island has been such a huge blessing!  I love it!

~ our kitchen ~

~ Kitchen with the new island! ~

It's being put to good use!

Chicken Processing Day! ;)

Doesn’t this look like fun?!

Our first chicken processing day took place last week on a cold November morning.  Our friends from Blackwell came and helped us, and we had it all done in a little over 3 hours!  The kids were surprisingly great help all morning long.  Jeremiah caught the chickens and handed them in a net over the fence to Judah, who carried them over to the pens.

I thought you might enjoy some photos of our exciting day!

















The turkeys made it out alive this time, but their day is coming!

December is here and our Christmas festivities have begun!  We put up our tree and hung our new salt-dough ornaments.  We had a great Thanksgiving feast with my family, and everyone was there.  Praise God, my sister Angela is on the mend after her gall-bladder surgery and following complications.  We returned to our non-holiday routine this week with homeschool, home organization projects, and spending all sunny moments outside.

Jeremiah and Judah’s favorite activity outside is chasing and catching chickens.  Jeremiah has taken a particular liking to this “golden” chicken, which he named Marigold.  He is a great chicken farmer in the making!

I’m almost finished with Christmas shopping, doing alot of it online.  It’s been so nice to enjoy shopping online without a lot of hassle in and out of stores with kiddos in tow.  I’ve been unusually excited about buying gifts this year and quite happy about the Christmas season.  Perhaps it is because we are living near family now, somehow that makes me feel more festive.  🙂

Have you heard Travis Cottrell’s new Christmas song, “Ring the Bells”?  I love it!

Enjoy the Christmas season!