Thursday, December 8, 2011

a farm a baby and a busy life

I confess that I've been blogging elsewhere. Not a pro at the whole blogging thing in the first place, but I've put a few posts on our new website:
Still love reading the blogs I follow and might have time to use both outlets someday.
In the meantime, I hope you have a great day!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

busy bee

We've moved out of the Happy Camper and found our way to Hampton, SC. Boxes are full of our things. Walls are almost all painted (thanks to Emily's help) and we are settling into our new farm life. Don and Susan sent Andy home with Mama hen and chicks yesterday and the dogs are now all acquainted and getting along. Strawberries and onions are in the ground; tool shed is being cleared out; Elijah's settling in and I have an oven!!! Life is Great!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hen & Chicks Delight!

On Sunday night I was going to move the chicken feeder out of the woods, because I spotted a raccoon. I stopped next to the woodpile, because I heard clucking...
Susan came out to lift up the tarp, while I held the flashlight and we discovered this little lady. We'd been counting 42 chickens for at least a month now and never could figure out where #43 was hiding...

Andy picked her up and to our surprise... CHICKS!!!!!!
We'd been trying to figure out when and where to hatch out chicks for weeks now and God was taking care of it right under our nose this entire time!
We decided to move mama and babies to protect them from predators (cats, raccoons, snakes, fire ants,etc)

Transporting eggs to the "safe house" one little chick is on it's way out (it hatched out the following day)...

Can you see the little biddie peeking out?
She's got quite a few under there!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

a tidbit of encouragement

"She perceives that her merchandise is profitable." (Proverbs 31:18a)

 I've been overwhelmed these last few days, with business plans and hopes and dreams and doubts. Not sure if this farm will succeed. Not sure if we're on the right track. Not sure what our 'Veggie Share' flyer should look like. Not sure if food will grow. Not sure if anyone will buy the food that advance. Then, I remember that it's not us who bring life. It's not us who makes the rain or causes the plants to bring forth fruit. It's not us who we are depending on...
   Lacking confidence, I turn to The Word. There I am reminded. There I can trust.
I know that this great big dream of ours isn't only ours. It's God who brings the growth.
It's God who brings the rain. It's God who brings the customers for our food... in advance. It's God who directs our steps. It's God who gives us the desires of our hearts. It's God who brings life. It's God who reminds me...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

the farm's namesake

 Urbanna Farm, which we named after Lennis Urbanna Gay who was born and raised on the property and the last 'caretaker' of the place at 93 years old, has a ton of potential and charm, but we certainly have to look past the obvious obstacles. The obvious obstacles being: getting the property cleaned up and raising capital for farm supplies (seeds, irrigation, tools).
 Aunt Urbanna (not our aunt, but somebody's aunt) grew up during the depression thus resulting in her becoming a hoarder. I'm talking STUFF!!! The 100 year old farm house and the 3 bed, 2 bath, 4.5 porch mobile home, 5 school buses, and dozens of other sheds and outbuildings are full of STUFF!!!
 Aunt Urbanna was in her 70's when she got married for the first time and she and her husband put a mobile home on the property next to the farmhouse. The mobile home will be our home, but right now it needs to be cleared out, cleaned, and painted. Boxes and Boxes and Boxes and Boxes and Boxes full of STUFF!!!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Urbey: The dog that found us!

     Here's Urbey. He showed up last Friday, while Elijah and I were cleaning up our new house. I walked out of the front door to pack up our car when I noticed the dog running off of the porch. I went around to look for him and he was on the side porch. I coaxed him down with some ham and cheese (I had it here to make sandwiches) and he warmed up a little bit. I had to go home, so I left the dog with a blanket, water, and some bread (the remainder of my lunch) and hoped he'd stay.
     The next day, Andy and I came back to house to meet the owner for a walk through of the property and the dog was still at the farm. We brought him some food and soup bones just in case he was still around. He's skin and bones and has a collar with no tags and he doesn't seem to want to leave. We didn't come to the farm on Sunday, so I was a little anxious that he wouldn't be around on Monday... Well, he's still here!!! So, we named him Urbey. He's the farm's german shepherd. Let's hope he gets along with the rest of the pack when they show up, November 1st. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eggmobile Plea

       Urbanna Farm is a go on November 1st. That gives us a few weeks to get the house cleared out, so we have a place to live and to start prepping the fields. We've been busy. The Brant Family Farm has been full swing too, which has been keeping both of us occupied. While I've been taking care of Elijah and working at the new farm (about 25 min. from the Brants) packing boxes and cleaning out rooms in the 3 bed 2 bath 4.5 porch mobile home, Andy's been pulling weeds, pruning asparagus beds, and cleaning up around the fruit trees at the Brants, all while planning a CSA, doing his agriculture entrepreneur class homework, making a harvest schedule, pricing seeds/supplies and planning a fundraiser/barnraising to get us going. We even entered a contest from Nature's Harmony Farm in Elberton, GA. Nature's Harmony is giving away an eggmobile and 200 laying hens to an up and coming farmer. It took us days to finally agree on a video and then it took 5 hours to upload the ten minute clip of us pleading for the hens. We won't know until Sept 30th what kind of impression our home video made and if we won the contest, but we're hoping and praying for the best.

Here's our Eggmobile Plea:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We got ourselves a farm

Two weeks ago today we were looking at a property in Hampton SC. We were going more out of respect to the family that wanted to show us the place, because South Carolina was not on our list of desirable places to settle down and start a farm. We'd just gotten back from our month of research and development and we were narrowing our choices  down to VA and IA. Neither VA or IA opened up to us, despite our major attempts to network and find a place.
So, there we were looking at an abandoned old family farm. It had two houses (one of which is a hundred year old farmhouse), tons of outbuildings, pump wells, sheds, old school buses and more. Every storage facility on the property (including the houses) are full of stuff. Some of it useful, some of it rare, some of it junk, but all of it just sort of sitting there begging for some TLC.
Now, its ours. We agreed to lease the place, including the houses, outbuildings and 40 acres attached to it all. Are we crazy?? Are we out of our minds??? Do we have our work cut out for us???
It's a project to say the least, but we are incredibly thankful, that after a month of shut doorsdisappointments, and bleak opportunities: we've found our place.
We've deemed it Urbanna Farm, after the family's Aunt Urbanna who lived there all 93 years of her life. It's a gem in the rough and we're ready.

Friday, July 29, 2011

To Blog...

To blog... To bake a cake... To burn a cake. I don't really know much about blogging. I just know that I always have a lot on my mind and some of it seems pretty interesting. At least to me. I've read that blogging is just one of those things that you have to be consistent about. Hmmm. I'm going to try.
Consistency is... oh wait, there is a cake in the oven.
Okay. Seriously though, I almost burned the cake in the oven, because I wanted to try to post a blog, while the baby sleeps...
I don't know how to post pictures... How do you make a beautiful, interesting blog like: 'A Holy Experience,' or 'The Homespun Heart?' Make it warm, inviting? Practice, I suppose. I had a blog a few years ago, but we lost touch. I've been almost afraid to write after being reprimanded about sharing one of my experiences when I lived across the country. I know it's a gift. I want to remember.
Andy and I are taking a trip tomorrow. For the month of August. We are going to visit family, friends and farms in four states. Different regions of America. Sometimes, I forget that everyone doesn't live on a farm or have cows and chickens in their backyard or grow their own food or raise honeybees or live in 300 square feet on 186 acres with their family. I am blessed.
Our flight leaves Charleston tomorrow morning. Last night, I saw the Milky Way. I'm not afraid to fly. I'm more apprehensive to drink city water than to fly. This farm is doing something to me. A city girl gone country. More in touch with nature than ever before. I've never been so thankful for my daily bread in my life.
There. That's a blog.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blueberries and Honeycomb

Lately, the harvest has been sweet. Full of ripe, juicy blueberries and spring honey straight from the comb. We know that we will be staying on Brant Family Farm until November 1st. God gave Andy an "apprenticeship" last week, which keeps us on the farm for the months of September and October, giving us August off to travel and look at farms between here and Colorado, where we will be visiting family and friends in between. We'd been praying and getting rather overwhelmed with the unknown, but we are confident and know that the Lord is leading us, regardless of our doubts. There are hundreds of tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes, beans, blueberries, strawberries and so much more, ready for harvest and consumption. It's been a delicious combination of natural goodness. Praise God His sweet faithfulness, which is even better than blueberries and honeycomb!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Local Honey and Big Dreams

"Local honey and Big Dreams" <--- that was the title of an email that Andy recently sent out to an entrepreneur friend of ours and I thought it was perfectly fitting for our lives right now. Andy is out in the field harvesting spinach, radishes, and turnips for the market tomorrow. Don and Susan (owners of Brant Family Farm, where Andy and I currently live and work) are at a market now and Elijah is trying to nap on the sofa. It's not easy for our little seven week old bundle of boy to fall asleep all by himself.
We have been praying and hoping and praying for some opportunities to start our own farm. We still have a commitment to fulfill here in South Carolina and it has been an extraordinary season so far. We can't help but to think about the future though. Especially, since we have no idea what's next. We have been married for less than a year and this is our third home so far. God is simply reminding us to rely on Him and not our own understanding as we continue to walk by faith.

Brant Family Farm is amazing. Don and Susan have worked hard here and we are blessed to be able to live and work alongside them. We learn so much every day and we know that God led us here. This morning, as  I walked around the pond, I couldn't help but realize just how peaceful it is on these 186 acres. We are still hoping to have a sustainable children's home someday or to at the very least, be able to sponsor one somewhere. We'll see what happens with local honey and big dreams.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Baby Chicks, Baby Boy & and Baby Blog

Sitting at our kitchen table, while 2 &1/2 week old Elijah naps in the picture window, I begin The Blog. Needing a creative outlet and desiring to share our family adventures, blogging seemed to be the most tangible way to accomplish such a hope. Andy picked some flowers to grace the tiny countertop, during his lunchbreak and the dishes are clean, which makes me think that all is well.
We've been living and working at Brant Family Farm in South Carolina for almost two months now. Andy started on Feb. 1st. We left his previous job, our apartment, and our friends with a hope and a prayer (or hundreds) to move to an area completely foreign to us. Savannah is not far away, but we committed to live and work here in Grays, South Carolina for a 6 month period, while I was 7 months pregnant and without even a knowing what we'd be living in or how we'd manage on a 50% paycut, because we knew that God arranged it all for us.
We'd been praying for months for an opportunity and despite many shut doors, we believed that God gave us the desire to work the land, feed the hungry, and take care of the orphans and widows. We had a goal and decided that if we were not on a farm by June 2011, then we would look for a house to buy in Savannah. God moved us to a farm in Feb. after introducing us to Don and Susan Brant through the pastor of our church. It's unbelievable how everything worked out and I certainly don't want to forget that God made a way for us to be here and he is going to continue to guide our steps, even though we don't know where we will be living in four months from now.
Elijah is sleeping peacefully.
Andy is at the garden, probably planting one of hundreds of tomato plants.
It's been a busy season. So much work to do.
There are 60 baby chickens in a little shed outside. They will be laying incredible, edible eggs in a few months. They have quadrupled their size twice now. Andy and I are going to meet a family on Tuesday that has goats. We will probably be getting a milk goat soon and hope to expand our business ventures.
We are even looking into some designs for labels/ business cards for the honey supply that we sell. It's feeling more and more official as we realize that it's fun to sell honey from the back of our truck, but if we have a legitimate business, we need to "render to Ceasar that which is Ceasar's" or "pay the man" or get licensed and move forward, so that more opportunities may present themselves... We don't want to short change ourselves. We want to grow. We believe God is going to do something huge. We want to be part of it. So, while the world may wonder why we left our things in Savannah in order to move into a 30ft camper on a farm with strangers in South Carolina, we know that we are following God's direction for our lives and we love it!