Sunday, November 23, 2008

Farm Day

Yesterday was our "Day to Give Thanks for Udders" farm day. Everything went very well and we estimated that about 240 people came throughout the afternoon. The weather was beautiful, but very cold!

Our purpose in having a farm day was, first, to open up our home and property to our customers and neighbors, hoping that they might sense the Holy Spirit in our home. We want to be a testimony for Christ through the way we work together as a family and through the joy each of us have because we have Christ in our lives.

Secondly, from a marketing standpoint, we feel that by getting to know our customers better, we will build their loyalty and encourage them to purchase products from us in the future. Also, we wanted to give thanks to them for supporting us. If they didn't buy our milk and other products, we wouldn't have food on our table. Last of all, it was the turkey pick-up day for the folks that ordered Thanksgiving turkeys. Thursday was the turkey processing day.

Sullivan and Harrison with two turkeys on Thursday...We are so grateful for Oma coming to help us with the preparations prior to the event, as well as tending to the "hospitality center" (our house) during the event and welcoming folks to enjoy the apple cider, chocolate chip, and peanut butter cookies we had prepared.

We are also so glad that our friends, the Butlers, came and helped us a lot as well. Mr. Butler ran the hay ride, Mrs. Butler welcomed people to the "corn pit" (a childrens play area similar to a sand box) and the tea area in the garage apartment. Kendal took family pictures in the "family picture area" and Kelsey helped in the garage apartment and with the younger Butler children. We are so grateful for their help!

The "corn pit" was an idea we saw at the state fair. Elliott and Oliver built it a few weeks ago in the garage apartment.
We wanted the day to be educational so we made signs for each of the "stations" so folks could learn about our animals. The goats had a pile of hay for the children to feed them...
Children were also able to collect eggs from the laying hens...We had been saving and freezing corn cobs for several months so children could throw corn cobs to the pigs!We tied different colored ribbons to the milking cows' tails and printed a sign distinguishing each cow and its color so people could tell which cow was which (i.e. Lemon=yellow bow, Satin=red bow, etc.). We just bought this cow, Dottie, this past Tuesday so she isn't one of the girls with a bow. We also set up a "Poultry Processing Area" so folks could see how we process the chickens and turkeys. We ran out of time to process the four turkeys on the right side of the picture Thursday night so they get to live one more week. One was even already in the killing cone about to have its throat sliced when the decision was made to save the last four for next week's chicken processing day! We admonished them to "live like they were dying" for the next few days. ;)
Oliver was in charge of the turkey pick-ups and other product sales... After the guests left and the evening milking was finished, we enjoyed a pot of chicken soup the Butlers were so kind to give us and we visited with a new friend. We are so glad the day went smoothly and so relieved that all of the preparations and work are finished! ~Meredith

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We're in the News!

Click here to read the online version of a Style Weekly article published today about the influence of faith in all natural farming, featuring our family, the Lawlers from Faith Farms, and the Salatins from Polyface Farm.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hunting Season Is In!

Some women try to be like the woman of Proverbs 31 who "brings her food from afar" and "gets up while it is still dark and provides food for her family and servant girls" (Prov. 31:14, 15), but I'm afraid our Mama surpasses them all. The first kill of the hunting season belongs to Mama! On the way home from church last Sunday, Mama nailed this four-pointer about a mile from our house. The pigs greatly enjoyed it. How many other women are out killing deer to cut down on the costs of feeding the farm animals?!? The horns now reside above the door to the milking parlor at the barn. Notice "Mom '08" engraved below it. Luckily nobody was hurt and minimal damage was done to our vehicle. ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Everyone's Invited!

We are so busy and excited with the planning and preparations for our upcoming farm day, "A Day to Give Thanks for Udders".

If you're up for a day on the farm, we would love to see you! Please visit the "Farm Day" page at our farm website for all of the information.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thoughts on Older Daughters

Only when Meredith graduated from her homeschooled education, and we began fielding the many inquiries from others as to what her plans were regarding college, did we begin to articulate our plan for Meredith's post high school years. As parents who firmly believe in higher education, we purposed to make available to Meredith a multitude of advanced learning opportunities through the finest training establishments.

Since Meredith's most sought after career goal is that of becoming a wife and mother of excellence, we concluded that the most advantageous form of higher education would be in an intense apprenticeship program where all the many aspects of home management could best be explored. When we considered where that training might take place, we could think of no better facility than our own home - where a young woman desiring to cultivate home management skills would be most greatly appreciated!

Because of that, Meredith's days are spent in a very deliberate, thought out, purposeful manner where the many aspects of home management are covered in depth. As a wife and mom in training, Meredith has full responsibility of homeschooling the younger boys, overseeing the kitchen including the preparation of all meals, overseeing all household chores, including the weekly "big" housecleaning, and she is my right arm in running our businesses.

Not long ago, a woman my age asked Meredith what she did as a graduated, at-home daughter. When Meredith finished detailing her daily activities, the woman looked at me and said, "So, what do you do all day?!" A fair question and one that deserves close inspection as we forge a new path in this modern day of the "Return of the Daughters". What does the full time, stay-at-home mother do when she has, residing with her, a homemaker in training? How does she continue to fill her day with productivity and usefulness?

During a season in which we had moved to a remote town and were living in a rented, small trailer, I found myself in such a state. With a 14 year old daughter who was very capable of running a household, and all our city-life busyness replaced with the isolation that country living demands, I no longer was scurrying around each day trying to get my long "to do" list accomplished by the close of the day. At first, I didn't know what to do with the extra minutes in my day although I tried to fill them by "over cleaning" - washing things more often than needed, organizing to the point of insanity, and the like. Realizing that I had entered a new and unknown season in my life as a homemaker, I began asking God for wisdom and direction on how to to fill my days purposefully as I turned over much-needed training opportunities through household responsibilities to my older children. God so graciously gave me meaningful ways to fill my extra minutes.

Whether one has many little children still underfoot or is facing an almost empty nest, a woman with an at-home older daughter taking over many of the household responsibilities, can explore opportunities with eternal significance to fill the extra minutes she finds in her day. What a wonderful time to share life experiences with younger mothers, through mentoring relationships. In this great age of cyberspace, one doesn't even need to leave her home to share a word of encouragement with those scattered across the country. As others are in busier seasons of motherhood, why not coordinate an on line ladies Bible study where the participants can respond via email in between wiping noses and flipping loads of laundry from the washer to the dryer? Of course, a season with extra minutes is an excellent opportunity to spend more time reading our finest home management manual, the Bible. And what a fantastic time to post a few verses around the bathroom mirror to commit to memory. It is a great benefit to an at-home daughter in training, as well as the entire family, if a mom with extra minutes in her day chooses to use them drawing nearer to God.

My season of extra minutes has come and gone but I enjoyed it immensely. I still have two precious friends, as dear as sisters, that God gave me during my "extra minute season". I have wonderful memories of Bible studies and the ladies I met. I continue to be strengthened by the verses I learned and the lessons God taught me through more concentrated study of His Word. If you have an at-home daughter, don't fear your replacement and not allow your daughter to wholeheartedly take over many of your responsibilities during her season of training. Don't worry how you'll spend your extra minutes. Instead, enjoy a rich time with the Lord as you watch your precious daughter develop into a beautiful homemaker right before your eyes.