As i sit here on the porch, I am wrought with so many emotions. Today, the woods, the pasture and the turkey garden are all quiet. I am comforted by the cock-a-doodle-do of the roosters and the whir of the porch fan. We sat out with the hogs this morning and there was such a peace across the farm. This is our first time to experience what farmers have been experiencing for hundreds of years….the end of our season. This time one year ago, we had just launched our bath product and essential oil business. I was busy making crafts to sell for the holidays. We had just sent our first 50 meat chickens, five hogs and twelve turkeys to the processor. Though we knew we wanted to do this farm thing full time, our future as farmers was definitely the great unknown. When 2020 finally rolled around, we drew a line in the sand and decided to go “all in” on this farming thing. Today is a big milestone as we mark the end of our first season. It was more emotional than I expected. Since March, we successfully raised 3250 chickens, 85 turkeys and 17 hogs. We survived a pandemic and associated quarantine, a brooder flood, a tropical storm and multiple heat waves. It was the hardest physical and emotional work I’ve ever done. I have muscles in places I didn’t know existed and for the first tine since high school, I have real tan lines. We launched our Facebook live series “Lessons from the Farm” and we celebrated two birthday milestones, Grace’s 16th and Steve’s 50th. Steve recovered from back surgery that he had last December. We bought our first tractor and grain bin. We learned how to run an electric fence and built an aviary. We built a brooder, a schooner, multiple chicken coops and some new flower beds. We added ducks and expanded our layer flock tenfold. We launched our online store and bought more land. We drove thousands of miles delivering chicken and we actually started making a profit. As I reflect on this year, I’m so proud of the work we’ve done. I’m proud to share the goodness we’ve grown on this farm with people who appreciate our holistic methods. I’m excited that we’ve forged partnerships with organizations like Heifer USA and GrassRoots Farmers Cooperative and that we are building what I hope to be lifelong relationships with sister farms and our customers. I’m proud that we did all this without a staff. Heck, we don’t even have a regular farm hand. But I’m most proud that our teenager has learned that you can raise your own food and most importantly, that you can have big dreams that, with the right amount of hard work, faith and grace, you can see them come true.
We are so excited about the future. Next year we plan to raise 100 hogs, 4000 chicken and 300 turkeys. We will officially launch our YouTube channel and hopefully continue to grow our following across all of our platforms. We will launch our chicken breeding program. And we will graduate a senior from high school. There’s so much planning to do and so much work as we prepare for 2021. But for today, I’m just going to bask in the gratitude and take the rest of the day off…maybe even two. I thank God for the opportunity to do this work that we love, raising up animals and a teenager the way we believe God intended and hopefully leaving the land better than we found it. And I’m thankful that “to everything there is a season”. Turn, turn, turn.