Part of my vision for this farm was creating a place where people could gather together and celebrate God's goodness and provision. Much to my delight, over the past year this farm has become a family affair. So many of our family members are invested in this place, in one way or another. It fills me with joy to see how this farm draws people in - people want to be here, they want to come and help us make the vision a reality.
Last spring, my grandparents moved to a retirement community. Soon afterwards, my grandmother passed away and it was gut-wrenching to watch my grandfather grieve her loss. So much pain. After several months, he was able to dig himself out of the pit of despair. I know it's still hard for him (it was for all of us), but as we enter into this planting season, I see renewed hope in him. My grandpa has been coming out to the farm several days a week, helping us with chores such as mowing the lawn, cutting brush, trimming trees, painting fences, etc. There is something healing about this place. When he's here, he's happy and full of joy - I love seeing the big smile on his face as he watches our children and dogs run around the yard playing. As he works, he tells me stories about his childhood working on his uncle's farm. I'm fascinated to hear about his early life and learn more about the great-grandparents I never had a chance to meet.
Grandpa and my son painting the fence
We appreciate my grandpa's help immensely. We tell him so every time he leaves, but I don't think he understands exactly how much it means to us. There are so many chores to be done and sometimes my husband and I are simply overwhelmed. But many hands make light work. We've been fortunate to have several family members that are willing (and excited!) to help us. My father-in-law and his wife have generously donated funds to help pay for fencing materials. We simply didn't have the cash to afford fencing. They were so eager for us to get pigs and cattle that they took matters into their own hands - and we are grateful! My father is helping to pay for bee colonies and hives, so we can set up a small apiary and has offered to help manage the hives in return for honey. My step-dad has been so helpful in cutting down trees and removing the wood. My mother and mother-in-law have generously given of their time to babysit our kids so we can accomplish large jobs. My brother, the expert grower, has taught me how to grow my own garden plants and supplies me with all the materials I could ever need. My sister and her husband have volunteered to help weed and manage the garden this summer - well, perhaps not my sister, since she'll be hugely pregnant come August, but maybe she can be the "weeding coach", shouting out encouragement as she lounges in a chair.
Pasture fences going up
Somehow, this place has drawn all of us together. There is a common goal of seeing our hopes and dreams come to fruition. I now know the true meaning of the phrase "labor of love". I love this place, everything about it, the good, that bad and the ugly. I love working in the yard and garden, or kitchen, even when I'm exhausted and discouraged by all the tasks that need to be accomplished. I love that we a building a place where people feel welcome, where they feel appreciated. I can't wait to see what else God has in store for this place.