When you purchase 43 acres of ledge and clay, you better be prepared to learn patience & practice resourcefulness.
There is No Work So Hard as Farming, and No Work So Easy to Love.
1989-1991 [Michael's Perspective]: The land we bought was rough, to say the least. It was so densely wooded that I would take our young children on treks and have legitimate fears that we may have trouble finding a path back to the house. We raised some layer hens, a few goats and a pair of pigs, ducks that skipped town as soon as they beheld the brook behind the barn and geese that were a miserable pair. I built cabinets in our barn and helped where I could with Brenda's homeschooling efforts.
1991-1998 [Michael's Perspective]: The cabinet and home restoration business grew into first a showroom in our village, then a merging with a project to build a hardware store/cabinet shop/showroom, a big mistake. It took me hours from home each day, even if I was just 2 miles from home, and the animals were neglected, the jungle grew back and the homestead was abandoned for "big" business.
1999-2014 [Michael's Perspective]: This period was a blur of going from one business diversion to another, winding up by 2014-15 traveling coast to coast, staying half of each year in hotels and I was miserable. I wanted out.
2015-Present [Michael's Perspective]: I walk away from what was now a well-paying corporate position, choosing it better to be poor and happy, sleeping at home, eating Brenda's fresh bread and returning to the original plan, regardless of cost to our pocketbook. I taught myself to build websites and offered counsel and advice to businesses in various industries. The farm slowly began to produce more meat and produce than we could consume. We have ceased raising pigs, and have turned the time that provided into learning about medicinal plants, the wild sources of food and the vast hidden blessings that Yahweh has placed in every acre of land.
It's All Comes Down to Family
1989-1991 [Brenda's Perspective]: With now three young children, we sold our comfortable home in the Bangor area to begin an adventure, buying 43 acres and building a new home, and a sustainable lifestyle. We home-schooled our children for entirety of this period of our life as a family. Three goats and a brood of chickens became the 'farm' we believed God had for us.
1991-1998 [Brenda's Perspective]: With Michael now running a cabinet shop and hardware store in the middle of the village, the farm required 'all hands on deck!' While we thought it to be good training in work ethics, at times we heard, 'I'd rather give up eating eggs than water those chickens one more time this Winter!" Despite their occasional protest, the truth of the matter is that each of them have grown into astonishingly hard-working, ethical individuals with fond memories and children of their own that love visiting Grammy & Papa's Farm.
1999-2015 [Brenda's Perspective]: With great excitement, we added a 4th child to our family, through adoption. We also saw graduations, weddings, army enlistments, foreign stations and service in Afghanistan. The sweetest part of this period came in the form of the addition to our family in the form of two grandsons! Our eldest grandson (and #6, as we will refer to him here) joined me earlier this year for a quick photo (and hug!).
2015-Present [Brenda's Perspective]: Our family continued to grow to a total of now 7 grandchildren! Our small farm has now been home to more goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, pheasants, and geese than can be accurately counted. Vegetables now abound from our plots (and a hillside that once was home to the pigs) and this small farm has become a fun place for our grandchildren to explore, hunt for free-ranged eggs, hold baby goats and learn foraging and survival skills. God is so faithful!
Walking By Faith and Reaping the Harvests
From the Summer of 2015, to this day, we have truly and progressively begun learning to 'walk by faith' in ways that can only be imagined. Like the Apostle Paul said,
"I [we] know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation - to being filled and being hungry, to have plenty and to have need." [Philippians 4:12]
As to details of what has worked and what has not, you will eventually find a list of both the Thoughts on various topics below, as well as some basic Resources that have been of extraordinary value to us over the years.
Thoughts & Reflections on Various Farm Topics...
Resources from the More Experienced...
Two resources that immediately come to mind, and no new farmer or homesteader should be without are: