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Will the Days Ahead be like those of the Past?

I was outside feeding this morning and had a thought. Sometimes those can be dangerous…so just bear with me for a moment. I was just a boy when 9/11 took place. I remember that day so vividly. I was in the 7th grade sitting in Mrs. Addison’s class. We were all looking up at that box-tube TV, watching that plane fly into the towers. Even though a lot of time has passed, I can still recall the events that followed and all the feelings/emotions that came with them. There was a sense of fear about us; assuming that it was just a very terrible accident…and then the second plane came. Not knowing what was happening, and not understanding why it was happening. I can remember there was just a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach..empathy for those who were jumping/burning/suffering...pain for the many who were losing loved ones. Then it came to light that it was an attack by Islamic terrorists. All that emotion was drowned by anger, and that anger spawned unity. Many that day across this land were inspired to take up arms and fight just by what we were seeing on those TVs. The moment that all of that anguish turned into a raging fire of anger, we the people, the States, were once again UNITED to combat this enemy. We weren’t just fighting with guns or lives, we fought with our faith too. The words “Pray” and “God” were mentioned everywhere across all media and social outlets. Songs where sung, some that will raise goosebumps on my neck still today. Sometime after this it seemed like it all faded away from mind. We got back to our normalcy and our selfishness, although many kept fighting. We’ve forgotten.  Today, I’m seeing a similar trend. We are under attack by a different kind of enemy, an unseen enemy. A sense of fear has swept across us. This has turned into like unity from afar. Many are reaching out and helping those most at risk and/or in need.This time looking at our Smartphones or computers, has inspired many to fight. Not with bullets but with 18 wheelers, tractors, and stethoscopes. Across all media, the news and social media outlets, the words “Pray” and “God” is being mentioned everywhere. Way more than before when it seemed as if some found those words “offensive”. I am seeing something different this time though.  We follow hundreds of like minded small-scale family farms just like us. There are thousands of them out there, that are part of an integrity-food-movement going by the phrase “Know your Food, Know your Farmer”. These farms as well as us, are seeing a huge spike in our sales. The demand is so high for some that they are now having to collaborate with other farms just to meet the need. You see during these times we are seeing what some have been preaching for years. That the food system in this country is fragile. We are too dependent on out-of-state, out-of-country, multi-million-dollar Corporations for our substances.During times like this when the grocery store shelves become empty, people turn to the farmer down the road. They’re also beginning to understand that group of people who “knew better.” This is that group that when they see that “made in (not USA) label”, there’s a sense of distrust/fear not knowing where it came from actually and who touched it. You don’t know what you’re really getting, so you look toward the farmer down the road. That way you can SEE what you’re getting. While also supporting a local small business in the meantime. This is how it should be. I’m not just saying buy USA products…. What I am saying is that those in Alabama shouldn’t be dependent on food grown in California or Mexico. It should be raised/grown/processed and then purchased/consumed all of it right here in Alabama. This is true food security. Yet when refrigerators and pantry’s are opened, all you see is “made in Mexico”, “made in California”, “made in Ukraine”...... I’m obviously talking specifically about the products and resources that can actually produce in-state. For example: Pineapples..You can’t grow those here in Alabama. Items like that are luxury items and don’t feed families on a daily basis, so we can afford the time and markup to ship them. Outside of that we should be supporting our own individual states, our own local farmers and small businesses. These statements apply to every state, so feel free to replace Alabama with your own state.  Most anyone will admit that the product quality is exponentially better, and with that many will say “Oh but it isn’t as cheap as getting it at the grocery store.” You’re right. Small businesses can’t afford to match their prices, but they can’t match our quality, our hospitality, our care. When you call us the owner answers, not someone over in India or some pre-recoded voice messaging system. You’re getting the same thing that we give our families, and that makes you family. Have you ever thought about it like this… If we all used local small businesses/families to buy our products and necessities, it would generate more income for those businesses. With the expectation of that income, these businesses could charge less for products maybe even to a near match of what you would pay a Corporation per unit. Most of these small businesses are not greedy, and they’re passionate about what they’re doing. They’re just trying to make enough to support their families and community. If we supported local farms, maybe just maybe, fewer family farms would go up for sale. We would be healthier. We would be united always, not just in whatever the present crisis is. Now like before, will the prayers, unity, or support for local small businesses fade away? We shall see. God Bless!

Rosemary Propagation

Around here on the farm we like everything to serve at least one, even better, two purposes.  Something we have started to do when it comes to landscaping is to not put the focus on the aesthetics of the plant but the functionality. Is it edible to us, to the animals or provide food for bees?  If it meets none of those criteria, then it probably doesn't get planted. Thank goodness bees love flowers! The one herb we use a lot of in cooking is Rosemary. Last year, we planted a row of rosemary to act as a privacy hedge. The row is doing really well and now we want to expand it and also plant more around the property.  We have learned that rosemary has medical purposes for animals.  It  improves the respiratory systems, repels insects and provides a calming  factor for the animals.  Along with rosemary we have planted many other herbs for our benefit and the animals.  Now instead of going off and buying more plants we have tried to propagate more by cutting young growth stems off our already established plants.  What you do it find a limb that has not yet hardened - first year growth stem. You cut it and remove the leaves from the bottom 1-2”.  Then poke the stem Into some fertile soil and water once a day for 2 weeks.  I also added a willow tree stem into the soil for its natural root growth properties. If this works in the weeks to come we should have many more rosemary plants to add around the farm. Check out the video for a quick overview of how it's done!

Hunker Down

Social Distancing and hunkering down, as a farmer/homesteader/homebody we've kind of got that down pat. Most of our days are spent here anyways, doing something. Growing, mending, nourishing, care taking. In some form or fashion. So, when everyone was told to socially distance themselves for the greater good of the people, we thought "Piece.of.Cake" Boy. Was I wrong. It doesn't take long to see just how much you can miss something you didn't realize you had. We had the blessing of meeting a wonderful family this evening on the farm - it was their first time out for an on farm pickup order. The first instinct for most when meeting someone new, is of course an extend of hand for a friendly handshake. Well, that's not the best idea right now. And then there was when the kids got out of the car and you could tell our son and their kids wanted to run around and see the farm. Play, interact. Because that's what we do when we have visitors out. Of course, to be safe everyone kept their distance. That one really got to me because these kiddos, for the most part, don't really understand what's going on. We had a wonderful conversation, a great visit, and it was a great time. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a small ache in my chest for the way things have come to be - hopefully for just a short period of time. One thing that has really stuck with me is this - Perhaps God is calling people to slow down and focus on Him. What better time to bring your family in close, cook a meal together, study your Bible together. Connect with Him while connecting with one another. Yes, there are many things we cannot/should not be doing right now that we're going to miss. But I personally believe there could be some amazing transformations within our homes and our lives if we just take the time to slow down. What better time to implement this than now, when we have nowhere to be?  Love & Wellness

Honey Time

The amount of honey this household goes through is astronomical. We eat honey on everything. Honey on eggs, honey on bread, honey in recipes, and not to mention our all time favorite - honey and sausage. Being as self sufficient as we can, we decided that it was time to get some honey bees and try our hand harvesting our own honey when the time comes. First step, Bee Hives - Check.  Second step, put said Bee Hives together - Check & Check Thirdly, set up an area on the farm for the bees that the cows can't get to - Check And the step we're currently on - Obtain some bees! We have a dear friend who's parents have hives and she called yesterday to let us know the hive had split! Josh jumped in the truck and well, check out the videos below to see the rest! (Make sure your Sound is on - Listen to those bees Fly!