Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Good, better, best...

Sometimes the cheapest isn't the best...actually, often it is not. Going the extra mile in the days of high fuel costs, well...it costs. But, we'd rather go the extra mile when necessary to achieve the best quality or provide the best service. That is why we drive an hour to get feeds that are certified organic and soy-free, because it isn't available locally. And also why we are willing to go out of our way (or stop along our way) to bring our customers what we work so hard to provide...Providentially. Good stewardship isn't just finding the lowest price...it includes finding the best quality we can afford. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to do what we do...to bring quality food from our farm to your table and ours. It is hard work, but it is worth the effort. Organic, Naturally. Good, Providentially!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The tea isn't all that is sweet around here...

The Happy Protector and "his" Isabelle

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Celebrating October...Gracefully

October brings celebrations at Providence Farm. There is a new forty-year-old on Old Forty, who loves spending time in "the back forty." On Samuel's new reading list will aptly be "Now We Are Six." Yesterday brought a new calf. Phone call to Papa S. on this, his "29th," (minus three decades). And Mama is one step behind Daddy, pushing forty as the platinum pushes aside the blonde, much to her daughter's chagrin...though Mama says she is growing old gracefully. Gracefully. May it be so. May each day be so full of His Grace that the growing old part isn't even noticed. We are one day closer to eternity. That is reason enough to celebrate...Providentially!

Where did September go?

It disappeared while I was looking... Now we are all awhirl with family birthdays, newborn calves, shorn wool, beloved visitors, fellowship and life in general. As we excited ourselves over autumn's arrival, it swiftly began slipping away. But we are still learning. Sleep is a gift. Fellowship is worth the commute. The projects in the barn and on the sewing desk will not go away...they are faithful to remain. And He who began a good work in us is also faithful to complete it....Providentially!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Fruits

We know that God provides all our needs according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus. Recently, that has really hit home! Rendering to God that which is His always comes first. He is faithful to make the rest fall into place, even when it looks impossible. He knows our needs and meets them before we even ask...and abundantly greater than we can imagine when we do! We are very thankful for His provision for us everyday. And when we give in His name...first fruits, He is faithful to give back in ways we do not expect. It is very humbling. We pray for His guidance as we learn to be good stewards...Providentially!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


It's what's for dinner. Providence Farm beef shares are currently available...freshly arrived today.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Farm Math

Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division...percentage, fractions, decimals, etc. These are but a few topics covered in one subject as school resumes at Providence Farm today.

239+235=one angus steer

128+128=one dexter/angus bull calf

139+140=one dexter/angus heifer calf
12+16+14=what Mama prefers to let others eat.
calf+mama cow's milk+fresh grass & room to roam=Rose Veal

Put them all together and what do you get? A few more coolers, definitely. A new freezer, maybe. Expanded autumn menu, assuredly. A line of customers waiting...Providentially.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Breakfast, Boys & Bible

The three Bs...

Brotherly affection. Note that one is pulling toes while the other is kissing them. And Jonathan climbed up there all on his own.

Don't you suppose that all great leaders started out this way? Learning theology at the breakfast table in Daddy's lap (or on his shoulders).

Samuel the prophet, Joshua son of Nun, or Jonathan Edwards?

Yep...they were boys once, too. And may mine not only live up to their names. May they serve Him with even greater fervor.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Isabelle Anne Hunter

Before she was formed, He knew her and all her days were written in His book.

Isabelle, "consecrated to God"

Anne, "grace"

Much prayed for and anticipated, arrived last evening at 9:27 p.m.

We celebrate the Providence of God already in the life of this little maiden.

Psalm 22:9-10

"But thou didst draw me out of the womb: thou gavest me hope, even at my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee, even from the womb: thou are my God from my mother's belly."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I usually opt for peace and quiet. But right now, I am missing the joyful noises that usually fill our home...and especially the little people who make them. Tomorrow (very early!), we have scheduled an external version, to try to turn the baby in the right direction for delivery. I am praying and believing God for this miracle, though....that she would already be turned and that labor would begin very soon. I am eager to have all my babies back together in our home soon. But, "in everything give thanks..." I am very thankful for faithful friends who are nurturing our children as their own right now....and as we would for theirs as well. May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

I think I am homesick...and yet, I am home. It's that, the others who make it home aren't here. I miss them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Keep praying!

Dear ones, this baby is upside down again. Perhaps tumbling will be her hobby? We are patiently waiting and trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ to have her turn in the right direction as soon as possible, so my labor will not be in vain. We have come home to a very quiet house for the night, hoping that joy will come in the morning! (and perhaps Isabelle, too!...the right way!) Patience is a fruit of the Spirit for a very good reason!

Thank you for your prayers!

...for the joy set before us

We are all on pins and needles. We have been for about a week. Isabelle is due in just a few days and we just about cannot stand the wait. I don't think we will be waiting much longer. The pangs of childbirth have begun. We are thankful for the prayers of the saints, sustaining us moment by moment. And we will rejoice to share with you soon as we celebrate the arrival of our seventh blessing...Providentially.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

One potato, two potato, three potato, four...

Children planting sweet potatoes, Daddy's joy. This is what you call a "long row to hoe." Thankfully, the black fabric helps minimize that need. Pretty soon, those little tiny slips will look like a jungle. But, oh the harvest they will yield...Providentially!

Finger Lickin' Good

This is one sweet fella. He has made his way 'round the Mulberry tree. Isn't he a cutie pie?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Of course there had to be a story...

It seems that anytime Daddy is away, there has to be a story to tell. Even the best laid plans (ours, anyway...God's always work out) have glitches. Today was going to be a blueberry-picking-morning, Sabbath-preparation-afternoon and gardening-evening kind of day. Well, it didn't exactly work out that way (so far, anyway). We had a major thunder-boomer storm last night. You know, the kind that has a loud CRACK that bounces you out of bed. Well, thankfully, I DID bounce out of bed when I heard a crack...or it could have been a contraction and a full bladder, but anyway, I got up at 1:15 am. "It's a comin'...she's gonna blow," one of our favorite children's book quotes. I had the presence of mind, or prompting of the Spirit, to unplug the computer and my sewing machine...and I am so glad I did! I could hear the children talking upstairs about the lightning...told them to get back to bed...welcomed a tired, frightened, but very cuddly little fella into bed with me and went back to sleep. After all, sleep is a precious commodity at my stage of pregnancy (only less than four weeks to go!)....and "for so He gives His beloved sleep." When the phone didn't ring to get me up at the expected hour, I thought maybe I had slept through it. As it turned out, lightning (maybe that big crack that got us all roused) zapped our telephone. Poor Daddy had been trying in vain to reach us because the phone was completely kaput! Praise God for wireless internet...but that was not without its own difficulty, too. Might know we had just ordered new cellular service, because what we had was not available where we live (only where we wander!). I was wishin' for that phone this morning....but THAT sent me into a hullaballoo that is fit for fiction. So, breakfast was a bit late for Mama this morning. After all, beginning the day without your other half is, well, only half as good (if even). I needed to get the lines of communication open. And I am reminded in the midst of this, that there is one line that is always open and it works both ways. I praise God for His tender mercies, for hearing our prayers and answering them...Providentially.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Home on the (firing?) range...

I have loved this military man of mine for nearly twenty years. As a young lieutenant’s bride, I learned to identify the assorted vehicles (yeah, I was probably the only one who could tell tank from howitzer, jeep from humvee and which helicopter was buzzing our roof). I learned the phonetic alphabet and rank structure of the army. I could decipher the LES and navigate the acronym jungle. I learned protocol and etiquette (and even taught a class on it!). I have moved from Dan to Beersheba upon receipt of orders, and sometimes alone. I have watched my man receive the praise of men with humility and lead with integrity. I have always known he was top notch…the cream of the crop, so to speak. For over 17 years, I have been his adoring bride, liebe frau, portion in life and helpmeet. In all those years, I have never seen him fire a weapon. Carry one, yes. Fire one, never. My officer is a gentleman and that is all I have known…until last night. He did me proud again.

Baxter, our farm collie, earned his stripes last night. Barking to beat the band or wake the dead, he alerted us to an intruder. I believe the mystery of recent low egg counts has been solved. We had a thief. Despite the protestations of Baxter and an invitation to depart without harm, there he stayed like a coward, hiding in the chicken coop. It was obvious he had no intentions of leaving. We had no other choice. So, there in the dark, flashlight in one hand and Grandpa’s rifle in the other, my man made a quick end of that little stinker. Right there in the chicken coop, with the chickens even. He didn’t even ruffle their feathers. Quick as lightning and just as loud. Praise God for my excellent marksman and that he was home when this happened (for once, hallelujah). I certainly don’t see me doing it in my matronly state. As I stood there on the porch in my jammies, I thought “oh good, he got Pepe Le’Pew before he sprayed.”

Ever meet a plebe after the first summer of training or a soldier returning from weeks in the field? I have welcomed my man home graciously and thankfully with hugs and kisses no matter how he looked or smelled. He came in last night and said “I don’t stink do I?” I said OH MY GOODNESS! Thank you kindly, but leave your clothes at the door! Praise God for a southerly breeze this morning. And praise Him some more for a wash house separate from the farmhouse. As one of our little ones would aptly say, “Sheoooooweee!” And I thought the gunfire blew me away!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Hive of Busy Bees

"It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone..." Mr. Keillor was not referring to Providence Farm. Things have been buzzing along quite steadily for the last few weeks. It has been more like a hive of busy bees. We enjoyed our first two weeks of The Market at St. Stephen's...selling out of nearly everything, and rather early! We took off two weeks while Daddy was traveling, just so we could catch up. Deo volente (that is, "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise..."), we will be back to that busy routine this week. If the cows would stay out of the garden, we might have some produce to take! The damage was not extensive, but those bovine can surely wreak havoc in short order. I suspect that rustling cattle is not what the midwife has in mind for approved exercise at this stage of a pregnancy (less than two months to go)...nor did I before breakfast! Nonetheless, it must be done. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. How is it that cows know when my husband is at work and pull their shennanigans then? I am very thankful that we are called to exercise dominion over the beasts of the field. Those onery critters don't know what's coming. Right now, I am thinking Veal Parmigiana. They might be bigger than I, (thankfully they are...though I feel like I resemble the broad side of the barn), but one day they will be supper....Providentially.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do you know what that is?

Ricotta! And draining nicely, I might add. We cannot let all that extra milk go to waste! Half ewe's milk and half cow's milk, a little citric acid and more time than I thought it would take, but it was worth it. Saturday was all-a-flutter with activity and excitement at Providence Farm. While Mama went to the planning meeting for the upcoming Market at St. Stephen's and did last minute grocery shopping, Daddy was shearing Maria Augusta. Then he and the children washed the vehicles. And, let's see...in preparation for our Sabbath celebration there were clothes ironed and set out for Sunday morning; laundry washed/dried/folded and put away; grass mown; trash hauled to the dump; animals fed; cows and sheep and chickens rotated in the pastures; meals cooked (Saturday's supper and Sunday's dinner); barn cleaned out (sort of); walls patched for priming (at least one); house tidied for hospitality. Oh, and we made cheese. Mozzarella and ricotta. And then after that hard day's work (or fun day's fun), we enjoyed the fruit of our labor. A peaceful meal of lasagne with homemade cheeses in a clean home with tired but joyful family fellowship and contented animals. This is living....Providentially.

Baa~Baa, black sheep, have you any wool?

Yes Sir, Yes Sir, three bags full...at least that is what it looks like on her body! Poor Maria Augusta (affectionately known as Baa~Baa...and she is definitely not poor), did not get sheared before lambing. Of course, sheep don't know when supper time is for people, so she chose to go out to the edge of the pasture just as the chicken was finished on the grill. It is a good thing fajitas are ok warmed over later...and that my husband is more patient than I. It was about more than I could take, watching that little lamb search for his mama's udder under all that wool. I wanted to hold her still and point him in the right direction. But, my shepherd husband got them settled into the barn and bonding nicely.

Love at first sight...Maria Augusta and her moments-old lamb.

A sight for sore eyes...several days later...a happy, healthy ram with his shorn mama.
We are not sure yet what this little fella's name is going to be. But, we are rejoicing in the Providence of God for him. Maria Augusta is rejoicing in having lightened her load, particularly her "three bags full." So, what are we going to do with all that wool? Keep checking in here and at www.whatsoever-things.blogspot.com to find out! We have all sorts of little lovely things planned for all that wool. We just need the time to do them...Providentially!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Population explosion at Providence Farm

Ok, we are sufficiently distracted from gloom today. It is sunny and warm, though with a breeze. It is a beautiful day! Bustling with life! We have 55 new additions to Providence Farm this week (so far). Sunday, we welcomed Buttercream, a Jersey heifer. Have you ever heard someone say "cows are like potato chips"? Betchya can't have just one. Well, we have had a Jersey on our wishlist for some time. We are so enjoying having this friendly, little lady (well, she isn't little). She was so happy to be here, she ran around the pasture with joy. We, hopefully Providentially, call her Buttercream with thoughts of the fruit of her womb and udder. Buttercream is just about ready to be introduced to Ferdinand, who will welcome her joyfully to the happy herd.

Today, we received 54 newly hatched chicks. Jersey Giants, Black and Blue (Providentially, not from their journey!) as well as Delawares.........fuzzy, yellow and cute. They chirped and tweeted so much, it drove the postal clerks crazy. But, it was music to the children's ears!

Who knows what will be next? God does! We still have a couple of ewes that could bring us more lambs and a heifer expecting a calf. We still have Buff Orpington chicks due later in the summer. And we have a baby due this summer, too! God is so good, to bring such life to Providence Farm.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Soul adorn yourself with gladness...

So begins a hymn our family enjoys and today those words are so appropriate. No matter the trial, our Heavenly Father has us safely in His hands and nothing escapes His view. In that, we have peace. Yesterday was a very trying and sad day for our family. That little lamb you see below...Gideon, the mighty ram of valor, gave up his fight for life. We named him Gideon because it was clear the odds were stacked against him. We still do not know exactly what happened to cause this, but we rest knowing that the Good Shepherd is guiding us and teaching us through it all. We did everything we could to love and nurture him to a long, healthy life. It is a hard thing for a little person to watch suffering and death...even of a lamb. But we are once again reminded of Another Lamb...who suffered, bled and died on our behalf. And for this, we are eternally grateful.

"...leave the gloomy haunts of sadness,
come into the daylight's splendor,
there with joy your praises render.
Bless the One whose grace unbounded
this amazing banquet founded;
he, though heav'nly, high, and holy,
deigns to dwell with you most lowly."

His grace unbounded was sufficient for me through the day yesterday...and I learned another needle skill (injection...trembling hands to a trembling body)! And so it is with joy we render our praises to the Lamb of God...worthy to receive glory. Bless His holy name!

Gideon, Mighty Ram of Valor
Providence Farm
April 15-20, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

When we all work together, together, together...

When we all work together, how happy we’ll be!

A Few Lessons Learned this week:

1. First things first…because if you wait, it will not get done and your day will go awry.
2. My army man, farmer, Daddy extraordinaire-husband is a fine shepherd, too, (in more ways than one) and oh, so patient.
3. Good friends are there for you, when you are in the ditch and when you miss the ferry.

4. Milking ewes is more fun than peeling wallpaper.
5. I am allergic to wheat straw.
6. God is good, all the time. (ok, so we knew that one already)

Newest Job Description for pfarmwife: Ovine Lactation Consultant

Well, who else to ask but a veteran? Six and a half years of nursing babies qualifies me for a little wisdom in that area, I suppose. That was time well spent. I mean that humbly, of course, as I have only just learned about nursing lambs.

Newest exciting thing to try: Farmstead Artisan Cheese

I am dreaming of pecorino peppato, romano and feta, but will settle now for a quick and easy, fresh mozzarella. And had I not so greatly needed that nap this afternoon, we’d be eating it for supper. Like I need another hobby, but this is part of my job! ;-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Queen Anne had a little lamb...

Its fleece is oh, so curly.
The children in excitement, went out for chores quite early.
God, in His Providence, has made the sheep know what to do.
We haven't even touched it yet...or seen if ram or ewe.

It brings to light so much we've learned, this spotless little lamb.
How great a sacrifice He was for us, the Great I AM.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Jesus loves me, this I know.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Providential Debut

Providence Farm has made its debut on LocalHarvest! You can learn more about what we will (Providentially) have available for this market season here: http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M28490

Also, beginning in May, Providence Farm will participate in the Producers Only Market at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, on Grove Avenue in Richmond. Lord willing, we will be there every Saturday with fresh eggs and organic heirloom produce He abundantly supplies from our garden, Providentially. Though we may beg forgiveness if we are not there as we welcome our newest blessing and family member at Providence Farm.

As the Lord blesses the work of our hands, we will delight in making these good things available. Just as we pray, "give us this day our daily bread," we also ask for just the right amount of sunshine, rain and strength for the task. And as we enjoy the blessings of His Providence, we are reminded to bless Him in return. "And when thou has eaten and filled thyself, thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land, which he hath given thee." Deuteronomy 8:10

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not exactly shear delight...

I am thankful that I can laugh about this now, though I am not sure Mr. Darcy thinks it is all that funny. On Monday, we began the process of shearing our sheep. We have Leicester Longwools and their wool really is long! We prepared for this moment by watching others who are much more experienced than we...even a fellow from New Zealand who has been at it his whole life! We have the Premier 1 poster hanging in the barn, just to remind us, lest we forget what comes next. I have used shears on my husband's head (I should have remembered how difficult THAT was, with a willing participant and smaller shears!). I ought to have been content as the photographer, recording for time and eternity this historical moment at Providence Farm...our first sheep shearing event. But, nooooooo, I had to get in the middle of the fray! As I watched my husband wrestling the ram, I offered to help. I am, after all, his helpmeet. I got in a few strokes with the shears and then it happened. The unthinkable. I cut Mr. Darcy right on the tummy. I don't do well with the sight of blood...I even turn my head when having my own blood drawn. I shudder when the little guys suffer the inevitable boo-boos that come with adventurous boyhood on a farm. But, here I was in a situation where I could not turn my head. My precious children were watching. My husband could not let go of Mr. Darcy. I had to act. I ran to get the sutures. Now, mind you, I like to sew lovely fabrics and will stitch whenever the opportunity arises. I have mended beloved creatures of the stuffed variety. But, never in my life would I have imagined I'd be stitching a live animal. My husband has regaled me as a trooper...told all his buddies at the office that I earned my Combat Medical Badge. From his vantage point, he couldn't see my knees knocking under my skirt! He couldn't feel all the blood drain from my head to my toes. Though, I think he would confess he was a tad concerned that I might faint or be kicked! I prayed for grace, and liberally received it. I did it. I sewed up Mr. Darcy. Then I made a gracious exit (read: hasty retreat) from the barn to my domain....the kitchen. I said to call me if they needed me. They didn't. I was glad. I can whip up supper on a whim and whipstitch with ease. But please, Lord, don't make me whipstitch a sheep again....unless it is the baby's toy. My loving mother called yesterday to see if Mr. Darcy said "baaa" or "Brrrr." My dear friend asked if I was singing "oh precious is the flow that makes me white as snow" (or white as a sheet!). As she so aptly said, "washed in the blood of the lamb," has new meaning for me now. I will never be the same. The thing is, now everyone knows I have done it. That means, if necessary, I may be called upon to do it again. I hope not. But if so, Lord help me...give me grace...let me faint not... Thankfully, I have no photo to share of this memorable moment. You'll just have to settle for the "before," and be patient for the "after."

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Promise of Spring

Some days make it easier to get bogged down in the slough of despond....kind of like today. It is cloudy, rainy and chilly. We are missing someone we love, not feeling so well. But the hand of Providence gives us hope. In the tiniest of buds and a hint of color, we have the promise of Spring. "Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." Acts 14:17 At Providence Farm today, we see the blossoms of cherries, pears, plums, and dwarf peaches and think of pies with buttery, flaky crusts. There are buds on the blackberries, promising jam and cobbler with homemade ice cream from fresh milk. Spears of green peek out across the yard and along the fences...bulbs preparing to burst forth in color for little hands to pick for the dinner table. The garden seeds are sprouting from tiny specks, reaching for sunshine and good, clean dirt. So, in the midst of the mist, we have hope. We look forward to a beautiful Spring and a bountiful harvest....Providentially.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Organic, naturally. Good, Providentially!

There are many things one can do to manipulate food. At Providence Farm, we do not like manipulation. All that we do cannot make our food good. Only God can make it good, Providentially! We prefer to do what comes naturally and trust God fully. Our animals enjoy sunshine (as the Lord allows), fresh air and clean water. They eat grass and bugs if they want 'em. Our chickens also get the finest, certified-organic, soy-free feeds we can find. We use no unnatural means to keep our pastures, flocks and herds healthy. All our animals are lovingly cared for by our family. The roosters crow at dawn and the hens lay beautiful, delicious, healthy eggs. Our laying hens are Cuckoo Marans, Buff Orpingtons and Blue Orpingtons. We purchase our chicks from another family-run farm dedicated to the preservation of pure breeds, not genetically modified or manipulated in any way. Our eggs are gathered, cleaned and packaged with the gentlest little hands. (Ok, so we are partial to those little hands...we love them! ) We use our own cartons of recycled materials. Our customers are our friends. They enjoy having their farm-fresh eggs delivered to their homes or other convenient meeting place. Providence Farm Egg Subscriptions are currently available. Sound inviting? Drop us a line and we would be glad to tell you how it works. We'd be delighted to meet you, Providentially!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Remember the Sabbath

...to keep it holy. Sunday is a sweet day for our family. At Providence Farm, we work hard and play hard all week, Monday through Saturday. We do our best to be good stewards of all God has Providentially given us...our home, animals, land, children, time, talents and resources. We do it all for the glory of God, not just for the next generation, but to a thousand generations! Our Sunday is reserved for worship, fellowship and rest. It is a day in which we delight...for His delight.

Friday, February 27, 2009

We love babies

We love babies. And around here, we have many kinds. This is Miss Jillean and our newest addition. Even the cows kiss their babies! Pretty soon, we will be inundated with more babies...lambs, chicks and a person! We rejoice in the Providence of God and the new life He is bringing to Providence Farm.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Welcome to Providence Farm

It is a beautiful day at Providence Farm. Though the nip in the air denies spring, the sun decries it. The woodstove glows and warms the heart of our 19th century home. The trees are beginning to bud. The cattle are lowing, the babies awake...and joyfully so. So begins a new day at Providence Farm.