It’s Thanksgiving Day again here at Shepherd’s Flock Farm, and I have to admit, I’ve got so very much to be thankful for this year. I’ve been reading a lot of great online material from the Polyface Henhouse gals to some of the urban homesteading greats over at Root Simple, and I’m drinking in every word. To be sure Shepherd’s Flock is squarely somewhere in the middle of these two self-reliance worlds, so I also enjoy Mother Earth News, a publication that has a bit of something for everyone. As I sit here smelling succulently roasting turkey and freshly baked double chocolate layer cake, I can no longer resist the urge to sit down and dabble at writing something of my very own to share this wonderful place with the folks out in the blogosphere.
When my folks purchased this piece of land some fifteen or so years ago, I have to admit I think we all thought that it would be a vibrant business just a few years into the experience. For a time they had things really cooking, with pastured poultry and a large hand-tended vegetable garden. Between the local farmers’ market and a co-op up in Canton, it seemed like the business was well on its way to being a complete success. I was off on my own adventures in Delaware and then Massachusetts (with some time in Perú for spice), and the folks seemed to be happily living out their dream. Despite appearances, smooth sailing was not to be had, with my Grams suffering through a battle with cancer and moving in to assisted living, weekly trips to the farmers’ market were quickly replaced with many, many trips (and tanks of gas) to visit with her or to talk with doctors at the hospital. Grams is a fighter, and my Aunt Jobie was in many ways the hero of that tale, keeping finances and documentation in order and visiting Grams daily. All the same being away from the farm still took its toll on my folks’ ability to keep things rolling here.
Grams is doing pretty darn well now and living in a facility closer to Aunt Jobie’s home, so on that front things have quieted down a bit. My husband Jhan and I have decided to move to this area and raise our son Khalil in this rural, simple home, so together with my folks we’re embarking on a wondrous, strange, and new adventure in homesteading. In many ways, this is why I think it so important now to reach out and connect with other folks who have a similar love and appreciation for living off the land while not entirely rejecting modern amenities.
I find myself thankful that my folks, now in their sixties, are no longer alone on this land, that they can share in the simple joy of my son’s discovery of the world or laugh when he throws tantrums, that we can work as a family to open new spaces for growing veggies and tending flocks of broilers and laying hens and maybe even some goats, pigs, or cows, eventually. I am thankful that we can sit down to an awesome, delicious meal together on an unseasonably warm November day and that we can drive just an hour away later this evening to share dessert with my brother, his wife and kids, and our extended family. I am thankful that the greenhouse-hothouse is nearly finished save the plastic skin that will zip it up tight for the first flurries of winter and that the garlic is planted and the main garden is put to bed. I am thankful that the Lord has blessed us all and brought us together, and right now I am thankful for this opportunity to share it with you, whoever you are out in the world reading this. Hope you’ll stop back soon to check in on our progress, and I hope you’ll share your thoughts, triumphs, failures, and joys with us. As we launch into yet another holiday season, may the Lord’s peace be with you and His grace bless and guide each of your footsteps.