Homesteader’s Dream

 

Homesteader’s Dream

 
 3698 Velma Drive, Powder Springs, GA 30127

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   Located in the midst of the original 1,000 acres that made up McEachern Farms, this five acre tract literally has everything! Every square inch has been improved. The grounds boast pecan trees, apple trees, blackberries, pear trees, plum trees, a persimmon tree along with beautiful, gently rolling pasture.

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   The home is a beautiful, two-story brick ranch; 3180 square feet of heated space with 549 square feet of porch area. The upstairs is a 3 bedroom, 2 full bath with a real masonry fireplace and wood stove insert in the huge living room.

   The downstairs is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment with a large kitchen featuring new granite counter-tops and also has its own separate entrance.

   Attached to the house is a 132 square foot greenhouse and a 390 square foot double garage. Also on the property is a 120 square foot storage building, a 576 square foot chicken pen and a huge 4416 square foot barn that features a 1152 square foot woodworking shop with 10′ ceilings and a 200 amp panel on a separate meter. The barn also houses a beautiful milking parlor, milk room, laundry room, and half bathroom as well as a mechanical room with hot-water heater. The bathroom is serviced by a brand new, separate septic system. Lots of loafing area for your horses or cows or goats or whatever suits your fancy!

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   This property affords the owner the opportunity to raise all of his own meat, including beef, pork, chicken, and rabbit. It also has some of the most beautiful, organically-maintained gardens so you can grow all of your own fruits and vegetables as well. This literally is a homesteaders paradise!

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   If this looks like the perfect homestead for you, call or e-mail us to set-up a time to see the home and property.  We are available pretty much at any time with the exception of Sundays. Feel free to pass this along to family and friends that might be interested in a homestead.

Daniel, Susan, & Anna
David, Tina, Willie, & Ellie
 
info@mydadandmefamilyfarm.com
(678) 567-1826
 
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UPDATE:   
  
   With the family growing exponentially: 5 kids (David, Leah, Jacob, Rebekah, & Anna), 3 in-laws (Michael, Tina, & Jake; soon to be 4 when our son Jacob marries Maddy), and 6 grandkids (Willie, Gabe, Joshua, Ellie, Susanna, Hannah Kate and hopefully many more coming soon), My Dad & Me Family Farm has run out of expansion room!
 
   Our prayer is to locate a larger farm with growing room to continue what we have started here.  We dearly love farming and, by God’s grace, plan to continue for the rest of our lives. David & Tina share this vision as well so we hope to be able to sell the farm either as a working farm for someone to continue to make their living here or as a homestead with all the wonderful features of the property only (without the business side of the farm).
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The Grass-fed Homestead’s Interview at the Farm

We met Dan Ohman and his family several years ago. They were looking for healthy food and upon finding our farm got bit by the farming bug! The Ohman’s are now farming in Idaho and have a great YouTube Channel on Homesteading. They’re latest video is a great interview with my Dad!

And you can follow this link to The Grass-fed Homestead’s YouTube Channel for more great videos!

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Peter Wasn’t Perfect Either!

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       Our country is rapidly becoming more hostile to God’s laws. Political candidates are increasingly reflecting the morals of our lost culture. With the election pressing upon us, I would like to address the dilemma that we as Christians are facing. What should we do when there is no God honoring candidates left in the race? This is most certainly a valid question of which I see four possible remedies.

   Our first option is to simply stay at home and refuse to cast a ballot. If we are men of principal and all other Christians follow our lead, then we will be assured that the most ungodly candidate will be elected president. When we as Christians abstain and leave the lost to decide our fate, we should not be surprised when we get a worldly outcome. As long as God gives us a voice, we should exercise it for His glory!

   Our second choice is to ignore the two main parties and simply vote Libertarian. This may hold promise for the future but as it stands now, Gary Johnson supports abortion and for most Christians, including myself, this is the greatest injustice of our lifetime. I see no wiggle room for Christians here.

   The third possibility is to “write in” a godly candidate. Perhaps Franklin Graham for president! The problem here is that God gave us minds to go with our body & spirit and we know that a write in candidate simply isn’t going to sequester even 1% of the votes. The result will be a Democrat once again in the White House as Christians divide their vote between the ideal and the less than perfect.

   Our final option is to vote for the lesser of two evils. Depending on what the “evils” are, this may be an easy choice or perhaps a very difficult one. If our options were two extremely wicked politicians both supporting abortion and seeking to destroy God’s laws on every front, than this would require much soul searching and committed prayer before we, as Christians, could make an appropriate decision. In fact, there may come a time when we struggle to vote for either leader when the hearts of men are bent only to do evil.

   However, I do not feel that we are by any means confronted with this terrible scenario as of yet. The two candidates have both been public figures for a long time and we, as Christians, can judge the fruits of their past actions quite adequately. But the question remains. Is it wise to cast a vote for the lesser of two evils?

    Let’s turn to the Scripture for God’s wisdom. Jesus himself called Peter as an apostle. He was not only an apostle but the leader of the twelve. In fact, he was part of Jesus’ inner circle of three including Peter, James, and John.

   Peter was a reckless man that spent much of his time trying desperately to remove his foot from his mouth. In fact, immediately after Peter called Jesus, “The Christ, the Son of the Living God”, Jesus had to reprimand Peter for trying to keep Him from bearing the cross. Jesus then scolded him with a scathing rebuke when He said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan.”

   Peter was quite a flawed man. And this is who Jesus picked to help build His church? When Jesus was at His greatest need, bearing the ridicule, scorn, and physical beatings at the hand of the chief priests, Peter denied vehemently that he even knew Him. In fact, he did it three times while cursing and swearing.

   What a scoundrel Peter was to have assisted Jesus in the feeding of the five thousand, to have walked with Jesus on the waters of the Sea of Galilee, to have been an eye witness to His transfiguration and then to totally abandoned Him in His greatest hour of need! I can’t think of a more unqualified candidate for apostleship than Peter.

   When we go into the voting booth and ponder the imperfections of Donald Trump, remember this; “Peter wasn’t perfect either” and yet Jesus chose him!

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The Farmers’ Secret

    Susan and I spend a great deal of time talking with farm friends about food. Some join the farm hunting fresh, tasty produce. Others are determined to buy local. Many are anxious to see how their food is grown or raised.

   But the vast majority of folks are searching for real food with the hopes that it will restore their aching bodies to health. In response to these curiosities and concerns, the farmer offers his secret to squeezing the most out of your local farm.

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   If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked if I had sweet corn in May, I would have little need to farm for money. The grocery store has become a world market and has spoiled our thinking about the availability of food. So, the first piece of advice I would offer is:  buy what the farmer has available today.

   Grieving over the news that sweet corn will not be ready until June serves little purpose. It will take some adjustment in our thinking but instead of coming to the farm with a list of what we would like, buy what the farmer has today. This will put more healthy food on our plates and keep the farmer thriving as well.

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  The second tip to help us squeeze the most from our local farm is: eat what you purchase! This may seem like a crusty ole crumb of advice but you will not believe how many times we hear a customer complain that their half gallon of milk began to sour after two weeks in the refrigerator.

  If we are not consuming a half gallon of milk in two weeks, then we are not making very good use of our farmer. Whether we are purchasing for taste or health, neither will be quenched if the products are purchased but rarely consumed. To make the most of your farmer, purchase what’s available and eat what you purchase!

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08:10:16_12   My third suggestion for maximizing your local farm experience is to take advantage of the educational opportunities provided. Susan loves to teach folks how to make sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, and an array of healthy snacks and desserts.

   Many of us never received training in cooking from scratch and oftentimes your local farmer has helpful suggestions and tasty recipes to share. Take advantage of these perks. Purchase what’s available; eat what you purchase; and take advantage of the educational opportunities.

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 The final secret to squeezing the most out of your local farm is to minimize chemical toxins. God has given us immune systems that are amazing. We have several lines of defense beginning with our tonsils and being assisted by our gall bladder and liver. These filters help remove many damaging substances but there is a limit.

  Perhaps it would be helpful to think of it this way; an extremely healthy man that eats nothing but organically grown foods, drinks fresh spring water, and lives far from the city smog will have an extremely healthy immune system. But if he is bitten by a rattlesnake, he will likely die if left untreated.

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   We too, as individuals who eat healthy, will have strong immune systems. However, if we also ingest poisons from processed foods in great quantities, we will overwhelm our bodies defenses. The result of being bitten by a rattlesnake is death. Eating toxic food in unison with farm fresh products may result in a similar fate.

   A healthy lifestyle should be a long view of building a strong, healthy immune system and avoiding the chemical toxins. We cannot eat healthy for a month or two and expect these healthy foods to cancel out the poisons we are also ingesting. Our bodies were never intended, by God, to eat chemicals as though they were food. We must clean up our whole diet!

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  If we will apply The Farmers’ Secret by purchasing what’s available, eating what we purchase, taking advantage of educational opportunities, and minimizing chemical toxins, we can all “squeeze the most out of our local farm”, and in the process, honor our Creator by using the strength He affords us for His service.

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  “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and the vegetation for the lab0r of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth.”
Psalm 104:14  Holy Bible
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Posted in Farm Photo Gallery, Food & Farming, Georgia Farm | 6 Comments

Til the Cows Come Home

   Every time David and I plow the gardens, it’s a buried treasure hunt. Since moving to Powder Springs 13 years ago, we have accumulated quite a collection of Indian arrow heads, quartz crystals and antique glass bottles. We have not been fortunate enough to unearth any Civil War relics of yet, but not so long ago, we did stumble upon two very unusual objects of  interest to us here at My Dad & Me Family Farm.

The two items found were identical in shape and size and constructed of some type of heavy metal. The medallions formed a perfect oval approximately 1/8 of an inch thick, 3″ long and 2″ inches wide with a 3/8″ hole at one end. Best we could decipher these plates would have hung freely from something perhaps from a chain.

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   We hurried them over to the hose bib and carefully washed them off. With the years of caked dirt removed, it revealed three numbers stamped into each disc. Our first piece bore the digits 191 and our second piece 222.  The cleaning also gave us a clue that the metal was most likely copper or perhaps brass. Further research would be needed. A myriad of questions began racing through our minds.

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   How old were these pieces? What were the engraved numbers all about? Do they have any intrinsic value? How did they manage to end up here?

We took to the internet for answers, and here is what we discovered. The plates that we found date back to the early days of the 20th century and are forged of solid brass. Their value to a collector that appreciates their historical significance is estimated to be around $10 each. And there are some folks that still use them for their intended purpose.

The obvious question is, “What are they and what is their intended purpose?” Well, I am glad you asked. But before I answer that question, let’s take a look at the history of our area and see if it offers any clues to this mystery.

Back in the early 1900’s, McEachern Farms was a thriving 1,000 acre farm with its pastures encompassing what is now My Dad & Me Family Farm. Dairy cows likely grazed freely over the vast acreage. It was customary for farmers to outfit their milk cows with leather belts around their necks and from that leather belt attach an identifying metal tag.

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  This enabled the farmer to keep track of his extensive stock with individual numbers. Production stats, health issues, as well as breeding schedules could be easily accessed simply by looking up the cow’s herd number in the farmer’s record book.

The brass tags that David and I discovered are some of those cow identification plates used by McEachern Farms many, many years ago. Since David and I milk Jersey dairy cows for a living, it seems quite coincidental that we found them. Most likely, some lonesome milch cows got their tags caught on something while out grazing, and to their owners dismay, lost them.

The old saying “til the cows come home” seems fitting to this story. For y’all city folks that have not been around cows, this figure of speech means “an endlessly long time.” This is because cows left to themselves will take their own sweet time about coming home in spite of their farmer’s desires.

Can you imagine losing two small metal tags on 1,000 acres. You talk about a needle in a hay stack! Chances are those lost tags weren’t going to  be found for a very, very long time!

Well, it has taken more than a half century, but the cows have returned home to McEachern Farm. My Dad & Me Family Farm brought them. And in the process we have uncovered these treasures from the past that were lost, “til the cows come home”.

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The Brodgon Tree

Back in 2012, David and I began doing our homework hoping to find an apple variety that would successfully fruit here in the hot and humid climate of Powder Springs, Georgia. Our first attempt at growing apples had been quite unsuccessful and we had no one to blame but ourselves.

We had allowed the local box store to choose our varieties instead of doing our own research. The color glossy photos on the tags of these well known varieties proved to be the only fruit we procured. We decided that before we threw away more hard earned money, we would seek help from an expert.

David located a gentleman through the internet, named Ron Joyner at Big Horse Creek Farm, that carries several hundred old varieties of heirloom apples. After plastering Ron with more questions than a sane man should be compelled to answer we narrowed our options down to three or four varieties that were resistant enough to “fire blight” to handle our Georgia extremes.

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In the course of our conversation with Ron, the apple enthusiast, we learned that one of the best options for finding trees conducive to a particular area is to seek out local trees that are performing well and simply take cuttings. These cuttings can then be grafted on to root stocks which will control the height and vigor of the new tree while the buds on the cutting will dictate the type of fruit.

David and I decided to talk to a dear friend, that had been sharing apples with us for several years, and see if he would allow us to take cuttings from his tree. Mr. George Brogdon, now in his eighties, is a native of Powder Springs and grew up on a farm not five miles from My Dad & Me Farm.

In the early 1940’s, George’s dad planted an apple tree on their farm. George grew up eating these baking apples. He and his brother’s job, as youngsters, was to take the sliced apples out of the pillow case that they would store them in and on sunny days spread them out on the tin roof to dry.

George had such fond memories of his dad’s tree that when he got ready to leave home he dug up a sapling sprout from under that ole apple tree and took it with him. He then transplanted this sapling to his new home a few miles away. George never recalled his dad knowing the type of apple it was, but he knew it was delicious and the memories were priceless.

We sat down with George, in his home, and told him what we were looking to do. We needed apple cuttings from a local, successful tree, and after hearing the history of his dad’s ole tree, we were even more enthusiastic about taking cuttings.

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George was so very accommodating. Not only did he give us permission to take whatever cuttings we wanted he also allowed us to dig up some fig tree saplings he had sprouting below his enormous fig trees.

In March of 2012, we took several prime cuttings off of George Brogdon’s apple tree. We then shipped these cuttings to the gentleman that had so kindly answered all of our questions and he grafted them onto strong, robust root stocks. Seven months later, in November of 2012, the grafts had successfully taken and he shipped these trees back to us all ready for planting on our farm. On the 8th day of November, 2012, David and I planted these historic trees here at My Dad & Me Family Farm with much excitement and anticipation.

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The old saying goes; “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago and the second best time is today.” Well, it has not been 20 years yet, but it has been 4 years and our hard work has paid off. The Brogdon apples are fruiting for the first time and we are ecstatic!

Each year when we go and visit with George, he asks us how the new apple trees are doing. This year we will be able to share some fruit with him!

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First Blood

Last Saturday, we spilled the first blood on our new Alabama Farm. We killed a half a dozen Freedom Rangers for our first Alabama chicken customers and the day went smoothly. It was also the first time we used the processing equipment in the shed behind the house and it looks like the space will work well for us. It needs to; we have over 1,000 birds to process this year!

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What’s so significant about killing something; I mean, why not write about our new heifer calf? Because as Christians, we’ve abdicated our killing to a very cruel system that treats the animals and the workers in factory slaughter houses as little more than machines. Do you like your Smithfield ham? Or your Tyson chicken? We might think we like the taste and most of us are addicted to the price, but at the same time, most of us would repel in disgust at the inside of an industrial processing facility. The human working conditions in Tar Heel, North Carolina where they slaughter over 30,000 hogs a day is not something any of us would aspire to. Neither would the fecal contaminated, chlorine bath that “cleans” industrial chicken appeal to our senses. We tolerate it because we don’t see it.

The blood-letting belongs to the believers in Jesus Christ and it ought to be done on the farm where the animal was raised, at least in the majority. Of all people, Christians are the ones who ought to understand and thus be able to teach others why, how, and when we should kill.

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Why should we? I mean, why not be a vegetarian? Because of Genesis 9:3-4 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with it’s life, that is, its blood.” This is not only why we can and should eat meat, it is also the how.

How should we kill? The verses above are the instruction to bleed the animal, not shock it, drowned it, decapitate it, gas it, or anything else; we simply need restraint and a sharp knife.

As an aside, another argument to deal with in addition to the vegetarian idea, is the whole Jordan Rubin Maker’s Diet issue that claims we ought to eat as the Jews. But Acts 10:13-15 deals with this plainly. “And a voice came to him, ‘Arise, Peter, kill and eat!’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.’ And again a voice came to him a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.‘” So not only were Gentiles not subject to the Jewish dietary laws in the first place, now Jews are not either.

And finally, when do we kill? Do we kill for anger? Sport? Fun? Of course not! The two verses in Genesis let us know that we kill when we need to eat.

So, we kill because God has said we can and should. We kill with a knife, letting the blood flow, because God has commanded us not to eat the life-blood. And particularly today, we need to bring the killing back home to the farm because industrial agriculture has adulterated it, mechanized it, and removed us, the eaters, from it.

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The last and one of the most important reasons to bring the blood-letting home is so that we can see it. Why?! Why not simply avoid something so gory? Because our Savior has died for us. Because He packed these visceral, spiritual lessons into our daily lives to teach us spiritual things through the physical realm and our current technology-driven world is rapidly removing them from our sight. He shed his life-blood freely on the Cross so we would not have to die for our sins and in Genesis He gave us the life-blood of the animals so that their flesh, in death, would nourish ours, in life. Is this not beautiful!?

As Christians then, take a few minutes to think of what you ate for the last three meals. Surely at least a couple of those meals involved the flesh of an animal. But how many of you have killed an animal yourself so you and your family could eat? We are terribly removed from the life-lessons God built into our lives so He could draw us to Himself! So in some way, I would challenge you: help bring the blood-letting home. At least find a farmer and buy your food and participate that way. Come and lend a hand at a butchering. Expose yourself and your family to what God gives us through the blood of animals, and then teach your family how great a gift Christ’s blood is for us!

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Egg Mobile Update

We finally finished the basic construction of the Egg Mobile a couple of weeks ago. Our pullets are still several months away from laying so we needed a compromise to managing them, besides turning them completely loose on the pasture. Laying eggs helps make the Egg Mobile home base for the hens; without the laying aspect the pullets might not make it back into the Egg Mobile every night, which would mean chasing chickens in the dark!

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So we build a flight pen. It’s sort-of rag-tag PVC and lightweight netting like you would cover blueberry bushes with, but it’s working. I can move the Egg Mobile every morning, then drag the flight pen up to the mobile and snap it into place. Then the pullets have grass to eat and scratch around in, but they’re protected from predators while they’re young, and the flight pen helps train them to go into the Egg Mobile at night.

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I love chickens on pasture!!!

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Egg Mobile Beginnings!

I’ve wanted to build an Egg Mobile for a long, long time. I’ve drawn different designs and daydreamed of when I could follow our cows with a portable hen house. I think I read Joel Salatin’s book Salad Bar Beef nearly ten years ago now. I read the book in one long, late night and my mind exploded. We had a few cows and had always kept a garden; we were even selling some milk. Somehow though, Joel managed to dive deep into a subject I had never read much about and conveyed a sense of absolutely contagious, infectious, explosive excitement about land, farming, and husbandry like I had never heard. Here is Joel’s Egg Mobile:

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Instead of something most of us might think of as just a bunch of chores, sweat, and hard work, Joel revealed the other side of farming; the healing side. The side that exposes the deep spiritual connection between eternity, God’s Word, and growing our own food. It’s the side of farming that isn’t just production numbers and a mechanistic attitude towards raising food, but rather a gentle tending of the land; a warning that we should be sure to take good care of the dirt that God used to form Adam into a living soul.

This connection of ourselves to the land, this story of how He drew us out of the very dirt, and then expects us to tend that soil and have dominion over the earth, all to die one day and then move onto our eternal dwelling place is amazing. It’s not talked about, it’s not taught in the government controlled public education system, and it’s long gone from our Church Organizations. I believe one of the greatest problems in our day is that we’ve made Technology our New God. You don’t believe me? Try standing in line in a major city for the latest iPhone to come out. Try to wrap your mind around the fact that if a McDonald’s kitchen efficiency engineer can shave a half a second off of a process, it produces millions more dollars in revenue each year. Do people realize that if the supermarkets stopped putting food on the shelves people would die for want of food and the knowledge to grow and raise it, and yet supermarkets are less than seventy-five years old? If you don’t think the God of Technology is America’s new god, many Christians included, how is it possible that less than 1% of our population feeds us? It is because we worship at the altar of Technology and Convenience.

Back to the Egg Mobile…..my daddy, son, and I started building ours yesterday! We bought an old car hauler trailer that used to be a camper off of Craig’s List. The frame was bent and it took some figuring, but we had a very productive first day. We bolted 2×4’s to the frame, built a little mini-wall with custom length ‘studs’ to straighten the bent trailer and installed the floor joists.

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The Egg Mobile, Lord willing, will house our laying hens on the farm. Essentially, it’s just a portable hen house with a wire floor so the manure falls onto the land. I’ll use the tractor to move the Egg Mobile 2-3 days behind the cows. The chickens will then free-range on pasture, scratch through the cow patties, eat the fly larva, and enjoy fresh grass, bugs, and sunshine, every day. Compared to other models and designs of keeping laying hens, I think this one is truly amazing.

The spiritual connection is the important part however. How in the world is an Egg Mobile something spiritual?! The Egg Mobile is laughable in today’s world of commercial egg operations. It’s too labor intensive, it’s inefficient, and it’s land extensive. It’s also part of a diversified family farm which is no longer viable, at least according to the major universities and all those agribusiness men and agrochemical companies that rule the food world. But the Egg Mobile is an attempt to honor God’s Creation. If that sounds pious, consider the world God created: the vast buffalo herds of yesterday here in America grazed together in massive groups, moving from one fresh spot of grass to another, while the large flocks of birds followed these herds, cleaning up behind them. Now what is America defined by? Our healthcare system? Do our major cities define America? I hope not; they’re riddled with crime and pollution, run by crooked politicians. Is it our ability to grow healthy food? I don’t think so; can you pronounce all those big words on the labels of nearly everything in the supermarket? The spiritual connection of something as simple as a portable hen house is the attitude and actions that stem from seeking to mimic and honor God’s Creation rather than see how many chickens we can cram into a house, how many eggs we can force them to lay under lights, and how few people we can get to ‘feed the world.’

Here’s Grandaddy working on the floor joist:

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Then, we’re raising walls!

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So on our little farm, we’re going to give this Egg Mobile idea a try. Our hope is that we can honor the Lord here on our farm through husbandry that respects the Creation as God has given it to us.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, and we’ll post more as we make progress on this exciting project.

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Spring Farm Photos

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