Monday, January 5, 2015

Bringing in the New Year

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the year 2013...uh....wait.  Looks like I've missed a few posts. 

Like 3 years worth of posts.

Well, I apologize to all the people who really missed my blog.  All 2 of you.

So much has changed in the last few years.  I won't try to rehash it all.  Here are a few things, though, that you might find of interest.
  • We did finally get a house!  It's on 7 acres and the house is set back in the woods.  What a blessing.  
  • The farming operation began again (very small) last year.  We named the farm "Sherwood Forest Farms".  
  • We've acquired quite the cadre of animals:  3 goats, 1 lamb, 2 barn cats, 7 hens, 2 roosters, and 3 rabbits.  
  •  A new child was added to the brood.  For those counting, that makes 5 boys and 2 girls.  
I started this blog in November of 2009.  I didn't realize it was that long ago.  My purpose at that time was to share with you my journey toward "The Simple Life".  I don't think my purpose has changed much, but my definition has certainly changed.  I suppose I originally thought I would share our adventure about becoming farmers, but now the term means so much more.  It's more about casting aside the distractions of this world and focusing on the things that are meaningful to God. I know that sounds subjective, but I hope that over time I can show you just how I believe God has that playing out in my life.

In future posts we'll talk about family, farming, hobbies, and homesteading.  Maybe you can journey with me and we can encourage each other along the way.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Got Meat?

In light of our last post, I've had several customers ask me where to get clean, fresh, local meat.  The answer is always the same.

It ain't easy.

That said, I'd like to highlight a few small farms that are practicing various types of local farming.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you live in the southeastern part of Michigan, by all means chime in with some recommendations.

For lamb meat of any kind, there are two local favorites.  First, there is the Chapman farm in the South Rockwood area.  They've been in business for year.  They've typically sold commercially but last year they told us they were trying to sell directly to the consumer (that's you!)  They said then that if you just rolled on up to the house they'd sell you what they had.  Call first though.  I haven't spoken to them since last year.

There is also Hannewald.  They frequent the Greenfield Village farmers market each fall.  They are wonderfully nice people and their meat is terrific.  I'm not sure what they have in terms of buying packages (shipping or pick up) but they are worth a call.

If it's beef you're after, some friends of ours bough from a ranch out west.  I had some of the meat myself and it was very tasty.  They do ship frozen meat and I think they are very reasonable with their shipping prices.  The name is Scott River Ranch and you can check them out here.

There is a family that is doing all of the above as well as pork, milk, cheese, honey, eggs, and poultry.  I highly recommend them for a one stop shop for all your needs.  They are the Turtle Bee and Honey Tree farm.  They don't ship.  You have to pick up your products at the farm.  They ask you to buy farm shares.  You give them an agreed upon sum of money and then simply place your order.  They keep record of what you put in and how much product you take.  I think it's a great program that I may be able to emulate one day.  Maybe...

When it comes to buying local fresh meat, eggs, and dairy I've got to say the pickin's are slim.  I have some folks I get eggs from but they have small flocks.  I encourage you to look around.  I'm trying to talk a friend of mine into doing more farm to consumer transactions.  I'm very encouraged in our conversations that we are of like mind.  I'm hoping he'll be someone I can recommend in the future.

As for us, we're still looking for a farm in the area.  Next year I hope to have chicken and turkey for you.  And who knows....maybe we'll get crazy and raise something else.  What about you?  Do you have anyone to recommend?  I'm sure we'd all love to hear about it.  Not local?  Who do you use in your area?  What's your experience?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Newsletter 2012

I’d like to thank you for all your support and assistance in last year’s business.  We had several new challenges last year including extreme heat.  Although we lost many birds to that heat, God blessed us and we still managed to get the orders out.  We also had so many friends and customers come out to help us in various ways.  I think that’s my favorite part.  I love watching people come out, join together, and accomplish something so ancient, so visceral, all the while becoming a closer knit community.  That’s really what this is all about.

That said, we will not be fulfilling any orders this year.  I’m sorry to say that we are going to need to take a year off.  As many of you know, my family is in the process of moving.  We had anticipated being in a new house by now, but God had different plans.  As it stands right now we have sold our house with an anticipated closing date of early April.  We are temporarily living with my generous in-laws while we pack and look for another place.  To compound the complexities our new son was born on March 24th.  Also, our good friends, the Owen family, have been letting us use their farm.  That family is very busy.  The two youngest sons (who were vital in the day to day operation) are both working full-time jobs and going to school.  Keith, the patriarch of the farm, is also very busy with work and ministry.  So, as I look across the landscape of the 2012 chicken season it appears to me that God simply has a different plan for us. 

While I am disappointed, I am glad to simply sit back and watch.  You may recognize that this is a very poor business decision.  However, the main goal of Legacy Family Farm has never been “business”.  The main goal is to leave a legacy of Biblical community through agriculture.  We’ve been doing that.  If the Lord wills, we will do it again.  When that time comes, it is our sincere hope that you can be a part of it.  Thanks for your support and your understanding.  We’d love to keep in touch with you.  I’ll continue posting on our Facebook page from time to time.  Let us know about your experiences this year exploring other clean meat producing farms, patronizing farmer’s markets, and entering into community with other believers.  We’d love to hear about it!

Feel free to contact us.
(734) 931-0890

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Experimental Update

As you know, I’ve been pondering the use of antiperspirants and deodorants lately and so I have conducted the first experiment.  I can summarize the results for you.

Epic fail.

It could have been worse.   But not much.

I used a product called CRYSTAL Body Deodorant.  It is advertised as a natural deodorant stick.  So to be clear it is not an antiperspirant.  This became quite clear in the 2:00 p.m. meeting I was leading when sweat had saturated my shirt to about the mid-point between my under arms and my waist.  I was saved in that the meeting was a small so it was not necessary for me to stand in the front of the room and point at anything.  That would have fallen into the “worse” category I mentioned above.  But since it wasn’t advertised as an antiperspirant the fact that I sweat like a race horse on game day does not constitute an epic fail.  It was, you guessed it, the odor.  It was better than if I simply hadn’t used anything at all.  For that I am grateful.  Still, no one accused me of bathing in rose petals.

And so I went back to my old master, Mitchum.  I’ll try another product soon.  When I get up the nerve.  I’ll keep you posted. 

Update – I found that the stick is made entirely of alum and is good as an aftershave treatment.  More about that in a future post. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Crash Into Me

I’ve been so busy lately. It’s something that I’ve tried for years to avoid.

Some of you just read that I’m lazy and have avoided work for years.  Let me clarify.

I do not like being busy for the sake of busyness.  When a building is on fire and the Fire Department shows up, they get busy and they stay busy.  Their busyness has a reason.  Their busyness fulfills a need.  A young person finds joy in going to the mall and stays hour after hour declaring themselves “busy”.  Yet this type of busyness is busy simply for the joy of staying busy. 

I don’t do well with just staying “busy”.  I want my busyness to be useful.  I want it to have a lasting effect.  Even little tasks that build foundations that will last for years to come are significant. I’m just not always sure that what I’m doing has that sort of lasting effect.

It is my job that keeps me busy.  It’s consuming a lot of my time and energy.  Even while “relaxing” on the couch at home I find myself working on my email.  I do this because I don’t have time to do i tat work.  Ironic:  I have too much work to do at work.  Once upon a time I thought you went to work to do the work.  Who knew that work would one day take place in the electronic cloud? It begs the question why do I “go to” work anymore?

I digress.  As work demands more, I take it as a challenge and produce more.  The constantly hungry Goliath of business then demands even more work.  And so it goes.  Somehow I manage to come home,though later now.  I still interact with my family, but I’m worried about getting lost. The more I produce the more I am consumed with a) what I have already produced and b) how to produce more and produce it better.  It used to be much easier when I “went” to work and did the work there.  Even when I took my first management job I would come home and just hope my pager didn’t buzz.  As long as my pager remained silent, I stayed at home.  It was a clean break between work and home.   

Today the break is not so clean.

In fact, in reality there is no break.

The truth of the matter is that I don’t mind the work.  That is, I don’t mind the work load.  I don’t mind being called on to do big tasks.  But when I come home and look into the eyes of my children and realize that I have no idea what they did that day, I panic.  Will I one day be one of “those dad’s”?  When I am drifting off to sleep at night (aka passing out) and my wife says with a certain longing that she feels like she hasn’t talked to me in a long time, I sense a dull ache in my heart.  And when I shower in the morning and find myself focused intently on what will happen in the next few hours in the office, I remember a time when my quiet hours were spent in prayer and meditation.  Life now seems very much like a blur.  The days pass by so swiftly that I am shocked it is already February. Did I totally miss Christmas? 

My wife is a wonderful help to me, keeping me grounded in the reality of life.  Without her I am sure that I would grow lost and confused in an unforgiving world.  In her very insightful ways she keeps me heading in a good direction in terms of my relationships.  She shows me the path even when I start to lose my way.  Right now I’m relying on her more than ever because the real difficulty is losing sight of me…that is,the real me.

I started something new with 2012.  I’m not really one for resolutions, but it worked out this year to begin something new right at the beginning.  I began to put together a list of resolutions.   Now these were not your typical “need to lose weight in 2012” sort of resolutions.  I took a little different path.  These resolutions were designed to help me remember who I am.  They are things like Truthful, Christ Like, Honest, etc.  They started out to be a reflection of who I am, but it started to change.  The resolutions began to sound more like who I wanted to be, not really who I am.   I began to realize that it’s not really “me” I’m losing.  I’m actually losing control.

Don’t be scared.  I’m not dancing on a table or howling at the full moon like a dog.  At least not most days.  Just sometimes.

What I mean is that I’m losing control of an organized,departmentalized life.  Things move so fast that I don’t always have time to think about the right reaction.  When I realized this I understood that I am actually afraid of NOT doing or saying the right thing at the right time to the right people.  It was then that I realized that this might not be such a bad thing.  

Sometimes we work hard to keep the compartments of our lives from colliding with one another.  This can create a false persona.  So maybe it’s not a bad thing to watch as the compartments in my life head toward an intersection that will forevermore change the landscape I know as me.  In fact, I suspect it will be a time to “true up” who I am versus who I should be.  So I continue to work on my resolutions, not to reflect who I am, but rather to keep focused on who I want to be…who I should be.  And I watch for what is sure to be a painful and amazing collision of – me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Hygienic Quandary (Or the scent of man)

I’ve been in a bit of a hygienic quandary of late.  This happens to me from time to time.  I seem to be restless of mind.  The result is a constant need to try to improve something in my life.  That’s largely why I don’t put together a list of New Year’s resolutions.  I’m resolving something all year long.  This latest quandary is in regards to sweating and the use of antiperspirant.  Some of you may ask why, exactly, would I blog on this subject.  The answer if very simple.

My wife told me to.

As I discussed this quandary with her she indicated that the followers at The Simple Life might also share the same or similar quandaries.  And so it is with that encouragement I write about an odorous topic (you may want to stop now…the humor will not get any better).

I am what is known in the police forensics field as a secreter.  This means I sweat heavily.  It has been the bane of my very existence since I was about 12 years old.  Try being in Junior High and sweating more than most grown men working in a foundry.  I’ve tried most of the deodorant/antiperspirant products in the store.  For me, it’s Mitchum Gel all the way.  It’s long lasting and does a great job.  I’ve used it my entire adult life.  Thus begins the quandary.

My wife and I have been working for years to rid our lives of chemicals and preservatives.  While I believe that the total elimination of these things from a normal American person’s life is impossible, we can pick our battles and we can minimize the use of these things in our lives.  It is down this vein my mind tends to wander during my morning routine.  The dark green of the Mitchum container glares at me like a beacon reminding me that it is full of chemicals purported to be harmful to me…and I use it every day.

Now, it’s not like I haven’t tried.  I’ve tried several natural products to control sweating and odor.  Some work better than others.  Most tend to leave me smelling like a wet dog at the end of the day.  Still, I’m committed to finding something that will work.  I’ve read in several forums that many men who have asked themselves the same questions settle upon Old Spice deodorant .  It seems that Old Spice has less chemicals than most.  I’m going to have to check that out.  There are also recipes that you can use to make your own.  You can find some of those recipes here, here , and here
You may ask (because you are an inquisitive sort today) why I would worry about this anyway?  I think it’s part of the simple life.  We take it for granted that what we find on the shelf at the store is the best product and it’s safe.  Yet history tells us that what a company pushes on us is probably what is best for the company.  There is also a certain allure to doing it yourself.  Who knew that you could make your own deodorant?  We assume that people of a bygone era simply accepted sweaty, smelly men.  While that may be true, many early writings are preoccupied with a man who at least cleans himself up once a week.  For me, it’s important.  I work in an office.  A man who works in an office is not expected to sweat.  It’s also considered in poor taste to stink within the close confines of a meeting room.  So, since I have no excuse to sweat or stink, I’ll have to figure out what works.  I’ll keep you posted on my experimental findings.  Or you could just drop by the office…they’ll be able to tell you exactly how it’s going. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Crop Diversity

I thought I'd pass on this very interesting article.  Remember the small family farm of yesteryear raised all the crops necessary to feed a family and then some.  Today our farms have been subsidized into a mono-crop corporate giant.  What are you doing to support crop diversity?