At the beginning of the year we were having to take a good hard look at the logistics of even being able to stay on our farm. Ethan had a transition in his town work and had been working retail for a year. It became apparent, however, that his retail job was not a job that would fit with keeping the farm going. After many long discussions, we decided to be open to the possibility of a move for Ethan to be involved in a ministry job. And so the applications started going out and the interviews started, up to 2 hours away from our farm - which of course would mean selling the farm.
Right as we were in this process, however, Ethan was approached out of the blue by a church within our town. Ethan met with the leaders of this church to find out what their vision was as they were wanting to learn more about what Ethan's ministry passions were. Before we knew it, Ethan was offered a full time position, which he started within a month. Not only did this offer allow Ethan to follow his call to ministry, but it also allowed us to keep the farm.
I was amazed and humbled with the timing of this job. It started the same week that our Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market started. To be perfectly honest, I was a little worried (read very panicy) as to how farming/farmers' market season/retail job would work for our family. After 10 weeks of Ethan's new job, I had learned that I really shouldn't have spent so much time worrying.
And then it happened. One fateful evening at our homeschool softball game, an evening I had stayed at home with the kids for some reason, Ethan tore his achilles tendon. (He did make the out though!) As we sat in the ER trying to process the injury, the questions popped up once more (as they have multiple times, yearly, since we started the farm). Do we keep going? Do we sell the animals and keep the land? Do we just sell it all, buy a small acreage in the country, and become a boating/fishing family once more?
Thankfully, my good friend, who had driven Ethan to the ER where I would meet up with him, looked me in the eyes and told me not to worry - people would rally behind us and help us get through. And that is just what happened.
Ethan ended up in a splint for 3 weeks, followed by surgery and a cast for 6 weeks, followed by a walking boot another 3 weeks. After developing planter faciatis, he was taken out of his walking boot to start physical therapy (which he continues). I won't lie and say I was not frazzled, completely exhausted, and sometimes went a little nutso from taking over the farm work this summer, but I will say that the Lord provided for our needs.
We were never without family, homeschool friends, and church friends to help us out with things I couldn't get done myself - loading hogs and lamb for the locker, setting up new fence, doing improvements on the farm, manning the market booth when Ethan couldn't, etc. I also had a meal a week provided to me once each week by my homeschool friends. I can't say enough how I looked forward to that night of no cooking after early morning chores, hot afternoon chores (did I mention we had historic heat and drought this year), and after supper till the sun went down chores - all while trying to keep the housework up, garden growing, and husband and kids loved.
Ethan kept reminding me it was temporary. And it was. One day, shortly after the Farm Crawl (where 1000+ people visit our farm) and as homeschooling was starting, Ethan took over the chores again, be it ever so slowly and carefully. And then our 6 months of Saturday farmers' markets were over. And now we are in a time of "rest" (for those who have town jobs and farm as we do, you know rest is said in relation to the rest of the year).
Today is Thanksgiving. Each and every day I am thankful to the Lord for His sacrifice on the cross, which paid the penalty for my sins, and for His resurrection that promised life eternal to all who would follow Him . . . for His sacrifice and promise to me.
But today is a day where I also count my blessings from Him - for Ethan's new job which allowed us to keep the farm. For family, friends, and our new church family who helped keep our farm afloat this year. For our customers who cheered us on and blew us away with our best year yet and an increasing demand for our meat. And for what the farm has provided for our family - including the lessons learned.
It seems appropriate that this year is the first year we have had a Thanksgiving meal made completely with food from our farm. I am reminded of the grace that was given this year to have a meal like this, in a year of drought and injury, and of the grace to be yet another year on the farm.
|From our farm: sweet corn, broccoli, carrots, pickles (cucumber and dill), potatoes, sweet potatoes, heritage breed chicken, green beans, cooked carrots|
|Our sweet children, who were troopers this summer and helped me with growing, harvesting, and preserving each item above.|