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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Beginning Farmer's Wife on Facebook

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Urgencies in Planting Garlic

Setting up our farm has been a huge undertaking: emotionally, physically, financially, relationally, spiritually . . . in about every way, really. The days are full, and the list of urgencies seems to grow, rather than diminish as we continue to press on. 

One of the things I love about homeschooling, although extremely time consuming in itself, is that it is something that requires me to sit down with my kids and focus on them. But I don't want to just be their teacher.

I want to be their mom.

And not just their mom, but their mom who invests in them, who encourages them, who showers love upon them, and who speaks words of His grace, truth, and hope to them.

It is hard to carve out extra time when the list of urgencies expands, until I remember the urgency in them - in the minds being trained, the hearts being shaped, and the years which pass by so quickly.

Still, there are those things that just need to be accomplished, and if they aren't attended to, the livestock, our food for the winter months, or the bank account will show the worse for it.

So I am challenged to bring our children alongside of me as I work and as I tackle these "urgencies".

Some say that I am raising up a troop of farm hands, and although it might slow me down now, they will be of great help in the future.  True.  Maybe.

I'm sure many have heard the stories of grown children who love their parents but not the farm, especially those in farming regions.  I don't want my kids to just feel like they are farm hands.  I want them to feel like the farm has been placed in their hands.

Because of this, while I invite my children to come alongside me, being grateful for the time together, relationships built upon, and teaching being done, I am also seeking to instil a love of the farm in them. 

This past Tuesday, after school was completed, I had another opportunity to put this into action. With rainy weather followed by a forcast of freezing coming up, it was time to finish up a few projects.

One of these projects was to get my garlic planted.

I have never grown garlic before.  I have wanted to, but I have never had garlic to plant in the fall.  After a facebook plea for sources for garlic and planting advice, two of my friends came to rescue - one being another homeschool mom and the second being our fellow Farm Crawl and Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market neighbors, Blue Gate Farm.

Between the two of them I received 2 different varieties of garlic, about 3 lbs altogether.

These beautiful bulbs of garlic have been sitting in my house for about a month while I took care of other farm urgencies. And now that snow and cold weather were coming, I had garlic urgencies.

I explained to the kids that our days of fall coats were soon going to be traded for days of snow boots and snow pants, and with that, the ground would soon become too hard to work.  Along with that, all of our garlic, which needed to be planted before the ground freezes, was still sitting in the house.

Over this past summer, my children have really began to understand where their food comes from.  They have helped me considerably in the garden planting, tending to, and harvesting our vegetables.  They have also lent helping hands preparing our produce to be frozen, dehydrated, or put into our perpetually going pressure canner.

With each food item they help me prepare, I place or let them place a little mark on the container. 

And along with giving thanks for the Lord's provision for our family when we sit down to eat, I also acknowledge those who have helped me prepare our food, taking my accounting from memories of working together in the garden, from marks on items taken out of the freezer or pantry, or from helpfulness that day as the meal was cooked.  (Not to forget Daddy's hard work in raising our meat.)

So when I asked the kids to separate the cloves of garlic for me in preparation for planting, they were eager to help.  While they worked, I was blessed to watch unexpected cooperation unfold.

Taking the paper off of the garlic was a little trickier for my younger two children.  When my oldest noticed this, he made it his task to peel the complete outer layer of paper off the garlic bulbs and then hand to the younger so they could break the cloves off.

They soon finished the task I had given them and continued on with their playing as I continued on with wrapping things up in the house.

We eventually worked our way outside, and I started my checklist, them bouncing back and forth from playing and helping as I needed.  The evening was creeping ahead, but I finally got to the garlic.

I soon realized, however, that I had failed to plan a spot for planting my garlic. I wandered a bit, trying to figure out where to plant them until I remembered I had also failed to plant chives around my fruit trees over the summer. 

It has been on my list of things to do, knowing that a planting of alliums around trees will prevent apple scab after 3 years. These alliums bring additional benefits too, such as repelling borers.  Other urgencies popped in though, and I didn't get my chives planted.

With a bag of alliums in my hand and the sun fading away, I called my kids over to help me nest each clove of garlic in the winter homes I was making for them around my fruit trees.  They carefully covered each clove up, happy to get their hands dirty, as I reminded them of all of the sauces and meals that we would use our garlic in and as I explained why we were placing them around our trees.

When we had finished encircling each tree, I thanked my kids and told them they could return to the corn stalk bales that had recently been dropped off in our front yard and that I would finish planting the garlic.  It probably would have been nice to have their help finishing up, but I wanted them to also enjoy the benefits of temporary farm playgrounds as well.

My three boys quickly scattered away, eager to crawl through the tunnels formed by the rows of bales.

Hannah stood beside me.  I asked her if she would like to go play as well.  She replied that she would rather help get the garlic in.  After all, it's fun to help grow her food.

I scanned my choices of where to plant our remaining garlic and chose the mulched fence line of my raspberry plantings.

We worked together, visited, and planted garlic.  A sweet time together.

Two days later, the ice came, followed by the snow. The garlic was in.

Balancing the kids' school, the home, the farm, and the family is difficult.  It's something that I have not completely figured out yet, and I am daily challenged in sorting out my urgencies.

Many days the urgencies of my tasks are weighed against the urgencies of training my children.  Often, the effects of a task tended to are noticed more than the effects of a child tended to.

After all, raising children takes consistency, perseverance, and patience.

Sometimes I can combine these urgencies. Sometimes I can't.

On Tuesday, as we prepared and planted our garlic, I was reminded of this.

Having my daughter prefer to help me finish planting the garlic and spend time together warmed my heart that cool night.

And to see my oldest help my youngest as they separated the cloves of garlic earlier that day blessed my heart as well. When he shared with me what he was doing as they worked, I know he was being blessed with the lessons he was acting out of caring for others.

These lessons are often hard lessons to learn, coming from times of conflict, which come from times of being together (which happens a lot when you homeschool!).

So as I consider my urgencies for the day, I remember the urgency in being together. Being together to invest, encourage, shower love upon, and speak words of His grace, truth, and hope while we tackle the urgencies of life. 

Follow The Beginning Farmer's Wife on Facebook for additional personal peeks at building a family farm.

Tools of My Trade
This book is a wonderful resource on companion planting in order to grow foods without the use of chemicals. It details good and bad companions, how various plants work together for increased flavor, productivity, and pest control.  It includes information not only for the vegetable garden, but also for companion planting with fruits, nut trees, ornamental plants, and much more. Copies of this book can be found used or you can purchase a new copy from the link provided.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Quest for Yard Trees

Way back when, I wanted to go into horticulture, but the Lord led me into the education field instead. (Which I have also grown to love.)  From early on, however, I loved working with plants, dreaming up landscapes, and looking forward to the time when I would have my own property that I could dabble with.  I always thought that this landscaping would be worked around tall, graceful trees on the property, or at least some kind of trees.

7 years into our marriage, the time came for us to purchase our first property. We bought our farm . . . A blank slate . . . Literally.

When we purchased our farm, it was 23 acres of prairie grasses on a hill with a 17 acre woodland bottom.

We built our house on the hill- the bare, treeless hill. 

The wise thing to do when you purchase a treeless piece of land is to plant some trees and get them growing.  After all, trees take time. We were very blessed that first spring to have been gifted an orchard, but much to my disappointment come fall, those were the only trees which had roots in the ground.

Okay, so one year won't make that much of a difference in establishing trees, right? Over the winter I began planning my landscaping layout so I would be ready to go once I could start planting.

The following spring I tried some saplings from our local NRCS spring tree order. The livestock tried those too.  The next year I thought that I should just purchase some taller trees that the livestock couldn't destroy.  After shopping around, I realized that idea would destroy our budget.  Although I did snatch up a couple $7 end of the season close out trees, I never thought that 5 years down the road I would still be dreaming of establishing trees on our property.

So this year, I changed my plan of attack. I managed to find a couple oaks and maples in the woods to dig up and move to the house. Two of them pulled through.  I was also given a gift to purchase some trees, so I placed an order for some smaller trees from the National Arbor Day Foundation and have tried to fence around them well for protection from livestock on the wrong side of the fence.

Even so, we are pretty treeless and a long way off from any sort of shade, as I don't foresee us purchasing any larger trees to plant.  Most likely, our children will probably be taller than the majority of the trees on our property for their growing up years.

The longer we are on the farm, however, the more Ethan and I both realize that this farm might be less for us and more for the generations that follow (if we continue to feel called here, are able to continue on that long, and here is where they wish to be).

So I am now planting my trees with, and for the next generation.

I found a wonderful source of seeds online at the DA Tree Store.  They are very reasonable and have a great selection.  I have ordered seeds for various evergreens from them, many of which will be for a windbreak. The kids and I learned about stratifying seeds (a cold treatment to mimic nature and break down the seed coat to allow the embryo to germinate) and started these seeds both indoors and outdoors this way. 

Last fall we brought home a bucket of walnuts from my parents, dumped them in the garden, covered them with mulch, and waited for spring.  The walnut trees that grew were then moved into various places in our woods, which is pretty void of walnuts.  Hopefully they will take off for the livestock and wildlife to enjoy down the road.

Since our walnut experiment went so well last fall, we have been collecting various nuts throughout the year this year.  The kids have helped me plant hickory seeds, buckeye seeds, various maple and oak seeds. and many other types of seeds and nuts we have collected.  We have even kept back some hardy fruit seeds from our area to stratify inside or start along the fence line of the garden.

To be perfectly honest, I would love to have trees to cast a cooling shade during the hot summer days.  I'd love to have a tree swing to sit on and overlook the pasture, song birds perched close by serenading our family, leaves for the kids to make nests in during the colorful crispness of fall, bare outstretched branches to collect the contrasting flakes of newly fallen snow.

Right now, however, our budget allows for some seeds. Some purchased, most collected. So I am trading my dream of tall, graceful trees for our family to enjoy for a dream of trees for the next generation to enjoy.

While doing this though, I am gaining.  I have gained precious and enjoyable times with our children as we have gone through the summer collecting seeds at the zoo, on walks with grandparents, visiting my home church, friends houses, parks . . .

Each of these nuts and seeds holds a story, and each of them are carefully marked as they are placed in the ground by little hands that are learning. Learning about stratification, learning about transplanting home grown saplings, learning about nuts and seed identification . . . about time together, about patience, and about investing in the future of others.

Follow The Beginning Farmer's Wife on Facebook for additional personal peeks at building a family farm.

Tools of My Trade
This is a great resource with wonderful illustrations.  If you are interested in starting your own plants with seeds, divisions, cuttings, layering, grafting, cultures, or more, this will be your go to book. When I first started propagating plants, I found much of my information on the internet.  I got a good start this way, but having this book on hand helped fill in the gaps for me.  Copies of this book can be found used or you can purchase a new copy from the link provided.

Monday, November 11, 2013

To Roll Out a Pie Crust

Two Saturdays ago we had our first major event (besides the Farm Crawl) on our farm, the Crooked Gap Farm "How Do They Do That" Class.  Our guests arrived at 9:00 a.m. and stayed until around 8:00 p.m.  It was a day full of tours, questions and answers, marketing discussions, and our insights on the mix of family, farming, and finances.

It was also a day full of Crooked Gap Farm food!

After I finished teaching school to our kids for the day, I spent the week before the event planning and preparing food for the 14 terrific individuals who were our guests, along with our family of 6.

Our Lunch was:
  • CGF pulled pork sandwiches (on store bought buns)
  • CGF tomatoes for the sandwiches
  • CGF canned pickled banana peppers for the sandwiches
  • CGF boiled potatoes, containing 3 different varieties of potatoes
  • CGF buttercup squash
  • CGF fresh cut carrots 
  • CGF watermelon
  • Harvest Cookies containing a CGF heirloom pink banana pie squash and CGF "Run of the Farm" eggs
(Thanks to Diana, from My Humble Kitchen, for the photo!)

Our Supper was:
  • CGF Beef and Vegetable Soup with the following ingredients from our farm : our heritage grass-fed Dexter beef, beef broth, carrots, onions, potatoes, summer squash, green beans, yellow wax beans, and sweet corn.
  • CGF cut carrots
  • Homemade rolls, made with CGF home rendered lard
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp made with CGF strawberries and CGF rhubarb
  • "Pumpkin" pie, made with a CGF heirloom pink banana pie squash and CGF "Run of the Farm" eggs, as well as the pie crust being made with our CGF home rendered lard.

Over the summer I have tried to involve my kids in as much of our food preparation and preservation as possible, and this week of preparing for our class was going to be a very full week of cooking.  I soon realized that that a lot of what I was cooking involved knives, cutting, and chopping, and I was having a hard time trying to figure out how to involve the kids rather than keep shuffling them away from my sharps. 

One afternoon during the kids' rest and independent time, however, was my pie making afternoon.  It was the perfect opportunity for me to teach some pie making skills to our 7 year old daughter so I pulled her away from her independent activities and had her come out to the kitchen.

One of the things that I tell my kids is that if you want to learn how to do something, watch first.  After you have watched the process, ask any questions you have bouncing around in your head.  Once you have done that, you may try it out.

I had 3 of my pumpkin pies to make so while I was mixing the dough, rolling out each crust, placing them in their pans, and putting on the finishing touches, Hannah watched on.  I could tell how eagerly she wanted to help me with the pies, but she patiently watched as I finished up the first, and then the second, and then the third.

After I was completed, I balled up my remaining pie dough and told her it was her turn, much to her surprise.

I have a little six inch diameter pie glass that isn't good for much besides making mini pies with leftover pie dough.  But, when you have a daughter, that reason is enough!

After all, my grandma taught my mom how to make pie crusts.  My mom in turn taught me, which led to me winning 3 champion trophies when I entered my pies in the pie baking contests during my 4-H years. I still use that same recipe (which can be found on our farm's recipe blog), and I hope that Hannah will some day pass it down as well.

So after finishing my three pies, I began my kitchen clean up and let Hannah work on her pie crust all by herself.  The only thing I helped her with was forming the ball of dough into a disk.  She tried, but it took a little more muscle than she could muster. After that first step, I continued to clean up around the kitchen, pausing long enough to snap some pictures of her work.

Hannah paid careful attention to the dough as she rolled it out, being sure to keep her pie mat and rolling pin dusted just enough that it wouldn't stick to the mat or the rolling pin, rolling it out easily and gently.  She did a good job not getting too much flour out either too, which would dry out the dough.

As Hannah rolled out her dough, she tested the size of her crust by carefully holding her pie glass upside down, looking for an extra couple inches of dough all around the glass.

Each time the pie dough wasn't wide enough, she worked the wider and thicker portion of the dough to the narrower portion.  She was careful to roll from the center of her pie dough so that she wouldn't pull up and tear the edges of her pie crust.

Once her crust was wide enough, she carefully folded it in half and scooted her pie dish underneath.

After the pie dough was reopened onto the pie dish, she carefully lifted up the outside edges of the pie dough in order to drop the dough down into the pie dish.  This lifting and dropping prevents the dough from being stretched or torn while it is being fitted to the pie dish.

Hannah then completed her final step of making her pie crust by pinching up around the dough around the outside of the pie dish and then trimming off the excess.

As you can see, there will still be a bit of pie dough scraps.  These scraps are perfect for rolling out again to be cut into pie crust cookies, which can be brushed with milk and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  They are yummy to eat on their own or can be used to decorate your pies, as I did with my "pumpkin" pie.

As we talked about in our farm class, there are a lot of sacrifices that come with starting up a farm, especially when you are raising a family.  Days are full, bank accounts often aren't. It is hard to find time to get away as a family, and if that time was there, well . . . the money to do so might not be.

It is a choice that we have made.

I have also made the choice that I'm going to be purposeful in including our kids as we go through our days: To let them tag along beside us with our guests during our farm classes, even though it would be much easier on me to send them to a friends house.  To plant a couple extra cherry tomatoes plants in the garden, reserved for helping hands to snack from. And to make sure I plan my recipe to have enough pie dough for one last pie, a pie carefully formed by little hands in my small pie dish which I keep around for one purpose only.

Follow The Beginning Farmer's Wife on Facebook for additional personal peeks at building a family farm.

Tools of My Trade

 Linked is a set of 2 simple yet functional 6 inch pie plates dishes, perfect for daughters, granddaughters, or for making 2 smaller pies from one recipe. You also might be able to find some little 6 inch pie dishes at garage sales or second hand stores.

Although my particular pastry mat seems to be vintage now, there are many other pastry mats out there, sometimes even found at garage sales. The circles on the mat can be used as a guide for rolling out your dough the right size, but my favorite use for them is to contain my flour mess.  Cleaning is so much simpler when you can lift up your mat, dump excess flour into the trash, wash off anything that remains in the sink, and then finish your clean up with just a swipe or two of the dish rag across the table, creating no gummy messes.!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ripening Tomatoes . . . and Cats

This week I set out to make a post about ripening green tomatoes

I was going to write about how I gathered all of the green tomatoes out of the garden before the first frost a couple weeks ago, about how I carefully checked them over to make sure they were all in good shape as to not spoil other tomatoes around them, and about how I have kept them out of the sunlight as suggested while waiting for them to turn red.

I was then going to mention how valuable these green tomatoes are, as I have already done one batch of 11 quarts of tomato juice from them.  I was also going to share how many quarts this last batch of ripened tomatoes produced (17 quarts). 

While I was sorting out the bright red tomatoes that were once as green as could be, my 4 year old asked me if he could help me.  Of course he could.  Why hadn't I thought to ask him? 

He edged in beside me and carefully started picking out the red tomatoes.  As he worked, he lifted up a tomato to his nose and proclaimed with a smile that it smelled like tomato juice.  He worked steadily as he clutched his stuffed cat with his other arm.
His cat. 

Two summers ago Isaac fell in love with the addition of cats on our farm.  He was 3 that summer and he spent his warm sunny days building houses for our cats. Two were gray, black, and white striped.  One was yellow. 

He had so much fun over the summer with these cats that we decided to work some cats into his November birthday. He received a little cat figure from the farm store to be added to their set of farm animals, as well as a little book with a cat that perfectly matched one of the darker cats.

His birthday celebration at home was going to be in the evening. We put the kids down for nap and rest time.  I prepared for when they were to wake up while Ethan went out to do some chores.

Not long afterward, Ethan came in quiet and long faced.  One of the darker cats had gotten up inside the truck, under the hood.  When the truck was turned on to be moved, the cat got caught in the belt.  It didn't survive. We decided to tell the kids the next day, after Isaac's birthday.

Isaac and our 1 1/2 year old spent many hours playing cats that fall . . . with their stuffed dogs. For Christmas, I gave Isaac and Jonathan each a stuffed cat.  Isaac, a yellow cat.  Jonathan, a black cat.  Isaac's favoritism soon turned toward our yellow cat, "Puss in Boots".

This summer the boys continued to smother our cats with love, as much as they could find them.  As the summer progressed, however, "Puss in Boots" started causing a little too much farm mischief.  We had gotten him as an older cat, and he had never learned to see our small farm animals as comrades, as kittens growing up on the farm would do.  It came to the point of him needing to leave our farm to live at a friend's house.

Isaac was heartbroken.

Still, Isaac and Jonathan continued to play with our remaining cat outside, and their little stuffed cats were constantly with them in the house.

This fall, while on a hayride, I spotted a small yellow kitten . . . a little yellow kitten just like "Puss in Boots". I knew the family who owned the cats cheerfully gave away kittens. With their permission, our new "Puss in Boots" spent the rest of the evening peeking out of my coat, waiting to head to its new home.

It didn't take me long once home to notice this little kitten seemed a bit lost penned up by itself as it was becoming acquainted with our farm, and our large dogs.  A quick message back to the family revealed that they did have a black kitten to match Jonathan's stuffed kitten, and they would be more than happy to add in a little calico female too if we would take it. 

And so arrived our 3 new kittens.  From the beginning, the kids have taken extra special care of them. Grabbing them up when vehicles were moving, shutting them up at night to keep them safe from larger animals, and sneaking out on the porch as often as able to smother them with attention.

Isaac's stuffed cat, now more flat and limp with love than plush, followed him around the house all the more.  I benefited from frequent hugs daily accompanied by thank yous for giving him his stuffed cat.

This past Saturday our farm hosted an all day event at our farm.  We had a group of individuals scheduled to come for an in depth tour of the farm, with 2 full meals included prepared from the produce and meats from our farm. We had been preparing all week, gotten up early Saturday morning, and we were very excited about the day ahead.

About an hour before our guests were to arrive, I continued to get ready inside.  Ethan headed out to move our truck and trailer.  And then he came in.  Straight faced.  Quiet.  A cat had ran right behind him when he was parking the trailer.  It had been hit. 

I asked him which one.

Puss in Boots.

We told Isaac.

I realize that cats come and go no matter where you are.  I realize that life is difficult no matter what you are involved in.  Sometimes, though, I just get tired of the struggles that farming, especially beginning farming, brings along.  The days that the kids feel heartache are the days that hit me the hardest.

So as Isaac hunkered down beside me, his one year worn with love stuffed kitty in his arms, wanting to help, enjoying the aroma of the tomatoes from our summer's labor, I was thankful. 

Yes, life on the farm is full of struggles.  But it is also full of lessons.  Lessons filled with the benefits of our hard work.  Lessons filled with working through life struggles and losses, knowing they will come again and come weightier as life progresses. Lessons that prepare and teach the kids how to navigate through this world.  Lessons for me in how to instil Hope to the next generation.  A Hope that sometimes needs an extra dose of patience and Faith in what is promised to come. 

The next time I have a project to do, I will try to remember to invite my little ones over to help me before they have to ask.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


repurposing :  to give a new purpose or use to 

There's a lot of repurposing that goes on around our farm.  We repurpose materials, structures, livestock areas . . .

There is also a lot of repurposing that goes on in the house. I also repurpose materials and storage spaces, as well as our motivations and time spent doing things.

I have decided that it is time to repurpose my blog.

My blog has slowed down, halted, and became virtually silent as we transitioned from our start up of the farm into our actual farming.  Some of this has been due to the addition of more little blessings running around the house.  Some of it has been due to the swelling of demands to keep a beginning farm up and running.  Some of it has just been due to a lack of purpose in my posts.

Sure, I have always wanted to keep a journal of our journey.  But the lack of purpose of keeping that journal started to creep in.  

Even so, I have continued to want to find some way to continue my blog. Not just for the readers who may be out there, but for our generations to follow . . . to see how we persevered with where we felt called, to see how the Lord provided for where He had us, and to know the history behind our farm. (All assuming the farm continues on - as well as Blogger!)

Yesterday we gave an in depth tour of our farm to 14 individuals.  They arrived at 9:00 am.  We combed the farm viewing the different enterprises, discussing how and why we do things the way we do, shared how we attempt to balance family, farm, and town jobs, discussed finances, and ate a lunch and supper of Crooked Gap Farm produce and meats that I had spent the week preparing.  Our guests left around 8:00 pm and left me with a desire to repurpose my blog.

Over the last year I have had numerous individuals asking me how I manage the home, the garden, the family, and even the farm in my role as a stay at home, homeschooling, farming wife and mom.  Many have asked (and re-asked) for classes on some of the thing I do. I would LOVE to hold these classes and share the things that I have discovered from my journey of cooking with a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in town to preparing 2 meals for 14 guests and our family of 6 with foods almost completely raised and grown on our farm.

The wall I run into is lack of time. And lack of facilities. And lack of supervision for our children. (Ethan has been working ~60 hours/ week of off the farm work, along the daily chores and 6 months of Saturday farmer's markets . . . and all else that goes along with keeping a farm business running.) 

Which brings me to my next thought.  Children. I have had a number of conversations lately about how to make family work with starting a farm. A wise friend shared with me a couple years back that our culture spends so much time following our children around (not that it's wrong to join in their interests) and so little time having our children follow us around.  Following us to learn from us, to see the beauty in what we have learned to hold beauty, to encourage them, to share with them, to shower love upon them.

In Titus 2:3-5 we are encouraged to
"Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers, Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God." 

These conversations with my farm friends looking for help on how to provide for their home, my personal friend who encouraged me that it was okay that we couldn't join in the American chase with our children, and my Heavenly Friend who continually shows me the way to fullness of life, have all brought me to repurposing my blog. 

I still hope it to be a journal throughout our farm journey, but as I do this I hope it to be an opportunity to share with others how to love their husbands and children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes . . . all the while challenging myself and encouraging my readers to bring the next generation along with them so that they can do the same. 
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