There is ALWAYS something to do on a farm, especially a ministry farm. In addition to farm chores, there are usually visitors which means there are hospitality chores as well. Cleaning the house and making sure there are few trip hazards in the yard (the curse of construction zones) help make happy visitors to the farm. We tend to change our feeding schedule so our guests can be involved in feeding the livestock (therapeutic livestock). Below are some instances of
A) Life on the farm
B) Some renovation progress
C) Ministry going on
With summer in full swing, our farm is packed with growing things.
We instituted a new protocol this year during planting which has worked out well for us. Last year, hornworms and squash bugs devastated our little garden so we spent the winter researching how to keep that from happening again. We came upon the idea of some natural insect deterrents and companion planting a pest repellent plant alongside our crops. As you can see from the photos below, it worked better than we could have planned. Having peppermint and spearmint plants in the same beds seems to have kept the destructive insects from our garden this year. In the space of only a month, we are already harvesting and sharing some of our crops.
Part of what we do on Crossroads Farm is share our life with people who may have never been on a farm before. This has become quite the joy for us. It’s become equal parts education, evangelism, and entertainment. We recently responded to an inquiry on our town’s Facebook page about a family wishing to experience farm life. We invited them out to play with baby goats, feed livestock, and play in the creek. Now we have a steady flow of visitors from the word of mouth in our small community.
This month, we’ll be sharing some hard-won knowledge regarding our time restoring the farm. One of the best is making all our livestock work for us. To do this, we are using non-traditional grazing planning. This means, at least for us, using portable electric fencing and moving them where we need them. Below are some pieces of our fencing and a sample diagram for how we use them.
February of 2019 saw Gil moving to Tennessee from Colorado to live in a pop-up camper while beginning renovation on a 120 year old farmhouse in serious need of TLC. No livestock, no pets, and no family.
February of 2021 saw the whole Carter family (minus Dylan who moved back to Colorado last summer) moved in. New roof, insulated walls & ceilings, reinforced floors, additional windows, complete electrical system overhaul, and two HVAC units to heat & cool. Whew! We’re also stewards of 2 1/2 cows (one is pregnant), 5 2/3s goats (two babies here and two expected), two pigs, 15 chickens, 4 dogs, and a cat.
2020 was a rough year for nearly everyone we know. For us working to build a retreat and ministry center, it meant much of the work was to be done by us. Several work teams had to cancel due to Covid concerns. The inaugural event to let the communities know who were are and what we do had to be re-scheduled for next year. Many of the individuals and families that had hoped to visit were unable to make the trip because of health concerns. Ministry here changed, but it continued, albeit at a slower pace. Several friends and family have suffered from health issues, career detours, and God-sized life interruptions. Fears, fatalities, and anger seemed to be everywhere. But God is, was, and will be on His throne.
Apologies for our missing out on the October blog. Historically, October is the month that we crash from emotional, physical, and spiritual exhaustion and this one was no exception.
We held our Dixon Creek Supper Club which was designed to say thank you to everyone who worked on the farm over the past year. Smoked pork, laughter, storytelling, and Christmas lights in the rafters of the tobacco barn was the agenda for the night. Although we had to make due with the rain date because of a gulf hurricane, we had a good turnout and was able to express our gratitude for the “sweat equity” put in by everyone there. We ended the night with a bonfire, smores, and tall tales.
We have certainly experienced loss in our lives… ones that took our breath away… and I (Patti) think I knew farm life would have losses too. However, the unexpected heartaches of the past few weeks have left us hurting. It all started when our beloved Bruno the Magnificent (Chapel’s dog) was hit and killed by a car. Chapel cautiously decided to keep one of Bruno’s puppies from Maizy’s litter and named her “Happy”. A sudden parasitic attack killed Happy and her litter-mate “Ring-Tail”. On the heels of that, our beloved mother pig, “Big Mama”, declined and died suddenly. Our chicken population was attacked by raccoons and reduced by half. Now, “Magic’, a barn cat, is missing… probably victim to coyotes or foxes.
Life is pretty tumultuous these days, but we’re finding multiple “eyes” in the storms. One of our most consistent eyes are the animals on the farm. There is absolutely no way you can hold on to stress with a dozen 6 week old puppies playing on you.
August saw us finishing the majority of the work on the vaulted ceiling so we could open it up to the dining area below and install the custom lighting we built. Ceiling panels in place along with the drywall sides, trimming, mudding, and painting went fairly fast. With the wiring already in place, the lighting just required us to mount a secure anchor from which to hang the beam. Once that was in place, we hung the beam from chains (with an eye toward making the fixture adjustable) and connected the pendant lights to power. Then it was a matter of adjusting the length of the pendants to our liking.
It is with a resigned resolution that we announce Phase Two of the building plan has been postponed until spring of 2021. We had three amazing teams of work crews coming to the farm to help demo and begin construction on the bunkhouse/meeting area in the existing livestock barn. Covid has pretty much knocked that out for the foreseeable future, hence the postponement. Things are still happening, but at a drastically slower pace with only the two of us (Chapel too when she can) doing the work. We’ll touch on what that looks like for Phase Two later in this blog. Thank you for staying with us!