Our StoryGood Gifts Farm
He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate –
bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart.
Picking marionberries in my garden one golden summer evening, I had a simple thought that would not leave me: This is such a gift. All of it. That I can plant a seed and the sun and rain will cause it to grow and I can feed my family with the fruit it bears.That I can watch a calf be born and he will grow strong and healthy by drinking his mother’s milk – a mother who knows intuitively how to birth and care for her calf. That I can raise one-day old chicks into hens and then daily collect their eggs, nature’s perfect food, I hear. That just as I am (satisfyingly) weary from the long days of watering and harvesting and canning, the season will change, the days will become shorter, and I can settle into a quieter, more restful rhythm indoors. God created the earth and everything in it and then said, “It is very good.” (Genesis 1:31) And all of these things are his Good Gifts to each of us.
And so the name was born of these twilight musings: Good Gifts Farm
Marveling at the commonplace natural cycles and systems God has created for our sustenance seems elementary, but for 37 years I have lived a life completely divorced from them. I have allowed others to partake in the growing of my food and the raising of animals for the products I use, and I have lived my summer-life little differently from my winter-life. Now, out here on our humble homestead, my family has entered into these divinely-ordained webs of life and seasons and hard work and Good Gifts. We have zero experience, but we are attempting to become more self-sufficient by growing a garden (about 1,200 sq ft), preserving food for winter, and raising animals (cows, chickens and goats, so far). I think if we had to, we could survive for a good three or four weeks on our property 🙂
Occasionally I think of my homesteading heroes, like Jill at The Prairie Homestead or Quinn at Reformation Acres and feel discouraged by how much I still have to learn and do. But then I remind myself that one year ago we lived on a city lot with one dog and some very sad blueberry bushes that never fruited, and a fresh bout of marveling comes over me: We have accomplished a lot in the past nine months! I have overseen (I use that term loosely) the birth of a calf. I have canned salsa with ingredients entirely from my own garden. I have taken care of a chicken who bloodied herself on barbed wire. (Who is this girl?) But most importantly, I have wondered at and understood more deeply God’s Good Gifts to us.
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures…
These all look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand
they are satisfied with good things.
~Psalm 104:24, 27-28
~Kara, July 2014