For a minimal expenditure and an hour or so of effort night and morning, the farm gained a steady, dependable income. All this conformed to the ideal of my grandfather’s generation of farmers, which was to ‘sell something every week’ — a maxim of diversity, stability, and small scale. — Wendell Berry
Here’s my full-on, real, big life dream: this place and the work we do here will support us entirely, AND God’s Whisper Farm will be a safe haven for people who need to come work in quiet, heal from tragedy, and take a little mountain-air respite.
We have a long way to go to make that happen, to leave Philip’s truck parked in our driveway most days, to have enough space for people who come to visit to sleep in without a visit from a certain red-colored puppy. But in this cool mountain morning, I can feel it is possible, probable.
In many ways, we are working toward that goal every single day.
- We have chickens who will, soon, begin laying our eggs, saving us that expense but also allowing us to give and sell eggs to others.
- I work from home already, which saves gas and money and leaves me free to tend the farm during the day as needed.
- We are holding regular concerts – Joy Ike is joining us next Saturday – workshops, retreats, and other events here that are helping us get out the word about God’s Whisper Farm and are – so far – paying for themselves, if not making us income . . . yet.
- We are considering the options for breeding our goats in order to add to our herd, perhaps, and to sell the babies to good, small farms who want to start or build their own herds. If we do breed the gals, we’ll also be milking them and will then have goat’s milk products for sale.
- We raise a good-sized garden and freeze (our kitchen is too small for canning, and we don’t have the storage space for canned goods yet) what we don’t eat or give away.
- We are talking about low-cost automotive services that Philip can provide guests – oil changes, routine checks, etc – when they come.
- We have an Etsy store full of items our family makes and open for anyone to sell through if you would like. (We simply take a 10% commission and manage all shipping.)
- We do all of the work here ourselves if at all possible, and we have great parents and friends who help us with big projects. (Dad has finished our outhouse, and soon, he’ll begin our off-grid cabin where guests can stay up by the waterfall.)
- We recycle, reclaim, and reuse everything we can, including these electric fence stanchions that now double as the poles for our fence-turned pea trellises.
- Most importantly, we welcome you here, anytime, to get respite, to spend time with the animals, to put your hands in the dirt, to take a walk.
I know that full self-reliance in a farm of this scale seems impossible, that we cannot grow or raise enough to make a living. I know that some people are skeptical, and I welcome that skepticism because I like to – lovingly – prove people wrong. 😉 But also because skepticism forces us to think creatively, to look for non-traditional ways of farming – like with words and motor oil. And that’s okay with us.
Because we are called to be in this place as people who are fully ourselves, in all the ways that we are who we are, and we welcome you to join us here. . . to live the dream and to reach for yours.
We hope you’ll get excited with us – for and in this place. If you have ideas for how we can make life here more self-sustaining, for workshops you’d like to give or take, for artists you’d like us to invite for a show, please let us know. Use our dream to make a few of yours come true.