It has been a long summer and fall since I posted any blog entries. I am now getting 'back in the saddle again'. It has been a sad 6 months since our beloved husband and father, Cary Neal McMinn, died suddenly and unexpectedly of heart failure on June 2, 2013. We have finally found our 'new normal' and are back to living full lives every day, doing what needs to be done, and also spending time doing what we like to do. Though we remain sorrowful, we continue to thank our great God for how good and gracious He has been during our great loss, as He has comforted us, provided for our needs, and beyond.
Our family continues to own and operate our farm - it is our home, and it was all our dream to come here more than a decade ago with Cary. Zane, now 24 years old, runs the farming aspect, and I, Shari, manage the business and home aspects. The five younger children still at home, continue to be home schooled, help with feeding the livestock morning and evening, assist Zane with weekly construction or clean-up farm chores, and work alongside me with seasonal tending and maintenance of our kitchen gardens. Our grown children are leading successful adult lives, and continue to visit for holidays, and help us when needed.
We had to cancel our fall HOMESTEAD BOOTCAMP as our well casing failed over the summer, and we were very short on water until a new well was permitted and installed. Fortunately, the first test bore was good, and we have a new 15 gallon/minute well with casing in-place, and will be proceeding with the electrical and mechanical hook-ups within the next few weeks. Our goal was to have a new well operating by our first hard frost, and we seem to be achieving that deadline.
Our livestock herds, and associated farm to consumer bulk meat sales, are steadily increasing. We are planning on significantly increasing our pastured turkey and pastured pork quantities for next year, as both of those markets are growing in demand. We now have 4 sows and 2 boar Tamworth pigs for breeding, and they are very productive. Such sweet, fun pigs - even when they break-out of their pasture/paddocks, they herd back in gently with even our youngest kids being able to lead them around. We should have lots of whole pigs for roasts this summer, so keep us in mind for your event!
We plan to film some of our sustainable farming practices this fall, to upload 15 minute videos on our website. Families interested in learning practical small farm skills will be able to download these for a nominal fee. Every stream of income helps a family farm remain a viable lifestyle and enterprise. Others have asked us to share our wisdom, so we hope this endeavor will indeed bless families from around the country, who are unable to attend our Homestead Skills events here on the farm.
Our fodder system is up and running, and is indeed very productive. It has streamlined livestock feeding, making it simpler, and also much more cost effective. Primarily it is giving us better meat to sell - all livestock are now 'finished' on grass, including beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and rabbits.
God is good and gracious. Even though sometimes we do not understand, or personally agree with His plans for our lives, we do continue to trust Him and praise His name forever.