Here We Come A-Caroling… Again!

The Horst Family

For hundreds of years, groups of singers have gone from house to house singing carols at Christmas time to spread love and cheer. Each of you, our friends, are spread far and wide. Last year our family decided to take Christmas caroling into the tech age by caroling for each of you, wherever you are, using the connectivity of our electronic devices. This year, we are continuing the tradition with some additional Christmas carols!

Merry Christmas!

Download for free on CDBaby

In addition, the music is also available as a CD on Amazon; at music download sites such as Google Play and iTunes; and on music streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube. The recording contains the five songs from last year and the five songs from this year.


Myron – Bass Vocals
Cathy – Soprano, Alto, and High Tenor Vocals; Keyboard
Joel – Tenor Vocals; Guitar
Nathan – Tenor and Lead Vocals; Whistling, Violin
Kara – Soprano and Alto Vocals; Flute
Daniel – Bass and Baritone Vocals; Accordion
Luke – Bass Vocals; Viola
Melody – Soprano, Alto, and High Tenor Vocals; Bass Guitar

These songs are public domain. Please share them with others.

Merry Christmas!

Sending Love and Joy from Our Home to Yours

For hundreds of years, groups of singers have gone from house to house singing carols at Christmas time to spread love and cheer. Each of you, our friends, are spread far and wide. This year our family decided to take Christmas caroling into the tech age by caroling for each of you, wherever you are, using the connectivity of our electronic devices.

The Horst Family, 2015
Your Carolers from left to right: Daniel – singing bass and baritone and playing accordion; Kara – singing soprano and alto and playing flute; Nathan – singing tenor and lead and playing violin; Cathy – singing soprano and alto and playing keyboard; Myron – singing bass; Melody – singing soprano and alto; Luke – singing bass; Joel – singing tenor, playing 12 string guitar, recording engineer.


Hear all the Christmas carols:

For optimum enjoyment, be sure to use good-quality speakers or headphones/earbuds!



Individual Songs

Joy to the World

Download MP3


Away in a Manger

Download MP3


Christ is Born in Bethlehem (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing)

Download MP3


Who Is He in Yonder Stall?

Download MP3


We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Download MP3


Feel free to share this with others!

Meet Your Farmers

Each of the next number of months we will tell you a little bit about two members of our family and their role on the farm, their interests, and the talents that they contribute. This month we will introduce the two people that you will likely meet when you come to the farm to pick up chickens or if you call on the phone.


Cathy grew up near Hutchinson, Kansas. Her father was a dwarf and passed away from skin cancer when she was 20. She also had a severely mentally handicapped brother and sister who have also passed away. The challenges of helping care for her handicapped brother, developed character and strength in her.

We met in Bible college while we were singing on the college chorale on a 12,000 mile tour through the US and Canada. Cathy is a talented musician and can sing soprano, alto, and tenor. Her favorite instrument is the piano/keyboard, but she can also play the guitar, accordion, and autoharp.

Cathy with her beloved cookbooks.

It is said that an army marches on its stomach (its food). In the same way on our farm, we do our farm work on our stomachs. Good nutrition is important to Cathy and she keeps us well fed with a wide variety of foods and ways of preparing them. She likes to garden, not for gardening’s sake, but to produce the most nutritious food for her family that she can. Cathy cooks almost exclusively from scratch using whole foods from our garden and farm, with only a small part being purchased. Bread, cookies, and other baked goods are made from whole wheat that she freshly grinds into flour just before making the item. Cathy and the girls can or freeze over 1,000 quarts of fruits and vegetables each summer.

If you have a question about how to prepare chicken, turkey or lamb, she is the one to ask. She loves to talk about cooking and also loves to hear about good ways of preparing and seasoning food that you have found. She loves it when people stop by between chicken processing dates to purchase products and chat. Cathy also has a strong interest in heath and how to help people to be healthy.


Kara is our oldest daughter and is 20 years old. She works full time on the farm as cook and gardener. She also helps with chicken processing, and processing eggs. Kara enjoys gardening and is in charge of our greenhouse where she raises plants for our gardens and flower beds.

Kara, like her mom, is a good cook. The guys say that they can’t tell a difference between her cooking and her mom’s. So if you have cooking questions, she can probably answer them too.

She enjoys singing and can sing soprano and alto. Kara also plays the flute.

Kara also has an interest in health and herbal healing. This past winter she completed a herbal healing course from Dr. John Christopher’s School of Natural Healing and is certified as a Family Herbalist. Kara is the one who makes the Everyday Miracles Salve that has been so helpful to us.

False Concepts about Physical Work

By Myron Horst

One reason that I wanted a farm was so that I could teach my children how to work and to have a good work ethic. When I used to work as a finish carpenter, the company that I worked for would hire college “kids” in the summertime to do laborer work. They did not know how to work! They did not know how to sweep the floor or use a shovel. Some of the worst workers were sons of executives of a large company. These guys had never had to mow the lawn or clean the house because someone was hired to do it for them. I realized that if I could teach my children how to work, they could be successful in whatever occupation that they went into.

Training our children how to work and to think like adults has been a much more difficult job than what I ever realized it would be. As time has gone along, I have realized that there are false concepts about physical work that many believe to be true. These false concepts hinder a person from applying themselves to the job at hand like they should. They end up only getting a fraction of the work done that they could.

False concept #1 – Physical work does not require much thinking and is for people who are not as smart.
Many people mistakenly believe that physical work does not require much intelligence or thinking. We get offers from various people and children’s groups to come out to the farm and do volunteer work on the farm. The impression that they seem to have is that the poor farmer has so much work to do and anyone can do it, and that he would be so glad to have a bunch of kids come and do it for him.

We turn down those offers because it takes more time to train others how to do the job, supervise them to make sure it is being done right, and to redo things that were not done right, than do the work ourselves. An example of this is processing chickens. Our family of eight can process about 125 chickens an hour. Each person has their station in the processing line and knows what to do. When we first started processing chickens, it took five adults and our oldest son six hours to do 60 chickens. At that point a new person’s help would have been help. But now, to have one person come in and try to learn how to process chickens would drastically slow us down. Their “help” would only increase our work load.

To work efficiently and to do the job right requires constant thinking and analyzing of what is being done, even if you are talking about something else. Physical work is not dumb work or work that requires a strong back and a weak mind. This is true even of simple tasks such as gathering eggs, stacking firewood, or dusting the furniture. We have heated our home with firewood for 18 years. In spite of that, each year I have to train the boys how to stack firewood all over again. They will stack the wood with short pieces on the bottom and long pieces on the top, or stack the wood with the wood stack leaning over and in danger of it falling over. One year a small stack was so unstable that I pushed on it a little and it fell over. It was not safe for children to be around. Several months ago, I finally realized what was happening. They thought that stacking firewood was such a menial task that it did not require any thinking and they thought about other things instead of where or how they were placing a piece of wood.

Physical work, to be done right and to be done efficiently, requires a person to be constantly thinking and analyzing what they and the ones that they are working with are doing; even simple tasks such as digging with a shovel or sweeping a floor. One supervisor that I had in construction a number of years ago said that he would rather pay a carpenter $16 an hour to dig a ditch and have it done right than to pay a laborer $6 an hour to do the job. Till you add in the supervisory costs, the laborer working slower, the laborer not thinking, not understanding the bigger picture, and not doing the job right, etc., it was cheaper and there were less headaches to have the carpenter dig for an hour.

False Concept #2 – Physical work should be fun.
Another false concept about physical work is that it should be fun. I have often been asked by a person watching what I was doing if it was fun.  They thought it looked like fun. To be honest, physical work is often not fun, especially when it is hot and the work is hard. But physical work can be very rewarding and gives a feeling of satisfaction when the job is done and done well. Work can be enjoyable and it is good to try to make it enjoyable when possible. It is also important to try to make the work so that it is not frustrating. But making work fun should not be a focus. There are many times when work has to be done and you can’t call it enjoyable or fun. A child needs to learn that “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Not, when the work gets hard you quit.

It is a wrong concept to try to make work fun for children to get them to do it. Work is only fun for a short period of time and then it loses its enjoyment as something fun. This is particularly true of routine work and chores. Several of our boys, when they were young, would try to make filling the firewood cart “fun” by making up stories as they worked. What should have taken five minutes would take them a half hour. Instead of making work fun, it made it a drudgery because of how long it would take to get the job done. A similar thing happened with washing dishes. They would get books on “tape” from the library and listen to them while they did the dishes. It took “forever” to get the dishes done. They were trying to make a job fun. Instead, it taught them that work was not fun. It also taught them to work slow, the opposite of efficiency. When we pointed out to them what was happening, they realized the foolishness of what they were doing. We made a rule that they could not listen to stories or make up stories while they worked.

Children need to be taught to find satisfaction in the work that they do rather than look for it to be fun.

False Concept #3 – Making work for children teaches them to work.
Making work for children because there is not enough work to keep them busy does not teach children to work. Sometimes families, in an effort to keep their children busy have them do things such as vacuum the carpet everyday. Children are not dumb. They quickly realize that they are doing work that does not really need to be done. That type of work keeps them busy, but it does not teach them to see what needs to be done and do it without being told. Instead it teaches just the opposite: that “keeping busy” is the important thing instead of getting a job done quickly and efficiently.

The basic concepts in learning to work are: to see what needs to be done, to remember other jobs that also need to be done, to analyze what things are most important, to think through how to do the job the most efficiently, and to do the job quickly and with quality workmanship without getting caught up in small details that take a lot of time but don’t contribute much to the finished project. To help a son or daughter learn how to work is an important step in the passage between being a child and acting like a child to being a real man or a real woman.

What do we do all winter when there is “nothing to do” on the farm?

Joel, our oldest son,  has been busy this winter building building bee hives to expand his honey production. In this picture he is cutting recessed handles into the sides of the bee hives using a jig on the table saw. There is an amazing amount of work that goes into building the hive boxes and assembling all the frames that go inside the boxes. It is a great job inside by the wood stove for those cold rainy days when we don’t want to work outside.

We bought a 2007 Isuzu reefer truck for delivering eggs and pet food to the stores. Our egg delivery van had become too small. The truck has been a wonderful provision. We bought it for 25% of its value at an auction. It had a leaking fuel injector sleeve which is why we were able to get it so cheap. To the left of the truck is the framing for some new lambing pens that our son, Nathan, was building for his sheep.

Daniel, age 16, had diesel mechanic class as part of his homeschool experience. He loves working on motors and is interested in crop farming. It was a great educational experience for him. It took the mystery out of a diesel motor as we took the head off the engine block, had it repaired and reinstalled the head again. The head is a thick heavy metal piece on top of the pistons that has the valves, fuel injectors, and cam shaft. The motor is only a four cylinder diesel with a turbo charger. In spite of it being only a four cylinder motor, it has plenty of power and gets a respectable 11 1/2 to 12 MPG on our egg delivery route which includes driving through the heart of D.C. The Isuzu truck is easy to work on. The cab tilts forward giving easy access to the entire engine. They even provide a “chair” to sit on while you are working on the motor – the front tires. I had never worked on a diesel motor before, so it was a learning experience for me, too. We had a good repair manual and took things one step at a time. It is not as difficult as it appears.

To stay in shape during the winter we work out in the “gym”. The exercise machine is rather low tech, consisting of a 6 pound metal weight fastened to the end of a stick. You swing the 6 pound weight and smash it into a piece of wood, making the wood split in two. It is entertaining and satisfying being able to watch big hunks of wood fly apart while you work out swinging the weight on the stick to get your heart rate up, tone up your muscles and burn the fat. We like our work out machine better than the high tech do nothing exercise machines with their fancy electronic readouts. Not only does it provide entertainment and a feeling of satisfaction as you work out, it will also give us a warm feeling next winter when it is cold – something one of those fancy do nothing machines in the gym can’t do.

So why would we split wood by hand while the wood splitter sits unused in the background? We do use the wood splitter on the harder to split pieces, but we have a lot of straight grained oak wood that splits easy. I timed one of the boys and he made 12 pieces of firewood in 60 seconds with a splitting maul and he was not trying to see how fast he could go. It is much faster than the wood splitter on easy to split wood. Notice how the chunks of wood are set up in rows. We start with a chunk of wood closest to us. We split that one and move to the next and then the next. You can split wood as fast as you can swing the splitting maul. Forget the old chopping block. It takes too long to only set up and split only one piece of wood at a time. We also dislike an 8 pound splitting maul because it tires us out too fast. A 12 pound maul is even worse.

Kara, our oldest daughter, made 50 seedling flats for the greenhouse. They will hold the plastic trays with the individual plant cells. We used plastic flats in the past, but they are flimsy and break easily. These should last a long time if they are stored in a dry place in the off season. The flats were made out of scrap pieces of wood that we had laying around. Kara has a bunch of onions, cabbage, and broccoli started.

We also stay busy all winter taking care of the hens, sheep and cows. The hens have been laying a lot of eggs all winter. What you see is just part of a week’ worth of eggs. The right side of the walk-in cooler is also almost full of cases of eggs. The hens are laying over 1000 dozen eggs each week. That is why we needed a bigger truck!

Chestnut Blight Inoculation Evaluation in the Chestnut Orchard

Earlier this year, several hundred of the chestnut trees in our chestnut orchard were inoculated with two different strains of chestnut blight. Last week a group from the American Chestnut Foundation came and evaluated the inoculations. We were pleased that many of the trees showed good resistance to the blight. The trees with the weakest resistance will be cut down and the trees with the strongest resistance will be kept for further breeding purposes.

This tree is an example of good resistance to the blight inoculation. The cracks in the bark are an indication that the tree is fighting the blight and is “walling off” the blight to keep it from spreading.

This tree has blight around the crotch of the tree from a naturally occurring source. It looks like the blight is really bad, but the tree actually has good resistance in the way it is fighting the blight. The chestnut orchard is an interesting project, and our family is learning a lot from caring for it. We are looking forward to what happens in the future.

Tour Group from the International Chestnut Symposium

Recently we hosted a tour group of people from around the world who attended the International Chestnut Symposium at Shepherdstown, WV. The tour group leader later commented in an email that the chestnut orchard on our farm was really spectacular given its age. The trees are much bigger than what most are at their age. Earlier this summer, we helped inoculate about 2/3 of the trees with two different strains of chestnut blight. Next year the trees will be evaluated according to how they respond to the blight. The best ones will be used for further breeding purposes.

Two big buses drove up in the pasture to the chestnut orchard.

Part of the tour group.