Our Story – The First Farm

In the Spring of 1993, our oldest son Joel and I were walking in a corn field behind our tiny little house near Clarksburg, Maryland. I’d had a deep longing to farm for about 15 years. In our financial situation, there was no way for us to be able to have our own farm. Standing there in the corn field, we prayed what seemed like a foolish and impossible prayer, and asked God to provide a farm and the equipment to farm it.

In the next three years, two more children were born to our family, and they were packed like sardines in a six and a half by thirteen foot bedroom in our tiny two-bedroom home. I became anxious as time passed and the Lord had not provided another house. About that time I heard a sermon indicating that to exercise faith in God, we have to let go of something. I realized I needed to let go of our search for a house, foolish as that seemed, and wait on God to provide.

After about four months of resting in the Lord, I felt the Lord releasing me to look in the paper for a house to rent. Several weeks later we saw this farm advertised in the paper.

We inspected the house and property several times and wrote up a detailed proposal/bid of what we would repair and fix up in exchange for the rent we would pay during the five year lease.

The house and barn had been severely vandalized by some persons armed with shotguns. Many light fixtures, appliances, and walls had been severely damaged and broken glass was everywhere. Old wallpaper needed to be removed and discolored carpet torn out and the old heart pine flooring refinished. The boarded up windows made everything seem worse!

We saw the hand of God working miraculously on our behalf as we were selected out of almost 20 bidders to receive the property, a 4000 square foot, 5 bedroom house on a 25 acre farm with a large bank barn, and a three car garage with no rent for two years and a very small rent for the next three years, in exchange for restoring the house.

We received possession of the property the week of Thanksgiving, 1996. The next five weeks were filled with the blessing of the hand of God. Despite many unforeseen problems, such as finding approximately 20 Pic of house boarded up frozen pipes, and no heat for the first three weeks, the work rapidly progressed. God sent a number of people at the right times to help us repair and clean up the house. We also saw God’s provision and answers to prayer in providing incredible deals on supplies and in providing many things free of cost.

God can be trusted fully to provide all our needs if we are seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:33-34)

God directed me to seek first Jesus’ Kingdom and His righteousness in going to a four-day work week so that I would have the time to do the things that He called me to do: research issues facing the Church and share them with others.

The decision to seek first Jesus’ Kingdom and His righteousness, and trust Him to provide for the needs I am tempted to provide by selling my soul to a career, has been one of the best decisions we have made. As we have been doing what Jesus has called us to do, we have seen our needs supernaturally provided over and over. God be praised!

We named the farm Jehovah Jireh Farm which means the God who sees, or the Lord will provide! Jehovah Jireh is the name that Abraham in the Bible gave to the place where God provided a ram caught in a thicket for his sacrifice.

Life on the Farm In Pictures

Sheep shearing several weeks ago. The sheep were getting hot with their three or four inch thick wool coats still on.

New kittens and their mother on the porch of Melody’s log cabin playhouse.

Sheep grazing in the silvopasture demonstration plot.

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.

Sawdust Toilet – A Homesteading Solution

Here is an idea to put in the back of your head in case you ever need it. When we first considered being curators for the Maryland State Park system and restoring this house, one problem was that the house only had one bathroom and there are eight people in our family! I looked on the internet about composting toilets and they run $2,000+, are ugly, and take up a significant amount of space. In addition, I did not like the idea of composting that stuff inside my house. Then I came across the sawdust toilet concept. It is cheap, odor free, and the composting is done outside. We have used it for the past six years and are pleased with it.

We use it similar to the old fashioned chamber pot concept and just use it for #1. The difference is that the carbon in the sawdust keeps down the odor. After each use, or in the morning, we add a fresh layer of sawdust to cover everything up. If there is some smell, we just add more sawdust. We have a sawdust toilet for the boys, one for the girls, and one in the master bedroom. When the buckets are full, we dump them on a compost pile.

Can you find the “bathroom”?

Here it is! I built a box to hide the buckets and toilet seat.