Friday, October 31, 2014

Farming & Family: Day 31


Today is the last day in our 31 days series and even though I missed a few days of posting I still am excited that I have been able to share these awesome farm families with you!  
Each farm is unique in their setup and how things operate however each farm also shares a common desire....
To help YOU learn more about the farmers that feed our families.  

You see each of these families go to the grocery store just like you.  
There is a "5 o'clock" dinner rush for them too...
expect it might be at 7 or 8...
depending on the time of year and farm life it could be 9 or 10.  
You see farming is not just our occupation but our life.  
Each farm family you see above is fully invested into their farm.
We aren't talking just money but time and passion as well.  

Do you still have questions about your food or farms?  Let me know I will be happy to answer it for you or find a farmer who can!  Did you miss a day in our series?  No worries...below is a link to each day!  

Day 23- Book Review
Day 24-No post
Day 25- No Post
Day 26- No post
Day 27- No post
Day 29- Book Review


Hope you have enjoyed our series!  Please feel free to leave questions or comments below!

Until we meet again, may God bless you and keep you!

Caci

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Farming & Family: The Covington's

Today is Day 30 in our 31 days of Farming and Family.  Over the last month we have met a lot of farm families from across the US & Canada.  Some of them have been close friends that we love dearly.  I can honestly say that today's farm family is more like an extended branch of our own family.  My husband has grown up with this family, their parents are friends, they went to the same church, same schools, have traveled together, stood beside each other as they said their wedding vows.  And now the 2nd generation is sharing in the same memories.  Honestly I think I had to get "approved" by both the Nance's & the Covington's before the farmer asked me to marry him.  

Both farms are in the dairy business and neither started out as dairy farmers.  Between the 2 farms they have more cows in the town limits of McConnells than there are people...and neither would have it any other way.  So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy learning about this amazing farm family!

1. Who are you and where are you located?



We are Bill & Peggy Covington of McConnells, SC. 


We have 3 grown children Carrie (2nd from Left), Abbey (Far Right), & Craig.


2. How did your farm begin? 
Our farm began years ago when I (Bill) was still working full time at a local university.  I would do the farm work before and after my full time job and any days I had off.  In 1995 we began full time dairy farming.  

3. What does your farm produce?
Our farm is mainly a dairy farm.  Our purpose is to provide the milk that ends up on the grocery store shelf.  In addition we keep some beef cows and produce feed and hay for our cattle.  
   
4. What is the busiest time of year for your farm?
The busiest time of the year for us is in the Spring/Summer when we are growing and harvesting hay and feed for the cattle.

5. How do younger generations help on the farm?
When the kids were growing up each had a job on the farm.  Our 2 daugthers have gotten married and work in the education field.  My son is now a partner and helps on day to day operations of the farm.  


Our grandkids enjoy the farm by showing dairy cattle and feeding baby calves when they are here.

6. With all there is to do on a farm, are you involved off the farm?
I serve as a Town Councilman for Town of McConnells and on the board of directors for Farm Bureau.  My wife is also active off farm filling many roles, one of them being a Sunday School teacher.  

7. What's your favorite activity to do together as a family on the farm?
Family time is usually enjoying a meal together during a break.

8. Why is family important to your farm?
Everyone in our family has had to "pull their weight" over the years.  Our family has survived on the farm.  It has paid for college tuition and more.  The farm has allowed us to pass on values to younger generations.  It's hard to separate our family from the farm as its an essential part of our life.  

9. What's one thing you want non-farm families to know?
That food comes from a farm, not the grocery store!  Farming is a 24/7 job and very hard work, but rewarding!

Thanks for joining us for today's feature farm family.  We have been truly blessed by their friendship over the years.  I love that our farm kids get to continue this fellowship!  

Until we meet again, may God bless you and keep you!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What She Read Wednesday: The Spirit Filled Life By Charles Stanley

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"...I realized that I had made the Spirit-filled life much more complicated that it really is.  Like every other aspect of the Christian life, the Spirit-filled life is a life of faith.  I had been approaching it as if it were a formula.  But the Spirit-filled life is not a formula; it is a relationship, a relationship with a person- the Holy Spirit." Charles Stanley, The Spirit-Filled Life.

I grew up in church and heard folks talked about the Holy Spirit but honestly I never quite knew what they were talking about.  I mean really the whole 3 in 1 thing really threw me off.  I understood God and Jesus but the Holy Spirit confused me.  I didn't know what that was suppose to be like.  I couldn't seem to find anyone that had a concrete answer to my dilemma.  

As I have began to dig deeper into my walk with the Lord I felt I was missing a vital part of it.  I was fortunate to be sent the book above by BookLook to review for my honest opinion.  It could not have came at a better time.  

Book Description 

A wise, measured, and deeply passionate invitation to a Spirit-filled life
Are you trying your best to be a good Christian but still feel something’s missing? Do the peace and joy you long for seem to elude you? Does following Christ sometimes feel like a lot of work—or like it’s just not working very well?
Much has been written and spoken—and argued!—about the Holy Spirit and what it means to be filled with the Spirit. Charles Stanley cuts through the confusion and introduces you to a living Person as real and active as God the Father and Christ the Son. Through personal stories, biblical exploration, and insightful explanation, he will help you discover:
  • who the Spirit is—and how to develop a relationship with Him
  • who the Spirit isn’t—and how to avoid damaging misconceptions
  • how being “filled” with the Spirit actually works
  • what the Bible really teaches about spiritual “signs” such as speaking in tongues
  • how the Spirit can increase your capacity for faith, hope, love, and personal transformation
  • what it means to “hear” the Spirit’s voice
  • how to make the most of your unique spiritual gifting to build up Christ’s body
  • what happens when the Spirit’s power is unleashed in your workplace, your family life, your friendships, and every other area of your life
In The Spirit-Filled Life Charles Stanley reveals how to recognize and begin to live with the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit.
My Take
I truly enjoyed this book and will reread it several times as there is so much to take in.  Dr. Stanley has used strong scripture references to help you dig deeper yourself into understanding the Holy Spirit in your life.  He has helped me to learn as a believer I am already filled with the Holy Spirit...he has permanent resident in my heart...but how much am I willing to let him control is the question.  Thankfully he doesn't just leave you with one answer and expect you to figure out the rest.  Dr. Stanley continues to take this journey with you, so that you too can recognized and live with the guiding of the Holy Spirit.  I highly recommend this book for Christians no matter where in your walk you may be.  This would also make a great gift!!  

Until we meet again may God bless you and keep you!

Caci

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Farming & Family: The Fitzpatrick's

Welcome to day 28 of 31....actually we are a few days behind...but you get the idea.  Today's farm family hails from my home state of Georgia.  Both are big fans of the Dawgs but better yet I have know both of these folks since high school...OK maybe before then....they were a  bit younger than I am.  I have been able to watch each of them grow up and become amazing leaders in the community. 

Honestly I remember Regina back when she was just getting her feet wet in one of the greatest youth organizations.  She was just as sweet then as she is now.  And let's not forget Raymond...recently found a picture of him at a FFA conference (Greenhand Jamboree, I think) from when I was a SO.   This couple together is a powerhouse for agriculture with their feet and faith planted firmly in the Lord.  I am blessed to call them friends!

Oh some of you FFA buffs might remember Regina...she use to wear this a LOT 

as a National FFA Officer back in the day!  Your welcome Regina :) 

Let's learn more about their farm and family :) 

1. Who are you and where are you located?
We are Genesis 1:24 Boer Goats and we are located near the GA/SC line in Lavonia, GA. 




2. How did your farm begin? 
We began back in 2010 with 4 boer goats. That has now transformed into a whole lot more! We run quality breeding does and have recently added 3 donor does to the program. We have met many people who have helped us along the way. The friendships are priceless! 


3. What does your farm produce?
We produce meat goats that are Boer influenced. They are suitable for show goats for 4-H and FFA projects, but are also high quality producers of goat meat. We like to focus on quality instead of quantity and only like to produce and sell things for students to show that we would be proud to show or keep ourselves. 
   
4. What is the busiest time of year for your farm?
We have several busy seasons. Our busiest season is our kidding season. That can start Mid January until the first of March. When kidding season begins, we have to watch our does and make sure they are accepting babies and all is well. If a doe rejects a kid, we have to either bottle feed it or graft it on to another doe within 24 hours. Does can have anywhere from single births to quadruplets. So, do the math, it can be pretty busy! Another busy season is fall breeding season and show season.  We have recently started utilizing embryo transfer in our program to maximize our genetics. 


5. How do younger generations help on the farm?
Our only younger generation help is our 4 year old Border Collie, "Tater." She's the hardest working family member of us all! 

6. With all there is to do on a farm, are you involved off the farm?
Yes, we both work jobs that keep us busy during the day, so we can farm in the evenings. 

7. What's your favorite activity to do together as a family on the farm?
I would say our favorite farm activity is really feeding and doe checking in the evenings. We will walk pastures and check goats while catching up on each other's day. .

8. Why is family important to your farm?
Family is what our farm was built on. It was a way to relax and enjoy each others company, while combining our interest and love for agriculture and God's land. 

9. What's one thing you want non-farm families to know?
I think all non farm families should know that no matter how big or small, our farms matter. We are producers and stewards of the land. We farm so you can eat and enjoy things. We don't do it because we have to, we do it because we want to. Farm families are some of the kindest and gentlest people you will meet. 

10. Do you have a blog, a farm Facebook page, twitter, etc where people can find out more about you and your farm?  
We currently don't have official farm social media pages, but we are always welcome to receive your emails at genesis124goats@gmail.com. We will hold a sale this spring with some friends, and we hope to see you there!  

Thanks to Regina & Raymond for sharing about their farm & family today.  I hope you caught a glimpse of farm life many might miss.  This young farm couple is working hard to help educate not only the next generation but others as well about the importance of agriculture.  If you have questions or comments from them please feel free to leave them in the comments section below or email them.  

Until we meet again may God bless you and keep you!

Caci  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What She Read Wednesday: NKJV Study Bible


I am a nerd...especially when it comes to studying God's word.  I NEED to dig deeper.  I NEED to understand the context and be able to cross reference.  For that reason a good study Bible is worth it’s weight in gold.  I am an ESV girl but grew up with the NKJV.  So when given a chance to review the new NKJV Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson I jumped on it.  

I have been using this Bible alongside my ESV study Bible for comparison.  Let's just say I don't think you can go wrong with either!



Overall I really like this Bible and will continue to use it in my Bible study.  I love the typesetting in this new Study Bible.  It's crisp and clear...very easy to read.  The graphics are amazing and many of them are in full color!!  These options have truly help to encourage me to open the pages and explore more of God's word.  


 Each chapter has a very informative introduction, timeline and an overview 2-3 pages.  I love this!  It helps to set the tone for the chapter and give me a clear idea of the events that are unfolding and what was going on during that timeframe.  


The study notes at the bottom of each page are very easy to understand and a great help in digging deeper into God’s word! 

It’s also very substantial in your hands.  In addition to all the great resources in the Bible itself there are additional ones available for download online!  .

Overall I am very happy with this addition to my Bible collection!

**I was given this Bible for free in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

Until we meet again may God bless you and keep you!

Caci 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Farming & Family: The Wilson's

Today's family is a very special family to my family.  They live just down the road from us...literally it's maybe 5 miles!  Not to mention they are some of the sweetest, most genuine folks I know....and they grow some awesome produce!!  I can't wait for you to learn a little more about them...and if you are ever in the neighborhood stop by and visit with them!


1. Who are you and where are you located?

I am JEB Wilson.  My wife Jane and I are in our early thirties and we have one son Mac who recently turned five years old.  Our farm is named Cotton Hills Farm and is located in upstate SC in the counties of Chester and York Counties.  Jane helps with payroll and other farm tasks but also works in administration at a local Christian school.



2. How did your farm begin? 

My great-great grandfather and grandmother began working the original 200 acre farm in 1880 as it was given to them as a wedding gift by my great-great grandmother’s father.  They grew cotton and other row-crops. The farm has been passed down through the generations.

3. What does your farm produce?

My brother and father also farm along with me.  My father focuses on cotton production while my brother and I focus on growing and selling produce. The produce crops include strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupes, tomatoes, peaches, and pumpkins.  We all work together as needed.  We make ½ bushel peach baskets in the winter time to keep our vegetable labor employed.  We sell these baskets to other farmers. I manage two retail produce stores in addition to our wholesale produce business.  During the fall months we open our farm up to the public and do farm tours. We try to educate the public about the importance of agriculture and give them a chance to see what we do on a daily basis.
   
4. What is the busiest time of year for your farm?

July is a very busy month for us as the peaches and all other vegetables are at peak production.  September and October are our busiest months though as we are harvesting pumpkins, giving farm tours and are picking cotton.

5. How do younger generations help on the farm?
Mac and my two young nephews, Thomas and Tucker enjoy riding the harvesting equipment with my brother and me.  Mac is also learning to do chores such as feed the few animals that we keep during tour season.  I think it is very important to involve children from a young age so that they learn a love of farming.

6. With all there is to do on a farm, are you involved off the farm?
I am involved with the SC Farm Bureau Federation on the county and state level.  I also participate in the Young Farmer and Agribusiness Association.  My family also attends our local church where my wife and I serve as treasurer.

7. What's your favorite activity to do together as a family on the farm?
We enjoy riding the cotton picker together.  We also enjoy getting to have other families tour our farm and talk with them about farming and agriculture.

8. Why is family important to your farm?
Family is very important to our farm as it is a mulit-generational business.  For the farm to survive the next generation has to be taught a love for farming and taught how to be successful as a farmer.  


9. What's one thing you want non-farm families to know?
I want non-farm families to know that we are good stewards of the land and resources.  We try very hard to take good care of the land that we are entrusted with.


10. Do you have a blog, a farm Facebook page, twitter, etc where people can find out more about you and your farm?  
We maintain a website at cottonhillsfarm.com and we can also be found on Facebook by searching for Cotton Hills Farm

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Farming & Family: The Olthoff's

Today's Farming & Family feature hails from Iowa. 


 I sent Katie a list of questions and in her easy going style she answered them just as if we were sharing a cup of coffee while our 4 boys played...except there were no wrestling matches, broken dishes, or yelling...so maybe the boys where hanging out with their daddies :)  


My husband is a 3rd generation turkey farmer, but our farm officially began 5 years ago, as a result of increased demand for turkey because of Subway's $5 Footlongs!  It was kind of a unique situation that I have written about extensively on my blog.  Another turkey farmer in our area wanted to expand and offered to help us build new barns as partners with him.  We took him up on the amazing opportunity and never looked back.


We raise more than 100,000 turkeys every year.  Although many people assume that our turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving, we grow turkeys year round for further processing (lunchmeat, ground turkey, sausage, etc.)  So our farm is busy every single day.  We do not have a slow season.

We have two boys, ages 3 and 6, and they love to help on the farm.  When we get a new flock of turkeys, we all unload them together, and the boys often help move turkeys from one barn to another.  When we're not working on the farm, we love playing outside (especially soccer and t-ball), family movie nights, and building legos together.

I work part time for the Iowa Turkey Federation, and have my own small home decor business, called The HomeShed. Between those two things, renovating a farmhouse, and keeping up with my blog, I always seem to be on the go.  Luckily, my parents and in-laws both live nearby, and we take advantage of our "village" for raising our boys and getting things done on the farm.

Antibiotic use is a hot topic right now, and I've written about it a lot on my blog.  But more than anything else, I want non-farm families to know how dedicated farmers are to animal welfare and food safety.  Because I did not grow up on a farm, I had some pre-conceived notions of farming when we started out, but many of them were just plain wrong.  I'd like to encourage people to ask farmers directly about how food is raised, and I am happy to answer any questions about my turkey farm.

You can reach me on my blog: www.onthebanksofsquawcreek.com
or...
@katieolthoff on twitter

Thanks Katie for sharing about your farm and family.  If you have questions for Katie please feel free to visit her links above or leave them in the comments section.  

Until we meet again may God bless you and keep you!

Caci

Monday, October 20, 2014

Farming & Family: The Ruskamp's

Today's family is one I have had the pleasure to meet and chat with personally.  Joan is a plethora of information and is passionate about sharing her farm story.  Thanks Joan for being an inspiration to farm women everywhere!


1. Who are you and where are you located?

My name is Joan Ruskamp.  I’ve been married to my husband, Steve, for 33 years.  We live in northeast Nebraska on a farm west of Dodge.



2. How did your farm begin? 
Our farm began in the late 1800’s.  It was sold to Steve’s great-grandfather on February 27, 1914. At some point the farm was given to Steve’s grandfather, Joseph Ruskamp, possibly as a wedding gift.  Joseph and Anna raised 14 children in a house we started our family of five children in. Two of those children, Steve’s uncles, remained on the farm as bachelors.  When one uncle died and the other retired the farmhouse was empty.  We were approached by Steve’s uncle about living on the farm.   Steve knew the farm well growing up as they did many jobs together in the family.  The house was in pretty rough shape but we thought it was a beautiful farm with much potential so that is how we ended up living here.  We had a saying about the house and barns “The house was built in a day, the barns were built to stay”.   Many relatives were impressed with how well we were able to make the house a home.   Steve’s grandfather was a cattle feeder, a farmer and an inventor.   We were able to utilize many features already in place as we started feeding cattle.   While the farm looks different today we are pleased to say that the extended family has been pleased with the improvements. 

3. What does your farm produce?
Our farm produces corn, soybeans, alfalfa and cattle.  The largest portion of our time is spent with our cattle.  We share equipment and time with another farmer for our crops because we don’t have enough land to justify the expense of owning the equipment ourselves.   The feedlot started out with a few hundred head in the 1980’s and grew to the current capacity of 4,000 head.  
   
4. What is the busiest time of year for your farm?
Caring for livestock keeps us busy all year round.  The busiest times tend to be during harvest and planting, fall and spring, when we are fitting in the extra jobs related to our crops.   We use all of our corn and alfalfa for the cattle and sell our soybeans.   In the fall we also receive larger numbers of calves.  New cattle take more intensive care for feeding, vaccinating and monitoring for sickness.

5. How do younger generations help on the farm?
When our children were growing up they helped in any way they could.  We planted hundreds of trees that needed watering and mowing.  All five of our children were in the 4-H program and learned how to care for cattle through the bucket calf program.  The kids were also very good at answering the phone and giving directions to our farm or taking detailed messages.  The two boys became the most active on our farm by feeding cattle and helping with crop work.  Our five children are all grown now with one still in college.  So far we do not have a son or daughter planning to come back to the farm.  Our granddaughter loves the cattle and spending time on the farm so we are hopeful and accepting of whatever happens.

6. With all there is to do on a farm, are you involved off the farm?
My full-time job now is the farm.  My involvement with care of the cattle increased as the children started school.  Many times I did the bookwork late at night when everyone was in bed!  I have a love for landscaping so besides the daily routine we have with our feedlot work I also spend time planting flowers, mowing and cleaning to create a place that is enjoyable to look at.   My off the farm activities include volunteering as an EMT, 4-H leader, parish catechist and miscellaneous organizational activity.  One of my favorite volunteer activities has been my role on a committee for an annual conference for women in agriculture.  Many of us on the committee have become great friends through our work together and we get to put together a day to support other women in agriculture.

7. What's your favorite activity to do together as a family on the farm?
Our activities as a family usually revolve around the weather.  In the summer we have been able to spend time fishing and swimming in a pond near our house that was designed just for that purpose.  We have an eating area to eat around or just build a bonfire and sit around.  That has been a highlight for our family, friends and extended family visitors. 


8. Why is family important to your farm?
A family knows the value of working together for the good of the whole.   My father-in-law has been involved in doing odd jobs for us because he wants to help out.  On a farm there are all sorts of jobs that aren’t always fun to do but they must be done.  With employees we have found a lack of the same spirit of teamwork and willingness to do all that is needed.  When our children were working with us they learned the value of long hours, the lack of control we have over weather and finding solutions to problems.  While we would love to have any of them working with us we are happy for them in the choices they have made and I believe the skills they learned growing up on a farm greatly influenced their successes.

9. What's one thing you want non-farm families to know?
Seek first to understand.  I did not grow up on a farm so I learned a lot about what goes on by living it day after day.  As a cattle feeder I have heard many concerns that are based on fear instead of fact leading to misunderstandings about how we produce food.  I am a mom and I did the best I could to raise strong, healthy, smart, active children.  I believe most moms strive to do the same and today there are more sources of information trying to influence what a mom should or shouldn’t do.  Find women in agriculture that have something in common with you, like being a mom, and ask questions about how we raise your food.  In the United States we are surrounded by plenty of food and plenty of food choices.  I would like to keep it that way and it will take continued new technologies to do that.  Our farm started with horses pulling the implements, then in the 1930’s this farm had small tractors and electricity.  With the increase in technology we are able to produce more food using less land and water while increasing the fertility of the soil for the next crop.  

10. Do you have a blog, a farm Facebook page, twitter, etc where people can find out more about you and your farm?  
We have a website about our farm  www.jsfeedlot.net    My blog is www.dustinmycoffee.blogspot.com   
 Thanks again to Joan for sharing about her family's farm with us!  If you would like to know more about her farm please visit the links above or leave questions for Joan in the the comments!

Until we meet again...may God bless you and keep you!

Caci

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Farming & Family: The Little's

Welcome to day 19 of Farming & Family!  I can't believe we have made it this far!  I am truly amazed and thankful for all the farm & ranch families that have stepped up to make this idea a reality!  

Today's family is literally an hour north of our house.  How did we "meet" through a Facebook group of farm wives!  It's amazing how one program can connect people from all over the world and right in your back yard!  


1. Who are you and where are you located?


Brett, Jessica and our son, Luke Little.

We are Little Family Farm!
We are located in Denver, North Carolina.

2. How did your farm begin? 
Brett graduated NC State with a degree in livestock management and with some family land and his parents help, Brett got his first two chickens houses built and placed his first flock in June 2006. In 2009 Brett added 2 more houses making a total of 4 poultry houses.

I met Brett later that year (09) and fell in love with him and his farm! While I had no farm experience I loved learning, watching and riding along when I could!

3. What does your farm produce?

In one year we typically place 5 flocks in each house. So that’s a little over 500,000 chickens per year. We also have a small cow/ calf operation, 30 head. Which is my favorite on the farm. I prefer cows to chickens, but the chickens allow us to have cattle! Brett had 4 cows to his name when we met, so I have supported adding cattle to the farm, as they are my favorite!
   
4. What is the busiest time of year for your farm?
Spring, making hay and fertilizing fields, and calving in early spring. 

5. How do younger generations help on the farm?
As of right now we are the youngest generation on the farm. As our family grows we hope to incorporate them into farm life. 


6. With all there is to do on a farm, are you involved off the farm?

Brett also works for another farmer that is currently in the process of building a dairy, to start milking in December. His operation also includes corn, wheat and soybeans.

My husband works so hard so I can stay at home with our son.

7. What's your favorite activity to do together as a family on the farm?
We love going to check cows as a family! Our son, Luke, loves the cows! 

 But, I love working with them! Sale days are my favorite because we have to work the cows together, and there is just something about getting them up and working them through the panels and finally getting the ones you want on the trailer. We load up and head to the sale. It’s a special time to me, because its just me and my farmer and we are doing what we love, together. It is something simple, that not a lot of people could understand, unless you work cattle too.
8. Why is family important to your farm?

Brett’s family has made his dream of farming come true. Brett’s Grandfather (not pictured), Parents and Brother all work very hard to help in anyway they can. Whether its getting their hands dirty in the chicken houses or handling the books everything they do help make our Little Family Farm a reality and we are very thankful for them.

9. What's one thing you want non-farm families to know?
Many people have this idea about industrial farms that just isn’t correct. Although we produce high numbers of poultry we are still very much a family farm that cares about our animals! 

10. Do you have a blog, a farm Facebook page, twitter, etc where people can find out more about you and your farm?  
Not yet :(