Our Story (How in the world did we become farmers??)

Our Farming Journey: How’d We Get Here?

IMG_0136.JPG

How did we decide we wanted to be farmers when we grew up? Did we inherit land? Did our parents farm? No and no. So how did two landless, first generationers decide to farm? It’s a somewhat convoluted story, but to give you an idea of who we are, what we do, and what we hope to accomplish with our “bit of earth”, please allow me to tell you our story.

Circa 2008

Circa 2008

I could go back a long way. Neither set of parents were farmers, but my grandmother grew up on a cotton farm. Cotton was the ‘cash’ crop, but the family raised everything that they ate, what we would now call homesteaders. Mimi always cooked big, delicious, southern meals out of her garden bounty. And I learned from her example that food was a way to minister kindness and love into the soul of another.

Peter didn't grow up on a farm but has always been good with animals, plants and machines.  He remembers visiting the Amish farms when he was young and marveling at their simplicity and community support.  When he was in highschool he worked on his uncle’s horse farm as well as a neighboring hay, cattle and sod farm during his summers.  He learned more on that farm than he probably did in high school and has been farming on and off ever since.  

Peter and I married soon after we graduated from college, about 10 years ago. He studied International Studies, business management and Spanish, and I studied Child and Family Development. We were offered positions with the non-profit that I interned with for a summer prior to graduation. This non-profit was in Ooty, India. Our job was to establish the infrastructure of a horse therapy program for victims of human trafficking. In many ways, this was my dream job. I had a fire in my bones to help those affected by this horrific trade, and also a lifetime love for horses. We worked on pasture establishment, fencing, pony training and care, as well as actual horse therapy sessions. A year into this job, my mother’s Multiple Sclerosis started to get worse, so we both believed we should be close to home to help out my family.

India 2010

India 2010

We kind of stumbled into farming full time. For some reason upon arrival back to the states, I had this burning desire to get some…. dairy goats. I didn’t really understand it, I just wanted to be around these silly animals. We started working part time on an organic homestead with goats. While working there, I didn’t have any children and had lots of free time to read. I was skimming a TIME magazine article when I read about this crazy farmer named Joel Salatin. This man was farming in Virginia using holistic, regenerative methods to raise animals, produce excellent food, and heal the earth. I was blown away! I thought all egg laying chickens were raised in confinement. I thought cattle were only finished on feedlots. Could agriculture really be practiced in such a way that benefits everyone (people, animals, plants, soil life, the environment, etc?) You mean you could farm like this and make a living?!

DSCF6874.JPG

So we began milking goats, then moved on to milking sheep and managing egg layers for Many Fold Farm, and after three years there, we started our own farm, Woodsong. Farming, as you guessed it, is really hard work. Some recent statistics from the USDA tell that 80% of farms go out of business after their second year. And only 2% survive to the 5th year. Those are some pretty grim statistics. And I’ll be honest, sometimes it feels like a whole lot of work for not many rewards (monetarily speaking). But we get to feel the therapeutic effects of our hands in the dirt. We get to frolic with the chickens, cows, and pigs, and on our good days, revel in their antics and charm. We get to raise our children wild and free, and teach them to value hard work. I get to teach them in my farmschool homeschool. But also, I get to share this magical place we call our home and farm with you.

DSCF3965.jpg

So this is my hope and dream for our farm: That just like the children in India, you would find in nature a place that you belong, a place filled with beauty and grace and goodness. We hope to share that in every bite of good food that you put in your mouth. And if you pick up your products from our farm stand (open every Thursday from 9am-8pm), I hope you get a chance to see with your own eyes where your food comes from. Come pet a baby calf, increase your athletic prowess by trying to catch a chicken, ponder quiet ruminations while lounging with our cows. Listen to the frogs singing in the pond, come pick your own flower bouquet (U-pick garden open mid-July).

IMG_4063.JPG

I pray the natural beauty of the farm is an antidote to the chaotic, hurried pace of our modern life. I pray the beauty is a balm. I pray the food is healing. I pray that in these creatures, in this place, you see the goodness of God.

A big move, a baby on the way, pork, and a farm store

Hello dear farm friends! It's been a while since we've given you an update so I though I would fill you in on the latest.

IMG_1990.JPG

If it seems like we have fallen off the end of the planet, that's because we have been in the middle of moving our family and farm for the past few months.  We moved into a well worn, old pre-civil war farmhouse so that we could live where we farm. And we love it! It has been a long and exhausting process, but the new land and home will make everything we do more efficient and enjoyable. Living where we farm means no more commuting twice a day just to milk the cows! We are so thankful for this resettling. 

I (Kristin) am also very pregnant and expect a baby literally any day now. I am 39 weeks along. We expect another strapping and adorable farmer boy.

Baby bump and Beulah the cow

Baby bump and Beulah the cow

On product news, we have pasture/forest raised pork now available. If you are interested in our delicious, humanly raised pork, you can purchase at Morningside Farmer's Market in Atlanta on Saturday mornings from 8am-11:30, or at our farm store on Thursdays.

IMG_1878.JPG

And yes, we now have a farm store! Rustic though it may be, it will be open on Thursdays from 9am-8pm. The store will be manned by farmer Pete or myself and we accept cash, check, or credit card for purchases. If you are interested in this option, simply place your order via email at info@woodsongfarm.net or text at 678-787-5181 no later than Wednesday evening. This way we can ensure we have plenty of product for you and can reserve your order.  You will find the list of our current products and prices here.

It's been a joy serving you and getting to know you, our dear customer. Thanks so much for supporting your local farmers. We love what we do. Let's keep on doing it!

 

 

Grace...harvesting that which I did not sow

The longer I farm, the more I learn that farming has much more to offer us than good food. There are so many lessons to be found in the earth. It's comes with challenges and opportunities. Many rewards and pains. Thorns and roses. Slugs and Dahlias.

My first dahlia bloom this season. Isn't she lovely!

My first dahlia bloom this season. Isn't she lovely!

The funny thing about this season so far is that despite our hard work and best efforts, our harvest with many enterprises has been less than desired. But something happened in the midst of this feeling of scarcity. I opened my eyes and looked around me.  The things that we planned and sowed have not done as planned. The seeds that we did not sow, the ones that self sowed from the previous year, the wild things, are abounding. Just look at the zinnias in my garden. I didn't plant a single seed.

Zinnias, zinnias, zinnias!!!

Zinnias, zinnias, zinnias!!!

Sometimes despite our best efforts things fail. We fail. Do we forgive ourselves when that happens?  Do we allow others the oppotunty to fail?  Do we extend grace?

 Today I'm looking around, and everywhere I look I see the grace of God. In a flower I didn't plant. A seed I didn't sow. Blackberries wild in the woods. Queen Anne's lace on the roadside. Invasive herbs that turn out to be the best filler in a bouquet.  And I'm so thankful. 

And of course this grace transcends so much more than flowers and dirt. It goes straight to our soul.  

What's in a name? Woodsong...

It's a tricky thing, coming up with a name for a farm, or any name  that you think might be around for a while. How did we choose Woodsong?

We live in a place surrounded by dark, dense forest. The forest has not been cared for. It was probably clear cut 10 years ago, and now it is populated by thick scrubby trees and no under story to speak of. Deer love it here, and coincidentally so do ticks.

It's not the loveliest wood to behold. It's wild, dark, and full of nasties, such as the aforementioned ticks. Sometimes the world feels like that to me. Dark, wild, full of nasties....

And then, if I wake up early enough and listen sometime in early Spring, I hear it. Amidst the wild. Piercing the darkness. Rising with the dawn, a song.

Despite the crazy world we live in, there is beauty here that would pierce your heart and break it, if you would but listen. Can you hear it?

It's the woodsong.

There is beauty and joy and goodness to be found. There are praises to be sung, first thing as the sun rises, and again as the sun sets, just like the wood thrush.

And for our farm,

May it be like the wood thrush. A song in the chaos, a light in the darkness, doing right when it's a whole lot easier to just do what's easy or what pays. To remember that there is so much goodness and beauty and joy to be found. To have thankful hearts. May we be a farm that produces this goodness and shares it with others.

May our bounty nourish your bodies. And may your hearts be blessed by the joy found in the wood thrush's song.