Saturday, August 30, 2008

Work day at the Farm

If you would like to join us Saturday (yes today), it's another workday at the farm. This is from Jenna:

Hello Friends,

We are gearing up for another farm work day this Saturday and you are welcome to join us! For those who are willing and able to come out, we will continue the deconstruction and cleanup of the house for most of the day on Saturday. The crew did an amazing job last weekend and we are almost completely finished removing wallpaper from the living room walls. We will be working to get the last of the wallpaper up, plaster the cracks, and prep the walls for finishing. Thanks to Emily's heroic work removing the moldy closet, the front bedroom is well on its way. We hope to pull carpet out of that room this weekend. The kitchen and back bedroom are ready to have the walls cleaned and primed so we can begin painting soon. We'll also work on getting the basement completely emptied so it can really dry out. We are encouraged by how much was accomplished last weekend and are excited by the prospect of what we can finish tomorrow.

Please feel free to call if you have questions and we hope to see you there!

Grace and Peace,

Brian and Jenna

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


This farm thing has become a community project and we are having lots of fun out at there most weekends! So this is your invitation to be a part of things!

Farm Camp continues this weekend. Most will be arriving on Friday night to pitch a tent. We have extra tents (big ones) so if you want to use what we have, please come out and stay, or feel free to just stop out for an afternoon or evening. There's a community kitchen set up, always a fire going and lots of food to share. There is a indoor bathroom, but no shower (unless you want to use Rich's outdoor shower station).

Friday night we are planning to spend the evening praying together and looking to God for direction on these projects. Saturday will be the big work day. Bring a set of work clothes, masks, vinegar and any thing else you might find helpful for these projects. There is a variety of projects ranging from cleaning up brush outside the house to riping walls out and peeling wallpaper. Saturday evening will be a time of celebration, so if you have music or something fun to share, please bring it! Sunday we will most likely rest and enjoy being outdoors although your always welcome to come work whenever you feel so inspired.

If you have resources for remodeling laying around your house such as: extra wood, drywall, hardware, linoleum, countertop, tile, ect...please email us to let us know what you have or if you have a special skill you'd like to share. Brian and Jenna are trying to reclaim and reuse materials in the house to save money. This is a project with a very limited budget. We are also desperately in need of an electrician and a plumber.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Another weekend at the Farm

We have been having a great time out at the farm . We spent another wonderful weekend out there, this time in our new camper! It is nice to have our own little home out there. It's a '76 Holiday Rambler, very vintage. It's in really great shape and so comfy.

My friend Shari took this pic and everyone keeps teasing about my silly dreadies stickin out. She came up to visit from Birch Run and it was wonderful to see her and hang out around the campfire.

In case you haven't met them, this is Brian and Jenna, the Farmers! We are so excited to see them beginning to live out their calling!

Here are a few pics of the house, which I am excited to share is not going to be buldozed! They had a inspection last week and the inspector said that it is really in decent shape and the mold is not a problem. He said that once they get all the stockpiled old firewood out of the basement that the mold would be taken care of and there is no black mold present. There is some water damage to be repaired but nothing too bad and it's not wet anymore.

Here is the dining room. The fan is an origonal ingenius design of the previous resident that flip around into the doorway and rotates to either draw the heat in from the woodstove or push it out. There is alot of demolition that needs to happen before anything else. If you like that sort of thing, let us know.

This is the living room, if you like peeling wallpaper, then this is the room for you! Bring some vinegar and some scrapers.

Here is an example of some of the water damage. Anyone gifted with drywall skills?

Oh and bring your kids , we'll put them to work too! This visitor got to climb up on the roof to help trim trees and shovel leaves off the roof.

Speaking of kids, here's some pics of our crazy ones:

Jaizek wanted his long hair out of his face, so Emily gave him this stylish do. It was the envy of all the kids, so Emily ended up spending lots of time as their beautician. Then we lined them all up for a good ol' Kodak moment. Aren't they such a cute bunch?

They are learning alot out at the farm too. It's a never ending biology class. We have seen bugs like I have never encountered before. This praying mantis was hangin' out on some of the farm equipment. We also found a monarch catapillar and some other bugs that Brian is still trying to identify.

The farm is really feeling like home and I always feel a little sad when we head back to the city. Lily asks each time we drive out, "Mommy, are we still in the country?" and I reply "No honey, we are going back to the city."

We will be out again this weekend so feel free to join us anytime. We have extra tents! Email me if you would like directions ahead of time, or call me this weekend. Bring your work boots!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

First Day of Kindergarden!

Lily started school today! She is attending Coit Creative Arts Academy which is a theme school in the Grand Rapids Public district. The curriculum is based around the Arts. She will have art class twice a week and be a part of school theater performances. Starting in 1st grade all students are in choir too. They are on the Alternative schedule and she goes from 9-4pm Monday thru Friday! It is going to be an adjustment for her, but I think it'll be fairly easy for me. I really like her teacher, Mrs. Sleighter. She has been teaching 18 years and has 8 children of her own, so I think she is experienced enough to handle Lily!

Lily was very excited about her new Princess backpack. I tried to talk her into a plain blue one, but that didn't fly. She also got a new hello Kitty alarm clock. I set it for 7:45am, but she was up, dressed and came into my room to wake me with her backpack on by 7:15am!

Rosie was very excited to be a part of getting Lily to school. She cried big tears when we left saying, "I am going to miss Lily!" Rosie will start school right after Labor Day and that will be very good for her. She is going to be in her friend Solomon's class at Grand Rapids Montessori.

Lily gets her very own locker. She is so good at recognizing her name that she just ran straight up to it and put her backpack in.

I realized on Tuesday that both the girl's hair was way to long and shaggy, thank God Aunt Heidi was available for a last minute hair cut! I would've hated to send Lily to school with her hair hanging in her face like it has been all summer.

This is Lily and her cousin Brieanne, who will also start Kindergarden this year. Aren't they cute with thier matching missing bottom teeth?

So now that Lily is at school all day, I have a little more free time, check out what I am up to! Oh, and be sure to read on to the next post to see what is going on out at the farm!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Farm Camp

We spent all weekend out at the farm helping Brian and Jenna set up camp. They are trying to figure out whether or not the house that is on the property is worth fixing up, and if not then what they should do. It is a very beautiful place and it was so wonderful to be out there in the fresh air! The light was beautiful at at sunset and the air smells so amazing.

We were able to explore the barn a little. It is filled with amazing treasures that belonged to the previous owner, a man who lived there into his 90's. It should make a fine home for all the animals soon.

Brian has an old tractor from a relative to use. I can't wait to see it in action!

Our good friend Emily came out, as you can see she is wonderful with our kids and they love her! She is a talented gardener and is also learning alot about raising chickens and she just lost her full time job so we are all hoping she will take up the farm life with us! Who needs a job?!

The boys are such boys out there! It was so fun to watch sticks become swords as they conquered the tall grass!

One of the many treasures we have discovered and put to good use is this old grind stone. Rich fixed the bar on one side that was missing and sharpened everything he could find.

Daisy took a nice nap as I walked. Brian took us on a tour of the property and shared some of his vision for the farming.
So far the only animals on the farm are these three chickens. They seem to be enjoying thier new home and they are laying some beautiful eggs that the Jenna and Brian have been enjoying for breakfast. This weekend they will be joined by three more chickens who've been cooped up in Amy's backyard.

The most wonderful thing about the whole weekend was all the people who came out to eat and camp and show Brian and Jenna their support. Some friends of ours brought their puppies that they train for Paws with a Cause. Lily and the rest of the kids were more than happy to help with their socialization and increase their tolerance of unpredictable little kids! I don't know about the dogs, but the kids were in Heaven!

This is truly a community endeavor and I feel so blessed to have such a beautiful community of friends to share this experience with. Stacie and Jenna and I have known each other since shortly before we had our first children. What a bonding experience to go thru pregnancy, birth, and raising children together, especially three times!

We are planning on spending the whole weekend out there again this coming weekend. Hopefully in our new camper!? Stay tuned for further adventures on the farm...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Farm

Our dear friends Brian and Jenna have been farming for the past few years on other peoples property while living in the city. (which is very challenging to say the least, as you can imagine) We have been praying with them for an opportunity to live and farm in the same place. God has them on an incredible journey. Recently they were offered a house to live in on 35 acres that they can farm however they see fit, all free. It is an answer to prayer and God's provision. Lately Rich and I have been spending lots of time praying together and God has, in amazing ways, been showing us that we are a part of this farm. We have commited to our friends that we are going to help them get the farm going.

So the other night we went out to the land for our first visit with Amy, her mom Wendy, and all the girls. They were so excited and took off thru the super tall grass to explore around the barn. Within seconds, they were swallowed up and we couldn't even see them!

Here is the barn. I am so excited about all the animals that will live here. I am looking forward to farm fresh eggs! Lily and Rosie are dreaming about bunnies and Rich wants a goat. We should probably talk to Brian and Jenna about their plans!

Look at that farm girl! Lily is so beautiful. I know I am her mom, but she is the most photogenic kid I know.

Don't we look like a couple of farmers!!! The new American Gothic!

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Crafty Day

Of all of my posessions, this is one of my most cherished! It was nice to spend the day putting it to good use! The girls and I worked on sewing the little dolls we picked up from church. They are going to be distributed to orphans in Ethiopia.

I sewed their faces on and sewed their bodies together and then the girls stuffed them with stuffing.

Daisy had fun playing with the stuffing!

Lily had a beautiful idea (I am sure it was inspired by build a bear) to make little hearts to put in the dollies. We cut them out of felt and put one in each doll.

We said a prayer over them that they would bless the little girls who receive them and that they would know that Jesus loves them .

We gave them lots of hugs too!