February 15, 2017

so, this happened...

If you've been following along here, you know that for many unforeseen reasons, we've been diverted from our path of farming. Since we started in 2008, we've been looking for a farm of our own. Along the way, we've lived and worked on several farms in Western PA with some of the region's most knowledgeable sustainable farmers. The nomadic life served us well for many years and the learning experiences were truly invaluable.

We haven't been "farmers" for a few years now. Life took us in another direction and I think that's why I stopped writing here. I was discouraged and began to wonder if we'd ever find our way back to it. I felt like the name of the blog was a farce. In the back of my mind, I never gave up hope, so I never considered changing the name.

Although an on-farm bakery has always been our dream, we made the tough decision 3 years ago to get the business started in our small town since we'd yet to find the right farm. We couldn't wait forever. It was a good decision. We chose a great location, the business has been successful, and we've gained a really nice customer base in the short time we've been open. (Almost a year!)

Being completely overwhelmed with our bakery responsibilities, finding a farm was the furthest thing from our minds. But the universe had plans, and somehow it all just came together. We moved to a small farm just outside of town right before Christmas in a "rent, with the option to buy" arrangement. Ironically, the owners used to buy turkeys from us ages ago. We will continue to operate the business out of the current location until we figure out the next step.

The best part of all of this, besides the obvious, is that I was able to share the news with Gerry just before we moved. He was beside himself with joy for us and it meant so much for him to see that we had finally, after all of our hard work and heartache, come full circle. Back to the farm. Back home. But really, it means much more than that, and I think he knew it. It means that I just might finally have an ending for my book.

Now, for the first order of business... baby chicks are coming at the end of the month! Only this time, instead of a few hundred, we're sticking with 15.

January 28, 2017

in loving memory...

*tap, tap, tap*...Is this thing on? Let's see if I remember how to do this.

It's been a long time and so much has happened, and I promise I'll get to that another day. But today, we lost someone who meant so much to us and our hearts are heavy. It only feels fitting to come here to talk.

I don't really know where to begin. Gerry was my mother's long-time friend and companion and simply put, he was instrumental in our entrance into farming. He and my mother believed in our crazy idea and encouraged us to leave England and give it shot. Nate and I often look back on the decision for him to quit his job and for us to move back home to America, to start a farm, as jumping off a cliff. It was one of the scariest decisions we've ever made, and we wouldn't have had the courage to do it without Gerry.

Once our farming adventure was underway, he encouraged me to begin documenting it. His advice, along with a nudge from an old school friend and blogger (Hi Jen!), is what fueled this blog. He worked hard to convince me that I was a good writer and encouraged me to keep going. That was a huge deal for me, a kid who struggled through school and was labeled as learning disabled.

Gerry was our biggest fan and shared our story with anyone who would listen. Perhaps even those who didn't really want to listen. He believed in us and had a deep love of sustainable farming. His enthusiasm was utterly contagious. When the going got tough for us on the farm, and did it ever, he was always there to help pick us up, dust us off, and encourage us to keep moving forward.

For years, he'd been telling me that I need to write a book about our story, and for years I put it off. So much had happened causing us to veer from our path, and I didn't feel like we had the ending to our story yet.

Gerry knew that the bakery had been part of our dream all along, and though he had since moved back to live close to his family, he was thrilled to hear that we'd made it happen and that it was a success. A few months ago, he tried to convince me to get started on the book. As always, his excitement and enthusiasm was hard to dismiss, so I tried. But honestly, I was having such a hard time balancing life and the bakery, that I just couldn't do it. He understood, but I could feel his disappointment.

I can say, without a doubt, that Nate and I would not have survived our farming journey - something that shaped us immensely, helped us to grow and learn so much about ourselves - without Gerry. We simply cannot think about that time in our lives with thinking of him. His love, support, inspiration, enthusiasm and encouragement meant everything to us, and will never be forgotten.

Gerry, I promise to push myself to keep writing here. I'm sorry my book didn't get written in your lifetime, but I promise to finish it someday. And when I do, you'd better believe it will be dedicated to you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything.

Gerry's favorite photo from those days, and the one he made me promise to use as the cover of my book.

October 19, 2015

catching up

It seems it's been awhile. Like, a really long while. What have we been up to?

Most importantly, this...

We're getting SO close to opening! It's been a long, hard road with lots of unexpected bumps along the way. Nate's been working his butt off doing all of the work himself and it's really starting to come together. The entire place had to be pretty much gutted. It's been so much work and I'm so proud of him. We hope to be able to open sometime next month. More pics soon.

Of course there's been a lot of this...

Nate's getting in his practice doing weekly baking and making our local friends very happy.

And then there's this kid...

Getting my soap and jewelry ready for Etsy...

And a little bit of time for fun...

There have been more happenings, but we lost a camera along the way.

And what would life be without a nice, big curve ball? We've been loving this house we moved into over Christmas and though we're always on the lookout for the perfect small farm to buy, we had decided to call this place home for now and focus our energy on the bakery. All of our money has gone into the bakery anyway. But life has other plans. A few weeks ago we got a call telling us that our landlord needs this house for a family member and that he's unable to renew our lease. What?! So let's add looking for, moving and settling into a new house (AGAIN) to our already full plates as we try to open this business.

Send us some love y'all.

April 7, 2015

happy spring!

We had a beautiful day Sunday, as we celebrated Spring with an Easter twist. We didn't bother celebrating when he was younger, so it was a first for Zander. He had already heard some things about Easter, but I was determined to not make the day all about candy. In fact, before Sunday, Zander had never even had candy.

We had an egg hunt with eggs filled with cars, sea creatures, bouncy balls and stickers. I managed to include a few fruit juice-sweetened lollipops and gummy bears and the boy was over the moon.

After our egg hunt at home, we headed over to celebrate the day with our good friends Ted and Kathy at The Stone Camp, for their annual egg hunt which they host for friends and family. Ted and Kathy live entirely off the grid and have created a beautiful corner of the earth which they call home. They're always so kind and welcoming. The place is inspiring and full of magic and wonder, and it's the best place for an egg hunt!

They recycle everything and have zero waste. All of the items that most would consider trash, are carefully cleaned and sorted for future reuse. I think all of the different containers are my favorite part, though there's just so much to love about this place.


The eggs here were filled with coins and real candy. We did the Stone Camp egg hunt last year, but Zander was only 2. He was just so excited to find eggs that he didn't even catch on that there was stuff inside. I was able to empty them out and give the candy away to the older kids. I was unsure of how this was going to work this year. He was so excited to open the eggs and find candy!! I told him we were going to save it for later, thinking that maybe I could make a trade for some healthier stuff. To my surprise, he not only agreed to wait and eat it, but he completely forgot about it. I may have allowed a few jelly beans, though.

It was a great day. Zander woke up the next day asking if we could go find more Easter eggs. Happy Spring!