I am so excited to start blogging about our little homestead! This has been a dream of mine for a very long time. Ok, maybe not the blogging part, but the homesteading and farming part for certain. See, I grew up around horses. I always knew, in my heart and soul, that I would one day be able to have them on my own land. Little did I know the impact they would have on myself and my family.
See, this is not just a business for us. (Which is the most exciting part!) It's purposeful to our lives. We are public servants, working in nearby counties, in the fire department and emergency medical services. Our schedules are hectic. Our lives run non-stop with a farm, a family, and full time jobs. We have dedicated our lives to helping others. So it is only natural that we do that on our days off as well. We started from scratch and have been slowly but surely, with the help of family, friends, and God, to reach our goal of being able to sustain our own family from the blessing that is Stony Rock Farm.
In the beginning....
There was a shell of a house and trees...so many trees. Our little 8 acres was heavily wooded and it wasn't looking anything like the horse farm I had ever envisioned. The house was foreclosed on after several changes of ownership. We have heard a number of stories surrounding those changes including, a divorce, a remodel gone wrong, and unpaid contractors. The house was stripped to the bones, with little there and a lot of work to do. We had sub-floors and some drywall. No floors, no trim, no cabinets, no island, no vanity, nothing. We did all the work ourselves. I say "we" loosely as I was 7 months pregnant when we bought the place. I was, at best, the "go-for"...supplies, lunch, etc.
We had family come help us all the way from my original hometown, Chicago. I wasn't born in the south, but I got here as quick as I could. Months went by. "Sweat equity" flooded the house (haha). It became ours. While it remains a work in progress, we are blessed to have come so far.
August 2018, we started the land clearing project. A wonderful soul and small time business man, Geno T., came to take away the trees. (We love supporting the small businesses and the "little man" because that's what we are.) Within weeks, trees were thinned and sunlight hit the ground. And the angels sang!
We realized then that our blessing was not only the house that became our home, but a rock farm as well. **insert blank stare here** Rock rock and more rock throughout what was to become our pasture. We rented a pretty massive excavator that my soon to be husband, Billy, was able to work (like a pro, I might add). Stumps were pulled, rocks were pushed, and finally, fence posts were installed. The horses came home!
Then the rain came. And in the words of Forrest Gump, "One day it started raining, and it didn't quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin' rain, and big ol' fat rain, rain that flew in sideways, and sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night."
The grand appearance of Hurricane Florence was ultimately God's way of telling us it was time to take a break from all the work. That and the excavator kept getting stuck in the mud. We went back to the drawing board and took to figuring out our next step. With the amount of work left to do, overtime was our best bet to fund it.
Don't get us wrong, we love our jobs. But fireman and paramedic are just resume titles. There are so many hats to be worn in either profession that it is incredibly fulfilling. And time consuming. So much that we realized how much we were missing out on with our two boys.
Going back to the drawing board, we wanted to be able to use the farm as a source of sustainability for our family. It was incredibly important to us to be able to teach our boys about fresh air and farming. Giving them real life skills and growing decent human beings
. I believe it was a discussion one night over a well made chicken dinner, that we discussed in depth, where our food comes from. The spark was lit. The extinguisher was no where to be seen. We wanted to know where our food came from and so we decided to grow it ourselves.
Fast forward to now (May 2019), we are raising beautiful cornish cross chickens that bring to our table, not only food, but time with our family. We have been blessed in our stewardship of this farm with enough customers to buy our whole chickens so that we have not had to work any additional time away from our family.
Thanks for reading our very first blog! I truly hope you enjoyed it. As we continue to grow, we want to reach out to our community and be a guiding light. I aim to post information on chicken keeping, from chicks to processing and everything in between. I will record clips of lessons and horse training sessions to invite you to see our methods and practices. Our focus is on sustainability and we will share with you our journey on achieving it.
This farm has brought us so much joy. I can't wait for you to see how we grow and just how important every life on the farm is to us.
May God bless you as He has blessed us.