Spring Update

As any farmer knows, Spring is a busy time on the farm.  Since this is our first Spring on this particular farm, we definitely have had our work cut out for us!  Caleb has been busy setting up daily cow rotations, water lines, and chicken and sheep moves.  We are in the process of designing how we want our fencing altered (the previous owner had horses and permanent electric fencing) as well an planning for the placement of a new shed and possible feed bins.  There is so much to think about when you are setting up a new farm! 

We have also been busy with the start of the Farmer's Market!  We love going every Saturday and connecting with our local community.  If you have never been, make sure you come on down!  Word is the doughnut man is returning soon, which, let's be honest, is the main reason people make a trip to the market! 

Thank you again for supporting your local farm!  We could not be more proud to provide meat and eggs that you can trust to serve to your whole family!

An Afternoon with Kelly

We had the pleasure of hosting our dear friend and renowned photographer, Kelly Lemon, on the farm a few months back.  Kelly and I grew up together in Colorado, briefly overlapped at Wheaton College, and have stayed in touch over the last decade.  This girl is nothing short of amazing and if you don't know her story- please read more about it here.  She has taken a tragic circumstance and come away with strength and integrity and grace.  I could not be more proud to know her and feel so blessed to have had her catch a glimpse of life on the farm.  Enjoy!

Afternoon Chores

A few weeks ago Caleb asked if we wanted to join him for afternoon chores.  The girls are always clamoring to go with him, so we gladly accepted and piled in the van.  We currently lease two properties- one across the street and one five minutes down the road.  Our cows, layers and broilers are on the property further away, which is one reason we are not often along for the ride.  As we rode over, it looked as though the skies were about to open up.  I debated whether I should leave my camera in the car, but Caleb said he would protect it under his shirt if it began to rain.  This should not have brought me much comfort, seeing as most of our rain has been torrential.  In the end I took the chance, and I am so glad that I did!  The light was beautiful and the rain never came.

We started out in the "egg-mobile," where the girls helped us collect two buckets of eggs.  They have learned a few tricks of the trade and make the job move along with their little hands grabbing left and right.  There is one set of laying boxes that rests on the floor (after it came loose and took a nice fall) and Lucy knows that they are her responsibility.  She inevitably drops one or two but it is worth it to include her!

After egg gathering we made our way to the cows.  As Caleb started removing one electric fence line, the girls followed him on the 4-wheeler.  Each fiberglass rod that he removed was handed to the girls for safe keeping until we ran the new line.  For the next twenty minutes, Margo drove while Caleb walked.  I knew that Caleb had been teaching her how to drive the last few weeks, but this was the first time that I got to see her in action!  There is nothing quite like watching your kids grow up right before your eyes! 

There is a certain beauty in the mundane.  In the gathering of an egg and the methodical pacing of a paddock.  Farm life has been a trying adventure, but to its credit, it has provided a space to grow our character in how we persevere, remain faithful and obedient to the every day needs.  Certainly there are days, or weeks, when we wish for a break.  Just a moment to push the pause button while we gather ourselves.  But alas, time does not stop and the pause button is elusive.  So tomorrow and the next day and the one after that, we will have another opportunity to thank God for the work before us and do it gladly. 

My grandmother passed away earlier this year and at her funeral a portion of a note that she had written was read aloud.  It seems rather fitting:

"To find joy and satisfaction in the tasks of each day is to show respect to the place where God has put you.  And when you look around, there are a lot of things to be thankful for aren't there? Just to live in a beautiful setting is balm for the soul."

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Spring on the Farm

This is our first Spring on the farm and it has proven to be a busy one.  We are managing 100+ sheep on our leased property as well as various groups of pigs.  Our cows are split between two other rented properties so that takes a level of coordination and extra travel time.  Our egg layers are with one group of cows, along with all of our broilers.  We have sent two groups of hogs to the butcher, 2 beef and we have processed 800 chickens.  Not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of eggs that we have boxed up!  There is never a lack of work, that's for sure!

One highlight to the Spring has been the arrival of SEVEN livestock guardian dog puppies!  We have six females and one male.  Apparently they got he memo that I am much more prepared to care for girls!  We plan on keeping two of the puppies (already named by our girls- "Daisy" and "Gummy") and selling the remaining five.  Their mama, Cienna, is a wonderful guardian dog and we are excited to have two of her puppies stay on the farm. 

The next big thing happening at Marmilu is the start of Buying Clubs.  We have our first drop in Nashville this week and our first drop in Memphis the week after.  We are excited to be able to provide meat and eggs to people outside of Jackson and look forward to serving a wider area.  If you are in either Memphis or Nashville and would like to know more about hosting or participating in a Buying Club, please send us an email at contact@marmilufarms.com

Lastly, we have had a number of inquiries about bulk purchases.  We are currently sold out of custom orders for both beef and pork, but we will have availability near the end of July.  If you would like to be put on the wait list, please send us an email at contact@marmilufarms.com

Thanks for following along on our journey!


This is Fluffy, our "Bummer" lamb that had to be bottle-fed for the first few weeks of life.  Her mama had twins and for whatever reason, would only nurse her twin.  Our girls were thrilled to have their first bottle-fed animal! Now that Fluffy is out in the field, she is still social and will come to greet us when we visit.  She will undoubtedly be kept as a ewe and not end up on our dinner plate!

This is Fluffy, our "Bummer" lamb that had to be bottle-fed for the first few weeks of life.  Her mama had twins and for whatever reason, would only nurse her twin.  Our girls were thrilled to have their first bottle-fed animal! Now that Fluffy is out in the field, she is still social and will come to greet us when we visit.  She will undoubtedly be kept as a ewe and not end up on our dinner plate!

We have an apple tree in our backyard!  We cannot wait until the end of summer to enjoy the bountiful yield!

We have an apple tree in our backyard!  We cannot wait until the end of summer to enjoy the bountiful yield!

"The secret to a child's language of laughter, their domain of delight, is perspective." -Ann VosKamp

"The secret to a child's language of laughter, their domain of delight, is perspective." -Ann VosKamp

The little lady is our resident chicken catcher! 

The little lady is our resident chicken catcher! 

We moved our sheep down the road to our neighbor's front yard!  We only had to stop traffic for a few minutes and chase a few stragglers out of the bushes!

We moved our sheep down the road to our neighbor's front yard!  We only had to stop traffic for a few minutes and chase a few stragglers out of the bushes!

The most recent addition to the farm- rabbits! 

The most recent addition to the farm- rabbits! 

 

 

 

Tennessee

We are home.  The boxes are unpacked, the fridge is full and the streets are becoming more familiar.  After four (maybe five . . . ?) trips back and forth between VA and TN, Caleb has been able to settle in and attend to life on our new farm.  The sheep are moved daily to fresh grass, the piggies are soon to be out in the woods and the goats are happily eating along every fence row in sight.  The chores are pretty minimal at this time of year, but nothing ever really slows down.  Caleb has spent hours connecting with other farmers trying to locate more grass for our cattle, countless phone calls to hatcheries to place orders for the spring and many a night penciling out our timeline for building needed infrastructure.  In the midst of all the busyness we have been overwhelmed by the kindness of our neighbors and new community.  There is something sweet about moving "back home" for Caleb and I get to reap the benefits as his wife.  

Be sure to stay tuned because we will have both pork and beef available shortly after the new year! 




The Summer's End

As we head into September, the warmth and buzz of summer is beginning to fade.  The school year has begun, the first signs of color are visible and the chores on the farm begin to shift.  This fall, we are in an especially significant time of change.  Our fourth baby girl is due in less than two weeks and we could not be more excited for her arrival!  Shortly thereafter, we plan on heading south to our new home in Jackson, TN.  Once there, we enter the phase of setting up shop and putting down the roots of Marmilu!  As we prepare to leave Virginia, we are more and more aware of the seasons that the Lord walks us through.  Our entire marriage seems to have been the turning of pages, always moving forward, never standing still.  And while we are grateful for the lessons learned during those years, we are ready for a time of standing still.  We are ready to get to know our community and be a part of our new town.  We are excited for our girls to make lasting friendships and have birthday parties with more kids than adults.  And we are thrilled about the opportunity to farm as a family, walking the sometimes thin line between life and work and play!