Friday, November 25, 2011

Contest: Rekindling the Dream

I promised you a giveaway - it's down at the end of the post.  But first, I have to show you my field trip today.


Seven years ago, back before we moved to our own farm, my family stumbled on Homestead Heritage, near Waco, TX - the beautiful home of an agrarian community much like the Mennonites.  Every Thanksgiving, they hold a huge festival over the whole weekend, sharing the fruits (literally) of their lifestyle and labor.  (So you could still catch it if you have some time.)  They live simply and intentionally, and they nurture "crafts" that most of our society has left way behind: beekeeping, horse farming, woodcrafting, metal forging, grist milling, pottery, quilting, sustainable practices, knitting and spinning, etc.  Of course, you and I do appreciate our fiber arts, and I always feel right at home in the fiber studio there.


We've been meaning to get back again for that festival for years, but it just never worked out.  But this year, I had a little added incentive to make it happen - our friend Lisa from west Texas was coming out with her husband Mike, and they were bringing our share cotton!  (Mike and Lisa have gifted the farm with some of their wonderful crop, which is a significant gift, considering the horrible drought this year.)  Lisa has worked with members of the Homestead Heritage community a couple of times, taking classes and sharing her beautiful cotton harvest.  Lisa introduced me to Sue, with the community, who is very involved with the weaving and spinning classes.


There's something about this place that points me back to True North.  Though our specific situations are very different, our philosophies and deep desires line up perfectly.  I get new energy to look at our farm with fresh eyes, and see the things we could add or change, that could help us live the life God has called us to live here at Jacob's Reward: to love him, love his creation, and most of all, to love the people he has put in our lives.


If you've never been, here's some of what you'll find at Homestead Heritage on their big festival weekend:
















All this eye- and heart-candy is just the tip of the iceberg here.  Explore their website a little, and get a good look a the incredible resource we have right here within a stone's throw of the DFW metroplex.  I'd really like to apprentice there for about a month, and really get these people and this lifestyle down into my pores.

OK, so you want a giveaway?  I got yer giveaway!  Our shareholders will be receiving a portion of the cotton that Lisa and Mike brought us today, but I'm holding out 2 ounces of my special secret reserve of hand picked and hand ginned, soft-as-a-cloud cotton from Lisa.  It's too dark to get a good photo tonight, but I'll put one up tomorrow.

Now this is special stuff.  This stuff comes dear.  How can you win it?  Comment below (or on Facebook) and tell me a way we could increase our sustainability here at Jacob's Reward Farm.  How can we give more, grow more, "green" more, or generate more?  Extra credit if you volunteer to help us achieve your suggestion.  How can we better use the resources we have in our hands right now?  That's always the question I'm asking myself, and now I'm calling on the community to lend some brainstorming power.

I'll take suggestions till Monday night at 9 PM.  Then I'll recap them and pick a winner.  I'll put everyone's name in a hat and pull one out.  But all suggestions will be considered for implementation.  I, for one, would never waste a good idea!

5 comments:

  1. Hi, what a great field trip. Looks like shopping heaven to me!! I don't know all the things you are already doing to be more sustainable, and I live in a different climate as you, but here goes (I'd love that cotton ;)

    Use the autumn leaves as mulch on garden beds or places where you'd like weed control; pile it on thick as it compresses with rain (and up here, snow). As you need to replace light bulbs, look for LED or CFLs that use less electricity. Buy in bulk when possible, as less packaging means less trash.
    Eat pie as often as possible, and wear comfortable shoes. :D
    Cindy clkinwiATyahooDOTcom

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  2. (I like that eat pie suggestion, I'm going to try that here at my house.) How about private lessons, as in weaving on a huge loom, much like the one I have in my spare bedroom, which I don't know how to use and am desperate to learn. Seriously, farm yourself out.... consultations on everything from how to raise chickens and sheep to weaving. Yeah it may take you away from the farm a day or two of the week but there are people willing to pay. Like me... I hope to have the loom set up in it's permanent home by Jan.1, then I'll be ready for private lessons.

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  3. Anonymous11:23 AM

    How about a rain catchment system for saving water for the garden or possibly hosing off the alpacas when it gets hot. I may have a barrel that you could use. I will have to check on that. Now that solar panels are getting more available and cheaper, how about converting some of your outdoor lighting to solor. They have solor lights you put on hight places that go on and off if they detect movement. Check Home Depot. How about bagging some of the composed manure in plastic bags with your logo on them and sell it to some of the local gardening stores and also on your website. Alpacamama

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  4. I am stealing an idea from Juniper Moon Farms, using the skirtings of your fleece for compost, or selling them for compost. Agree with the solar suggestion, always wonder why stores don't put them up over their parking lots and have shaded parking, which might be the extra something for folks to decide to shop there (I am in Jacksonville, FL and have see where NAS Jacksonville is implementing this.) You could put them up in the pastures and the critters will have some shade and you can run their fans for free (and sell extra to your utility company!!) Can't help implement this, sorry, not local. quiltingkatz@yahoo.com

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  5. Gail Goodhand4:31 PM

    OK, Haven't been to the farm, so not sure if these would work there. Do you have enough wind to put in a wind mill? It would provide power and also could be used to run a water well if you have one or put one in.
    In the garden do you use the french intensive method? You'll be surprised at how much you could grow that way. You can also collect newspapers (and have people collect them for you), you use them as is for mulch in the garden, really helps cut down on weeds. I lay them out like a blanket, many, many layers deep. Then when you plant you just cut down thru them , pull the edges back and put in your plants. You keep adding over the season as you go. The ones near the bottom break down and helps keep your soil light and also keeps the soil cooler in the summer.
    Wish I could come out and play (lol) don't live in the area.
    Good luck, your getting some good ideas. email gail goodhand @yahoo.com no spaces

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