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!