A NEW START…
The following weekend and for reasons still unknown to us (other than it had to be the hand of God directing us) we took a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee. I had said many times that I would never live in the Chattanooga area. We just needed to get away from home and the problems.
Once there, Cindy wanted to stop at a real estate office to get information on the area. Of course, they slipped in a few listings on local properties they were trying to sell. To make a long story short, we saw a farm and made an offer, subject to the sale of Cindy’s NC farm. And that wasn’t going to be a piece of cake. In order to buy the new farm, her old farm was going to have to sell for a lot more than its then current market value in a beginning downturn in the economy. But once more we saw God move in a powerful way. Her NC farm sold for the asking price within a month and suddenly we were moving to a new farm in North Georgia. There was no valley, no mountains, no beautiful views, no jobs, no money. We just had a nice little farm where we could begin to build a new life. But it was a new start and we were excited about the new opportunity God was giving us. The problem was, we couldn’t figure out what the new opportunity was.
Here we were in Georgia, with no idea what we were to do. But jobs were a priority. I had many years of experience owning a concrete company so I was quickly hired on with a Chattanooga concrete company only to find that the company owner had little knowledge of the business and even less financial resources. It was not a good move.
Cindy found work quickly. A few weeks later our son in Atlanta and the owner of one of the largest concrete companies in Georgia called and asked me to come to work for him selling concrete driveways. I jumped at the chance and it has proven to be a financial blessing. Today I am the General Manager of the Residential Division of HEMMA Concrete and I split my time between the concrete business and our soap business. That is nothing short of a miracle when you consider that the doctors said that I wouldn’t live past September of 2004. It is now almost 8 years later and I am still going strong.
Once again, we saw God work but each time it only came after we “let go” and stopped trying to do everything ourselves. As we trusted Him to guide us, little did we know that He had truly transported us “To a Land Flowing With Milk and Honey”, fulfilling the scripture verse in Exodus 3:8, thus the name “The Milk & Honey Farm”.
Our first venture into sheep had nothing to do with soap. Cindy simply saw a couple of cute little lambs and decided to buy them. (Never a dull moment with Cindy. In fact, her next “purchase” was, of all things, a donkey.) So now we had 2 lambs that quickly grew up to be sheep and they decided to have a baby so we soon were the proud owners of 3 sheep, a donkey, a Collie and 2 cats. Then came the 20 chickens and 2 Great Pyrenees dogs to guard the sheep. Next she found two scared little kittens up a tree on the main road in front of our farm. Of course, we had to rescue them and keep those two cats as yard cats. Then a neighbor brought us 2 barn cats to keep the mice out of the barn. Not long afterwards they too decided to start a family so we now have 5 barn cats. Next, Cindy’s Mother came to live with us which has been a really great experience. We keep her supplied with Snickers, ice cream and popcorn and she will do anything for us!
At last count we were feeding around 41 hungry mouths and all that I wanted was a quiet little peaceful farm to live out my life on! But that’s life with Cindy.
Cindy’s love for farm life has evolved into a bio-sustainable farm and a self-sufficient lifestyle. Being somewhat analytical when it comes to costs, I insist that anyone who resides on the farm must do their share to contribute. The chickens earn their keep by providing farm fresh eggs that we eat, sell, or give to friends in the community. They also supply us with rich composting matter for the organic gardens and orchard. The Great Pyrenees dogs (Snow and Chantilly) guard the sheep and keep the coyotes at bay. The barn cats keep the barn free from mice and other critters. Our Collie (Shep), the 2 yard cats (Willow and Jingle) and Kai, our Tonkinese indoor cat all earn their keep by being loyal family friends. My Mother-In-Law is entitled to anything we have. But the sheep provided nothing of value. That didn’t set well with me.