Farmer’s Daughter Notes // The Farmer’s Daughter Meets The Farm Boy from N.C


IMG_2566 Now you may be wondering to yourself, “Where is Morgan? Why are all of the Farmer’s Daughter’s Notes coming out of the archives? We want fresh, new ones!”

Well, I’ll tell you, folks. Your very own Farmer’s Daughter has met a Farmer’s Son! Yep, it’s true. A genuine, handsome, gentle Farmer’s Son. So as you can probably guess, my mind has been otherwise occupied lately, especially considering the fact that, as of last Sunday afternoon, I now have a shiny ring on my left hand and a promise in my heart.

“How did you meet?!” you may be wondering. Well you’re in for a treat folks, here’s how it happened, (in an extreme nutshell)…

It was a cold, snowy night in February several years back. Dad and I were attending a showing of “Fresh” at the public library in Virginia Beach where Dad would be speaking on the panel. There were lots of folks that came out for the event. We had a great time after the showing, chatting with old customers and meeting new ones.

It was late and Dad and I were making our way out to the car when an acquaintance of ours ran outside to catch up with us.

“Wait, Mr. Wilson! I want you to meet a friend of mine.”

Dad and I turned to wait for the young men to catch up to us.

Dusk had fallen, but I could make out the figure of a tall, thin young man. He shifted from one foot to the other somewhat nervously and he held a spiral bound notebook tightly against his chest. It was labeled simply, “Farm Notes.”

“Aww, isn’t he cute,” I thought to myself with a chuckle.

Fast forward through several years of friendship and March of this year rolls around. Paul, (my farm boy) had been up for a book study we were hosting at our house. It was a great day spent in good company and great fellowship. At one point throughout the day, I told him about a book I had recently read and enjoyed and then I promptly forgot about the the little exchange.

The next day I received a Facebook message from Paul asking about the book;
“I was wondering if you could tell me the title and the author again, I can’t for the life of me remember it…”

Thus a series of messages began back and forth between us. We covered a lot of ground in those messages. We talked about the things of the Lord, about our hopes and dreams for the future, our interests and hobbies, favorite books, etc.

He started burning a path back and forth between NC and Virginia on the weekends. We enjoyed doing markets together and getting to know more about each other. My family also adored (adores) him, which is a big plus.

So, last Sunday, we decided to go a on a family picnic to relax after a super busy weekend. Unbeknownst to me, he had asked my dad for my hand, weeks back and had told the family he planned to propose to me at the picnic while we were all together, as he knew how precious my family is to me.
I was oblivious to the frantic shoving of little boxes into pockets and hushed voices when I entered the room in the weekends leading up to that Sunday.

IMG_2519We headed to the picnic site after church and Paul and I picked out a nice spot. After lunch we were sitting around talking about the sermon and Paul started sharing his testimony about how the Lord had saved him and how he had faithfully provided and guided through his life up until this present day in our relationship together. Then he got up and started reaching into his pocket. I was floored. I started laughing with joy and shock when he pulled out a beautiful ring and asked me to marry him! When my powers of speech had returned, I said, “Yes! Yes.” and we embraced.

And thus, your Farmer’s Daughter is about to embark on another journey! One that will take her down to NC to start a little farm and a new family there. But not to worry, I’m sure there will be plenty of trips up to the old homestead.

I’m sure there will still be occasional Farmer’s Daughter, or rather, “Farmer’s Wife” Notes from me as well.

Until then I remain faithfully yours,

The Farmer’s Daughter,
Morgan

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Family Fun // From the Archives

Recently we were given the board game “Monopoly”. We have never been much into board games: who is when you can play in the dirt, ride bikes or play “Crash” on the tree swings with your siblings? (don’t ask, suffice it to say Mom says if you get a busted knee or lip playing a game with a name like “Crash” don’t come crying for sympathy)
Well, we kids decided to give Monopoly a try. After the first evening we were hooked! When we all tried to play at one time we had to split up into teams, which is fun in itself. You had to watch out for the sister who would always try to snap up Board Walk and Park Place and then plunk down a few houses to boot. And then there’s that sneaky sister who tries to make you “awesome deals” to “help you out” so you won’t have to mortgage your property when sister number one deals you a hefty $1000 rent on Boardwalk. And then there’s the hoarder brother and sister who never sell their property until in desperation you offer them ten times the amount it’s worth. Needless to say we’ve had a blast! We’ve never finished a game yet though. (who knew Monopoly was such a long game?) And sometimes the game is interrupted to go round up a calf or do the evening chores. Then we leave it precariously on the dining room table and come back to it afterwards. Good times.
-Morgan

Chore Swap // Winter 2013

Every once in a while Dad likes to shake things up a bit and switch around the chores and responsibilities for us kids. Believe me it’s usually a welcome change! I mean, who doesn’t get tired of the same old same old 24/7? It gets to where I can milk cows in my sleep. When you’ve milked cows in exactly the same way (or done anything for that matter) for about 4 hours a day, summer, winter, spring time and harvest it can start to get on your nerves. We kids start joking that we’re going to go on a strike or turn in our notice papers!

On a side note though, having a family business has really taught me a valuable lesson in having a corporate spirit. When I was younger I used to entertain the thought that, “Man, Mom and Dad are getting a lot of free labor out of me” But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to see that it’s not that way at all. We are all breadwinners. All of us are pulling the load together to bring in income and grow our own food. Not only is it a good reality check for me, but it’s a good morale booster. “I help to provide for my family.” It’s a great feeling. We all work together so we can all eat, buy clothes, and all of the rest.

So, last week instead of milking I was on meals, laundry and housecleaning. It’s not so simple to prepare food for 11 hungry people! Some of those days it felt like all I did was cook and wash dishes all day long. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I think our culture is tempted to look down on such jobs as menial labor. But washing dishes and cooking meals is nothing to look down on! These two seemingly humble tasks are two of the central cornerstones of our society. Everyone’s gotta eat and the dishes have got to be cleaned. It’s good honest work to do with your hands. I had a good helper too. Gabriel, (7) who doesn’t yet have a steady job on the farm was my handsome and (mostly) willing assistant. By the end of the week he got pretty good at unloading the dish washer, cleaning the bathroom and sweeping. These are great jobs for him to do. It builds confidence in a child to have something useful to do with their hands. I think the rest of the kids were pretty happy with their new jobs too.

Farmer’s Daughter Notes // Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

We were in the middle of dinner when we remembered that the pigs still had to be moved. It was about 6pm. Dad and oldest Son had headed off to Georgia on a father-son adventure that morning and so we women folk were holding down the fort. Of course we had a list to help us remember all the things that Dad and oldest Son do, (They sure do a lot!) and then we remembered that one last thing we had forgotten; moving the pigs. So off we trooped to complete the task. Middle Sister had spent an hour or more creating the new paddock and now all that was left was to shoo them in, right? Wrong. Their shelter still needed to be pulled into the new pen, that was easy enough, the only problem was that it had been there for a while and after rain and piggy mud puddles on hot days, the shelter had turned into something of a castle surrounded by a moat. Hills of nice, packed dirt rose up steeply on the insides of the shelter creating a stubbornly rooted abode. Using the tractor we appropriated the front loader to lift the shelter over the hills. Now the shelter was pretty heavy and caused the back tires of the tractor to lift slightly (With second Sister still in the seat) sending Mom and oldest Daughter into a slight panic. Second Daughter assured them that she had the situation well in hand. After pushing at the front end of the shelter she made her way around the moat to the other side and pushed at that end. The back end was really stuck and didn’t appear to want to give at all.

“We’ll just have to expand their current pen and give them some more pasture” Someone said.

“But Dad said he didn’t want them tearing up that part of the pasture.” Middle Sister said, gesturing to the new paddock she had set up on the other side, “I set up the new paddock where he wanted it.”

“Well, he’s not here to give us advice on the shelter,” Someone shot back. (He was also out of cell range)

Middle sister, who had worked so hard on the paddock that afternoon, among her other chores, began to get teary.

“Its ok!” I comforted, stretching out my hand towards her.

“No its not!” She said, rubbing at her eyes with a short, jerking motion. (We had now been working on this project for about an hour.)

Second Sister saw the tears from her perch on the tractor and the Stone-Wall Wilson gene kicked in. A determined gleam shone in her eye as she pushed the tractor into gear and gave orders for little brother to run up and grab her boots. (Did I forget to mention that the majority of us were wearing flip-flops. Yep. Just call us the flip flop farmers)

Up crept the tractor tires again as she used the front loader to lift the back of the shelter over the hump. After much lifting and pushing and shoving the shelter was successfully dislodged from the hill and over the moat. We cheered. surely the next part, moving the pigs, wouldn’t be so bad. About that time, brother came running back with the boots and the pig round-up began. The herding them up wasn’t so bad, we got them up to the edge of their old paddock just fine and then they came to a dead stop. They refused to cross the line. Now, if you’ve ever been out to our farm and walked back to see the pigs, you’ve probably noticed that all it takes is a little old bitty wire to keep them in. When moved to a new paddock, it only takes about one or two times for them to find the fence, realize, “ouch, this thing bites!” and then they are (pretty much) forever trained to never cross the line. Well, here we are trying to move them, we’ve removed the wire at that corner but they won’t cross the invisible line. We coaxed and pleaded. We ran up to the house and found some succulent watermelon rinds, but to no avail. They settled themselves right down in the corner and started digging around in the dirt, just inches away from their new paddock. We started to press them a little, urging them to cross the line, then the pigs started getting nervous and then, oops! One broke through the ranks and dashed back to the far corner of the old paddock, followed by the rest of the herd. We repeated this process about three more times. Time is ticking, the sun has disappeared behind the trees and the mosquitoes are starting to get bad.

To be continued…

-Morgan

Our Story // Part Two

Last Week…

Dad was a nervous about making the plunge. What if it all fell apart and he didn’t have a job? But he felt the Lord’s calling strongly, so he made the leap of faith. At the next business meeting when all of the employers and employees sat around and discussed their hopes and plans for the coming year they got to Dad and asked him what his dreams were.
Dad cringed a little in his seat. “Um, well I’d like to become a full time farmer.”

Continued…

To his surprise his employers showed a great interest in his plan.
“How can we help you fulfill that dream?” they asked.
Dad was amazed at this reception and it confirmed his assurance that the Lord was calling him to make the plunge and come home.
His employer graciously worked with Dad on a plan for him to taper off on his work schedule for the duration of a year and then reconvene at the end of that time to kind of see where we were and go form there.
When Dad got home that evening we rejoiced greatly in the Lord’s provision! He had smoothed and prepared the way before us.
The Lord grew our business so much that season that Dad didn’t finish out the year at his office because we needed him at home to help run the farm which was bursting at the seams!
I remember the evening Dad drove home from work for the last time. We were all gathered out in front yard with welcome home signs and cheered as he came into the driveway.
In the five years since we had moved out to the farm, the Lord had grown our dream into a reality! We were all together, doing what we loved as a family! It has been seven years since that day, though it seems like forever. People ask if I love farming, and always reply, yes, I do! But the thing I love most about the agrarian lifestyle is that we can work together as a family team. The years have been tough at times, but inexpressibly sweet and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Farmers Daughter Notes // Our Story-Part One

We moved to the farm in March of 2003. We weren’t farmers before that time, it was an all-new adventure for us! We moved from our 1400 square foot house in Chesapeake, VA to 25 acres in Suffolk, Va. Compared to our two car length backyard, 25 acres was enormous!

What prompted the life change, you might be wondering. Well, back in the late 90s, we were considered a large family by most standards with 6 children. Dad had a day job as a computer software trainer while Mom homeschooled us kids. (No small feat!) We had recently gotten into eating more healthily due to health issues that had cropped up among the children, asthma like symptoms, ear infections, etc. Local and organic were not the bywords back then, and it was hard to source cleaner food. Once Mom started changing our diets we were amazed to see the health issues clear up! That sold us on eating naturally. Around the same time, Dad began to feel the call from the Lord to come home from his day job and do something that could involve the whole family. He wanted his family to be able to see him at his best work during the day, not just when he was tired and wanting to kick back and relax in the evenings. Also he wanted to be able to be more involved in our lives.

Farming seemed like a good way to merge the two desires. After much prayer and research (and patient waiting!) we eventually purchased and moved to the farm in 2003 to start a new chapter in our lives! We started small; a few chickens and rabbits, and then gradually scaled up to where we were ready to be self-sustaining in 2008. Dad was still working at his day job up to this point and late 2007 he began to feel that the Lord was calling him leave his day job and work the farm farm time. The Lord had blessed out efforts so much so that we had reached the point where we couldn’t grow
further unless Dad came home.

Dad was a nervous about making the plunge. What if it all fell apart and he didn’t have a job? But he felt the Lord’s calling strongly, so he made the leap of faith. At the next business meeting when all of the employers and employees sat around and discussed their hopes and plans for the coming year they got to Dad and asked him what his dreams were.

Dad cringed a little in his seat. “Um, well I’d like to become a full time farmer.”

To be continued…

-Morgan

Farmers Daughter Notes // If I’ve Told You Once..

One good thing about being in the farming business is that you generally know the other farmers in your area and can swap advice or borrow equipment. We recently acquired a bull, on lend, from a fellow farmer for the purpose of breeding a few new heifers. Well, the bull, appropriately named, “Dude”, has been happy with his new friends and surroundings. He is kept in a “bull proof” pen for safety. Well one day it fell into my chore list to help hay the heifers and their bull friend. Maddie, my chore partner admonished me to wear boots several times. “It’s really muddy from the recent rain.” she said.
I was doing something else and only half listening. “Sure.” I mumbled.
I was completing my previous task as Maddie came back down the hallway before heading outside.
“Don’t forget boots,” she reminded.
I finished up what I was doing and headed outside, still wearing my crocs. I decided to risk the mud because I didn’t want to pause to look for socks. (When you live in a large family, socks are in high demand and can be hard to come by.)
Maddie and I loaded up the wheel barrel with a few bales and trekked across the pasture with our load.
As we neared the pen I noticed the mud she was talking about.
“How about I throw them over the fence to you?” I suggested with a mischievous twinkle. “I didn’t wear my boots.”
Maddie rolled her eyes. “I told you…”
“Okay fine,” she finished with a grin. “But you have to pull me out if the bull gets me.”
(It’s a running joke between us that the bull is wild. He’s really quite tame, however when a bull has heifers to protect…You never know.)
She grabbed a fence stake and let herself in by the gate. I climbed up on the wheel barrel and prepared to toss the hay bales in.
Maddie spoke gently to the bull as he came over to have a looksee at the proceedings. He stood protectively by one of the heifers and tossed his head, showing off his nice pair of horns.
“No sir!” Maddie admonished, pointing her stick at him. He just blinked and stood placidly by.
I laughed and threw the bales over the fence and Maddie tossed them into the hay ring. Once the cows saw the hay they gathered around the ring and began to eat greedily and didn’t pay any more attention to us. That was our bit of adventure for the day.
-Morgan