spring at the farm


A couple weekends ago, Brandon was working and I was feeling antsy to get the kiddos (and myself!) out of the house and doing something fun so that we didn’t mope around.  We headed to one of our favorite local farms in nearby Fairview.  There are a couple of farms on that stretch of road, and one of them has fields of u-pick wildflowers.  I was hoping and itching to see some fresh blooms but not much was growing yet.  We did, however, buy a couple pints of their fresh organic strawberries.  The day was a bit overcast and chilly, so the Hickory Nut Gap farm was nearly empty, which made it especially fun.  It kind of felt like it was ours for the day.  We saw the new chicks in the coop, and Philippa LOVED seeing the goats.  She calls any and every animal a “goggie” (doggie) and is the most animated when she sees a goggie.  She was trying to go up to the goats at the fence and pet them, but when one bleated she was so startled and came running back to me terrified.  They have big culvert slides for the kids, and a little picnic area by the creek.  They played in the water and we had lunch, and headed home wet, tired and happy.

Later Phoebe helped me make gluten-free strawberry oat bars.  I adapted this recipe from these applesauce oatmeal bars, but have changed it so much that basically it’s my own recipe now.  Because Phoebe is not eating oats right now in addition to being gluten free, I substituted almond meal for the oats (i’ve heard you can sub quinoa flakes too, but haven’t tried that).  For the flour I sub some kind of gluten-free flour mix.  I use about 1/4 cup of maple syrup instead of brown sugar.  And I use my own homemade strawberry jam instead of applesauce, which is from my favorite grain-free cookbook, the Grain-Free Family Table.  I think you can see the recipe for the jam scribbled above.  I l o v e these bars, they are not too sweet, the strawberries give them a hint of tartness, and they can serve as a snack or a dessert.  They were a bit crumbly, I was thinking I may add a teaspoon of grass-fed unflavored beef gelatin next time just to help them hold together a bit.  We’ll see.  Anytime I can sneak beef gelatin into my kids, I feel very accomplished. 🙂

It was a really beautiful, serene day on the farm and I so love where we live and finding free fun nearby.


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going on a tree hunt

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Oh the agony + joy of attempting family pictures!  And all the mommas said Amen.

A few years ago, when we were living in Brevard we stumbled across this little family-run Christmas tree farm right outside of town.  It sort of birthed this dream in us to have a little place like this, a big white farmhouse, quiet hills with neat lines of evergreens where it could feel like Christmas all year long.  Space to raise a quiverfull of children and maybe a handful of animals, space to tend the earth.  I don’t know if that dream will ever be a reality, but every year since then, we’ve headed back to this little farm that reminds of and beckons us to the way of life we hunger for.  If for nothing else, it reminds us of Eden in some way or another, a haunting for that good life that was lost, the good life that will be ours again in Heaven one day.  A future hope that makes us smile and remember that while we are here on this terrestrial sod we are here to work hard, our time here is temporary.

We went again a couple of weeks ago with my brother + sister-in-law and niece, took turns snapping pictures of each other, and hunted for a tree.  The owners didn’t mind us taking our time, traipsing all over their property with our photo props, and they even offered our kids a fun wagon ride behind their tractor!  It’s well worth it to me to pay $30 for a tree to support this little place + family.

As 2015 comes nearly to a close, my heart is full.  Though it has been a year full of challenges and stress and strain, I look through these pictures and feel immeasurably blessed.  When I fix my eyes on these simple but profound gifts instead of the long list of things I could complain about or worry over, joy truly floods my soul.  Nothing can touch the joy I have in Jesus Christ, nothing can ever separate me from Him and all that He has won for me and secured for me by His death on the cross.  Second to that, nothing can come close to comparing to the profound depths of delight and joy I have in my little family.  What a crazy good and wise God we have to come up with the idea of family!

I know so many dear loved ones who long for this and struggle deeply with loneliness during the Christmas season.  Know that I’m praying for you, that I long for you to experience the joy of family this season too, even in the broadest of terms, even in the arms of your spiritual brothers + sisters, mothers + fathers, children + grandchildren.  Ultimately, in Jesus, we enjoy “family,” because He is Immanuel, God with us.  The God who is always there, always present, among us, within us.  The kindness of our God: we are not alone!  Praying He satisfies you with His presence this season + always.

Fall at the Farm

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October is simply the best month to live in North Carolina.  We try to savor every minute of it before all the beauty and color falls from the trees and the long, cold winter comes upon us.

A couple weekends ago we visited our favorite local farm again, which is the most fun to do in the fall.  There are hay rides, kiddie cart rides, apples + pumpkins, beehives and fresh cider being made, goats that wander in the barn above your head, rope + tire swings, pigs, chicks, turkeys, a corn maze, a creek to play in, and a quaint little farm store to buy all the lovely things the farm produces.  And little cider pops for 50 cents!  Recently, we saw a Groupon for a free ticket to the farm so we planned to go when my husband’s parents would be in town and take the kids.

My pictures from the day are sort of haphazard, as was my brain that day, but we were busy enjoying the fun.  Phoebe got to see her friend from dance, also named Phoebe, and they rode the kiddie cart ride together (the highlight of the day for Phoebe, outside of being with her Baba + Nain).  I’ve written before about the farm here.

And, of course you know I stopped at the Flying Cloud Farm stand on the way back and bought some blooms!

A Visit to the Farm {Part II}


Last week after our stop at Flying Cloud Farm we drove down the road to Hickory Nut Gap Farm, one of very favorite places to go in the summer and fall.  My husband and I harbor dreams of having our own little homestead/farm one day and are so drawn to farm life.  Any time we get to visit one we are inspired and reinvigorated!  We love Hickory Nut Gap especially in the Fall, when they have rides and tons of animals around, fresh apples and pumpkins.  But summers are fun for berry picking, swimming, and 50 cent apple cider pops.  Last week was my first time taking the kids berry picking there and we had so much fun.  Phoebe would make a great farm-hand!  She got right to work picking, insisted on carrying the bucket the whole time {which she did so carefully} and would have worked all morning had I let her.  Noah on the other hand seemed to prefer the stroller. 🙂


And then there was this one, for some reason not feeling the berry-picking adventure:



Moving on to pick black raspberries…

(His perch)

Then after a picnic lunch in the sweaty humid heat, the kids basked in the creek.  Such a fun way to wind down!


If you’re local, you should go for a visit!  Check out their website for updates on what’s in season.  Thanks Hickory Nut Gap for a super fun environment for kids to explore and learn about animals and plants, as well as providing lovely organic local food!

A Visit to the Farm {Part I}


Every so often, I get an itch to take the kids out to Fairview, NC, one of my favorite areas around Asheville.  There are some wonderful farms out that way, and it makes for a fun day trip.  We went last week to enjoy a couple of our favorite farms and go berry picking.  We first stopped at Flying Cloud Farm to explore their fields of wildflowers and their self-serve road stand.


We love their little road stand.  For all organic farm-fresh produce, the prices are excellent and the quality is great!


Those flowers truly took my breath away and so, of course, I had to bring some home with me.  A little taste of summer’s glory!  More farm pics to come soon.  Happy Summer-ing!