Wow has there been a lot going on down on the farm! I’ve been missing you Readers, but I just haven’t had a hot second to sit down and catch you all up on the goings on here at Shalom Farm! So come on along with me, and I’ll give ya the run down!
First of all, the population here at the farm has become dramatically dynamic since our arrival. I find that so fun because my business partners made me a beautiful sign that sits on our porch that says: Shalom Cunningham Family Farm. And then it has a place for the population to be written in in chalk, because of course, it is ever changing. And man, am I finding that to be the truth.
Just to start, we bring with us five humans and two Golden Retrievers. So that, there, is already seven. That’s a strong start to a farm if you ask me.
Well, the farm had a built in cat named Miriam. Miriam has taken up permanent residence in Thomas’ shop so if you need to send her mail, you can rest assured you know where it will find her. So now that Miriam has been treated for fleas and ticks, and the dogs have stopped trying to chase her off, she has made us a farm of 8.
You might also remember, we gained a turtle named ‘Turdy’, who lives in our garden and has now avoided death by lawn mower twice by a very narrow margin. And let me just tell you something I now know for sure about turtles… don’t believe anything anyone says about them being slow. Those suckers disappear faster than anything I’ve ever seen. You think you’ve got time to just run over to the hose and grab some water and bam! Turdy is gone. Every time! That thing is either incredibly fast, or owns a small invisibility cloak.
I digress… Early this week, we received ten baby chicks by overnight mail! Okay yes, I’m not exactly a fan of shipping livestock via USPS, but as much as we searched locally, we just weren’t able to find chicks to buy! And funny enough, the hatchery that we bought the chicks from, were a little off on their due dates and our batch of chicks didn’t hatch and arrive until maybe 3 or 4 days later than we expected. Bright and early one morning, Thomas got a call from the post office saying that we had a box that we may want to come in and snag right away. He said otherwise, the mail carrier might have the box in her car for several hours before she made it out to deliver them, and that might not be an ideal situation. Thomas said he could hear the chicks loudly chirping in the background on the phone, and so he decided to go rescue them from their tiny box.
So that took our population to 19 if you’re keeping track. And it definitely took the kids excitement level to an all time high!!! Ten baby chicks make for an amazing babysitter. I’ve never known my three year old to have such a long attention span. I’ve also never known him to nearly trample something he’s so very obsessed with and aware of so dang many times. Excitement causes some people to dance around, let me just tell you.
The very next day, we got ten baby turkeys… well, nine baby turkeys. One arrived dead. So the deal was, we ordered the chicks and the turkeys at the same time, and unbeknown to us, they came from two separate locations. And although it’s part of the deal that these babies are hatched and immediately put in the mail for over night shipping, the turkeys didn’t arrive the day they were supposed to arrive, which sadly means the babies were delayed a day on their journey. So needless to say, an extra 24 hours without food or water, and the added trauma of riding in a box an extra day, made for a situation that was hard to recover from.
One didn’t make it to the box opening ceremony, as I mentioned. The rest of them honestly looked pretty haggard even from the start. They didn’t seem nearly as lively as the chicks and they definitely didn’t seem to be too interested in the food and water situation, which was a little alarming. We figured they might have been jet lagged and needed some rest. Well, two of them were dead by that evening. Two or three more didn’t make it through the fist night. And by 40 hours in, we were down to two out of ten turkeys! We lost eight turkeys!
So if you’re looking for a good way to teach your kids about life and death, order some mail order turkeys. That really seems to have done the trick!
So at our peak, we were at 28 on our population sign. But very shortly there after, we were down to 21.
Yesterday morning, Lucy showed up. Lucy is some sort of small hound mix. In the midst of a solar guy, the internet guy and the FedEx guy- who all came at the same time yesterday morning- when all the dust settled and everyone was gone, this little, sweet girl dog was sitting, very nervously, on our front porch.
Thomas asked me who’s dog it was like I had any idea at all. She didn’t have a collar on and it was very apparent- or so it appeared that way to us- that she very recently had puppies. To be honest, my first thought was that we needed to go find the litter that was likely somewhere in the field. But Thomas thinks that she- and/or her pups- were likely dumped somewhere nearby. She was still bleeding a little bit and looks as if she had been nursing recently. SO SAD!
So at this point, after this blog, I’m pretty sure I’ll be contacted by PETA, but I want you guys to know that we’ve taken her in for the time being. She’s sleeping- and bleeding- on our back porch, which is enclosed and newly refinished, she has plenty of food and water and is now free of ticks. Today, we took her to the vet to get her bleeding checked out. We also want to know if she’s faking her limp or if her leg is somehow legitimately injured in a way we can’t diagnose. As it turns out, she is not a new mom, but instead, she is in heat! Great! The vet says that is not a guarantee that she has not already been impregnated. Double great! So we bought her a collar and a dog dish and we’re taking a few days to discuss what to do next. Funny thing is, we’ve been kind of half praying about whether or not we need to get a farm dog. Well, this isn’t exactly what we had in mind, but she’s sweet and needs love. So Lucy rounds our population out at 22 at the current moment- that just so happens to be my favorite number.
Oh, and yes, the limp appears to be fake. Well played, stray dog, well played.
Sidebar: Lucy is not her given name. We don’t know what she’s been called before, but since she’s been here- about 48 hours now- she’s gone by Flower, GG (for Gage’s girl, because she LOVES baby Gage), Faith, Daisy, and now Lucy- which Thomas would like to spell Loosy, given her current potential pregnant condition. I’m only mildly offended for her.
So because we lost 8 out of 10 of the turkeys we ordered, the hatchery is sending us 10 more, and we added 4 Guinea hens to the order, because they’re the best tick eaters out there. We’ve heard that they are incredibly annoying, so we’ll see how that goes. We’ve heard that peacocks are also annoying, but we loved living with a peacock back in California. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.
So our population is about to shoot from 22 to 36!!
However, those turkey’s were scheduled to arrive yesterday and didn’t even arrive today. So I’m praying they are not even on their way yet, and we’re not going to be in the same boat with a bunch of dead and dying birds yet again. I think it’s safe to say that after we’re squared up on the bird front, we’re going to stop ordering our animals online.
Come Monday, we’ll be heading to check out some mule foot hogs! NOT pigs, Readers. Don’t make the mistake of calling them pigs. You will be made to feel quite stupid. Not that I know from experience. But either way, we’re looking to pick up a breading pair and potentially one or two piglets. These hogs- NOT pigs- are apparently one of the most rare breeds of hogs on the planet. They’re meat is supposed to be like the Cobe Beef of pork. Or so I’m told. A breeding pair can produce anywhere from 11-20 piglets, so like I said, the population of the farm is becoming incredibly dynamic. I’m only kind of concerned that we’re getting in over our head!
In addition to pigs- I’m sorry, HOGS- a ‘cow guy’ is coming out this coming week to look at our property and see if he wants to put some of his cows in our pastures. To me, this is a total win win. Apparently, he’s having a hard time finding a place down this way where his cows can be pastured, and we’re having a hard time finding someone to mow our pastures. Well, there ya have it. God solves a riddle again! I honestly have no idea if that will actually be our answer, and how many cows were even talking about, but we might be in for a very serious farm adventure this first year here. I’m excited.
In other farm news, we’ve been officially IN OUR HOUSE for the past 5 nights. That means that we spent 40 days and 40 nights in our trailer. You can’t make this stuff up people! I didn’t realize the night count until after we had moved all the way in and I went back to see how long we called the trailer our home. Talk about the trial that led to our Promised Land. I just can’t get over that.
From the moment we arrived, until basically now, we’ve been working almost around the clock towards us being able to move in. We’ve painted dang near every surface- including most ceilings,- we’ve refinished the floors, we’ve pulled up flooring and stained and sealed the concrete floor on the back porch, we’ve planted 1/2 a garden and killed the weeds in the other 1/2, we’ve mowed for countless hours, we’ve sprayed the yard and the house for bugs and more, we’ve cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, we’ve added baseboards, we’ve changed light fixtures, we’ve received countless things from Amazon and made (sometimes more than) daily trips to Lowe’s.
It’s been one heck of a process. But we’re now sleeping here. In the house. And it feels like home. The kids rooms look so darling and feel like a kid’s dream. I haven’t seen a spider in several days- maybe even a week- and the exterminator is coming on Monday just to be extra sure. If I’m being honest, I haven’t gotten a very good nights rest here yet. I’m still convinced that bugs are in my bed, in my clothes, in my hair- but so far their just in my head. I’m hopeful that the extermination reaches my psyche.
Cadence is officially enrolled in Kindergarten at Summertown Elementary, which is the saddest and most surreal thing ever- my baby is going to Kindergarten. We visited Etheridge Elementary first- both equal distance from our house, which is about 10 minutes for those of you who are convinced we’re in the middle of nowhere- and I have to say I was pretty convinced before we even left to see the two schools that I wanted her to go to Etheridge. They have reported a touch higher test score average than Summertown, however, I can’t even say that that is the most important thing to consider, as I’ve never had a kid in school before. Once we saw Etheridge, we liked it and it definitely seemed like a perfectly lovely school, but Thomas was still pulling for Summertown for whatever reason. On my drive from one to the other, I said a prayer- my first one on the issue, if you can believe that it hadn’t yet occurred to me- and asked God how I was supposed to decide what was best. I asked for a sign. I’m not good at doing these big decision things on my own.
When we walked into Summertown Elementary, there were two signs on the wall- one was a cross and one was a bible verse- so there ya go. I knew before I even said hello. And these people went above and beyond. At Etheridge, we sat outside the office while the receptionist remained the go between in our short conversation with the principle. At Summertown, the Vice Principle came right up to meet us, brought us into a private room to discuss the paperwork and how things go, and the Principle made a point of coming in and introducing himself as well. It was a completely different experience. I left feeling pretty silly about having ‘decided’ before 1) attending either school and 2) consulting the Lord. I mean, when will I ever learn?
So with a kid enrolled in school, my bed in the house, and animals upon animals that are my responsibility, I’m going to go ahead and say this place has officially become our home. It’s not just a place we live. Or at least, it’s somewhere in between. But it’s not a place that scares me anymore. It’s a place I’m actually starting to love a little.
Kirsten, my dear friend, came out from California and spent a night here with her daughter. We got to show her why we did this crazy thing we did- moving across the dang country. I think it’s safe to say she gets it now.
We toured Amish country with her- they’re our neighbors. We fed her biscuits and gravy, bbq, and she made a berry crisp with the berries from our garden, while we drank mojitos with the mint from our garden. I mean, it just doesn’t get much better than that.
It was SO wonderful to have her here. It definitely made it feel more real.
Today, I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with another dear friend, and fellow Nevada/Tennessee transplant, Tori Hein. We talked about the Lord and about our lives. I adore her and am SO grateful that she’s out here with me, having recently walked through what I’m walking through, having brought her family across the country because she was called to do it. God is so good in the provisions he makes for us. He’s given me everything I need here.
She asked me how I’m really doing. Not the standard greeting, but the real question…
I’m good. I know that’s the standard answer. But it’s also true. I’m not yet great, but I’m certainly not bad. I’m good. I’m taking it day by day. I have moments of sadness. I feel occasionally stressed. I’m incredibly grateful. Continuing to be humbled. All around in awe. And very much in love. IN LOVE with my family- my husband has absolutely never, not one moment of the life I’ve shared with him, been happier. My kids are on cloud nine. Gage is learning a new word everyday because he’s so completely stimulated here. The weather is amazing. I’m feeling so blessed to have a business that allows me this transition time, without the added pressure of work stress.
I don’t know exactly what happens next. We’ve been working diligently towards Kirsten’s visit and getting in the house. That’s now come and gone. Our 40 days of working and waiting and learning to be patient and to trust, is over.
So what now?
That’s the tinge of fear that tends to grow and fade throughout the day. It reminds me that maybe I haven’t fully embraced this change yet. Maybe I’m just distracted. Maybe I’m still just in some sort of honeymoon.
Or maybe I’m just good. At least that’s the truth for now. We’ll see how it all shakes out.
It’s been so amazing to me how much love and support we’ve received from you Readers! Thank YOU for following along and sending your virtual love. We feel it. We’re grateful for you. Keep following. And guess what? I’m getting our computer set up tonight so I can get back to vlogging too! So don’t miss that. We want to continue to inspire and share. We hope you’ll keep coming back.
Shalom for now…
Love to see the Cunningham farm population growing and it seems you guys are settling in just right. Wendy- to hear that you are doing great and not just fine warms my heart. ❤️Miss you friend, can’t wait to visit!