Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's often hard to believe how quickly time goes by. As our markets wrap up and Christmas is just around the corner 2010 is within our reach. Wow. It was wonderful to have an opportunity to slow this down a bit with Thanksgiving. We are constantly in thanks for God's provisions, but this day is always particularly special because it brings it all together.

This was Gabe's first Thanksgiving and for Tristan it was old hat. He eagerly awaited a turkey that still was bigger than him: ) As we continue to expand our knowledge regarding the standard treatment of animals and the obscene amount of chemicals they are injected with having a holiday with our own bird brings a smile to our faces. There is a wonderful feeling in knowing where everything on the table has come from and that there is no reason to be skeptical about what's going in you. Good food, good people, Great God. Good stuff.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We're still in recovery mode here on Faith Farm after hosting 26 kids and 5 adults from Seneca High School for 3 1/2 days last week. It's amazing how much energy 16 & 17 year olds have and how little sleep they need. Our oldest daughter, Erin, runs a peer prevention group at the high school she works at in New Jersey and each year she facilitates a retreat for those involved. This was our second year hosting this event.

The crux of her program is focused on being detached from the responsibilities and distractions of their every day lives and take time to examine how they are living their lives. It was impressive to watch first hand, these young people gain a sense of trust among one another and be willing to be challenged on many different levels. From group discussion, building chicken coops and the bonfire...everything had a purpose behind it.

The kids participating stayed in our house. Boys slept downstairs and girls were upstairs and in the mix was breakfast, lunch and dinner all family style. The kids spent hours playing with Tristan and Gabe along with helping out with some of the daily tasks on the farm. It was great to have so many willing and interested in helping with tasks that are routine to us, but very foreign to them.

Paul and I enjoy this opportunity to not only get a glimpse into the lives of these kids, get a first hand look at what Erin does, but also spend some great quality time together as a family. The weekend definitely puts a different spin on things, but even challenges us in how we are living.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why our food tastes soooo good.

Ear taging a cow in the squeeze shoot keeps me safe from an excited calf. Above
Erin and Tristan unpacking newly arrived chicks in our brood house.

Today my middle daughter Jessica and mother of my two wonderful grandsons and I took a load of hogs to our processer
just enjoying our time together. I rested, she drove. A wonderful blessing older childen are. We were talking about our food,
how much we enjoy consuming what we raise. Jessica just came out and asked, "Dad, why does our food taste soooo good?"
With out hesitation I told her that I pray over every animal we process. I ask the LORD to bless these animals HE intrusted to us,
to calm their spirits, thank HIM for giving them to us and bless everyone who consumes their meat for their good health and HIS
glory." Plain and simple.

In our line of work blood, sweat, tears, technalogy, trial and error
are major factors but the LORD has the last say.
Without GOD's loving hand in our work, all our efforts are in vain.
I praise HIM for each and everyone of our customers, asking HIM to bless you all ways.
Thank you for supporting us. We are here to serve and provide you with the best we can produce.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tail end of summer

It is hard to believe that summer is quickly winding down and soon shorts and afternoon barbeques will be replaced with long sleeve shirts and the turning of leaves. But for right now, it is still summer and the warmth of the sun still casts its translucent glow as day fades into dusk and the animals scurry with the buzz of the bees and rolling around in the emerald green grass of their pastures.

Summer, for us, is typically a whirlwind with markets, the animals and a whole host of other responsibilities that accompany the farm life. This summer wasn't any different, but for right now we strive to take in the beauty of our surroundings and never take it for granted. Tristan and Gabe have taught us the lesson of taking life by the moment, not by the year or next event on the calendar.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


The following was provided by our oldest daughter, Erin:
If you were to have asked me back in high school where life would lead, what line of work myself and my family would be in I may have guessed farming on the 128th attempt. unconventional and in so many ways it embodies who my parents are. Since I was a kid my parents have broke the mold when it comes to taking life by the horns (no pun intended:) and refusing to settle in any way, shape or form.

The last two days on the farm I spent walking around and really trying to capture what they've created through the lens of a camera. In the height of summer the trees hang heavy with apples and pears, cattle graze from the plush green grass and pigs and chickens seem to find solace in one another's company. It really is amazing, but it is a level of beauty and serenity that has come through an incredible amount of work, time and ongoing efforts to maintain the needs of the animals and the land.

What I feel people have just recently began to realize the importance of knowing where their food comes from. Going to the markets with my mom has really opened my eyes. Beautiful flowers, fruits and veggies line tables. Fresh jams, cheeses and meats are loaded into vans in the early morning hours to reach the market by 7 am. It really is an amazing service to the Richmond community, but what I wonder is how many that frequent their local markets realize how demanding, back breaking and intense the work is to get the product to the point of sale? I watch my dad spend tireless hours with his animals caring, tending and ensuring that their standards are high. There is so much that goes into what finally arrives at the market and ultimately on the plates of those within the community. It has totally altered my view on food, farming and truly appreciating what it's all about.

Your local community farmers work hard, very hard. The big dudes at Tyson, Purdue and wherever else are pumping these crazy hormones into animals that really have no quality of life. I watch Tristan chasing chickens, the cows leaning against the fruit trees to knock down a few pears and think how beautiful all of it is. The problem is that the big companies are now pressuring those up in high places (nudge, nudge..wink,wink) to put strain on the local farmers. They are proposing a tax on small farmers and taxing each and every animal. If that were to go through the many local farmers in Virginia will inevitably go under. Unfortunately, that includes my parents.

The hope is for those concerned to contact their local government officials and to speak up. My parents and other farmers I've come in contact with over the past two years have really opened my eyes to what is involved in small community farming along with the dark side of big corporations. I'm not trying to get all postal on this issue, but too often we settle for complacency and at some point that's going to bite us in the bum.

Although I'm so not anywhere near a farmer (although I try like all get out while on 8996 Nutbush) I so love the beauty that accompanies good old Faith Farm. Tristan and I walked aimlessly around the night before I left taking pictures and just talking. As I was hurrying to take a pic of a few pigs under the tree he seemed to notice my frustration and leaned over to me, grabbed my hand and said, "E, no worries." All I could do was smile : )

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gabriel, blessings and new seasons

With spring beginning to finally show signs of sticking around the pace on Faith Farm has also picked up. Trees are blossoming, animals are scurrying around and we have a new little farmer to the Faith Farm clan. 
Gabriel Paul DeLaura was born March 28th to Jess & Daniel at a healthy 9 lbs & 5 oz. He is home with mom and dad with big brother, Tristan, making sure he is around to give plenty of kisses and hugs when needed. He is truly a joy to our hearts and we are profoundly thankful for his health and transition from hospital to home. 
With the warmer weather and the pleasant sense of being able to finally get out of the house and enjoy the joys of spring has been wonderful. Tristan had a great time trying to track down a few pigs who sprung from their pens. We hope you enjoy this little clip. Have a great week! 

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Not quite a typical day on the farm. On Wednesday ,Christy (Thistletown Farms) and I headed out to North Carolina to bring our 3 Angus Cows and 3 hogs to the processor. We had a
pleasant, albeit long drive. Taking animals to the processor is one of our least favorite things to do. But its all part of the cycle. Paul & I always pray over our animals. We ask that God keep them calm and peaceful as well as thanking them for providing  our food asking that all who partake will be blessed. It was a seemingly unevental trip.... We are always grateful 
when the animals get off the trailer in a calm,gentle manner. And the folks that take care for them are kind and respect them. The angus gently walked off the trailer into their pen. We breathed a sigh of relief and then headed to the processors to drop off the hogs. 
We were running late, so I called and asked that they leave the gate open for us. This was the first time that I was without Paul & I had a sense of what to do, but it was a little unsettling. Christy and I set up the trailer and let the pigs into their pen. They were just sitting in the corner of the trailer seeming to say, 'I'm comfortortable, 
there is no way that I'm moving...' Sooooo, after praying for God's guidance I really thought I would have to take them back home. There is no way that I'm going to poke and prod them into compliance. Paul has a way with them and they listen. After about spending about ten minutes just talking to them, the three of them simply got up and strolled into their pen. Christy and I looked at one another and started to cry. I know, you had to be there to grasp the relief that we felt. 
Our animals have a wonderful life during their time on Faith Farm and we want them to not be afraid at the end. Not sure if it's silly, but we felt that it was nothing short of a miracle that these hogs who are usually very stubborn just sort of marched into their pen. By this time it was after five with two hours to get home. We turned into a parking lot clipping the corner of a sign, not a good thing. Thankfully the trailer was empty, but the tire was wedged between the sign, not damaging it. If Chris went back or forward it would rip the sign out. We were exhausted, Paul was home and we were  tired. I prayed asking God to send someone to help. We didn't want to call for a tow truck and the men that were around were pretty much worthless. Chris knew what needed to be done. So along comes this perky girl with a pick up asking, 'do you guys need help?' She jumps out, pulls out a chain, pops it on the trailer and gives it a gentle nudge. In a matter of seconds we were out of our situation and a sigh of relief came over both of us. Again, another answer to prayer. How much better life would be if we brought everything to God in prayer. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A little sun and no jacket goes a long way

It's amazing what a little rise in temperatures can do for the spirits. Paul & I managed to take a brief break in the day's chores to just sit on the porch, bask in the sun's warmth and soak in that false sense of spring that we were quite content with. Strutting around without a jacket and the temptation to put on a pair of flip flops made everyone in the house and our animals a little lighter in spirit. The piglets were out in full force and our chickens seemed excited to not have any hint of frost on the grass. 

The past two days have been truly a blessing and although the temps are expected to dip down again, we'll take what we can get. Tristan had a blast not being fully bundled up and able to run around helping his Pop out on the farm. We are excited for our oldest daughter, Erin, to spend next weekend with us. It's always a joy to have a full house and just be together. Good stuff. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The few, the strong... the farmer

As January is beginning to fade into February it's hard to believe 2009 is in full swing. You turn on the television, radio and even in daily discussion the theme of economy and the road ahead has many in a flurry. Businesses are going bust and stability seems to have faded somewhere along the line. But the reality is, we are a resilient country and shall persevere as we have in times past; it's just going to take a little time. 
We've walked many paths in our lives and I have to say farming has not only been educational, but insightful in more ways than we could have ever imagined. We believe strongly in our work and take pride in tending to the many small details that go into making our final product possible. It takes time, patience and a whole lot of faith.
In our hearts we want to be able to serve our customers for years to come. But what we've realized more than ever these past few weeks, is that we need you in order for that to be a reality. Sometimes convenience or weather can take precedent over doing what we're accustomed. But we're going full steam ahead and hope that you too will join us. Have a blessed week.  

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chill in the air

The recent tumbling of temps has made tending to the farm all the more interesting. With frozen ground and blistering cold you have to get creative in keeping warm while tending to the animals. Stock in Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate may rise due to residents of Faith Farm as well as thermals being  out in full swing. Our hope is within the week or two that there is a break in the cold and the digits rise, even if only slightly. 

There is nothing we can do to prevent the cold, but one of the most important things is to be able to have fun and enjoy the daily grind no matter what the circumstance. Paul tends to the pigs and Tristan will quickly yell, "push me Pop, push me." The pigs will just have to wait an extra ten minutes for the food until Tristan and Pop have a few laughs on the tire swing. Keeping the priorities in check are important. 

Here's a pic of Jess & Chrissy out at the market a few weekends ago when the sun was out and the jackets were left in the car. What a day it was! Even in the cold and chill, we're at the market : ) We hope to see you there. Have a blessed week. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A view from the porch

Its funny how sometimes the ordinary can be so out of the ordinary for so many. Our daughter Erin brought that to our attention during her visit. As we walk the farm each day sometimes a little more reflective than others there is so much truly out of the norm. Paul pushing Tristan on the tire swing, feeding our cows their daily bales of hay with the tractor and scurrying turkeys and chickens that just seem to be everywhere. 
It's amazing how only a few years ago we sat on our porch watching the sun setting over the sound and now our view is of chickens, cows and the daily visiting humming birds. Pretty neat. In our life time we've had a number of different views from our front porch making life the farthest from predictable or boring. Right now, watching the view from the front porch isn't all that bad; and that's a good thing. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lovely weekend

This weekend brought a very welcomed break from winters expected chill.  With the change in temperature it seemed to bring out a flood of customers and our fields were littered with grazing animals basking in the suns warmth. We've had many new piglets born over the past month and they scampered through the fields, rolling in hay and snuggling with their mamas. What a little change in temps can do : ) 

The weather made for an ideal market for both our Lynchburg & Richmond customers. Erin & Jess headed to the 17th st. Market & Brenda made her way to Lynchburg. There were vendors with crates of fresh vegetables, fruits and breads bringing great smells and brilliant colors. It was a pleasure to see so many faces out and anxious to stock up on their meats, honey & jams. The sun and warmth made the day even more enjoyable & Tristan even had a few playmates to hang out with. What more could you ask for?