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Archive for May, 2012

After three months working with the City of Chattanooga, Allen is starting a new job.

And I just started a part-time job a few weeks ago.

What?!? Because moving to a new city, starting one new job, renovating a house, planning for a farm, and raising two kids wasn’t enough. Our good God saw fit to bless us with more big changes as well!

To give a little background on Allen’s job change:

Last summer, after Allen was laid off in North Carolina but before we decided to make the move to Dunlap, he interviewed with Ragan-Smith, an engineering firm in Nashville. They really liked him, but he was overqualified for the position and they weren’t willing to move our family from North Carolina to Nashville. Then, about a month after we moved here (about November), Allen learned that Ragan-Smith had just opened a new office in Chattanooga. He contacted them to let them know that we were now living in the Chattanooga area if they were looking to hire for the Chattanooga office. They said they weren’t ready to hire at that time, but they were glad he contacted them and would keep him in mind. Then in March, after Allen had started his position with the City of Chattanooga, he got a call from one of the principles at Ragan-Smith and now 6 weeks later, he has a job with them! While the job with the City of Chattanooga was God’s provision for us when it came, this new job is more suited to Allen’s training and interests. It’s hard to imagine that it was one-year ago this month that Allen was laid off in North Carolina. We never would have thought we’d be here now. Everything in God’s time.

As for my new job, it’s not nearly as tailored to my degree or experience as Allen’s is, but I’m hoping will be educational as I learn how to help those who are struggling in our community. I’m working part-time at a thrift store (like I said, not at all related to horticulture or farming). The name of the store is Serenity Pointe. It’s actually a non-profit ministry here in town that uses the proceeds of the thrift store to minister to people in our community. They provide safe-housing, they offer courses in addiction, parenting, and anger management, and they sponsor people for drug rehabilitation programs. They began their ministry about 4 years ago, so now have a fairly well-established ministry. Allen and I met with the founders shortly after moving to Dunlap to learn more about the ministry they do and to share with them the vision that God had planted in our heads of using our family’s farmland for ministry. And during that first meeting, we discovered that using the land and agriculture as a form of ministry had been a part of their big picture for the work that they do as well. I began volunteering with them in March and on my first day volunteering, they offered me a part-time job working in the thrift store.  I couldn’t say no. It has been and I’m hoping will continue to be, an opportunity to learn about what it means to work with the underprivileged and those who are struggling.

In other matters, we were able to visit a local farm on Saturday called Sequatchie Cove Farm and take a tour of their operation. We were able to talk with the owners for a bit and were very encouraged. When they began 16 years ago, they started small as well while working at other jobs off the farm. And now they are able to do it full-time and are one of the most well-known farms in the area for pastured livestock (and they have a creamery-we brought home some yummy cheese!). They reiterated our idea of starting small and learning little by little what works and what doesn’t. And after 16 years, they’re still learning and growing. It’s encouraging to hear success stories from others. It can be done!

And for a glimpse of our little vegetable patch:

Planting seeds earlier this spring

We planted our tomatoes early this year and we had to cover them to protect from frost a few nights. Those moving blankets we kept came in handy!

Good thing we covered because we definitely got some frost.

Everything coming in nicely. All 24 tomato plants survived several nights of frost under those blankets!

Our first harvest of greens washing in the sink

This was my grandfather’s wheel-plow. We’ve actually gotten some good use out of it!

This is the 80 yr-old (we think) grape vine that my great-grandparents probably planted. We re-trellised it and are hoping for some good grapes this year!

One way I have found to get my kids to eat their vegetables: let them pick it straight out of the dirt. Munching like a little rabbit.

She called this her “sandwich.” Two spinach leaves with some dill in the middle.

Sampling some dill.

My garden helpers.

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