Wednesday, March 21, 2012

OK, so I'm not Janette Oke, but the saga continues

Continuing on with the theme of the move to the Wonderful Land of AZ…

The trip from there to here was approximately 2,000 miles and I've already described the ‘beautiful for spacious skies’ so it is time for the rest of the story! 

When we determined to move we were living in a 100 year old farmhouse on 20 acres in a very rural, primitive section of Ohio in Coshocton County. The berg itself was called Tiverton Center and was the second highest point in the state (but still below sea level). This old house needed everything done to it! We painted, we stripped woodwork, we cleaned and finally painted and stenciled. We called it home. 

You've no doubt heard of a “Gentleman’s Farm”? Ours was more like an amateurs’ adventure on the farm! We ended up raising chickens (which I wouldn't mind doing again, but alas we don’t have the area in town and I don’t want to be dodging the poop!). Those we purchased as peeps. Crowmore and the Cluck Sisters was what I called them. We began getting farm critters from people we didn't even know. 

A pig farmer brought us our first runt by meeting me at the back porch door, handing it to me and saying, “Here – I don’t have time for the runts. If he lives, he’s yours.” So I took the cute little guy and promptly named him Hamlet. Mistake, mistake!!! Warning, warning! Never name a farm animal!!! I bought the special nursing “mix” you use to nurse them back to health and he began to grow. I held him like a baby simply because I didn't know any different. Hamlet began to grow, and grow. I then learned that for every pound of food a pig eats, they will put on half a pound in body weight. He moved to the barn and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that pigs are quite neat! (Chickens however are not! And turkeys are even worse and stupid!!!) 

Months passed and the time arrived when it was time to take Hamlet to the butcher’s. Husband did that, I stayed home and felt bad. Really, really bad. A few days later Husband picked up the “packages” and torched the grill. I was still sad. When everything was ready, the table set, the vegetables placed and the food blessed I knew I would have to set an example for our son and daughter, so I reluctantly took a bite. WOW! (This is where we hear the strum of harps with angelic overtones!) A conversion had taken place! What once had been my boy Hamlet had been lowered back to us in a sheet and was now pork any heathen gentile would appreciate! Oh my! Homegrown was the best! 

Off and on, the pig farmer brought more runts to our home. The next one (Calvin Swine) did not make it past 24 hours. When he arrived again it was four piglets – three males and one female. I named the males Runtley, Gruntley, Huntley and the female was naturally Brinkley after the model… yes, I know… Again, sheer mathematics caused us to butcher Gruntley and Huntley as juveniles and we then offered either of the other two to a neighbor who was an Amish dairy farmer. He chooses Brinkley and we kept Runtley. 

Let me tell you a bit about Amish neighbors. You cannot do something for these people without them doing something for you. We had an abundance of eggs which we gave them. In exchange they brought us baked goods. We had the acreage; they planted and baled the hay. We split it. I had to talk hard and fast to get him to accept half because he said it should be 1/3 for him and 2/3s for us. We didn't have the animals for that – it would be a sin for it to go bad! 

Now, about the sow we gave him… the next spring he showed up with a calf for us to raise! I forget the actual mix of the calf but she was half Jersey if we wanted milk and half something else if we wanted her for meat. So… what do you name a calf? I called her “Caffie” and she responded to that. 

Our status on the farm was, well at least growing as by that time we had four goats – two kids, one dairy goat (I still have a great grip!) and the kids Mama. Now the dairy goat Broney was the most stubborn thing in typical goat fashion. I would tether her out by the fence line to eat the poison ivy and sumac as goats spit the antibodies out in their milk and it helps humans to gain immunity to it! 

I would try to lead her from one spot to another and she would dig her heels in and “Neighhhhhhhhhhhhh, neighhhhhhhhhh, neighhhhhhhhh!” as if I were beating her with a stick! I specifically remember one time when I was tugging and pulling and yelling at her saying, “Don’t you know, I’m taking you to a better place, move it!” I’m sure I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Tamara, how many times have I tried to gently lead you and yet you continue to dig your heels in, too!” OUCH! 

Caffie and the goat kids (a.k.a. Mia and Brittney) grew up together. It was cute when they were young, but as Caffie grew I sometimes saw Husband flying out the barn, as she had affectionately head butted him in the middle of the back. 

Coming home from church on Sundays we would be greeted by Smokey (the blind horse who turned the lights in the barn on) all the goats, Runtley and Caffie running to the barn to meet us and be fed. 

Not knowing if the move from the farm was something the Lord was directing us to do; we did a Gideon’s fleece of sorts. We prayed and asked that if this was what we were supposed to do, then God - sell our home without a Realtor AND with enough of a profit that we could leave debt free. 

An acquaintance of ours that we knew through church and who was a Realtor, heard we were selling and wanted to list the home. We told her about the fleece and kindly said no. She asked if she could at least show it. Husband explained that if she were to sell the home, $ $ THIS $ $ is the price we need and if you need a commission, then you will need to tack it on above this price. She agreed. 

She arranged to show the home to a family on Thursday evening. On Saturday she called to let us know the couple wanted the house at that price (to include her commission)! In my typical act of faith I asked Husband, “Were we not asking enough?” 

We had thirty days to vacate the premises! I shouldn't have been amazed, but I still am when I recall that story. 

We sold everything we could and gave our daughter whatever she wanted or asked for. She was 20 and pregnant with our first Grand. 

Suffice it to say, that had I been Lot’s wife, I would be a pillar of salt! My heart, my home, my first born child and future Grand were in Ohio! The move was difficult emotionally.

PS  4 Make me know Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.

I’m continuing on with this verse of scripture as it is so appropriate for this long, drawn out story! Actually, it is more than appropriate for my life!


  1. Tamara, you had me in stitches - I've done the raise, feed, bond, butcher, eat thing with pigs and calves. Gosh you brought back some memories! and stories I could tell too.
    You write wonderfully! Do we get more???? a take up where you left off for next time? :)

    1. Yes, I'd like to continue on with it for a bit. I'm leaving for a "journey" today - it's a spiritual retreat of sorts. I'm hoping to sort out some issues and get back to basics! I'll be gone for four days with not computer! Who knows, there may be more stories to share!

    2. Dearest Tamara,
      This little note will be here on your arrival home. Welcome home and I hope the retreat was a meaningful journey for you.
      Fond wishes

  2. what a story!!! filled with so many different emotions...thanks!

  3. This is such an amazing story, Tamara. I'm loving every minute of it! You truly have experienced God's leading - right down to the Gideon fleece!

  4. You are a wonderful story teller Tamara! What an interesting journey so far. I've always wanted chickens too! I can imagine how hard it was leaving your daughter while she was pregnant. When my Ginny moved out of state, I cried so hard.
    I'm really enjoying this story! Love Di ♥


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