May 2023

May has been a busy month on the farm, with most of our attention going to the garden and orchard where things are off to a good start. This time last year we were still getting settled in, and while we got a garden put out, we couldn’t give it the attention it deserved. This year we are doing better. Chickens are laying eggs, the creek cools us off, and life is good.

Our last kindergartner!
84 quarts of strawberries so far this year
On our way to a picnic
The girls got to see a little concert by one of their favorites, Skye Peterson

April 2023

Much more went in the ground in April: corn, tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, etc.
Papa and Grandma Forssell came for a visit, making pasta here…
…and even helping out in the garden!
A rabbit has been causing a lot of garden problems, but Sam took care of it after church Sunday night.
At little trout fishing by the dam
John and Papa discussing matters at the lake
Shooting star
Last year’s asparagus crowns are starting to produce
Mulching the apple trees

March 2023

Cleaning up last year’s strawberry plants
Mulching a young pear tree
Planting onion sets
Spring cleaning
Winter stowaways
Bradford pear tree in full bloom
Apple blossoms in the “first pink” stage
Fun with friends
Quinn’s 10th Birthday, and she got…
…a bunny!
Potato planting

February 2023

John had his first dentist appointment – he did great!
Riley and I worked on thinning and training our trailing blackberries
Our beloved Spring wildflowers are beginning to emerge
Winter cabin fever struck and the girls + Erica went to a local coffee shop for a change of scenery
We helped some friends who were on vacation by taking care of their sheep
Spring birding is starting to heat up! (White-breasted nuthatch)
Over the course of the month our brassica seedlings have really done well with our grow light setup
A LOT of desserts have been getting made lately…
…to go with a LOT of tea, which as become a new hobby for the girls
Epic laser gun battle (boys lost)
A branch came down and wrecked our electric fence while I was away, but Riley had it patched in no time…
Yours truly, Dr. Siegfried Farnon

January 2023

An unusually warm January kicked our laying hens into production
A night on the town with Shirley Temple’s
We all feel much safer with John on the beat
Our hardwood ashes from the stove make an important fertilizer that our fruit trees appreciate
We changed the carburetor on our little generator and got it running
Riley’s 16th and John’s 6th birthdays were this month, so we had a little fun to celebrate
Rootbeer floats!
We’re hoping a grow light system will give our seeds starts a better chance this year. These spring veggies will get planted out in early to mid-March.
We reworked John’s room to now have a loft bed with a slide. This gives him a lot more room to play.

December 2022

We had an extremely cold stretch with sub-zero wind chills and 108 hours below freezing, but it brought a white Christmas and some winter fun.
We couldn’t believe that we got to see sections of our creek ice over, definitely a first!
Christmas morning
Playing “Dutch Blitz”
We shot our first deer! Thankful for the meat it added to our freezer.
Venison backstrap and tenderloin
We got the last of our hogs butchered and in the freezer. Here, Paige is making hot Italian sausage links
Quinn and John handling the initial sausage grind
Someone dumped a young puppy on the road near our house, so we took him in, treated his worms and got him some shots. He’s a boxer/lab mix, and we named him Knox.
This month we had our 18th wedding anniversary and were able to go out for dinner.

November 2022

First off, we are very proud of Riley for opening an Etsy shop where she sells stationary with pressed wildflower arrangements. You can check that out here – Delicately Dressed Co. – Etsy Shop

Recap: Thanksgiving; local high school football game; Christmas decorating; Paige AND Samantha’s birthdays; fishing; smoking bacon; hog butchering; Santa’s Workshop; Adam & Sarah Thompson visit (with Aki); Ron and Donna Guendjoian visit

Week 44, 2022

As we prepare to mark the anniversary next week of our arrival to this “beautiful middle of nowhere” as one friend put it, a little reflection is in order. In the couple years leading up to moving to Tennessee, we experienced a growing desire to put our values and interests into greater action. In God’s providence we had found and purchased our property several years before, and each time we visited we saw more clearly how perfect a place it was to experience the seasons, grow a big garden, raise much of our own food, and be in nature. It is no small thing to have the freedom to order our common affairs the way we desire, and we are deeply thankful for that freedom. And as we could never have expected, we’ve seen how much more God had in store for us here in Tennessee than we could have imagined when we set out on this adventure.

Some Successes – heating with wood, pig pen, a prolific garden, electric fence, garden deer fence, canning, trim carpentry, orchard established, tractor and implements, chicken coop, birding, reduced expenses, wood chopping, chick hatching, seed saving

Some Failures – seed starting, tree grafting, dairy cow not pregnant, poor tomato plant support, poor potato yield, dogs eating chickens, raccoon eating chickens, snakes eating chickens, dog issues

One year in, and our appetite is eager for year number two. We have a list of untried projects and plans, and a number of adjustments to make to things we did try this first year.

Going forward, we are going to try posting monthly instead of weekly. We’ll see how that goes.

Our motto for this first year has been the quote from Picasso, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it”, and that curiosity-based approach has opened up whole worlds to us. We pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone, failed plenty, and have found great satisfaction in the whole complex process. What a great gift life is!

Week 43, 2022

October 29, 2022


Some pockets seem to be in peak fall color, but much of the forest is past peak, headed toward full leaf drop and bare trees. Even though we’ve had some hard freezes, most days are still mild, with highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s. But it has been dry. The lack of rain hasn’t been too serious since the garden is all in, but we would like some rain on the oats and clover seed that is laying out in the garden for our winter cover crop, and we’re getting tired of watering young fruit trees by hand.

I had to fly to Sarasota for a quick work trip this week, and on the way back to TN got to enjoy a sunset.

Down On The Farm

We are in a lull between garden/veggie work, which is all done, and the butchering of our pigs in the coming weeks. The break has been nice, and we’ve used the time to knock out some house projects, clean, etc.

While I was away, Erica and the kids defrosted some frozen pork belly and started the curing process to make it bacon. It will be ready to smoke in one week.

Best Thing We Ate

Riley’s homemade chocolate ice cream with raspberry topping from the orchard

From Family Worship

Our Bible reading finished in James, and we jumped into Daniel. The context of Daniel and his friends being exiles in a land hostile to their religion immediately confronts us. Even though these events took place in 600 B.C., the setting of hostility is familiar. With very few exceptions over the last 2,600 years, God’s people have almost always been the outcast minority, persecuted for their faith by a world of darkness that hates the light.

Christians in the West have generally enjoyed religious freedom the last couple hundred years, but that is in the process of changing. This shouldn’t surprise us if we look at the big picture of history, and we do well to remember that it often takes external difficulties to sharpen and grow our faith. The book of Daniel is timeless, as all of God’s Word is.

Other Happenings

It was a surprise treat to get to see Gigi down in Florida – a remarkable woman!

Week 42, 2022

We were out of town this week, visiting with family at a Georgia meet-up, so nothing to report from the farm. It is always good to spend time with family, and we enjoyed a few days of Georgia “lake life”.