June 2018
Simple Times

It Happened Again


One of my Angora rabbits and the spinning wheel I just sold.

It happened again yesterday.

It happened so dramatically that it couldn’t and can’t be ignored.

And, to top that, it has happened three times in the last five days.

So here I am with my plans changing, AGAIN!

I was all set to write a "farmy"-type article about how you need to carefully consider all the animals and other projects you begin on your homestead or farm so you don’t overtax not only your finances but your energy as well. And how the friendly folks at your local Quality Co-op can help you every step of the way – from planning through fruition!

But then it happened yesterday. And I am compelled to share. (And I’ll get around to that other somewhere in this article, I promise!!!)

What happened? Let me see if I can tell about this without crying on my computer keyboard and shorting all the electronics.

Many of you know about the spiritual journey we have been traveling for nearly a year now (and me for nearly six years now).

I’ve written before how I don’t believe in a "name it and claim it" Gospel ... because Christ and the disciples repeatedly told us we won’t have an easy time on this Earth.

But God picks times when I need Him the most to simply do something that is out of this world, literally, and way too big to be a mere coincidence. (Some of you might remember there’s a whole chapter in one of my books simply titled, "Coincidence, I don’t think so," about this very thing.) But when it happens again and again, my poor human brain is still reeling; and my heart and soul are still soaring!

We have been trying to sell a house in another part of the county. We won’t benefit as much financially because of ongoing things in our lives but we have needed it to sell to simply get us moving even more toward the new work we have to do. But like all homes (it was built in 1968 and is an earth-sheltered home), even when it was placed under contract, there are many, many things that must be completed before the loan inspection is complete.

Although I always try to lean on my faith, my personality is just one where I see the glass as half-empty too many times. But those are when God steps in and my heart nearly leaps out!

There was something we HAD to pay that was nearly $400 and it had to be paid yesterday … and we didn’t know about it until that morning.

While $400 doesn’t seem like a lot of money in the overall scheme of things, when you are already stretched to the max, it IS a lot to suddenly have to deal with.

As I waited in line with my fiancé’s bank card to make that payment and get things on the way for yet another link in the home-loan inspection, my cell phone rang. I usually don’t answer numbers I don’t know. But I answered that one thinking it might have something to do with the house.

A lady’s voice asked, "Is your spinning wheel still for sale?"

Yes, it was for sale (and had been for many months). I told her I’d call her back just as soon as I got back into my truck.

Five minutes later, she simply told me she wanted it and could she drive from DeKalb County and pick it up yesterday afternoon.

So God replaced most of the money I had just had to spend ... right then, right there.

Coincidence? I sure don’t think so.

Monday morning, we were eating breakfast. The phone rang. It was a local business letting me know someone anonymously had paid off a huge bill I owed ... for no reason.

And go back a couple more days to Saturday morning. Income taxes, those dreaded words. I won’t go into personal details BUT God stepped in again in a mighty way.

We are sure not anything special. But our God sure is! We’ve been down in the valleys so much during the last few months, sometimes it seemed we’d never see the light. And we’ve still got some pretty big mountains to hike up! But God will be right there beside us, catching us (mainly ME) when we stumble, calming our souls when despair tries to rear its ugly head.

We continue to reevaluate things on the farm. We are down to around 80 chickens and roosters, six rabbits, one turkey (Thomas), several ducks, six goats and seven guineas.

Currently, that is a feed bill we can handle, as we sell eggs from the hens and I continue to sell goat milk soap.

But I’ve had to learn many hard lessons.

Just because I love a cute cuddly animal, whether covered in feathers or fur, too many of those "pets" can literally bankrupt a small homestead like ours.

If an animal can’t contribute something to the farm, he or she shouldn’t be here.

It’s too easy to fall into the trap of wanting every animal you see, especially when you first start out. I had lofty goals. But so many years of running this farm by myself (even for many years before my husband’s death) meant I couldn’t accomplish everything I’d hoped.

I’m a romantic. But I’ve had to face a tough dose of reality during the past few years. Now God is showing me how I can still enjoy my farm, still live off the land as much as possible, and still have a little income to keep things going.

Expanding our garden and our tiny greenhouse are two things we did that don’t take hardly any capital outlay, but can make big benefits. Not only is it cutting way down on our own groceries, but we can not only sell the surplus vegetables but also the extra heirloom plants.

That’s where Blount County Farmers Co-op (and your local farmers market or Quality Co-op) can really make a difference. They can tell you what plants are best for your area. They can help you start out with seeds or with Bonnie plants already healthy and ready to set out.

In the fall and spring, they can get you started with the right fruit trees, grapevines or other berries for our climate.

When you do get animals, they can advise you on what they should eat, how often and how much it will likely cost to feed them each month.

I’ve written before how the late Jerry Sterling at Blount Co-op advised me over two decades ago to get Golden Comet chickens (also known as Red Stars). Those initial chicks, and all those since, have been a perfect fit for my little homestead!

As we continue on our journey on this little homestead and in our lives, I want to thank you all for your advice and especially for your prayers! Look for more farmy articles from me in the future and look back over the archives on the website if you want to review how my Simple Times column has progressed over the past 11 or 12 years!

I remain that SIMPLE, little gray-haired homesteader, relying on God’s Grace!



Suzy McCray is a freelance writer living on a small homestead in Blount County. She can be reached through Facebook.