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October 18th, 2015 PDF Print E-mail


Family Covenant Ministries (formerly Christian Home Educators Fellowship) Faithfully honoring God, equipping generations, and serving the homeschooling community for the past 31 years! www.FamilyCovenantMinistries.com


THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME October 2015 Information



Our Family’s Vision and Mission



Family Covenant Ministries (formerly CHEF) Information and Activities


1.  FCM Activities

     a.  FCM Upper Limits Wall Climbing, Saturday, November 7

     b.  FCM Annual Christmas Ball, looking for new location

     c.  FCM Annual Ice Skating, Saturday, January 30, 2016

     d.  FCM Tru-Combat, Saturday, February 20, 2016

     e.  FCM 32nd Annual Graduation Meetings in February and March

     f.  FCM 18th Annual Heart to Heart Tea, Thursday, March 17, 2016

     g.  FCM 22nd Annual Art Festival and Photography Contest, April 2016

2.  FCM Conference Notes

3.  FCM 2016 Conference, Why Branson?

     a.  FCM Homeschool Week, September 5-7, 2016

4.  FCM Fundraiser

5.  Needs and Services-Sophia Joël Photography


There’s No Place Like Home Articles


1.  Notes from Subscribers

2.  Southern Traditions: Faith, Freedom, Family, Farm, and Friends

3.  Heart to Heart: America Has Become a Culture of Death!

     a.  This is a very important lesson for your family!

4.  Covenantal Families-The backbone of Western nations has been Christian families living and working together in cohesive communities. Without this foundation, no nation can exist.

5.  Casting a Vision for Multigenerational Family Business-Shirley Plantation-Owned and Operated, and Worked by the 11th Generation

6.  In the Library-A Rich Spot of Earth: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello

7.  Delightful Surprises-The Southern Agrarian Unit Study

8.  Come Gather at Our Table

     a.  Soaring Food Prices

     b.  Americans Spend Less on Food Than Any Other Country in the World

     c.  Cancer Incidences Escalate to Epidemic Proportions

     d.  Consolidation of Food Supply

     e.  Raising Our Own Food

9.  In the Garden-Composting Black Gold

10.  Summers on the Farm

11.  The Joy of Country Living-Symbiotic Relationships Between Family, Farm Animals and the Family Farm

12.  Fearfully and Wonderfully Made-Fall into Wellness

13.  Dismantling America-Concerning the Recent Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same-Sex Marriage


If you get a blank email from us (mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) on your cell phone, please try looking at the email from your computer instead.






FCM Upper Limits Wall Climbing, Saturday, November 7, 12:30-2:30 p.m. at 1874 Lackland Hill Parkway, St. Louis, MO 63146 http://upperlimits.com/west-county/visit/. Please send in your payment to FCM, c/o Sonia Summers, PO Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645 by November 2. If you have any questions, call 314-920-6135 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Two wonderful options for families:

Rock Gym 101 provides an introduction to indoor rock climbing, equipment usage, safety procedures, and belay instruction. Adults and children age 11 & older will learn how to belay. Children 10 & younger will only learn to tie the knots. Children younger than 15 will need an adult to take the class with them. Prices include two hours of instruction, additional climbing, rental harness, belay device, and shoes. FCM Homeschool discount: Adults & children 11 & older, $15 per person (normally $30). Children 10 & younger, $10 per person (normally $15).


Open Climb Ideal for groups who have completed the Rock Gym 101 class, but not required. This group option offers climbing for 4 hours in the main gym area with a full orientation of the gym. Adult supervision is required for those 14 and under. No experience necessary, and auto belays are provided. Harnesses are included, and no charge if belaying only (belay certification required). $10 per climber (harness rental included).




FCM Christmas Ball We are looking for a new location. We will keep you updated.




FCM Annual Ice Skating Saturday, January 30, 4:00-8:00 p.m. PLEASE NOTE: Add $1 more if you pay us at the door. Outdoor ice rink at Shaw Park, 217 S. Brentwood, Clayton, MO 63105. $5.50 per skater includes skate rental, hot chocolate, and paper goods. PLEASE NOTE: You will soon be able to pay for this event online. If you are unable to pay online, please send name, number of skaters, and check payable to FCM, c/o Sonia Summers, PO Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645 by January 25. To get this deal, we must pay in advance, so please pay online or send your check in by the deadline. However, if you are able to come at the last minute, we will still be able to accommodate your family, but it will cost $1 more per skater. Do not pay at the ticket window; pay us. Just make certain that the ticket window knows that you are with the FCM (CHEF) group. This outdoor rink is a beautiful place to skate at night. Bring a finger food or plate of cookies to share, as we will set up hot chocolate in the warmed seating area just off the rink.




FCM Tru-Combat, February 20, 2016, 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. $125 per person. Includes 7 hours of field play reserved exclusively for FCM players, AR-15 rental, MILES 2000 laser system, 140 rounds of blank ammo (this should be enough for the day, but extra ammo will be available for an extra fee), and one MRE. For ages 14 and up, but all ages are welcome to view games. For your convenience, onsite food vendor, free parking, free camping, shady rest area, private restrooms, and ATM are available. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience actual military combat using an eye-safe laser system connected to real AR-15’s firing blanks while team fighting in the woods of central Missouri.


Located at Snyder Farm 14 miles east of Osage Beach just southwest of Jefferson City. Snyder Farm, 92 Howell Loop, Ulman, MO 65083. Driving distance is less than 3 hours from St. Louis and Kansas City. MILES 2000 is Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System. It is the fourth generation laser engagement simulation employed by the US military over the past 40 years. And One Shepherd is the only commercial provider of MILES in the world. No projectiles are used! It is safe. Every time a blank cartridge is fired, MILES emits an eye-safe laser to score hits on your opponent. “Kills” are possible at more than a half mile. The blank ammunition keeps operational costs similar to paintball expenses. Realism receives high marks because MILES is used in conjunction with real firearms, including the flash and recoil of blank ammunition. And while there is no pain involved, experienced warriors still find themselves under considerable stress when the “near miss” tone beeps during the chaotic noise of battle. Engagement ranges are phenomenally good, easily engaging targets at 400 meters and even out to 800 meters (a half mile) with small arms weapons. Feedback provides not only “near miss” and “kill” shots, but identifies who shot whom and with what weapon system. Even hit/miss statistics are available. Finally, safety is excellent because MILES emits nothing more than an eye-safe beam of light.


Registration Deadline: December 31. Make checks payable to FCM, c/o Josiah Summers, P.O. Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645. Include your email address. If you have any questions, please call Josiah at 314-920-6135. For more information go to http://trucombat.1shepherd.com/. Presented by One Shepherd Technical Institute of Leadership: One Warrior, One Leader, One Shepherd, http://1shepherd.com/. The first step in the direction of preparation to avert war, if possible, and to be fit for war if it should come, is to teach men to shoot! –Theodore Roosevelt




FCM 32nd Annual Graduation If you have a graduate, please email your graduate’s name, parents’ names, address, phone, and email address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Shortly after we receive your information, we will email our Welcome packet. Our meetings will be held in February and March at the beautiful Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131. Conveniently located just off Hwy 40/64 between Hwy 270 and 170, a little north of Frontenac Plaza. To give you an idea of the focus of our graduation you may read the godly and inspiring charge, “Destined to Make a Difference,” which was presented by Bob Wells in 2010 by going to http://www.familycovenantministries.com/. Click on “Services” and scroll to the bottom of the page.




FCM 18th Annual Heart to Heart Mother/Daughter Tea (Mothers without Daughters are Welcome!) Thursday, March 17 7:00-10:00 p.m. at the Hawken House Hearth Room, 1155 S. Rock Hill Road, St. Louis, MO 63119. Cost is $10 per person.


I will be teaching on the lessons—both practical and spiritual—that I have learned from living on a farm. Hopefully, I will have a visual presentation to go along with my talk. PLEASE NOTE: You will soon be able to pay for this event online. If you are unable to pay online, please mail your check payable to FCM, c/o Sonia Summers, PO Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645 by March 14 to reserve your place or call 314-920-6135 to make a reservation. Mothers without daughters are welcome to come. Come and enjoy tea and delectable pastries with other homeschooling moms.




FCM 22nd Annual Art Festival and Photography Contest, a Saturday in April at the beautiful Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131. Conveniently located just off Hwy 40/64 between Hwy 270 and 170, a little north of Frontenac Plaza. Last year’s festival was a great success, so mark your calendars and begin to plan your children’s art projects. We are pleased to continue our assorted arts category, along with fine arts and photography. More information will be included in future newsletters.




FCM CONFERENCE NOTES Many of the following excerpts are taken from lovely letters received from our families. Each letter, note, and email deeply blesses our hearts. Thank you. Hopefully these will bless your hearts, as well, knowing that God is working mightily among us.


We have had a wonderful time at the conference this week. From check in to grand finale, the days spent in St. Charles were a delight and encouragement! Thank you so much for all your family pours into this ministry for the cause of Christ and the building of His Kingdom.Paoli, IN


Thank you for standing firm in such an immoral and lawless culture. We realize that you are in the thick of battle all the time, so our family prays for you each day that God continue to strengthen you and protect you. Please don’t quit, as we desperately need you. We just don’t see any other leaders in the Christian community speaking truth, and standing for righteousness, without compromise. Your ministry is impacting the nation and even beyond—more than you will ever realize! St. Louis, MO


We really need to bring back God and Christianity in every aspect of our lives. Gideon didn’t win with numbers. He won the battle with few of great faith! Right. God love you for all your work and give you all strength. You are a very gifted couple to be able to handle so much. Love you all and ‘don’t quit’! God’s blessings!Villa Ridge, MO




FCM 2016 CONFERENCE-Unforgettable, that’s what it is!


Family Covenant Ministries Homeschool Week, September 5-7, 2016


Why Branson? by Jory Rolf


It is WHERE the Heart of America Rallies Year-Round to Champion Family, Faith, Friends, Flag and Future.


Below is a copy of our area’s Core Values-discovered and Lived-out by area residents…


Our Ozark Mountain Legacy


Our Vision

The Legacy of the Ozark Mountain Spirit Lives-Pass It On!


Our Mission

Champion Family, Faith, Friends, Flag and Future!



We honor families by offering environments and entertainment enjoyable for the whole family. We constantly reinforce a culture of character. We protect the health and safety of all children.


Faith (Christian)

We recognize a strong faith is a common thread throughout Ozark Mountain Country.



We treat each other with respect and honesty. We celebrate making new friends and keeping old ones. We provide a unique destination that offers a fun place to live, vacation and grow closer together. We take pride in serving and meeting the needs of others and listening to opportunities to constantly improve.



We are a community that upholds our Godly American Heritage unashamedly honoring our country, our Flag, our Christian origins and our Veterans.



We work together to continually improve our community and the quality of life for all who live, work or play in Ozark Mountain country. We actively and relentlessly protect and enhance our natural beauty, resources and environment. We foster an entrepreneurial culture and encourage all leaders to be committed to make this area a great place to work. We place a high priority of ensuring quality education to prepare our future generations to –Pass It On!


We Are Guided by Christian Biblical Values



How it all began…

In 1905, young Presbyterian missionary James Forsythe was assigned to serve the southwest Missouri region. When he arrived, he saw that the young people were in desperate need of education. Forsythe expressed to the Missouri Synod of the Presbyterian Church his dream of a school that would provide a quality, Christian education to young people who would, in exchange, work to help the school operate.


In 1906 The School of the Ozarks was established and was granted a charter by the State of Missouri for the purpose of “providing Christian education for youth of both sexes, especially those found worthy but who are without sufficient means to procure such training.” School of the Ozarks, now College of the Ozarks, continues to operate with strong Christian Core values.


In the late 1800s, Harold Bell Wright, an ailing minister-author who traveled to the Ozarks for his health discovered much more than he sought in the hill country. As he regained his strength in the healthful, peaceful atmosphere, he began writing a manuscript which would become the fourth most widely-read book in publishing history. It would also spark a nationwide interest and bring the first wave of tourism into the Missouri Ozarks. Wright’s most famous book, The Shepherd of the Hills focused on the area’s Core Values of Family and Faith.


Guy Howard was known to thousands of mountain people in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri as the Walkin’ Preacher of the Ozarks in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Mr. Howard walked an average of four thousand miles a year; his salary averaged fourteen dollars a month. He served dozens of pastorless communities in the Ozark area as pastor, teacher, music director, confessor, and general adviser on matters of every description. Without thought of recompense, distance or dangers, he was at the beck and call of these mountain people all hours of day and night. His dedication and the foundation that he laid for Christ to be “Lord” with the Mountain people of the Ozarks remains intact today.


In 1949, The Herschend Family leased some land and a Cave that is known today as Silver Dollar City. Widely recognized as the premier Family-owned park operator in the US, the Herschend Family owns, operates or partners in 26 entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties in 10 states. The Herschend Family dedicated their businesses to the Lord and determined to operate in way that was consistent with Christian, Biblical Values. The Herschends are leaders and setting the example for other Family-owned businesses, not only in their own community, but also in the State, Country and World.


Since the 1920s, countless families have sent their children to Kanakuk Kamps in the Ozarks to allow them the opportunity to grow in faith, confidence, and Christian character. Over the decades, we’ve seen entire families transformed as Kampers return home with a heart to serve God first, others second, and themselves third. 


Looking back over the past 109 years, it is obvious that God has a Plan for Ozark Mountain Country. He chose individuals and families who had Christian Biblical Values as His Vessels, so He could influence millions of lives for His Purposes. And, literally millions of lives have been influenced by God over the past 109 years in Ozark Mountain Country because of these individuals.


Thousands of students and employees that were a part of College of the Ozarks – founded and operated on Christian Biblical Values. Millions have read the novel or autobiography by these writers with their Christian Biblical Values. Millions that have attended or worked at the Theme Park or Camp owned and operated by families with Christian Biblical Values.


We are reaping today what those who have gone before have sown… Christian Biblical Values. Christ is in our Hills, Christ is in our Culture. Christ is in our Day-to-Day lives in Ozark Mountain Country because individuals and families were willing to live out their Christian Biblical Values in their day-to-day lives through the vehicles that God gave them.


The Founding Fathers of Ozark Mountain Country are passionate about passing on the fact that our area residents are God’s stewards for keeping Christ alive in our hills and alive in our culture… and because we are His stewards, we need to be intentional to pass-on our Christian Biblical Values to Children and our Children’s Children.


Ozark Mountain Country is a City on a Hill because Christ is alive in our Hills. The Founding and Development of the Ozark Mountain Legacy exists to help keep Christ alive in our Hills by Keeping Christ alive in our Culture.


The Legacy Continues…

In 2003, the Rolf Family moved to Branson, MO. The family friendly focus and rich Christian history of the area had been drawing them for a long time. In December of 2003, while “visiting” on a ministry sabbatical – their second son arrived 6 weeks early at a Branson hospital… where nurses prayed for them, cared for them and treated them with the love of Christ. The Rolfs were convinced that Branson now felt like home.


Knowing that the Branson area was founded on Biblical Christian values and the focus was always Faith, Family and Flag… Jory became more involved with serving in the community… However, he began to notice that there was beginning to be a difference in the “perception” of what Branson is and the “reality” of what it was becoming.


In June 2007, Jory felt the Lord giving him a vision to begin a “Legacy Initiative” for the Ozark Mountain area to help ensure that the area’s long-standing Biblical Core Values were identified, written down, and intact for future generations.


The objective of the Legacy Initiative would serve to drive the mission, vision, core values, marketing, infrastructure and future development of the Ozark Mountain area – based on the Foundation of the area’s Biblical Core Values. The initiative was thorough in its scope, expansive in its community input and aggressive in its implementation.


Jory first took his vision to Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley. She encouraged him to take it to the area Core Catalyst Team, whose purpose is to honor God by striving to improve their community through positive change based on Christian values and ethics. Jory also shared his vision with Jack Herschend of Herschend Family Entertainment, who greatly encouraged him to “make this happen.”


Over the next several months, Jory had the opportunity to enlist Community Leaders to facilitate a community-wide visioning process to clearly identify and solidify core values, mission and vision statements.


To achieve this Legacy, extensive community perspectives on area assets, issues and challenges, visions, values and opportunities in the area would be gathered and analyzed. The outcome of the Legacy effort was to ensure that the citizens, culture, core values and community would continue to positively influence those coming into the area as visitors, business owners, organizations and future residents.


In early 2008, the Catalyst Team hosted a luncheon for the area “Founding Fathers” (individuals that had helped the area develop into what it is today). At this luncheon, Founding Fathers shared their heart for our area, the growth they have seen and what the community needed to do to ensure the future Christian Legacy of the Branson area stay intact.


Later in 2008, Jory and the Core Catalyst Team launched the Ozark Mountain Legacy (OML) Core Team comprised of Key Leaders in the community, Mayors, School Superintendents, City Administrators, Chamber President, etc. These leaders would host “Town Hall Meetings” in various communities across Ozark Mountain Country.


In January 2009, the OML Team gathered over one hundred key community influencers from more than seven communities in Stone and Taney Counties to join in the process of identifying the Ozark Mountain Country Core Values. Attendees shared the desire to ensure that the Ozark Mountain Country’s “reality” and “perception” were both driven and aligned with the same set of core values. A Legacy Survey Booklet was created to gather input from participants. Five of these “Town Hall Meetings” were held with over 400 individuals speaking into the solidification of the area’s Core Values.


From the collected data came the final Ozark Mountain Legacy Mission, Vision and Core Values; a Legacy Implementation Plan; and an “Ideal State” Document. The “Ideal State” document was created to communicate the ideal end-in-mind and a way to measure the Ozark Mountain Legacy as it continued to be lived out in the Ozark Mountain communities. The Implementation Plan was created to help identify the key steps needed to make the “Ideal State” and the Ozark Mountain Legacy a living reality.


In December 2009, the Legacy Team hosted the historic “unveiling” of the Ozark Mountain Legacy Statements at the College of the Ozarks – the entire community was invited to attend. A challenge went out to the nearly 200 individuals in attendance to join one of the Legacy Teams: a Legacy Task Force Team in their OMC city, 1000 Walls Team, Training Team, Prayer Team, Recognition Team or Legacy Story-Telling Team.


Ozark Mountain Legacy presentations were made to area City Councils, County Commissioners, Chamber, Rotary Club, Hospital, League of Theater Owners, Superintendents, Pastors, College of the Ozarks, Students and Businesses. The Legacy Statements are gracing the walls of City Halls, Government Centers, Public Schools, Superintendent offices, homes, organizations, churches and businesses throughout OMC and are echoing daily in the hearts across the Ozarks! These Legacy Statements serve as a reminder and focal point of who we as a community have been and should continue to be if we are to remain a community founded and Guided by Christian Biblical Core Values.


Today, Ozark Mountain Legacy continues to train the community in how to actively live-out Christian Biblical Core Values in their businesses, churches and everyday life through Legacy University, Legacy Youth Institute, Legacy Builders and the Legacy Report.






How does Ancient Paths/Young Living help FCM? With a purchase of the Premium Starter Kit of $160, you will be providing $50 back to FCM! To participate use this link: www.ylscents.com/ancientpaths or contact Renee Yeo at 847-602-2792 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.






Former homeschooler, Sophia Wells, daughter of Bob and Kim Wells (Bob has spoken at CHEF/FCM graduations, conference, and Father/Son Mighty Men Weekend), and volunteer for our past CHEF/FCM conferences, has begun a photography business called Sophia Joël Photography that is producing praiseworthy photographs. With an eye for beauty, Sophia is creating charming memorable photographs that will bless families for generations. Please visit her website at www.sophiajoel.com and consider securing her for your next family event.




THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME-Celebrating 29 years of inspiration, encouragement, and biblical instruction, www.theresnoplacelikehome-summers.com


Notes from Subscribers Many of the following excerpts are taken from lovely letters received from our families. Each letter, note, and email we receive deeply blesses our hearts. Thank you. Hopefully these will bless your hearts, as well, knowing that God is working mightily among us.


Dear Summers Family, Thank you for your encouraging newsletters. I’m sure we aren’t alone, but it sure feels like there are many, many parallels in our lives! As we read about your farm endeavors, we can’t help but see ourselves! And only a few miles from you (our small 20-acre start-up farm is in Farmington right on the border of Farmington and Fredericktown). While my husband still works in the city, enduring a long commute each day, we long for the day when we are all here together on our farm, full-time! It is a busy season of life, and your thoughts and insights to this country living and the transition that is needed is much appreciated!Farmington, MO




SOUTHERN TRADITIONS Faith, Freedom, Family, Farm (Home), and Friends


In the last newsletter, we revealed Southern agrarian life. Now we would like to reprint an article that parallels the destruction of the South’s agrarian way of life due to Reconstruction and the North’s Industrial Revolution.


Farm and Ranch Agribusiness and the Fall of Rome: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Nations by John Moody, from Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions



It is 140 BC. The Roman nation is nearing the apex of its affluence and power. Conquest has brought wealth, luxury and ease to the once hard-pressed Roman people…transforming the nation from an agrarian to a commercial society.


Two brothers, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, are traveling together through the Roman countryside...passing…rolling expanses of Italian land, fertile and inviting…yet seemingly empty of Romans.


When Tiberius and Gaius reach the capital, they find the missing Romans—hundreds upon hundreds of Romans—landless, purposeless and unemployed. As they make their way through the city, the brothers see their fellow citizens hanging around taverns and bars, drinking and gambling, waiting in the government provided breadlines. The once productive and self-sufficient farmers or workers in small local communities are now displaced and draining the resources and vitality out of the cities and country.


Small farmers are the backbone of the Roman nation, without which it stands little chance of survival as a free republic. In peace and war, more than any other factor, their love of the land and country has been the determining factor in the nation’s survival.


The similarities between Rome right before its fall into dictatorship and modern America are striking and disturbing—debt, political gridlock, breakdown of the family, inability to deal with external and internal problems—to mention just a few. For us, the particular issue at hand is how the rise of ancient agribusiness, known as “latifundia,” and the loss of the …small farmer contributed to the nation’s decline into internal disarray and eventual dictatorship.


Following the wars with Carthage and the subsequent wealth it brought to certain Romans, more and more of Rome’s land was turned into these latifundia, the forerunner in many ways to modern, industrial farms both here and abroad. Wealthy senators or their patrician friends owned these large farms, which were worked by slave gangs. The owners often exerted considerable power in and over the Roman political system, manipulating and at times even paralyzing the senate and government from dealing with the nation’s problems. The small yeoman farms and their workers could not compete against the slave gangs of the latifundia and were forced to abandon their homes and property to seek employment in the cities, decimating the small, rural communities that once filled the Italian countryside.


The loss of the small farms resulted in more and more people flowing into the already crowded cities. These rootless newcomers helped drive up unemployment, crime, and vice and the need for government handouts, all of which further strained the nation’s resources and finances during a time of mounting external and economic pressures. As people left the countryside, more and more land became available for the latifundia to acquire, creating a terrible cycle of low commodity prices forcing population displacement, followed by urban overcrowding and decay…Rome went from a nation of many small, independent, and self-sufficient landowners to a nation controlled by a few rich and powerful “landlords,” with large portions of the population trapped in government-supported poverty or latifundia slavery.






America Has Become a Culture of Death!


Culture is religion externalized. –Henry Van Til


As I was typing in the last verse of Proverbs 8 for Jon’s sermon, But he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death, it occurred to me that just like the Egyptian empire, our country had become a culture of death that is working fast and furiously, not to save people, but to kill them through abortions, doctor assisted “mercy” killings, and same sex marriages, which cannot reproduce life and often ends it through AIDS. From evolution to abortion, from homosexuality to euthanasia, like a domino effect, one atrocity after another has been embraced and legislated by those who hate God.


As Herbert Schlossberg so poignantly points out: “It is no coincidence that humanitarian policy has reached the zenith of its influence at a time when death propaganda is so much in evidence. The arguments in favor of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia reveal that the humanitarian ethic wishes to restrict the right to live and expand the right to die—and to kill. Humanism is a philosophy of death. It embraces death, wishes a good death, speaks of the horrible burdens of living for the baby who is less than perfect, and for the sick person in pain. It is intolerable to live, cruel to be forced to live, but blessed to die. It is unfair to have to care for the helpless, and therefore merciful to kill. Those who wish to go on living, it seems, are guilty and ungrateful wretches dissipating the energies of ‘loved ones’ who have better uses for the estate than paying medical bills.” –Moses and Pharaoh by Gary North, p. 297


Gary North, in Moses and Pharaoh, pages 296-297, describes the antithesis between nations who embrace God as their Ruler with those who reject Him for The State:


When Moses and the Israelites looked behind them from the eastern shore of the Red Sea and saw the army of Egypt overwhelmed by the water, they saw the judgment of God on the power religion and its institutional manifestation, the power State. They had been involved in an historic confrontation analogous to the original confrontation between Satan and God. They had been given visible evidence of the inescapable outcome of this confrontation between these two rival religions: in heaven, in the garden, at the cross, and at the final judgment. The power religion does not have the power to defeat a holy God and His holy people, whenever they conform themselves to the terms of His covenant. Seeking power, the power religionists lose it—in time, on earth, and in eternity.


Nevertheless, the victory of God’s people, while assured, is not visibly manifested in every confrontation. Herbert Schlossberg is correct: ‘The Bible can be interpreted as a string of God’s triumphs disguised as disaster.’ As he says, ‘We need a theological interpretation of disaster, one that recognizes that God acts in such events as captivities, defeats, and crucifixions.’ It often seems as though the power religionists—the seekers of Gnostic salvation, the elite central planners—have all power. They don’t. ‘Never ask the enlightened ones about their track record, which is a series of disguised disasters…’ Most of Christianity’s victories have been disguised in the past, and so have most of Satan’s disasters.


The Hebrews’ experience in Egypt testified to a truth summarized by Schlossberg: ‘When loyalty to God disappears, there is no longer a barrier to an omnicompetent state.’ But the self-professed omnicompetent State isn’t omnicompetent; it is progressively incompetent, as Egypt’s experience reveals. Such a State is simply the chief institutional manifestation of covenant-breaking man’s attempt to imitate, and then usurp, the omnipotence of God. But omnipotence is an incommunicable attribute of God. Therefore, the only possible source of man’s long-term but limited power is biblical ethics. Adherence to biblical law, by grace through faith, is the only means of fulfilling the terms of the dominion covenant.


Thus, there is no need for Christians to become adherents of the escapist religion in order to avoid becoming adherents of the power religion. The dominion religion is God’s alternative. ‘We do not pretend that the fate of the world is in our hand. That way lies madness, being a burden that no human being can bear. Yet, we are not condemned to resignation and quietism, still less to despair. We are not the lord of history and do not control its outcome, but we have assurance that there is a Lord of history, and He controls its outcome.’


I cite Schlossberg repeatedly because it is his book, more than any other in my lifetime, which has best stated the theological case against the power religion. (Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago has best stated the historical case.) The idols of covenant-breaking man—history, humanity, mammon, nature, power, and religion—again and again reappear in the civilizations built by self-professed autonomous man. All idols, he asserts, are either idols of history or idols of nature. Covenant-breaking man asserts his authority over both nature and history, but because man is a creature, mankind is thereby captured, for mankind is, in the humanist view, both a product of history and a product of nature. By seeking power over both, covenant-breaking people place themselves in bondage to the self-professed master of the mysteries. By asserting that ‘man must take control of man,’ the humanist thereby implicitly asserts that ‘some men should take control over all the others.’ By seeking to exercise dominion apart from God, ethical rebels thereby deny their own creaturehood and therefore their status as humans.


Egypt is the archetype of covenant-breaking society. It proclaimed divinity for its leader, the sole link between the gods and mankind. It sought escape from the rigors of nature (drought and famine) and the rigors of history (change). The goal was static power—power over nature, over the netherworld, and over scarcity. But such a static state of existence can be achieved only in death. Thus, the monuments of Egypt were monuments of death: the pyramids, the tombs, and the labyrinths. Their quest for power, meaning freedom from the God-cursed changes in life, led to their cult of the dead. The Egyptians hoped for resurrection, but theirs was a resurrection based on magical manipulation, not a resurrection based on biblical ethics.


Pharaoh manifested this cult of the dead in his attempt to murder the Hebrew males. He could not stand the pressure of social change, particularly the social changes forced upon Egypt by the high birth rates of the Hebrews. He launched a program of genocide. In this respect, he was only marginally different from the humanitarians of the twentieth century.


As Schlossberg says: “It is no coincidence that humanitarian policy has reached the zenith of its influence at a time when death propaganda is so much in evidence. The arguments in favor of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia reveal that the humanitarian ethic wishes to restrict the right to live and expand the right to die—and to kill. Humanism is a philosophy of death. It embraces death, wishes a good death, speaks of the horrible burdens of living for the baby who is less than perfect, for the sick person in pain. It is intolerable to live, cruel to be forced to live, but blessed to die. It is unfair to have to care for the helpless, and therefore merciful to kill. Those who wish to go on living, it seems, are guilty and ungrateful wretches dissipating the energies of ‘loved ones’ who have better uses for the estate than paying medical bills.”


God confronted the Egyptian religion of death by calling in to question its assertion of power. He dealt with the Pharaoh, his priest, and his people in terms of their religious presuppositions. He demonstrated publicly for all the world to see that the power religion of Egypt was a fraud. Pharaoh had no choice in the matter. God decided to make a spectacle out of him and out of Egypt. ‘And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth’ (Ex. 9:16).


The Hebrews had this example behind them. They were to remind themselves and their children of the implications of the power religion. This was the educational function of the Passover. It was an institutional testimony to the futility of seeking power apart from biblical law. It is therefore futile to seek to fulfill the terms of the dominion covenant apart from God. It is equally futile to attempt to escape from the burdens of this covenant. Such an escape leads directly to historical impotence and slavery under some temporarily successful group of power religionists. Better to be Moses herding sheep in Midian than anywhere in Egypt, either as a Hebrew or as a Pharaoh. Better yet to be Moses confronting Pharaoh. Even better to be Moses on the far side of the Red Sea watching Pharaohs drown. Better yet, to be in the Promised Land, with a copy of God’s law in your possession. But best of all, to be at work in the wilderness, progressively converting it into a garden by means of hard work, in terms of the biblical law which is in your heart, and also in the hearts of all your neighbors (Ezk. 36:26-29; Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:10-11).


In the 1700s, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court James Wilson expressed what was common belief in America when he stated: “It should always be remembered, that this law...made for men or for nations, flows from the same Divine source: it is the law of God...What we do, indeed, must be founded on what He has done; and the deficiencies of our laws must be supplied by the perfections of His. Human law must rest its authority, ultimately, upon the authority of that law which is Divine...We now see the deep and the solid foundations of human law...From this short, but plain, and, I hope, just statement of things, we perceive a principle of connection between all the learned professions; but especially between the two last mentioned [the profession of Divinity and the profession of law]. Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.” –From The Works of James Wilson


In George Washington’s Farewell Address he said: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”


What is the outcome of calling right wrong and wrong right? In the case of Ferguson and St. Louis County Police, several policemen have told us that most of the police are leaving the force by retiring early or finding another vocation because they do not get paid enough to jeopardize their lives while their superiors are not protecting them. Where will that leave our communities?


In discussing Obamacare with our doctors, we have been told that many doctors have chosen early retirement instead of dealing with the ramifications of socialized medicine, while capable young men who were considering medicine have chosen not to enter the field. Where will that leave us when we need a capable physician? But then when we realize that Planned Parenthood is selling body parts of aborted babies, the reality of the nightmare comes to light. When a nation rejects God, there is no longer a standard for anything, much less life itself.


Past FCM speaker, Katherine Dang, states: “In ignorance, Christians are aiding and abetting anti-Christianity in America. More than any other factor, it is the weakness of Christian character and scholarship that is responsible for this country’s apostasy from its founding Christian principles of education, government and economics.


Amen! The problem does not lie with the liberals, but with those who profess Christianity and live like the world. If husbands, wives, and their children don’t live and work together but instead operate separately as autonomous individuals, then why is it wrong for two men or two women to become a family? Even many who call themselves homeschoolers live like groups of individuals who just happen to share the same house at night for sleeping purposes. See, it is not only what God says, but also what God’s people do with what He says, that makes a difference—becoming those living Epistles for all to read.


So how are you spending your time? Do your neighbors see your family living and working together or just passengers running in and out of your driveway? What are you showing the young woman who wants a career or the young man who does not want the burden of a family? Or what about the young people who may be considering a homosexual alliance? Are you displaying the advantages of living and working together as a family?


And, of course, what are you reading? Have you read the books on our Essential Book List? http://www.theresnoplacelikehome-summers.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=775:updated-2009-essential-booklist&catid=62:in-the-library&Itemid=56


Will your children become leaders like James Wilson, George Washington, Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas?


Families were God’s crowning glory of creation, created in His image to reflect that image by creating more families that worked to make the earth productive as God did in filling a formless dark void with life and light—thus the commission to be fruitful and multiply and take dominion by bringing all things under Christ. In essence, families are to restore paradise by imparting order through keeping the covenant.


All of this, rest assured, and more, Isaiah had in mind when he pronounced the coming creation of new heavens and a new earth. Isaiah’s whole vision speaks of God’s dominion and the blessings of a world dominated by God’s sustaining power and grace: rejoicing not weeping, joy not tears, longevity beyond our imagination, security in our houses, abundance in food, no fear of invaders or war, enjoyment of the work of our hands, and no more wild beasts, but peace and harmony. In short, God will have created us a new garden which we shall dress and keep. And God promises that in this New Creation, parents will not bear children in vain, nor will their children face calamity. And there near the end of this list of blessings we read the reasons for which these blessings come; and it says this: “for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them” (Is. 65:24). This is a promise of dominion, dominion through family, through God’s family, and dominion through God’s multi-generational family.



Whereas Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) as reflected in America’s culture of death, God came to give life and life most abundantly (John 10:10). This is the blessing that God’s families bring to the earth, that as heirs with Abraham, in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice (Genesis 22:18). This is the family covenant and what Family Covenant Ministries is all about!






Our family was recently blessed by Eagle Forum to attend a dinner at their Presidential Rally in St. Louis. On the way home from the dinner, I asked the children to tell me what stood out to them as they looked over the vast number of attendees. Their unified observations revealed the root of America’s problems and the failure of the conservative movement. For the audience was overwhelmingly comprised of elderly women, devoid of their children’s children. Furthermore, earlier in the event, one homeschooling mother overheard Phyllis Schlafly say to one of her cohorts that Eagle Forum had been established on homemakers, but that there were no longer any homemakers left.


Although we are truly grateful to Eagle Forum for their work, we must be honest that without strong Christian families, it makes no difference which candidate becomes President. That does not mean that we should disregard this important office, but that our message and labor should concentrate on strengthening families to disciple their children in the Word of God.


I dare say that there were probably many attendees who desired that their children’s children were there to hear Judge Roy Moore and the Presidential candidates, but who could not tear their grandchildren away from their extracurricular activities. We simply cannot return America to its Christian foundation unless we do it God’s way. That means that we cannot send our children to public or private schools, but must educate them according to God’s command that parents disciple their children and teach them God’s Word. It also means that homeschoolers stop running their children to learning centers and a whirlwind of activities and get serious about teaching their own children in the Word, as well, and that those families actually live and work together as family units.


The truth of this was revealed by one of our past speakers who shared with us that every year as their church homeschooling families work side by side with homosexuals on the floats for a yearly Thanksgiving parade, homosexuals come up to him in tears expressing their wonder at his church families because they have never seen families actually working together.


The backbone of Western nations has been Christian families living and working together in cohesive communities. Without this foundation, no nation can exist.


What has happened to America since the Industrial Revolution is far more serious than the reasons in the article above entitled Farm and Ranch Agribusiness and the Fall of Rome: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Nations. Far more sobering because it involves the destruction of the family as designed by God. After 5900 years of families working together on family farms, more specifically sons plowing next to their fathers, daughters working next to their mothers, and the entire family working together in a family economy, fathers and sons, and then mothers and daughters, abandoned the farm to work in the big cities.


Whereas 90% of America’s population worked the family farm during the Colonial period, less than 1% of Americans today claim farming as an occupation and only 2% actually live on farms.



In 1930, 75% of boys worked on the family farm. That number is down to 0.5% today. The result is that we have the most dysfunctional families in the history of our country or at any other time in world history.


A family based economy is based on family covenant, where everyone works together for the good of the entire family.


In this technologically advanced world, most are unaware that a prosperous society does not hinge on acquiring gadgets, vehicles or other luxury items. Rather, a significant indicator of a healthy society is the stability of the family unit. As small farms vanish from the countryside, with them disappears one of the best environments capable of producing strong, character-driven families. This—building strong character—is the most tragic loss as family farming dies out.


Over centuries, an agricultural lifestyle presented favorable conditions for the mental development of children because it exposed them to an immense variety of stimuli. It allowed them to channel their boundless energy in helping parents care for animals, collect eggs, grow vegetables and harvest grain.


For adults, farm life provided a slower pace, with time to think. Built into the occupation was a healthier diet and workout routine. Life in the fields provided what Pulitzer-Prize-winning author and agriculturist Louis Bromfield called “the only profession in which man deals constantly with all the laws of the universe and life.”


Not until the Industrial Revolution did nations move from an agrarian society into ever-expanding metropolises. While this shift has provided many modern benefits, society has inadvertently lost the strong focus on the moral character, integrity and work ethic.



Perhaps one of the greatest general statements to be made about the changes that resulted from the Industrial Revolution in New England is that families were no longer, if even by proxy, required to remain tight-knit and solely reliant on another. Before this time children worked in fields, women, as their gender roles demanded in this pre-Industrial Revolution society and family structure in New England took care of the home and men worked in the fields. The industrial revolution spawned great changes in family structure. Industrialization and urbanization prompted a marked change in life and working styles. Many people, especially the young, left the farms to work in factories; this process led to the dissolution of many extended families. With the shift away from the traditional modes of cottage industry in New England before the Industrial Revolution or highly localized familial production came a related shift of family values. Instead of being tied to the home because one was needed to assist with farm or family business tasks, young people were now freer to explore their own paths. Women, instead of being relegated domestic tasks were now granted an opportunity to earn an income, even if it was significantly less than that earned by male counterparts. Entire communities, comprised of family units and networks, were split and the traditional bonds of inter-family support that arose out of necessity, particularly because of farm-related and family business tasks, was now quite as essential. In sum, the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in New England, despite some of its drawbacks, brought with it opportunity and the potential to move away from traditional family networks.



Looking back to the 1800’s and very early 1900’s the small, nearly self-sufficient farm, was a model of success. Livestock provided the milk, eggs and meat required to feed the family. A large vegetable garden along with a small orchard provided the family with both fresh and canned fruits and vegetables. Many farms raised sheep to provide wool and meat as well. Any overabundance was traded with the neighbors or traded to the local store for goods or services that could not be produced. The farm family in reality required little that could not be produced on the farm. Energy consisted of muscle power, both human and draft animals. Land that was unsuitable for farming was allowed to grow in timber providing lumber and firewood.



Read more:www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Americas/United-Sates-ofAmerica-AGRICULTURE.html=ixzz31U25d2OD


Farming is definitely a family affair, requiring the assistance of all able-bodied members of the family. Most farms are eventually passed down from father to children and the skills are apprenticed to the children from a young age.



Instead of lamenting America’s spiraling decline, let us put our shoulders together and work to restore God’s order upon our land by reflecting His image in creating more families to take dominion of the earth for His glory.






Shirley Plantation-Owned, Operated, and Worked by the Eleventh Generation


Our family had the privilege of visiting the oldest family-owned business in North America—a working plantation that is still owned and operated by the eleventh generation of the original family whose vision has survived. Now that is a legacy we wanted our children to witness.


What does Shirley Plantation have to offer that no other plantation can? We offer the story of eleven generations of one family who to this day continue to own, operate, and work this grand colonial plantation.


Shirley Plantation is Virginia’s first plantation. Founded in 1613, only six years after the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, the crown grant carved Shirley Plantation out of the Virginia frontier. The chronicle of Shirley Plantation best exemplifies the period in our nation’s history between the settlement at Jamestown in 1607 and the movement towards American independence from Great Britain in 1776. During its long history and under the leadership of one family, Shirley Plantation has survived Indian uprisings, Bacon’s Rebellion, the American Revolution, the American Civil War, and the Great Depression.


Shirley Plantation is the oldest family-owned business in North America dating to Edward Hill I establishing a farm in 1638. Construction of the present mansion began about 1723 when Elizabeth Hill, great-granddaughter of the first Hill, married John Carter, eldest son of Robert “King” Carter. Completed in 1738, the mansion, referred to as the “Great House,” is largely in its original state and is owned, operated, and resided in by direct descendants of Edward Hill I.


The guided tour of the Great House highlights original family furnishings, portraits, silver, and hand-carved woodwork as well as stories of the Hill Carter family, eyewitnesses to eleven generations of American history. As one architectural historian contends, “Shirley Plantation is the most intact 18th century estate in Virginia.” Several features such as the ”Flying Staircase” and the Queen Anne Forecourt are the only remaining examples in North America of this architectural style. Included on the self-guided grounds tour are formal gardens and eight original colonial outbuildings.


Today, Shirley continues to be a working plantation, a private family home, a growing business, a National Historic Landmark, and a direct link between the past and the present and future. Shirley Plantation is privately owned, and no assistance is received from any government agencies. The revenue from admissions fees supports preservation of this unique part of America’s heritage.







“A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello by Peter J. Hatch


One of the pleasures of multigenerational living is witnessing our children walk in our footsteps. Even in the little things, it is so rewarding! Since I always read books that strengthened our spirits, enlightened our minds, inspired our creativity, and soothed our souls, Sonia now surprises me with books that do just that!


Although not a fan of Thomas Jefferson, I cannot help but admire his ingenuity, love of the land, and penchant for meticulous record keeping. Encapsulated in this beautifully illustrated book is his devotion to the tending of the garden. Not unlike Adam’s acquisition, he learned through experimentation and observation as he systematically studied and recorded the structure and behavior of the natural world. And through his meticulous management of all aspects of gardening, he became a world-renowned horticulturist, equally revered today as he was nearly two centuries ago.


Naturally, it stands to reason, then, that the man who has worked and managed Monticello’s 2,400 acres for the past 35 years should be the one to tell its story. In the Foreword to “A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello, Alice Waters rightly states of Peter Hatch: “He beautifully communicates the beliefs of one of our most visionary Founding Fathers: That our country is built upon the principles of our farmers, and that our relationship to the land our food comes from is one of the most fundamental relationships of all. Thomas Jefferson’s garden, Peter writes, was ‘an Ellis Island of introductions, filled with a whole world of hardy economic plants: 330 varieties of ninety-nine species of vegetables and herbs’…We desperately need to reconnect ourselves to the pastoral and self-sufficient tradition that Jefferson built; nothing is more vital than returning this tradition to the very heart of American culture.”


Though the cultivation of the land goes back to our agrarian roots in Genesis, “the very heart of American culture” was tied to this land as the New Israel—a Promised Land filled with the magnificent bounty of a gracious Father. Early settlers and Founding Fathers alike believed that the Lord their God had brought them “into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything…When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you” (Deuteronomy 8:7-10).


In fact, “In 1776, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson wanted Promised Land images for the new nation’s Great Seal. Franklin proposed Moses dividing the Red (Reed) Sea with Pharaoh’s army being overwhelmed by the closing waters. Jefferson urged a representation of the Israelites being led in the wilderness by the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. Later, in his second inaugural address (1805), Jefferson again recalled the Promised Land. ‘I shall need...the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life.’”


Conrad Cherry (ed.), God’s New Israel: Religious Interpretations of American Destiny (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1971)


So contrary to the popular view that often portrays Puritans and Colonists as stuffy minimalists, their diet alone refutes this fallacy, as a rich and varied menu occupied their daily table. Salsa, stuffed eggplant, stuffed cabbage puddings, black bean soups, potato chips, salads with vinaigrettes, peas with mint, asparagus on buttered toast, squash and cauliflower soups, even “sautéed fresh peas boiled with onion, egg yolks, cloves, and brown sugar to make a sweet custardy sauce” were among the many dishes served in early American homes. Jefferson even introduced French fries to the American table.


Black radishes, blue potatoes, white asparagus, sea kale, purple tomatoes, red pulp cucumbers, artichokes, asparagus beans, whippoorwill peas, salsify, Canterbury Dwarf beans, and Burmillions squash are just a few of the many varieties these minimalists enjoyed compared to the basic one choice selection we find at our grocery stores today. Consider for a moment, that our choice of cabbage is limited to red or green while Jefferson recorded thirty types of cabbages in his garden along with an astounding list of beans, the likes I have never seen. Jefferson even grew artichokes, peanuts, figs, and hops for home brew and pressed his own sesame seeds for sesame oil.


I was so enthralled with Jefferson’s array of vegetables that I copied some of his personal favorites like green curled Savoy and Oxheart cabbage, cow’s horn okra, brown Dutch lettuce, salsify, Arikara bean, carnation cherry, Caracalla flowering bean, and Egyptian onion trees to be added to our garden. I also noted that Sonia and I should pickle our nasturtium seeds next year according to the recipe in the book and use them in place of capers. But perhaps the most practical lesson I noted, and certainly the sweetest, was to sow “a thimble of lettuce seeds each week.”


And in regard to our culture’s current epicurean fixation on “Garden to Table” foods, we possess nothing over our early Founders, as Garden to Table was their way of life. From the first spring pea to the last rutabaga and carrot, food from the garden became their day’s meals.


And to the extent of Jefferson’s garden, he had not one but two vineyards, and obviously more than one orchard, as the south orchard was planted with 400 fruit trees. But his exuberance for cultivating the earth is perhaps most clearly seen in his enormous monumental undertaking of carting 200,000 cubic feet of dirt to form his 1,000 foot kitchen garden bed. To give you an idea of the magnitude of this space, the asparagus alone occupied seven beds each forty feet long. Incredibly large to urbanites, but to a man who figured that he needed 25 bushels of potatoes and 20 bushels of turnips for the winter table places this in perspective with the grand scope of feeding such a large number of people.


With this magnitude of responsibility came meticulous record keeping of when seeds were sown, when transplanted, where transplanted, when harvested, when expired, and when seeds were gathered. Actually, Jefferson’s documentation of “triumphs and failures” spanned nearly six decades in a book that he titled simply Garden Book, considered “a horticultural diary without parallel in early American garden history.” An extraordinary work, this Garden Book connects us to the land, and to our roots, and provides an intimate glimpse into our ancestors’ way of life—a way of life that brought continuity to the various generations of family, friends, and neighbors.


Revealed in an abundance of correspondences, seeds and their fruit were a means for social intercourse. “In 1792 Jefferson wrote his daughter Martha that ‘the next year we will sow our cabbages together,’ this modest but beautiful vegetable became an image of their familial happiness.” He also harvested with grandchildren, sent produce and seeds to friends, hosted elaborate “Garden to Table” dinners, and held an annual spring pea competition in which the first gardener to harvest a spring pea had the honor of hosting a community dinner for all the Charlottesville neighbors. Jefferson’s unabated zeal for the garden pea even led neighbors to grow peas to give as gifts to him.


Jefferson’s enthusiasm for the cultivation of the land led him to believe that “the greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add an useful plant to its culture.” To that end, he worked meticulously, experimenting with seeds sent to him from abroad and from friends and neighbors at home. Perseverance was certainly one of his virtues, as failed attempts seemed to foster renewed vigor for replanting. Consequently, this continual quest for bringing new crops to his native land led him to become the “pioneer cultivator of the rutabaga, a revolutionary crop for its storage capabilities and food value.”


While Jefferson read the Bible and even possessed an admiration of Jesus, he could not bring himself to accept Christ’s divinity, preferring instead to trust in man’s intellectual capabilities of reasoning. Despite this fact, he undoubtedly reflected the indelible mark of His Creator’s image as he tended to that rich spot of earth he called home. For though we may stray from our original commission, some time during our lifetime we usually find our way back to the garden!


Jefferson wrote, “I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden. No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. Such a variety of subjects, some one always coming to perfection, the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another, and instead of one harvest a continued one thro’ the year. Under a total want of demand except for our family table I am still devoted to the garden. But tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardener.” Jefferson’s granddaughter Ellen Randolph Coolidge wrote of her grandfather, “He loved farming and gardening, the fields, the orchards, and his asparagus beds.”


Genesis 1:19 “Then God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you.” Genesis 2:15 “Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”


“The Monticello vegetable garden is a living expression of the genius of Jefferson and one of the great success stories of his life.” Beautiful, informative, inspiring, this 228-page book is an easy read, so easy in fact that I read it to Sonia in just two days as she lay convalescing in bed, but snuggled up next to her, so she could enjoy all 200 of the beautiful color pictures of the garden. Sadly, it ended all too quickly, but since our family had the privilege of walking through Monticello’s garden overlooking the beautiful rolling Piedmont Virginia countryside, Jon and I are presenting a copy of this book to each of the children for Christmas, as a remembrance of our visit there.


[Please be warned to skip over parts of the section on tomatoes as it references inappropriate folklore.]






Another Unit Study as Promised: The Southern Agrarian


George Washington devoted his life to the improvement of American agriculture. While his initial interest in farming was driven by his own needs to earn a living and improve Mount Vernon, in later years Washington realized his leadership and experimentation could assist all American farmers. Initially growing tobacco as his cash crop, Washington soon realized that tobacco was not sustainable and he switched to grains, particularly wheat as a cash crop in 1766. Washington read the latest works on agriculture and implemented the new husbandry methods using a variety of fertilization methods and crop rotation plans on his five farms.



*The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen is a wonderful panoramic view of an entire year on a family farm, giving month-by-month details in word and picture about how a family takes care of their animals throughout the year. Although my children and I love this book, it is especially helpful in giving younger children a better perspective of what a year really looks like by what changes occur with the changing seasons.

*To enhance the study of this book, cut off about twelve feet of freezer paper and divide into one-foot sections titling each by month, starting with January and continuing through December followed by this poem. January brings us coasting, Taffy pulls and apple roasting. January brings the snow, Makes our feet and fingers glow. Chill February brings the day, When hearts and flowers we give away. February brings the rain, Thaws the frozen lake again. March promises the hope of spring, Swampy places peepers sing. March brings breezes loud and shrill, To stir the dancing daffodil. April sees the birds return, Scatters showers on leaf and fern. April brings the primrose sweet, Scatters daisies at our feet. May brings armfuls of delight, Bird-song, warm sun and gardens bright. May brings flocks of pretty lambs, Skipping by their fleecy dams. In June comes summer’s longest day, Now meadows smell of new mown hay. June brings iris, lilies, roses, Fills the children’s hands with posies. Hot July brings picnic joys, firecrackers for girls and boys. Hot July brings cooling showers, apricots and Liatris flowers. In August swallows southward fly, Summer’s waning fall is nigh. August brings the sheaves of corn, Then the harvest home is borne. September brings the country fair, Falling leaves, crisp autumn air. Warm September brings the fruit, Sportsmen then begin to shoot. October brings us Halloween, When costumed boys and girls are seen. Fresh October brings the pheasant, Then to gather nuts in pleasant. November brings good skating weather, Thanksgiving gathers us together. Dull November brings the blast, Then the leaves are whirling fast. December brings glad Christmas cheer, May joy be yours around the year. Chill December brings the sleet, Blazing fire and Christmas treat.

On each sheet, have your children draw their own pictures of the monthly changes that occur on a farm. Hang these around their bedroom, schoolroom, or kitchen as a reminder of the marvelous miracles of each month.

*Create a barn book by cutting a barn shape out of construction paper. To create your barn book, cut out the same shape from multiple pieces of white paper. Hole punch two or three holes along the left side of these along with the red construction paper cover. Secure with clasps. On each page, draw or glue magazine pictures of barnyard animals: cows, sheep, chickens, geese, ducks, goats…

*Read Let It Rot! The Gardener’s Guide to Composting by Stu Campbell. I inscribed my son’s copy with: “Dear Jedidiah, It is such a pleasure to watch the miraculous work of God turn leaves, grass clippings, and other organic garbage into rich soil. Just as God takes our depraved souls and makes them rich and useful in His kingdom, so, too, He turns discarded garbage into something rich and useful. May you appreciate the awesome work of His Hands and enjoy using His miracles to enrich our lives. Happy Composting! Love, Daddy and Mama” Let it Rot begins with the science of composting and then proceeds to explain how decomposition works, gives all the materials that one can compost, suggests activators that stimulate the decomposition process, tells how to build a compost pile, explains how to speed the decomposition process, and describes the end product and how to use it. This book is a gardener’s treasure and one that will enrich the entire family, all while giving you plenty of hours to log for school.

*Begin your own compost pile.

*At the conference you received Seed Savers catalogs in your Welcome Bags. Select seeds for a vegetable garden.

*Purchase garden tools. Dig up a garden plot and enrich your soil from your compost pile. Sow vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. Continue using your compost pile all year, by using it around your plants to enrich them and maintain moisture for them.

*Learn to can so you can preserve produce from your garden.

*Have a garden party with family and friends, using your fresh and canned produce.

*How is your garden growing? Isn’t it amazing how quickly plants grow once sprouted? I love to go out to our garden to see what changes took place while I was away. Sonia ordered a book from the library called In the Garden: Who’s Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George. The story is about two children who go out to the garden to pick vegetables for their mother but find more than just vegetables. They find traces of others who had been to the garden before them. “Who’s been here?” ends each page so that when the child turns the next, it opens up to a two-page illustration of the animal who was there—chipmunk, tomato hornworm, cottontail rabbit, slug, crow, deer mouse, woodchuck, mole, and…well, you’ll just have to read the book to see who was there last. This book is an easy read book with nice, large illustrations. The last page of the book contains illustrations and descriptions of animals that visit vegetable gardens.

*All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan with paintings by Mike Wimmer: I included the painter’s name in the introduction of this book because of his gorgeous pictures. Wow, what a beautiful and endearing book. Who couldn’t love a book that begins with a dedication by the painter to “my grandparents…for their sixty-four years of marriage, which serve as the mortar that binds my family together”? As a matter of fact, the story is about grandparents and the love they have for their daughter and her children. It begins, “On the day I was born my grandmother wrapped me in a blanket made from the wool of her sheep. She held me up in the open window so that what I…saw first were all the places to love: the valley, the river falling down over rocks, the hilltop where the blueberries grew. My grandfather was painting the barn, and when he saw me he cried. He carved my name—Eli—on a rafter beside his name and Grandmother’s name and the names of my papa and mama.” Well, besides falling in love with the pictures, I knew from the start of this story that this was a winner. As a matter of fact, I intend to buy this book for Sonia, Jedidiah, and Josiah. The story goes on to tell about his mother who carried him through the meadow; him helping his father plow the fields and how they carried a handful of dirt home in their pockets—not because they were so dirty—but because they loved the earth in the field so much; about his grandmother sailing little bark boats downstream with messages like “I love you, Eli”; about cattails and killdeers, blueberries and the sweet-smelling barn with the endearing thought voiced to his grandson: “Where else can the soft sound of cows chewing make all the difference in the world?” Jon’s and my sentiments exactly! Oh, how we love our farm! Someday, Jon and I will be able to take our grandchildren to our sweet-smelling barn and say, “Where else can the soft sound of cows chewing make all the difference in the world?” Lovely, simply lovely!

*Investigate your family history to find out who gardened or farmed in your family. Try to find out as much as you can about their farm and garden. Make a family pictorial of their homestead.

*Did you know that many of our country’s founders were farmers and kept very detailed records of their garden and animals? Read about Washington’s journals, and copy some of his notes. Washington’s precise record keeping was one of his first steps on the path to agricultural improvement and innovation. Over time, Washington’s agricultural record keeping grew increasingly detailed and inquisitive, steadily progressing from a basic record of planting and agricultural products to a quasi-scientific journal of experimentation and economic viability, while providing an invaluable history of the agricultural activity at Mount Vernon.


* Read about the importance of maintaining records:

George Washington maintained detailed private and plantation accounts throughout his life. During his years of public service he added other layers of public accounts, cash disbursements, and receipts. Although most of his cash memorandum records have not survived, enough of his accounts remain to offer several windows and avenues of access into his complex financial world.

Washington’s records show that he took great pride in maintaining clear, concise, and accurate records. During his life Washington was responsible for millions of dollars in public and private expenditures for his household, his wife Martha’s estates, his agricultural and milling business enterprises, his land investments, the Virginia militia, the Continental Army, and the federal government. Auditors closely examined his records without finding fault. Although long known to scholars, these records have been seldom used compared with Washington’s diaries or correspondence. Disguised by formidable financial formats, these records have hidden detailed, exciting information on how Washington and his private, public, and military households or families lived on a daily basis.

How many people know who actually made the furniture and clothes for Mount Vernon and its inhabitants? Or, what charities were favored by Washington? Or, the foods supplied for Washington’s own table, his servants, his slaves, and his public aides? How many people know about the sources from which Washington derived his income? All of these interesting questions and more can be answered in Washington’s financial and accounting records.


*Begin your own record keeping system by keeping a garden journal. Keep a record of all your family does in the garden. List the seeds sown, dates of sowing and harvesting, how well they grew and produced, and other pertinent information.

*Begin your own farm journal. Keep record of all your family does on the farm. List animals, date of birth, food provided, growth rate, production rate, and other pertinent information.


Here are some of our blog posts that will help you with this unit study.


All About Those Adorable Ladybugs



Honeybee Unit Study and Party



A Nature’s Friend Magazine







Soaring Food Prices

Since we purchase most of our items in bulk, we don’t shop at grocery stores very often, but when we do, we are all shocked at the soaring prices. Consider the following information that was reported in 2012. And that was three years ago!


Milk: A gallon of pasteurized, homogenized whole milk was priced around $2.75 back in 2002. But today, that same gallon of processed milk costs about $3.47, representing a 26 percent increase. Bread: If you typically buy bread from the store, you are likely paying 39 percent more per loaf today than you were 10 years ago. An average loaf of bread today costs $1.41, up from $1.01 back in 2002. Peanut butter: A 16-ounce jar of conventional peanut butter in 2002 would have cost you around $1.96. But today, that same jar would cost you somewhere around $2.75, representing a 40 percent increase. Steak: That juicy steak you treat yourself to every once in a while is now 41 percent more expensive, as the average price per pound of steak has risen from $4.40 in 2002 to $6.22 in 2012. Apples: Eating that apple a day to keep the doctor away is also draining 43 percent more from your bank account. In 2002, the average price per pound of red, delicious apples was $0.94. Today, it is about $1.35. Spaghetti/Macaroni: Pasta is still a relatively inexpensive food item. But its average price per pound has surged 44 percent since 2002, rising from $0.91 to about $1.32. Orange juice: If you regularly drink orange juice every morning, you are now paying about 46 percent more than you were back in 2002, as the price per 16-ounce jug has risen from $1.84 to $2.69. Turkey: Thanksgiving would not be the same without a turkey. But the gathering now costs about 56 percent more, as the price per pound of turkey has risen from $1.05 in 2002 to $1.65 in 2012.

Ground beef: It is great for making hamburgers, casseroles, and other hearty meals. But ground beef now costs 61 percent more than in 2002, having risen from an average price of $2.28 per pound in 2002 to $3.69 in 2012. Eggs: In 2002, the average price for a dozen large, grade A eggs from the grocery store was $1.03. Today, the average price is $1.80, representing a 73 percent increase.



A Report from 2013


You’re paying about 100% more to put a gallon of gas in your car today than you did 10 years ago, and 145% more to heat your home. Beef and veal are up a whopping 64.8% and eggs 58%. The rise in food prices, particularly items such as beef and eggs, comes mostly from increases in feed grain prices, says Michael J. Roberts, associate professor of economics at University of Hawaii at Manoa. The price of feed grain, in turn, derives from a variety of factors, including ethanol policies, growing demand for meat from emerging economies, bad weather and population growth, says Roberts. The ethanol mandate and former subsidies created a huge new demand for corn for use in ethanol production, which drove up the price of all grains and oilseeds, he says. The other factor affecting beef was the record drought in 2011 and 2012 that hit the southern Plains and devastated supplies of grass and water needed to feed cattle. It drove up the price of hay and put serious pressure on the beef sector in general, says Corinne Alexander, associate professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University.



Americans Spend Less on Food Than Any Other Country in the World


In 1900 Americans spent 43% of their disposable income on food. By 1950, that amount dropped to 30%; by 2003 they spent just 13% on food.



U.S. residents spent on average about $2,273, or about 6.4 percent of their annual consumer expenditures, on food in 2012, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. As a percentage of consumer expenditures, that is less than any of the 83 other countries for which the USDA tracks data. That doesn’t mean food is cheaper in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. In fact, the annual cost of food in the U.S. is more than the average of all the countries for which data is tracked by the USDA. It means that the average amount spent on food, when expressed as a percentage of all the consumer goods the average U.S. citizen purchases in a year, is less than in any of these other 83 countries.




Cancer Incidences Escalate to Epidemic Proportions


Meanwhile, cancer incidence has escalated to epidemic proportions over recent decades, with lifetime risks in the United States now reaching one in two for men and one in three for women. In 2000, more than 1.2 million new cancer diagnoses are expected, and some 550,000 Americans will die from the disease. The overall increase of all cancers from 1950 to 1995 was 55 percent, of which lung cancer accounted for about a quarter. Meanwhile, the incidence of a wide range of non-smoking cancers, such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and adult brain cancer, is increasing at proportionately greater rates, including an alarming rise in childhood cancer of over 20 percent.


Longer life expectancy cannot explain these increases, as incidence and mortality rates in cancer registries are age-adjusted to reflect these trends. Nor can the epidemic be attributed primarily to poor lifestyle habits. Smoking is clearly the single most important cause of cancer, but lung cancer rates for men are declining because men are smoking less. (Rates for women are about the same, as the number of women smokers has remained steady.) And while a high-fat diet may increase risk by passing on toxic chemicals that accumulate in fatty tissues, fat per se cannot be incriminated as a major cause of cancer, in sharp contrast to heart disease. In Mediterranean countries, where up to 40 percent of the average person’s diet is composed of olive oil, breast cancer rates are low, and epidemiological studies over the past two decades have consistently failed to establish any causal relationship between breast cancer and fat consumption.


Finally, rising rates cannot be attributed to genetic factors. Not only do genetic factors alone account for relatively few cancers, the genetics of human populations cannot possibly have changed within the past few decades. And in what may be the largest study ever to compare the role of genes versus environment in cancer, Dr. Paul Lichtenstein and his colleagues reported in The New England Journal of Medicine last July that “the overwhelming contributor to the causation of cancer in the populations of twins that we studied was the environment.”


What then is driving the modern cancer epidemic? Study after study points to the role of runaway industrial technologies, particularly those based on petrochemicals. The explosive growth of the petrochemical industry since the 1940s has far outpaced legislative and regulatory controls, producing a dizzying array of synthetic chemicals that have never been screened for human health effects: of the roughly 75,000 chemicals in use today, only some 3 percent have been tested for safety. For over fifty years, in other words, the American public has been unknowingly exposed to avoidable carcinogens from the moment of conception until death.


Over recent decades, the incidence of cancer has escalated to epidemic proportions, now striking nearly one in two men (44%) and more than one in three women (39%). This increase translates into approximately 56% more cancer in men and 22% more cancer in women over the course of a single generation. As admitted by recent NCI and ACS estimates, the number of cancer cases will increase still further because of the growth and aging of the population, dramatically doubling by 2050.



Consolidation of Food Supply


When you consider the prior data along with the following facts that Southern California produces half of our nation’s fresh fruit consumption and nearly 75%-95% of our vegetables, which depends on irrigation that the liberals continue to restrict, coupled with the severe drought this area has been experiencing for years, I believe America is facing drastic food shortages.


Farmers and ranchers are independent business people who provide for their families by growing and producing food and fiber. In the 1960s one farmer supplied food for 25.8 persons in the U.S. and abroad. Today, one farmer supplies food for 144 people in the U.S. and abroad.



In the beef industry, 4 firms control 80 percent of the U.S. market.


California plants more than 80% of the nation’s broccoli acreage. California also produces 75% of the nation’s spinach, 75% of the nation’s fresh tomatoes, and 95% of tomatoes used for processing.


Apples, strawberries, grapes, oranges and peaches made up 69 percent of the value of US fresh market production. California is the leading producer of all these fruits except apples; Washington State accounts for half the nation’s supply. Florida oranges, though available fresh, are largely used for juice.


Due to the vast size of the produce industry, minor problems with the distribution chain, such as the 2006 E. coli contamination problems in pre-cut spinach shipped from California, can cause ripple effects throughout the nation’s food system.



Raising Our Own Food


Soaring food prices, industrial food production, escalation of cancer, consolidation of food supplies and the possibility of future food shortages all point to the importance of raising our own food.


By planting celery, my friend said that she saved $200 last year. That is just one vegetable. Add multiple other vegetables, a few backyard chickens for eggs, or maybe enough for meat, and you have saved a large portion of your food expenses. In addition to this important value, you protect your family against the dangerous carcinogens that come from the chemicals used by industrial farmers. More importantly, you become more self-sufficient so that you are not dependent upon others to sustain your family.






Composting Black Gold


Although soil quality is the most important aspect of any garden, even if you don’t possess rich ground, poor soil can be improved to superior soil through the use of composting. As a matter of fact, anyone can create great soil by composting yard and kitchen scraps that would otherwise be squandered by disposing them in the trash bin.


Composting is a decomposition of organic materials that everyone already possesses. Therefore instead of wasting yard or kitchen scraps, I encourage everyone to place them together in a pile in the corner of the yard and let them work for you with very little effort on your part. Nothing is really quite so simple and yet produces such marvelous results.


Some people invest in costly closed containers or construct open bins, but we simply began placing shredded leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps right on top of an area in our backyard many years ago and let God’s laws of nature do its work. When we lived in the city of Ferguson, our compost pile was approximately 20’x 4’x 5’.


Although turning the pile and keeping it moist speeds up the process, we rarely turned ours and never watered it. Yet with so little effort it turned into what we call Black gold because it was the most valuable element of our garden. There was always enough to work into our raised beds prior to sowing seeds or planting seedlings and for placing on top of the soil between multiple plantings.


The rich sweet smelling compost provides the essential nutrients necessary for healthy plants that are slowly released over time imparting a steady, consistent supply of nutrients. Compost also improves soil structure—oxygen levels, air exchange, drainage and water infiltration, textural and drainage properties. It incorporates more microscopic organisms into the soil, which in turn helps the plants assimilate nitrogen. It encourages worms, which also fertilizes the soil while aerating it. This rich, well-balanced soil also improves the plant’s immunity to diseases.


Since most of our kitchen scraps now go to the fowl and pigs, we have come up with other resources for our compost pile such as grass collected from mowing between the rows of vegetables, expired vegetable vines and plants from the garden, and pine shavings from our chicken house. We also have begun feeding our cattle and our horses in our barn, so we can collect their manure for composting our garden. Every few days, the boys cover the manger area with hay, wood chips, or sawdust, sprinkle some corn over the top, and allow the livestock to do the rest. When our piglets grow into pigs, we will allow them to root up this compost for us as they search for the fermented corn we buried over the winter. Sonia or the boys will then use our Bobcat to scoop up this compost and place it on the garden.




SUMMERS ON THE FARM Everything we do is being recorded for our posterity to know and understand the loving sacrifices we made to ensure their prosperity!


-The boys trenched deep ditches to the shed and chicken house and then placed water lines from the old farmhouse to each building. I am so very, very thankful that I have water at the chicken house for cleaning and filling four five-gallon, one three-gallon, and three quart water containers morning and night.

-Jon graphed out the plot of land for the orchard, placing all the apple trees with their pollinators. Then Jedidiah, Jon and I laid out the orchard. Jedidiah, Josiah, and Sonia planted the apple, peach, pear, plum, and cherry trees. The boys built a fence around it to keep out the cows. For some reason the cows love the grass in the orchard, so Jon and the boys had to enclose it with electric fencing in addition to the wire mesh fencing.

-The boys built a nice enclosure under our stairs in the barn for Bella’s first batch of five kittens. It has screening at the top of two sides with sliding windows to let in fresh air in the summer but keep out the cold in the winter; a bench seat for their large plush bed; and plenty of space on the concrete floor for water and feed and a cat sized swinging door in the people door so that they could go in and out as needed. When bringing them from our home, we shut them up in there for three days so that they knew that the barn was now their home. Afterwards they have used it for eating and drinking so the dogs don’t get their food. Some of them also sleep in there from time to time. The kittens have already paid their way by catching many mice and rats.

-Took Josiah to pick up our bees. He built a foundation for the hive boxes that I ordered for him. He and Jon take turns feeding the bees sugar water until they become thoroughly established.

-The boys built an 8’ by 20’ egg mobile on a truck chassis to house our chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Essentially it serves as the birds’ night time quarters after grazing all day. Jedidiah made 116 nesting boxes, each sized appropriately for chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. It also contains roosts for the chickens and turkeys. Some screening provides ventilation. In the winter, the birds will all go back to the chicken house.

-Just as Joel Salatin stated, in three days the chickens learned to enter their egg mobile at sunset without any assistance from us. The turkeys did better than that. They figured it out the first night. Not so for the ducks and geese. They just do not want to use the ramp into the egg mobile. Therefore we end up catching 38 ducks and geese each night and placing them in their safe, secure home on wheels. What a chore! We must come up with another plan. Jedidiah and Josiah have built three different ramps of varying sizes, but to no avail, as the ducks and geese refuse to enter on their own.

-We purchased a Jersey milk cow named Daisy. She had a little bull one month later. The boys named him Oscar. Instead of taking the calf from the cow and bottle-feeding it, we leave him with his mother part of each day. After the morning milking, Oscar stays with his mother until we put him up around 2 in the afternoon. Then after the evening milking, Oscar and mother are reunited for a couple of hours before we put him up until after the morning milking. Although Daisy’s grandmother gave 10 gallons of milk a day, and Daisy gave 7 gallons at the other dairy, we are only getting three to four gallons a day. However, we feel that keeping the calf with his mother is more natural, and we certainly receive enough milk for our family each day.

-With the milk, Sonia has made cheese, butter, and buttermilk. We also give milk to the pigs and clabbered milk to our chickens.

-Jon and I cut, raked, and baled over 100 round bales of hay while the boys were in St. Louis taking care of a friend’s customers who was on vacation. The boys ended up helping us when they returned home, but by then, most of it was done. This is while I was suffering from vertigo. Since Sonia was covered with poison ivy, she stayed at home with my mother while I helped Jon race to get the hay in before it rained. After the hay cured in the field, Josiah and Sonia moved the bales to their designated resting place with the Bobcat.

-The boys have been fencing in our vegetable garden. Since the deer can jump the fence they will place electric fencing on the exterior of the mesh fencing.

-I planted thornless blackberries and concord grapes along the garden fence.

-Sonia and I planted huckleberries and currants.

-Jon tilled in two truckloads of compost into our vegetable garden. Then Sonia and I began planting seedlings and sowing seeds. Josiah has helped sow seeds on several occasions and tills rows for me when needed.

-Jon and the boys reconfigured our chicken house to accommodate chickens on one side and ducks and geese on the other. Nurseries were built on the one side to accommodate the ducklings and goslings. Each had infra-red lights suspended from the rafters that could be raised according to temperature requirements. Outside the nurseries was room for the growing birds. The ducks and geese outgrew the nurseries just in time for the turkey poults and the guinea keets.






Symbiotic Relationships Between Family, Farm Animals, and the Family Farm


To begin with, let me define a word that is not often used today but one that holds significant meaning, nonetheless. The word is symbiotic. It means mutually beneficial and dependent on one another. Common perhaps to some, but nearly incomprehensible to our culture’s narcissist minds and independent lifestyles, it was truly a way of life to the South, who fully lived symbiotically with their families, animals and the land.


I personally love the symbiotic relationship that God designed to be held between family members, farm animals, and the land, from which I am fully experiencing His blessings now. It always brings to mind the story of the Good Shepherd who leads his flock to green pastures and beside still waters. Who watches over them, protects them, rids them of parasites, treats their ailments, pets and comforts them. In turn the sheep provide wool and leather for clothing to keep man warm and cover his floors and furniture and then provides meat and dairy to keep him fed. It is a mutually satisfying arrangement where man needs his animals, and they need him. Both need the soil and the life that springs from it, which in turn is enriched by both man and the animals.


Nothing goes to waste. Everything is used for the benefit of the whole. For example, flower blossoms, vegetable blossoms, fruit and berry flowers all feed the bees, who in turn pollinate the plants so that they continue to produce fruit, which in turn propagates the same plant kinds while also feeding both body and soul. In the end, we benefit by the honey that issues from the harvest of pollen, which helps to keep us going strong so that we can continue to care for the bees.


The grasses that spring from the ground provide food for the animals that graze it. As the animals graze the land, their excrements go back into the ground to fertilize the grasses that fed them. The chickens that follow the cows scratch the cow patties for fly larvae, reducing the advancing of more disease and distress. They also spread the manure throughout the pastures, while adding more droppings to the soil. From the fertilized ground shoots healthier forbs, which in turn feeds the animals that graze it. In the end, we benefit by eating the animals that graze the land so that we can keep going to continue to care for the animals that graze.


As we weed, sow, and plant, we put all the pebbles and rocks into a bucket which we dump in gulleys on the farm. Some of the garden weeds and spent plants feed the chickens and the pigs. The remainder will become compost for enriching the garden from which they came. Cover crops such as buckwheat are grown as feed for the chickens. As the chickens eat their way through the buckwheat, they till in the crop that becomes green manure for the ground from which it came.


Except for apple cores, cornhusks, and melon rinds, which go to our horses, kitchen scraps go to the chickens and the pigs. Eggshells that come from the chickens are ground up to be fed back to the chickens for calcium to strengthen their eggs’ shells. The rest of the eggshells are fed to the pigs or put on the compost pile to enrich the garden so it will grow more food for us and our animals.


Cattle provide us with milk, meat, and leather. Scraps from butchering go to the dogs, cats, chickens, and pigs; the bones are ground into bone meal for the chickens and the vegetable garden. The milk from the cow feeds the calf, the family, the barn cats, the watchdogs, and the pigs and is also left on the counter for two to three days to clabber for the chickens.


The barn cats in turn eat all the mice and rats that diminish the livestock’s feed. The watchdogs protect the land from predators that would hurt the cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens. The pigs and sheep in turn fertilize the field as they graze behind the cows, which in turn, grow richer grasses for both cows and chickens and provide meat for the family. The chickens provide eggs and meat for the family, the cats, dogs, and pigs.


Efficient exterminating machines, chickens devour insects that would otherwise hurt the vegetables. The insects feed them, and they feed us with richer eggs and meat. As they make their way throughout the garden, they deposit nitrogen rich droppings for the plants that feed them.


Chipping blow downs provides bedding for the animals, which becomes compost for the fields, gardens, and trees, which in turn provides suitable ground for sprouting tree seedlings.


Hay taken from our fields feeds the livestock while providing nesting material for the chickens and bedding for the cattle, sheep, guard dogs, and piglets. Bedding from the livestock and hay from the nesting boxes goes into the compost pile, which later enriches the fields and vegetable beds that feed the livestock.


In the winter as the cattle eat in the barn, we cover their manure with hay, wood chips, and sawdust that comes from the surrounding forest. In turn that compost goes back into the ground either for the fields or garden to enrich it.


In the winter the pigs forage on acorns that drop freely from the surrounding oak trees. While foraging, the pigs excrete manure on the ground that goes back into fertilizing the trees so they can produce more acorns.


The chickens housed in the vegetable garden in hoop houses deposit nitrogen rich manure, which mixes with the bedding of wood chips and hay, which is left where it lays to enrich the garden.


God’s economy is so perfectly delightful. I just stand in awe of His wisdom and His goodness to His creatures!


An excerpt from Major General Samuel Gibbs French’s autobiography when he was a youth describes how God blesses His people with the abundance from the land. “The superabundance of the necessaries of life at that period can scarcely be realized now, and every one fared sumptuously, and nearly all alike. Under the house were four cellars. As winter approached, perhaps forty cords of oak and hickory wood, four feet in length, were hauled to the woodpile. Some twenty or more fat hogs were killed, the hams and shoulders sugar-cured and smoked in a large stone smokehouse. The sides, etc. were salted down in great cedar tanks. The beeves were killed, the rounds dried, not smoked, and the rest ‘corned.’ Minced meat and sausage, in linked chains by the hundreds of pounds, cider boiled down in great copper kettles, and apple butter and pear sauce made without stint. Shad from the fishery were brought for salting down for six dollars per hundred. Oysters by the wagonload were in winter put in the cellar and kept fat by sprinkling them with brine and corn meal. In bins the choice apples were stored, each variety by itself, for daily use, while large quantities buried in the earthen pits for spring. On the swinging shelves was the product of the dairy, cheese and butter. Four hogsheads were kept full of cider vinegar; and ‘apple jack’ (apple brandy) in barrels in a row, according to age; great old-fashioned demijohns were kept full of cherries, wild and cultivated, covered with brandy. Apples, peaches, pears, huckleberries, currants, plums, etc., were dried on scaffolds in the sun for pies and other purposes: and the children forgot not their ample supply of chestnuts, shellbarks, hazelnuts, etc. Turkeys, geese, and barnyard fowls were raised largely, but they were considered produce for sale. There was no stint to these superabundant supplies, and they were yearly consumed. Rabbits, pheasants, partridges, and woodcock were abundant, and often were secured by trapping; and the ponds and streams were filled with fish…”







Fall into Wellness

Submitted by Ancient Paths www.ylscents.com/ancientpaths


Let’s face it: the fall and winter months can be most hectic even for homeschooling families. This is the time of year where we are trying to get back on some sort of schedule, days begin to become shorter and soon the holiday season with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year will be here.


It’s no wonder with this hectic time of year, we may find ourselves not prepared for getting our bodies ready for wellness. If you were like me, a few years ago, if someone would have told me to “prepare for wellness,” I may not have understood what they meant. For me, as well intended as I was in helping my children stay healthy, I really didn’t understand that wellness was a daily practice. Like so many people, I figured that I would do the best I can to make sure our family has sound nutrition in our meals, get plenty of rest, take our multi-vitamins and “hope” that would be enough.


Well, it never was enough. Every year it seemed our family got at least one or two rounds of whatever was going around. Some years my husband and I would “fall” victim to it too, but if we were “lucky” (not even a Biblical term) then only one of us would “get it” so the other could manage the household. It was like playing “Russian Roulette” every year.


Then, I read this intriguing “headline” in an article that a friend sent to me: “Have you heard of the Flu fighting system that is 100% effective, no preservatives or side effects, all natural and customized for your body?” Needless to say, the “headliner” worked, and I was hooked. I really did want to know what could possibly be 100% effective. I don’t know if I was more intrigued by the boldness of the headline and wanted to “catch” them in their poor marketing technique or whether I was truly hoping for something to keep our family healthy that year. Either way, I read on, and what I found was very interesting.


The article talked about the amazing way that God designed our bodies and it was true – we have a flu fighting system wired by our Infinite Creator that is truly 100% effective. It is called our Immune System, and it is marvelous!


Our Creator equipped us with this amazing protective mechanism. It is designed to defend us against millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites that would wreak havoc on our bodies. Although morbid, the truth is that once something dies, the immune system no longer provides protection, and in hours the body is invaded by all sorts of bacterial, microbes, parasites etc., and within a few weeks all that is left is a skeleton.


The immune system is complex, intricate and interesting. The immune system is designed to respond to any invader that enters your body whether it’s a cut, splinter, virus, bacteria or anything else that is “foreign.” This is why drugs, especially synthetic drugs, can wreak much havoc on our overall health. Although intended to help, drugs ultimately suppress the immune system as part of their design. These usually synthetic compounds “shut off” our immune response so that our bodies won’t reject the synthetic substance. Although, there may be reason for medicinal intervention, long term use will find its way to our vital organs and tissues and can interrupt the functions that were supposed to be in harmony.


This makes sense to us, of course, but the question then remains, “What else can we do?” Although there are certainly exceptions, most of us would say that we want to avoid medicine if at all possible. We’d love to stop playing “Russian Roulette” every year and have a “sure” way to keep ourselves healthy. This is why our family is so passionate about sharing the good news of health. There is a way to ensure your family’s health, and it has EVERYTHING to do with what God already gave us – our immune system.


The best way to ensure your health and your family’s health is to build up your immune system every single day! God gave us these amazingly complex bodies that do things on a daily basis that we NEVER think about. Here are some ways to protect our immune system:


Rest – we all know this to be true. It’s a no brainer, but an important part of our immune system building protocol! Our immune system wasn’t designed to be “on call” 24/7 without the proper rest. Make sure you don’t overbook your schedules, especially when the cold/flu season hits.

Replenish - our bodies need sound nutrition. While every once in a while we may have a special treat, like Grandma’s Apple Pie, we all know how important it is to give our body what it needs every day and keep our bodies free from inflammation. Inflammation is the immune system’s enemy. Maintaining an inflammatory free diet is going to be your best friend for optimal wellness.

Rejuvenate – God gave us the ultimate immune system boosters! With over 200 references in the Bible, both Old and New Testament, it’s no wonder that essential oils play a vital role in God’s design for our health and wellness. Essential oils have the same chemistry profile as our blood, thereby allowing our immune system to utilize these powerhouse molecules to help rejuvenate our whole body systems! Not only that, but essential oils cross the blood brain barrier. This is especially important as our emotions, hormones and messaging system all are programmed in our limbic system. As our Creator designed, our bodies are not just physical. Our health is determined by our emotions. As much as 85% of our emotions are encoded in our DNA! So it’s no wonder that God designed us to be whole beings – and He gave us what we need to help with our wholeness!


These three habits, done daily, will be a great start for supporting your immune system and for letting this fall and winter be one of health and wholeness.


If you do not yet have essential oils as part of your wellness protocol or if you don’t know whether your essential oils are therapeutic, then contact me for more information on why we only recommend Young Living essential oils.


Are you ready to make essential oils part of your daily protocol this fall? We’d love to help! Join our growing health community and not only get Young Living essential oils at wholesale prices, but you will be part of a support team that can give you personal help, testimonies and free educational workshops so you can learn more!


How does Ancient Paths/Young Living help FCM? With a purchase of the Premium Starter Kit of $160, you will be providing $50 back to FCM! To participate use this link: www.ylscents.com/ancientpaths or contact Renee Yeo at 847-602-2792 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.


Here are some great tips with one of our favorite immune boosting essential oils:


Thieves Tea – we try to have this tea every day!

1 drop Thieves in warmed (not hot) water (opt: in your favorite organic tea)

1 drop Lemon

Stevia (for low glycemic diets) or Raw Honey to taste


*Some find adding 1 drop Frankincense and 1 drop Peppermint creates a super wellness boost!


Thieves Apples – a great way recipe for kids

1 drop Thieves in 2 Tbsp purified or spring water

add 4 drops (or more to taste) of English Toffee Stevia (we like Sweet Leaf Brand)

Pour over sliced apples in plastic bag (shake) and serve. *You can add 1 drop Lemon Essential Oil to this to prevent browning.


Thieves Quick Action – for keeping our throats in optimal wellness!


1 drop Thieves in your palm. With the thumb of your other hand, rotate the drop 3 times to “charge” the molecules of the Thieves, then place thumb on the roof of your mouth, as far back as you can go without gagging (in the soft spot). Hold until you feel the pulse on the roof of your mouth (it may take up to a minute or more).


*For advanced throat wellness: Do this every minute for 10 minutes, then every 5 minutes for an hour. This should keep your throat, nasal passages and respiratory systems in balance.


*Only Young Living essential oils recommended. Please do not use any other essential oils and expect the same results. Only Young Living essential oils are safe to ingest.


By the way, I am not a doctor – just a mom who uses essential oils in her own family. Please know that any information provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, nor replace current medical treatment or drugs prescribed by your healthcare professional. The statements made have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is your responsibility to educate yourself and address any health or medical needs you may have with your physician. Please seek professional help when needed.


“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…” James 5:14-16


The information herein is given by faith in God as our great Physician and by this faith we believe that according to His Word “thy fruit shall be for food and thy leaves for thy medicine.” Ezekiel 47:12. Therefore, there is no propriety intended herein, but rather let this serve as an expression of our faith and gift to the Body of Christ.




THE DISMANTLING OF AMERICA Every hour our government spends 200 million dollars it does not have!


Concerning the Recent Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

by Duane Lindberg

A major issue at stake in the recent Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is not only the Court’s redefinition of “marriage,” but also the unconstitutional, “super-legislative” process, which the slim majority (five–four) used to reach its decision. This process has the earmarks of a bold disregard for history, tradition, and the Constitution. It is a flagrant departure from “judicial self-restraint” which is required. Justices are empowered to interpret the law but not to make laws.


Therefore, the danger of a lawless court should be apparent to all Americans—both those who favor same-sex marriage and those who favor traditional. The prerogative to enact law belongs to the Congress and the States, not of the Judiciary.


Chief Justice Roberts together with Justices Scalia and Thomas, in their minority opinions, warn of this dangerous precedent, which the majority of the High Court has set. Justice Roberts writes in his minority opinion: Allowing unelected federal judges to select which un-enumerated rights rank as “fundamental”—and to strike down state laws on the basis of that determination—raises obvious concerns about the judicial role. Our precedents have accordingly insisted that judges “exercise the utmost care” in identifying implied fundamental rights, “lest the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause be subtly transformed into the policy preferences of the Members of this Court.” (Roberts, p. 11)


He warns of the danger to the very “rule of law” which the majority’s “extravagant conception of judicial supremacy” (p.25) involves: “The majority’s understanding of due process…is dangerous for the rule of law. The purpose of insisting that implied fundamental rights have roots in the history and tradition of our people is to ensure that when unelected judges strike down democratically enacted laws, they do so based on something more than their own beliefs. The Court today not only overlooks our country’s entire history and tradition but actively repudiates it.” (Roberts, p.22)


This warning by the Chief Justice echoes the caution expressed by Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States: The judges’ power is the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. He therefore warned: To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiter of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine, indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy...The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal. The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the Judiciary, which they may twist and shape to any form they please. Thus, the Supreme Court’s decision on the same-sex marriage issue is a direct assault on the republican form of government that the Constitution guarantees to every State.


Also in his minority opinion, Justice Scalia points out this assault on American free institutions by the High Court: I joined the Chief Justice’s opinion in full. I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy. (Scalia, p.1)

In a sweeping rebuke of the Court’s majority on this issue, Justice Scalia declares:

The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish the Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis...With each decision (like this same-sex marriage opinion) that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court —we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence. (Scalia, p. 9)


In summary, the critical issue for the Nation regarding the Supreme Court’s opinion on same-sex marriage is that the majority’s decision has “nothing to do with it (the Constitution)” (Roberts, p. 29)


However, as Chief Justice Roberts points out, it has everything to do with the social opinions of the five Justices: The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. The majority expressly disclaims judicial “caution” and omits even a pretense of humility, openly relying on its desire to remake society according to its own “new insight” into the nature of injustice. (Roberts, p. 3)


In the light of this flagrant violation of the Judicial Office and the threat this assertion of “judicial rule” poses for the rule of law, for States rights, and for American democratic government, we as citizens (on both sides of the marriage issue) must ask, “quo vadis?”—Where do we go now?


It seems necessary that the Congress assert its legislative authority and take steps to remind the High Court of its proper judicial function, namely, “to say what the law is, not what it should be.” (Roberts, p. 2)


Perhaps this reprimand can best be communicated by impeaching the five offending Justices. The People through our elected officials can do this!


This Nation is at a point in time similar to the kairos (opportune moment) of its birth, when an unelected, unrepresentative power imposed its will on the American colonists. Justice Scalia warns that the current danger to our republican form of government from an unelected unrepresentative ruling oligarchy of nine Justices is more serious than the situation the Colonists faced in 1776: To allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation. (Scalia, p. 6)


The question must be asked and answered—How should this Nation react today to this violation of its democratic processes by a nine member “ruling oligarchy”? The legal process of impeachment seems to be in order.


The original of this essay was published as a letter to the editor and circular email, July 15, 2015, by Duane Lindberg. Rev Dr. Duane Lindberg PhD has over 50 years of pastoral ministry including as presiding bishop (emeritus) of the American Association of Lutheran Churches. Dr. Lindberg is author of the Nordskog Publishing title, Kingdom of the Rings.



Nordskog Publishing is a prior CHEF vendor.





August 2015 PDF Print E-mail


Family Covenant Ministries (formerly Christian Home Educators Fellowship) Faithfully honoring God, equipping generations, and serving the homeschooling community for the past 31 years! www.FamilyCovenantMinistries.com


THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME August 2015 Information



Our Family’s Vision and Mission



Family Covenant Ministries (formerly CHEF) Information and Activities


1.  From Candy: Update and Thank You to the Volunteers and Donors

2.  FCM Activities

     a.  FCM 10th Annual Father/Son Mighty Men of God: Biblical Manhood Weekend with Bob Wells/11 Mile Canoe Trip/Hike to Waterfall/Celestial Viewing, October 9-11, Registration Deadline October 2

     b.  FCM Tru-Combat, February 20, 2016, 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., 7 hours of field play

     c.  FCM (CHEF) 32nd Annual Graduation

3.  FCM Conference Notes

4.  FCM 2016 Conference-A Walk Through the Bible; From Jon-All New FCM Homeschool Week in Branson

5. FCM Registered Lobbyist’s Update

6.  Special Opportunities

     a.  August 28 Indoctrination with Colin Gunn and August 29 Patriot Expo

     b.  Landmark Events Scotland Adventure in Freedom’s Cause September 13-19 and September 20-26 with Bill Potter, Marshall Foster, and Colin Gunn

     c.  Oxford Creative Writing Master Class with Douglas Bond, March 30-April 6, 2016

     d.  Art Classes with Sharon Jeffus

     e.  The Extraordinary Adventures of G. A. Henty New Audio Adventure: With Lee in Virginia


There’s No Place Like Home Articles


1.  Notes from Subscribers

2.  Southern Exposure to the Bible Belt-Southerners’ Dialect

3.  Southern Traditions: Faith, Freedom, Family, Farm, and Friends-The Southern Agrarian

4.  Covenantal Families-The Importance God Placed on the Land: The South’s Greatest Resource

5.  Economy/Incurs No Waste

6.  New Homeschoolers Workshop Part VII-Another Book from the Landmark Series and God’s Providence

7.  Come Gather at Our Table

     a.  Sirloin Steak

     b.  Red Cabbage Salad

     c.  Peach Parfaits

8.  Summers on the Farm-Projects Prior to the Conference

9.  The Joy of Country Living-Two Bowls of Blackberries and a Passel of Chiggers and Ticks


If you get a blank email from us (mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) on your cell phone, please try looking at the email from your computer instead.





Dear Families, Thank you so very much for your calls and notes telling us how much you miss our family and our newsletters. We are sorry for the delay. After the conference, we immersed ourselves in projects on the farm, which included taking care of over 200 animals—cattle, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, dogs, cats, kittens… and thousands of bees, an orchard, an acre of garden, canning, and freezing our produce. We now have a milk cow, so we begin our day on the farm around 7:30 a.m. to milk and end our work for the day between 8:00-10:30 p.m. It takes us two hours in the morning and two hours at night just to feed, water, and provide clean bedding for all the animals.


Our family is certainly accustomed to hard work, but this is on top of all our other responsibilities. On the one hand we cannot say that the farm threw us over the edge because something you love so much cannot possibly be described as something that caused you to lose control, but on the other hand, it certainly has kept us so busy that we cannot seem to keep up with all our other responsibilities.


This year’s conference was truly magnificent! As always, leaders, speakers, and attendees continued to tell us that our conference is absolutely the best conference in the country—one of a kind—nothing else like it anywhere. All praise goes to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is always so gracious to provide such terrific speakers and godly messages. He is truly doing something very special for our families.


Many years ago, I gave my mother a darling Mary Engelbreit card depicting two young girls holding hands. The caption read: There is no friend like an old friend. As I reflected upon the days leading up to the conference, and the days of the conference, I thanked God for providing such faithful friends. Most have been friends of our family for over 20 years, many over 30 years, who continue to bless our lives with their delightful presence and needed assistance. The following is a tribute to those friends, and to those newer friends who are soon to become old friends, who help lighten our load—both physically and mentally. If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me! Our family certainly appreciated everyone’s help. Thank you. Love, the Summers Family


Our family is deeply grateful to:




-Joye Hengst for editing and sending out each newsletter, printing our conference mailing labels, and proofreading the conference program and the speakers’ schedule.

-Dustin Ledden for all his work on our websites, designing our beautiful promotional postcard, online conference registration, and the upcoming conference ad.

-Bob Wells for helping us write FCM’s letters of request for donations.

-Craig and Mary Binkley for taking care of all the advertisers, advertising, and also to Jaime, Danny, and Simon for helping their parents stuff all our Welcome Bags.

-Jaime Binkley for making our graduates’ Memory Books and our FCM Conference Programs.

-Simon Binkley for manning the FCM and There’s No Place Like Home tables.

-Sofie Stillpass for helping Sonia with suggestions for the Silent Auction, helping set up the Silent Auction tables, and making sure that the Silent Auction ran smoothly at the conference.

-Jim Drinkard for paying all of FCM’s bills.

-Diane, Celeste, and Alyssa Drinkard for their suggestions for the Silent Auction and for picking up Silent Auction items.

-Joe Carr for suggestions on setting up our Silent Auction and for editing our donation letter. Teresa Carr for having our FCM poster framed, donating it for the Silent Auction, and helping at the Silent Auction tables. Devin Carr for creating and printing our Treasure Hunt cards. Joe and Teresa Carr for printing the name badges and placing them in plastic covers. Joe, Teresa, Devin, Jenna, Garrett, and Jillian Carr for stuffing conference registration envelopes. Joe and Teresa Carr for working at the registration tables.

-The Ritter, Kleveter, and Stewart families for helping the Carrs place name badges in their covers.

-Doug, Michelle, Amber, Aaron, and Asher Reames for decorating, setting up, providing all the food, managing our hospitality room for our speakers and vendors, and donating and arranging the flowers for the registration table.

-Paul and Andrew Weiland; Craig and Simon Binkley; Tommy, Jedidiah, Josiah, and Isaiah Ritter; Tina, Gabrielle, and Zoe Stafford; Joe and Devin Carr; Rocco and Sal Tornatore; and Skye and Lily Stephens for helping our vendors.

-Linda Carr for managing our registration tables.

-Linda’s grandchildren, Trinity and Donovan Smith, for helping at the registration tables, as well. This is the third generation of Carrs who have worked at our registration tables.

-Kim, Roberta, and Michaela Wells for working the registration tables, tabulating our participants’ Treasure Hunt cards to determine the winners in each category, helping with vendors, and packing up all our boxes.

-Ritter Family-Tom, Debra, Kaitlyn, Amariah, Esther, Rebekah, Zipporah, Janai, Tabitha, Hannah, Helen, Goldie, Naomi, Isaiah, Jedidiah, Josiah, and Thomas for working the registration tables, FCM table, helping with vendors, Willis Clan ticket sales, and monitoring doors.

-Tina, Gabrielle, and Zoe Stafford for working the registration tables, helping our vendors, and packing up all our boxes.

-Kathy Broaddus for working the registration tables.

-Cindy Tornatore for working the registration tables and helping pack up all our boxes.

-Sky and Lily Stephens for working the registration tables, Silent Auction, and helping our vendors.

-Tina and Gabriel Reichert for taking tickets for the Willis Clan’s performance and monitoring the doors.

-Simon Binkley, Donovan Smith, Andrew Weiland, Jedidiah Ritter and Noah Wong for working the There’s No Place Like Home table.

-Jeremy and Darcie Suermann for calling our Cotillion.

-Cindy Kenyon for helping with graduation this year, talking to her daughter Megan about creating artwork for the conference, donating, and delivering the artwork to the conference.

-Megan Kenyon for painting and donating the beautiful mural of paddleboats on the Mississippi with Spanish moss hanging off the trees.

-Sofie Stillpass’s mom (Flo Florez) and Jacque Ramey for taking care of Mom during the conference.

-Pam Bogard and Mrs. Shackleford for helping take care of Mom during the Ball.

-Annette Cervantes for keeping Mom while we were in Branson for meetings.

-Kathy Renaud for helping us with so many details shortly before and after the conference in preparing my mother’s house, for listing Mom’s house, and selling her home in record time.

-Paul, Carol, and Andrew Weiland for helping our family get my mother’s house ready to list.

-Tom, Tommy, Jedidiah, Josiah, and Isaiah Ritter and Aaron and Asher Reames for helping us move furniture and load up the U-Haul at Mom’s house.


Historical Impersonators


A hearty note of appreciation to our Historical Impersonators who helped create a delightful atmosphere and provided great fun for all our Treasure Hunt participants. First to Tom Ritter for playing the wonderful part of Captain Jack, along with his live parrot, Parakeet Pete. Both children and parents alike loved visiting with Tom and learning to tie nautical knots.


Peter Bringe as Nathan Boone

Melody Bringe as Olive Boone

Devin Carr as George Washington Carver

Jenna Carr as Mary Custis Lee

Garrett Carr as Hiram Revels

Jim Drinkard a Santa Anna

Celeste Drinkard as Martha Washington

Alyssa Drinkard as Rebecca Bryan Boone

Lisa Haney as Gracie York

Millie Moore as Eliza Lucas Pinckney

Eliza Moore as Mary Boykin Chestnut

Becky Morecraft as Mary Johnston

Rachel Parker as Flora Cooke Stuart

Amber Reames as Mary Anna Morrison Jackson

Asher Reames as Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

Talon Smith as William Jennings Bryan

Jedidiah Summers as Commodore Stephen Decatur

Jon Summers as Robert E. Lee

Josiah Summers as Jean Lafitte




Our sincere appreciation to Family Community Church www.fcctroy.org and the Lord’s Family Fellowship for their donations and to Landmark Events www.landmarkevents.org for partnering with FCM this year.

Family Covenant Ministries is also deeply grateful to each of our donors for their contributions to our Silent Auction. Please support the following businesses, as they have supported you through Family Covenant Ministries.

Each of these businesses has wonderful products and/or services, so please consider purchasing from them for all of your upcoming events such as Birthdays, Weddings, Christmas, Graduations, Get Well, Hostess Gift, etc… and/or using their services.


Ancient Paths (Young Living) www.ylscents.com/ancientpaths

Answers In Genesis www.answersingenesis.org

Bob Wells-Teach Them Diligently

Carol Weiland

Coldwell Banker Realty-The Renaud Team www.cbgundaker.com/real_estate_agent/1089/Kathy-Renaud.aspx

Cornerstone Farms www.cornerstonefarms.net

Cotton Babies www.cottonbabies.com

Creation Museum www.creationmuseum.org

Darlene’s Finishing Touch Alterations

Dawson Powerful Paracords

Heirloom Audio Productions www.InFreedomsCause.com

King Arthur Flour www.kingarthurflour.com

Lamplighter http://lamplighter.net/c/ and www.lamplighterguild.com

London Tea Room www.thelondontearoom.com

LongHorn Steakhouse www.longhornsteakhouse.com


Majesty Music www.majestymusic.com

Penguin Yell Coffee www.PenguinYell.com

Reformation Heritage www.heritagebooks.org

Schaefer’s Hobby Store www.schaeferhobby.com

Showers of Blessing-Raindrop Technique Massage Therapy with Essential Oils

Steve’s Classical & Gospel Violin/Bluegrass Fiddlin’ Lessons

Ted Drewes www.teddrewes.com

The Sudsy Soapery www.sudsysoapery.com

The Upcycle Exchange www.upxchange.com

Titanic Museum Branson MO www.titanicbranson.com

Tornatores Catering www.facebook.com/pages/Tornatores-Catering/575117182571857

Urzi’s Italian Market www.facebook.com/urzisitalianmarket/info

WallBuilders www.wallbuilders.com

Yucandu Art Studio www.yucandu.com

A few of our donors wished to stay anonymous. We thank you as well!





FCM 10th Annual FATHER/SON Mighty Men of God: Biblical Manhood Weekend with Bob Wells October 9-11. Eleven mile Canoe Trip on the gorgeous, crystal clear Black River. Hike to waterfall. Celestial night viewings and Bob Well’s teachings on the importance of Biblical Manhood and the significance of men sharing the name of “Father” with their heavenly Father.


Robert Wells has been graced in marriage for 31 years to his bride, Kim. Together they have eight delightful blessings ranging from 29 to 18 years of age. With a Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, he has almost 45 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and is presently Director of Program Management at Worldwide Technology (an Internet technology firm in St. Louis). Bob is in his seventh year as co-pastor of Family Community Church in Troy, Missouri. He has completed his first literary work Train up a Child. In addition, Bob has developed and taught a course “Constitutional History: A Christian Perspective.” With 29 years experience raising children and biblical teaching, we are pleased to have the opportunity to hear from Bob as he brings his message of Biblical Manhood to our fathers and sons.


Location and Price: Fredericktown is just 90 miles south of St. Louis at our farm surrounded by thousands of acres of forest-covered hills. $105 per person includes campsite for camping (no electric hook ups); 6 meals; canoe rental and shuttle from parking area to and from the river; sessions by Bob Wells; fellowship with like minded fathers; Ultimate Frisbee, football, ping pong, foosball, campfire, praise and worship service. If you bring your own bicycles, the road is beautiful and rarely traveled. There are also plenty of woods for hiking on Sunday afternoon. Bring your own tent, bedding, towels, and camp chairs. Bring a tarp in case of rain. If you do not have a tent, but would like to camp, please let us know, and we will try to find other fathers who have space in their tents, or you are welcome to bed down in the hayloft. There are several nice motels in Farmington (Hampton Inn…), just 18 miles north of Fredericktown and about 30 minutes from us.


Registration Deadline: October 2. Make checks payable to FCM, c/o Josiah Summers, P.O. Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645. All payments are non-refundable. Include your email address, as directions will be sent once we receive your check. Release forms will be signed upon arrival. If you have any questions, please call Josiah at 314-920-6135. All ages are welcome as there will be all ages present, both boys as young as five and older boys over twenty.


Flexible Schedule

Friday Start arriving to set up camp/activities 1:00 (You may arrive any time after 1:00) Welcome Dinner 5:00; Session 6:00-7:00; Ultimate Night Time Frisbee and Campfire 7:15-9:00

Saturday Morning and Afternoon timing of Canoe Trip and Activities to follow in next newsletter; Dinner 5:30-6:30; Session 6:30-7:30; Activities: Celestial Viewing/Campfire/Movie/Popcorn/Ping Pong/Foosball 8:00

Sunday Brunch 8:00; Praise & Worship 9:00-10:30; Hike to falls 10:30-1:30; Lunch 1:30; Variety of afternoon activities; Departure anytime



FCM Tru-Combat, February 20, 2016, 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. $125 per person. Includes 7 hours of field play reserved exclusively for FCM players, AR-15 rental, MILES 2000 laser system, 140 rounds of blank ammo (this should be enough for the day, but extra ammo will be available for an extra fee), and one MRE. For ages 14 and up, but all ages are welcome to view games. For your convenience, onsite food vendor, free parking, free camping, shady rest area, private restrooms, and ATM are available. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience actual military combat using an eye-safe laser system connected to real AR-15’s firing blanks while team fighting in the woods of central Missouri.


Located at Snyder Farm 14 miles east of Osage Beach just southwest of Jefferson City. Snyder Farm, 92 Howell Loop, Ulman, MO 65083. Driving distance is less than 3 hours from St. Louis and Kansas City. MILES 2000 is Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System. It is the fourth generation laser engagement simulation employed by the US military over the past 40 years. And One Shepherd is the only commercial provider of MILES in the world. No projectiles are used! It is safe. Every time a blank cartridge is fired, MILES emits an eye-safe laser to score hits on your opponent. “Kills” are possible at more than a half mile. The blank ammunition keeps operational costs similar to paintball expenses. Realism receives high marks because MILES is used in conjunction with real firearms, including the flash and recoil of blank ammunition. And while there is no pain involved, experienced warriors still find themselves under considerable stress when the “near miss” tone beeps during the chaotic noise of battle. Engagement ranges are phenomenally good, easily engaging targets at 400 meters and even out to 800 meters (a half mile) with small arms weapons. Feedback provides not only “near miss” and “kill” shots, but identifies who shot whom and with what weapon system. Even hit/miss statistics are available. Finally, safety is excellent because MILES emits nothing more than an eye-safe beam of light.


Registration Deadline: December 31. Make checks payable to FCM, c/o Josiah Summers, P.O. Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645. Include your email address. If you have any questions, please call Josiah at 314-920-6135. For more information go to www.trucombat.1shepherd.com. Presented by One Shepherd Technical Institute of Leadership: One Warrior, One Leader, One Shepherd, www.1shepherd.com. The first step in the direction of preparation to avert war, if possible, and to be fit for war if it should come, is to teach men to shoot! –Theodore Roosevelt



FCM (CHEF) 32nd Annual Graduation If you have a graduate, please email your graduate’s name, parents’ names, address, phone, and email address to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Shortly after we receive your information, we will email our Welcome packet. Our meetings will be held in February and March at the beautiful Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131. Conveniently located just off Hwy 40/64 between Hwy 270 and 170, a little north of Frontenac Plaza. To give you an idea of the focus of our graduation, you may read the godly and inspiring charge, “Destined to Make a Difference,” which was presented by Bob Wells in 2010 by going to www.FamilyCovenantMinistries.com. Click on “Services” and scroll to the bottom of the page.


Past Graduate’s Notes


Hi, I graduated in May 2002. I am trying to enroll in college, and they need a copy of my diploma. The only problem is that I don’t have a copy of it. Is there any way for me to get a new copy?Texas (Yes, we frequently reissue diplomas to past graduates.)





Many of the following excerpts are taken from lovely letters received from our families. Each letter, note, and email we receive deeply blesses our hearts. Thank you. Hopefully these will bless your hearts, as well, knowing that God is working mightily among us.


We wanted to take a moment to thank the Summers family and the many families of volunteers that have helped Family Covenant Ministries put on the 2015 Annual Homeschool Conference. We know that the success of any endeavor great or small is not without a sacrifice of time and resources. Great leaders will make mere the mention of their efforts but would rather leave their mark with the imprint of inspiration that their hard work has sought to bring forth. Much like an artist who has completed his masterpiece, his toil and time does not render itself in the end with his exaltation over his signature, rather, his reward is in the work itself and how it moves the soul of those who may be inspired by it for generations to come.


Like that artist, you have been blessed with leaders like the Summers and their group of volunteers who have sought to bring forth a work that generates transformation for the generations to come, not looking to their own interests, but rather walking in faith and standing firmly upon the Word of God in a time when so few can be found left standing.


My family and I had the honor to be invited back to this conference as vendors. I was blessed to speak at one of the workshops and meet so many of you. Having come from out of state, we have a purview that allows us to witness a stark difference in the community with which the Lord has blessed you.


We know that this is a time when the Lord is chastening and sanctifying His Bride, and with that comes hardships and trials, but this is the time to “forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead and press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” Phil 3:13-14. As we look forward to the year ahead, may I encourage you to stand firm in the faith by which you were saved, pray fiercely for FCM and thank the Lord for His goodness and protection over your families and leaders.


You have been extremely blessed to have such dedicated leaders who see well past the here and now, but recognize the importance of helping families invest in their posterity. We would do well to remember the words of George Washington who said,


“It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.”


Thank you Jon and Candy Summers, your family and all the other volunteers who have made it their highest ambition to extend their view beyond themselves and whose influence does indeed affect those for generation to come! May God’s richest blessings be upon FCM in the years to come.Antioch, IL Ancient Paths

www.ylscents.com/ancientpaths  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it










Dear Families, Prior to the conference in 2014, when several of our families joined us in fasting and prayer for the future of FCM, God opened a floodgate of blessings upon us as He directed us to a signature scripture for FCM and enlightened us with detailed plans for the next six conferences all the way to 2020. We were all really excited about the wonderful and mighty things God was going to bring forth from Family Covenant Ministries, not only for our families’ children, but for our children’s children to come.


Speakers, vendors, and many attendees, all confirmed to us, over and over again, that God was moving mightily through Family Covenant Ministries and that He had great things in store for us in the coming years. However, even with this understanding, our family had no idea that included moving our conference location.


Yet God began working on us back in 2012, when Sonia and Josiah suggested moving our conference to Branson after spending a Valentine’s family getaway at Big Cedar Lodge there. Sonia even had us to look at Big Cedar Lodge’s convention space.


See our blog article on Big Cedar Lodge:



We like to please our children, but moving our conference? That just seemed out of the question.


In 2013, Branson community leaders, Jory and Tess Rolf, contacted us and then came to our conference in 2014. After looking over our website and workshop content, reading our newsletters, and attending our conference, Jory and Tess believed we had championed their Ozark Mountain Legacy Core Values of Family, Faith, Flag, and Future, guided by Christian Biblical Values, and began encouraging us to bring our conference to Branson. At the time, Candy and I were still not keen on moving our conference. After all, at age 58 and 65, moving anywhere new is not appealing. Yet I must commend the Rolfs for their patience and perseverance in bringing Candy and I along to understand God’s will for the conference.


A week after this past 2015 conference, Jory and Tess coordinated an itinerary for our family to meet with Branson leaders who had already adopted the Rolf’s Ozark Mountain Legacy Core Values and determined that our conference was exactly the kind of conference they were trying to attract to their area. Our schedule included meetings with Branson’s Convention Bureau, convention centers, hotels, Silver Dollar City, Titanic Museum, College of the Ozarks, and Sight and Sound Theater.


Each of the team leaders of these venues reiterated their commitment to their values of Family, Faith, Flag, and Future and their desire to host our conference in their area because they, too, felt that our ministry had championed these core values.


Once we met with everyone and fully realized how Branson had embraced and implemented the Rolf’s Core Values and was co-laboring to maintain those Christian values upon which our country was founded, along with their desire to have us join them in this mission, the prospect of hosting our conference in Branson became very appealing. Nevertheless, we still spent a month, with other families, praying for God’s will to make certain that He was leading in this direction.


During that time, our family became more and more excited about what God was going to do with this new move as we support and promote a community that is working hard in taking dominion of their culture for God’s glory! But this won’t be just a two-day conference, but a weeklong educational experience that will change the lives of all involved. No, you do not have to stay the entire week, but we would encourage you to take advantage of every minute of the exciting activities we have planned for all of you, which we will unveil in upcoming newsletters.


Our FCM Homeschool Week will commence on September 5, 2016 and go until the end of the week. More information will follow in upcoming newsletters.


It will be good to know that those we love and serve will follow and support the work God is doing to advance His kingdom. We will look forward to having you there with us!




With the exciting prospect of supporting a community that strives to operate according to God’s Word, along with the fact that 2016 will be Candy’s and my 30th anniversary year for serving the homeschooling community through teaching God’s Word, it is quite appropriate that our first Homeschool week in Branson will be A Walk Through the Bible!





FCM (CHEF) has advocated for home educators and parental rights since 1984, not only in Missouri, but nationwide. Being the premier Missouri-wide advocacy group, with a registered lobbyist of renown, both as a former Representative and Senator, and also serving as our homeschooling attorney, David Klarich works hard to help us make Missouri the best and safest state in the union for homeschooling. Our continued work with the Missouri legislature is always on behalf of family freedom. Our conventions help us continue this important work. When you come to a FCM convention, you are helping us keep, not only Missouri Families, but Families Across the Nation, Free.


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE-FCM Lobbyist and Attorney, David Klarich


Jon and I receive these legislative updates each week, each year during the legislative session (see attached). This year we decided to share these updates with you, to show you how much David Klarich works on behalf of our FCM families, and our nation at large. Like us, he has faithfully worked hard these many years for our families without monetary compensation. Now that we have restructured, we hope to change that because God tells us that we are not to muzzle the ox and that a laborer is worth his wages. First we must work to fund our conference, and then we must work to fund those who continue to work for us!





A Note from Past Speaker Chris Huseman, Ph.D

I hope all is going well for everyone and you are enjoying the summer. Below are two items I think your newsletter recipients will love to hear about. I greatly appreciate you helping us spread the word for these two events: On Friday, August 28, award winning film producer Colin Gunn (Texas) will be in Quincy, Illinois for a free screening of his film Indoctrination: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America. This is a free event and is limited to the first 150 registrations. The screening will begin on Friday, August 28 at 6:30pm at the Microtel Inn & Suites Banquet Room. Reservations can be made online here: www.eventbrite.com/e/indoctrination-film-free-screening-tickets-18077025871


This event will be a wonderful encouragement to existing homeschool parents and can be a powerful tool for others to think about school options for their children. Bring your family, invite your friends and enjoy a quality film on an extremely important subject! Colin will answer questions and talk with everyone following the conclusion of the film. More information on Colin (homeschool father of 9) and a preview of the film can be seen here: www.vimeo.com/13912103


The next day, Saturday, August 29, Colin will join four other speakers at the Patriot Expo (www.patriotexpo.com) in Quincy, Illinois to discuss his newest film called Wait Till It’s Free.


Speakers to be featured at the Patriot Expo include:

Rick Green from Dripping Spring, Texas. Rick is a former two-time Texas state representative and representative of Wallbuilders.com, a national pro-family organization. WallBuilders has been recognized nationally for its work in education, history, law, and public policy, integrating the elements of faith and morality throughout all aspects of American life and culture.

Colin Gunn from Waco, Texas. Award winning writer, director and film producer, Colin has produced several films on hot political topics. His latest film, Wait Till It’s Free is a full length documentary on the American healthcare system.

William Federer of St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Federer is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author, and president of Amerisearch, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage. Bill’s American Minute radio feature is broadcast daily across America and by the Internet. His Faith in History television airs on the TCT Network on stations across America and via DirectTV.

Ed Martin of St. Louis, Missouri. Ed is currently the President of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, the pro-family education and policy organization founded in 1972. Ed was elected Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party in Jan. 2013 and served until Feb. 2015.

William Norton of Gilbert, Arizona. Bill Norton is a public speaker and author on the fundamental, natural law principles of liberty and the U.S. Constitution. He has been volunteering for the National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS) for 12 years updating educational material on the Constitution. He has been a presenter for the organization for 7 years.


The speakers will talk on a variety of topics to include the Constitution, morality, our Founding Fathers, healthcare, foreign threats to our nation and other timely topics. In addition to speakers, booths from sponsoring partners and like-minded representatives will be on site. The Patriot Expo’s mission is to educate, inspire and equip concerned citizens to act on pressing issues threatening our country today.


Pre-registration of $25 can be done at www.patriotexpo.com. Youth 18 years of age or younger receive free admission with a paid supervising adult. Each supervising paid adult can bring up to 30 youth members at no charge! Day of event registration will be available for $30 per person. 


Bill Potter shares another Landmark Event

Scotland Adventure in Freedom’s Cause September 13-19 and September 20-26 with Bill Potter, Marshall Foster, and Colin Gunn Our nation has more ties to Scotland than any nation in the world. For two weeks Bill Potter, Colin Gunn, Dr. Marshall Foster and a host of local Scottish churchmen and historians will lead 45 adventurous souls on an unprecedented providential history tour of the land of the ancient Celts in Scotland. We will follow in the footsteps of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce to the battlefields, castles and memorials of their bygone era. We will follow the history of the godly Covenanters who met in the fields and defied tyrannical monarchs to the death. We will walk in the pastures filled with ancient standing stones, beside the burial cairns of princes known only to those who perished thousands of years ago. Our paths will lead us to the lowlands and the highlands and the isles. For more information, see www.landmarkevents.org/pages/in-freedoms-cause-scotland-tour


A Note from Past Speaker Douglas Bond

Dear Friends, We are excited to announce our Oxford Creative Writing Master Class on March 30-April 6, 2016. Since my first of twenty-five books was published in 1999, I have come to realize just how important it is to find inspiration in the greatest authors from the past. For me, being in their places, where they lived, being surrounded by what shaped, informed, and inspired them has had an incalculable influence on my own writing. I firmly believe it will do the same for many of you. This “tour” is designed to place you, the aspiring writer, on-location in Oxford, where so many great writers, over many centuries, have wrestled with ink and paper, with their minds and imaginations, until they mastered their craft. In daily writing tutorials, encircled by winding Medieval streets and the Gothic splendors of the oldest university in Britain, I will share with you precisely how I have learned (and continue learning) my own writing craft. I heartily agree with Augustine who wrote, “I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” But here is the catch. We are only accepting registrations from eight aspiring writers—and we already have several of those spots filled (from Canada, USA, and UK). We are offering a deep discount if you register on or before September 15, but space is very limited. Register today for the March 30-April 6, 2016 class. You will not regret it. Warm regards in Christ, Douglas Bond (253-381-1961) or ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) “Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing. Ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I have found out long ago.” –C. S. Lewis


Art Classes from Past Speaker Sharon Jeffus

Beginning High School Art Program Students receive 15 PowerPoints to do step by step with corresponding activities. These include the elements and principles of art. Art history and important master works of art are also included. Students receive a step by step guideline for the first 25 lessons to cover a comprehensive semester of art training covering a weekly art lesson for a semester. Students also receive the Master Drawing Book and a 400 word vocabulary list. It is an interesting and exciting course and encourages creativity and problem solving. Students also receive a one on one session with Sharon Jeffus on Skype. Cost is $100.



Advanced AP Art Online Class will start September 9, but students can move at their own pace. This studio art class will include 25 completed works of art and a digital portfolio. Each class will include art history, art techniques and the elements and principles of art. Students will build an excellent portfolio for college entrance or freelance work and can submit for AP credit if they choose to. Students also will get opportunity for art mission trips. Payment can be made in two increments of $150 each.



Homeschool Horse and Art Camp Visual Manna is teaming up with the beautiful Koinania Valley Ranch to provide a horse and art camp. During the three day-two night camp, students will learn basic horsemanship skills and learn how to draw, paint and sculpt horses, then top it off with a trail ride. Dates are Tuesday-Thursday, September 22-24 or October 27-29. For more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Sharon Jeffus has a B.S.S.E. in Art Education from John Brown University and continued on in her studies to be certified to teach English from the University of Arkansas. She studied painting at Metropolitan in Denver and sculpting at Southern Illinois University. She taught Intensive English at University of Missouri at Rolla and is listed in Strathmore’s Who’s Who in American Education. With having written over twenty books, she also has the internationally known company Visual Manna. Sharon wrote her first book in 1992 and developed the Visual Manna teaching method where art is integrated with art appreciation, techniques, vocabulary and core subjects. Her Indian Arts and Crafts program was rated outstanding by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Sharon is a recommended Montessori resource, and her books have been used in Monart Drawing Schools. Sharon taught in the public schools for fourteen years in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri and also homeschooled her two sons. She has presented workshops at Wonders of Wildlife Museum, Precious Moments, ACSI Conventions, colleges, and homeschool conventions throughout America.


For a sample lesson go to www.ourhomeschoolforum.com/videos/interactive-lessons/art-through-the-year-with-sharon-jeffus-lesson-1-post-impressionism-and-line

Email Sharon Jeffus at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 573-453-6364 for more information.


Bill Potter shares: The Extraordinary Adventures of G. A. Henty New Audio Adventure: With Lee in Virginia Dear Friend, A strong moral character, rather than intelligence, truly determines our children’s ultimate success in this life. Character traits like boldness, bravery, duty, courage, honor, and integrity are important to teach and model to our children. In this issue of Live the Adventure we explore character in a few unique ways. We’ve also got a great Kid’s Corner activity that would be fun for the whole family to do together! Just print it out (and maybe pop some popcorn), and you’ve got an easy family fun night everyone will enjoy. We are also excited to share with you the official trailer for With Lee in Virginia. It’s a sneak peek into our third amazing Audio Adventure. You can preorder your copy of With Lee In Virginia today! Thanks for Living the Adventure with us, Lindsey Cox





THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME-Celebrating 29 years of inspiration, encouragement, and biblical instruction www.theresnoplacelikehome-summers.com




Many of the following excerpts are taken from lovely letters received from our families. Each letter, note, and email we receive deeply blesses our hearts. Thank you. Hopefully these will bless your hearts, as well, knowing that God is working mightily among us.


We have been praying for you—for health, strength, and encouragement. Candy, your testimony in the last newsletter brought tears to my eyes, and I believe helped us all to re-set our eyes on God and His strength. We love you and are looking forward to seeing you at the conference. –St. Charles, MO


‘They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even forever.’ Psalm 125:1,2 Just a note to let you know that we really appreciate your hard work and dedication to homeschool families. Only the Lord knows what you face each day, but know that our prayers are with you all. –Lake St. Louis, MO





This is a continuation of our emphasis on the South. However, soon we will be changing our direction to focus on next year’s conference theme of A Walk Through the Bible.


Southerners’ Dialect


I love to listen to southerners talk, so much so, that when I hear a southern accent in public, I will stop the speaker to express my gratitude for their southern accent and request a moment of their time to share their southern drawl with my family. It is a shame Jon did not keep his and pass it on to our children. In spite of this lost legacy, the children will impersonate Jon’s aunt from time to time, just to tickle my ears with delight.


I love that many one-syllable words are drawn out like taffy being pulled to perfection, while others are conveyed as two syllables words. To me it is another confirmation of the South’s slower pace of life—their unhurried, relaxed dispositions—and the time they invest in their conversations. Relationships are paramount to them, so they take the time necessary to nurture those along life’s journey.


The following are a few examples of the South’s distinct dialect: Bed-BAY-UHD; Barbwire-BOB WAR; Coke-CO’COLA; Desk-DEE-YUSK; Grill-GREE-YUHL (‘Y’all want me to throw some ree-yubs on the gree-yuhl?’); Hell-HAIL (‘If’n you don’t go to church, you’re gonna hail!’); Ham-HAY-UM; Why-HOWSCUM (‘Shoot far! HOWSCUM BUBBA TORE DOWN THE BOB WAR FAINTS?’); Entire-IN TAR (The After-Christmas sale applies to our in tar inventory.); Georgia-JAW JUH; Left-LAY-UFT (‘Ellie Mae done lay-uft me after the trailer started leanin to the lay-uft!’).


Jon’s mother came from Little Rock, Arkansas. Unlike her sister, Lenore, she did not have much of a southern accent by the time I met her, but as I read over the following list of southern words and phrases, I realized that her choice of words reflected her heritage more than I thought.


All-a petroleum based lubricant; Fixin’-to get set; Buggy-shopping cart; Cattywampus-sideways; Bread basket-stomach; Darn tootin’-for sure, correct; Fit as a Fiddle-good shape, healthy; Fit to be tied-angry; Hankering-a strong or persistent desire or yearning; Heap-a large quantity; Hear Tell-I hear tell that; Lickety split-very quick; Nearabout-almost; No ‘count-good for nothing; Piddlin’-small or inferior; Skedaddle-scatter; Snug as a Bug-comfortable or cozy; Tarnation-indicates surprise, shock, displeasure, or censure; Tump-to tip or turn over especially accidentally; Varmint-pest; Y’all-ye all or you all; Yaller dog-a coward; Yankee-Northerner; Yonder-distant place usually within sight; Coke-everything is Coke-even Pepsi; Sweet Tea is not tea that has been sweetened with granular sugar but a sweet syrup added to brewed tea; Two heads are better than one even if one is a cabbage; You’re as cute as a bug’s ear; and The engine’s runnin’ but nobody’s driving.


Kind and courteous, “Bless your heart” has become synonymous with the South. Overflowing with character and charm, it is as southern as it gets. It captivates the soul; it is the epitome of the heartfelt sentiment and the perfect way in which to identify that someone is indeed from the South. Southern author, Jennifer Youngblood, wrote:


“Bless your heart” is a form of empathy. It’s like giving someone a great, big hug. When a friend starts complaining about her rotten boss, her no count husband, and how the kids are driving her crazy, we just shake our heads and look her in the eye and give her a heartfelt “bless your heart.” It’s our way of saying “Honey, I’m so sorry. I know just how you feel.”


When your cousin Susie does something just plain dumb, and your aunt Margaret calls you up to tell you about it, you just listen real close and utter a few “bless her hearts” when she pauses long enough to draw in a breath. That way you’ll both know that even though Susie doesn’t have enough sense to blow up a pea, she’s still family after all, and we love her anyway.


Probably the most important way we use “bless your heart” is so we can identify each other. When I’m far from home and feeling all alone, I just throw out a few “bless your hearts” into the conversation and see what happens. If the person I’m talking to gets this confused look like I’ve just sprouted another head , then I just go on to the next person and do the same thing until finally I hear that familiar twang that’s sweeter than a melody and then come those beautiful words “Well, bless your heart.” That’s when I know I’m home—even though I’m a thousand miles away. So the next time someone comes up and puts an arm around you and offers a heart-felt “bless your heart,” you’d better count your (blessings) that you’re in a place where people still care enough to say it.



SOUTHERN TRADITIONS Faith, Freedom, Family, Farm (Home), and Friends




The Agrarian philosophy … was thoroughly steeped in and defensive of the best of the culture, tradition, and history of the Christianized West. It took seriously the linguistic connection between “culture” and “agriculture,” holding that a humane civilization requires rootedness and permanence in the land and that it must be sustained, nurtured, and protected from thoughtless change. Such a relation, the Agrarians argued, is necessary to satisfy man’s spiritual needs and to protect the higher values of life.



The Southern Agrarian movement in its purest form was described in the book, I’ll Take My Stand, (first published in 1930) by Twelve Southerners. One of those “Twelve Southerners” – Stark Young – was my cousin. His section of I’ll Take My Stand was titled “Not in Memoriam, But in Defense.” www.southernagrarian.com


From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Agrarians: The Southern Agrarians bemoaned the increasing loss of Southern identity and culture to industrialization. They believed that the traditional agrarian roots of the United States, which had reigned since the nation’s founding in the 18th century, were important to its nature. Their manifesto was a critique of the rapid industrialization and urbanization during the first few decades of the 20th century in the southern United States. It posited an alternative based on a return to the more traditionally rural and local culture, and agrarian American values. The group opposed the changes in the US that were leading it to become more urban, national/international, and industrial. Because the book was published at the opening (1930) of what would eventually become the Great Depression, some viewed it as particularly prescient. The book was anti-communist. I’ll Take My Stand was originally criticized as a reactionary and romanticized defense of the Old South and the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. Some critics considered it to be moved by nostalgia…


The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has published books which further explore the ideas of the Agrarians. “All the articles bear in the same sense upon the book’s title-subject: all tend to support a Southern way of life against what may be called the American or prevailing way; and all as much as agree that the best terms in which to represent the distinction are contained in the phrase, Agrarian versus Industrial…


Opposed to the industrial society is the agrarian, which does not stand in particular need of definition. An agrarian society is hardly one that has no use at all for industries, for professional vocations, for scholars and artists, and for the life of cities. Technically, perhaps, an agrarian society is one in which agriculture is the leading vocation, whether for wealth, for pleasure, or for prestige – a form of labor that is pursued with intelligence and leisure, and that becomes the model to which the other forms approach as well as they may. But an agrarian regime will be secured readily enough where the superfluous industries are not allowed to rise against it. The theory of agrarianism is that the culture of the soil is the best and most sensitive of vocations, and that therefore it should have the economic preference and enlist the maximum number of workers.”
–Introduction: A Statement of Principles to I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition







When I was a child I would walk the land my parents owned in southern Missouri and pray that someday God would allow me to live there. Even thought I was never happier and more at peace than when I was on that land, it was not to be during my childhood or in my earlier years of marriage. I spent many weekends there, but that is not the same as living day after day on the land you love. My affinity for that land has grown even deeper over the years because of my biblical understanding of the importance God placed on family ownership of land and the passing on of the land and its history to succeeding generations. That is why I am so very thankful that God has finally answered my prayer and brought me home to the land that I have loved since my childhood.


The South How different the South. Its economy was rooted in agrarianism, or concern for the ownership, cultivation, and tenure of the land. Southern cities were steeped in vision that the land was their greatest resource—that is the way they used the land and how they passed it on from one generation to the next. By 1860 the South provided 70 percent of the nation’s food. But being agrarian meant something more. There was a sense that the destiny of families and communities, even the destiny of a family’s heritage and legacy, was tied up in its accountability for the responsibility to the land.


Southern culture was what de Tocqueville called aromatic. By this phrase he meant antisocial—not in the sense of not liking people, but rather in not liking social excitements. The culture of the South was built around the quieter pursuits of conversation and interpersonal relationships. While an assiduous culture is built around experiences—going and doing things—the Southern culture was not built around going and doing anything. It was built around relationships, constructed quietly over time, across generations.


The word aromatic means a more covenantal or community-oriented approach to relationships, rather than an existential or experience-based one. Northern cities were often judged primarily by what sights they had to offer, what things a person might do. In the South, if people were asked the distinctive of their town, they might start telling a family history or recounting historical events that occurred in one place or another which had made that land sacred to their memories.


Southerners saw their past as a vital element in the development of their vision for the present and the future. They were not starting from scratch. They often viewed themselves standing on the shoulders of the giants who had gone before them; therefore, whatever they were doing had to be in continuity with what had gone before. They wanted to build on the foundations of the past, always along a line of continuity. They built upon the foundations once and for all laid for them in the gospel of Christ.


Southerners wanted to see progress, to see the kingdom of God grow, prosper, and ultimately consummate in glory in human history. But they viewed that end not in terms of their own efforts to achieve it by laying new foundations, innovating, and creating, but as a matter of walking in a sense of calling and destiny that had been laid for them long ago, and collaborating with those who had worked in the same fashion in years past.


It would be difficult to find two cultures on the face of the earth more different than the North and the South. (Do you see how differently many homeschoolers are from the world and how closely our lives parallel the South?)


–The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War, pages 5-20





Primarily, the management, regulation, and government of a family or the concerns of a household. A frugal and judicious use of money; the management which expends money to advantage, and incurs no waste. Economy includes also a prudent management of all the means by which property is saved or accumulated; a judicious application of time, of labor, and of the instruments of labor.


Incurs No Waste


After our fried chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and milk gravy, I had an entire container of mashed potatoes left. These made the perfect topping for a Shepherd’s Pie the next evening. Left over tomatoes and okra went into a beef vegetable soup.



NEW HOMESCHOOLERS’ WORKSHOP, Part VII as presented at the Conference


Another Book from the Landmark Series


We were given another book from the Landmark Series entitled The American Revolution by Bruce Bliven, Jr. Copyrighted 1958. This interesting book gives detailed information about our Revolution, battles, and historical events at the time. If we had known nothing about our Christian Republic’s Christian history and the miraculous events that took place throughout the war or anything about the godly leadership of Washington, we might have considered this book fine reading material for our family. However in light of the truth, this book is nothing short of blasphemy for its blatant lack of exposure of God’s Providence. George Washington certainly understood this when he stated: “The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligation.”


Clearly, lies are not confined to overt falsehoods but include concealment of the truth, as well. In this particular case, not only did this author fail to give a truthful account of the miraculous events that took place during the pursuit of the armies, he also failed to reveal Washington’s constant prayer and reliance on God along with his commands to his men to pray, fast, and attend worship service.


Now some may speculate that this author just did not have all the facts about that time period of history, yet isn’t it an author’s duty to thoroughly research his subject matter before publishing his works? In this case, I know for a fact that this man specifically excluded references to God, as you will see when you contrast the following portion of John Adams’s letter to his wife from the Landmark book with the complete content the Christian authors Peter Marshall and David Manuel printed in The Light and the Glory.


In the Landmark Series, The American Revolution, notice the dots put in place of the material the author excluded after the word “festival”: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable…in the history of America. I …believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival…with shows, games, sports, balls, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”


From the Light and the Glory: “will be the most memorable…in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, balls, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means.”


In fact, Adams was so elated on the day that the Declaration was passed that he wrote twice to his wife. The first letter included this: “It is the will of heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever. It may be the will of heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting and distresses yet more dreadful… If this is to be the case, it will have this good effect, as least: it will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies and vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor and story us…the furnace of affliction produces refinements in states, as well as individuals.”


See how the author deliberately left out Adams devotion and honor given to God and what a difference this makes in our understanding of God’s Providence. A parent may think that a book from 1958 makes safe reading for their children, but pagans had already started the process of rewriting our history by removing all mention of God, even then.


Another Example of Suppression of Truth in Unrighteousness


Now consider the Landmark’s Rendition of General Howe: “The danger was that General Howe, whose big army was in excellent shape, might attack while the Americans were still struggling to sign up a new fighting force. Curiously, Howe never stirred from New York City. And by May Washington had assembled 8,000 soldiers, with more to come. General Howe was, and remains, a puzzle. He was an able officer, and certainly not a coward. No one understood why he moved so slowly. His beautiful battle plans were successful, but Howe hesitated to follow up his victories. Some persons thought he was cautious because he had never recovered from the shock of the slaughter on the slopes of Breed’s Hill. Others talked about his longstanding lack of enthusiasm for Britain’s war against America.”


The Landmark author states, as if it was indeed a fact that “General Howe was, and remains, a puzzle.” Yet when we search the truth about General Howe, we most clearly see God’s Providential Hand at work. For just as kings’ hearts are turned like channels of water in God’s Hand, so, too, was General Howe’s heart. Consider then the truthful rendition of how God protected the Continental Army.


From America’s Providential History by Mark A. Beliles and Stephen K. McDowell, pp. 158-161: “One incident revealing God’s supernatural care occurred shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in August of 1776. During fighting on Long Island, British General Howe and his army of 32,000 men had inflicted heavy losses upon the American army but had not succeeded in capturing or destroying it. General Howe then prepared to attack the 9000 American troops on Brooklyn Heights.”


“The British Army had Washington surrounded in a great semicircle with their backs to the nearly mile wide East River. Here an amazing thing occurred, for General Howe remained in this position for two days and did not attack. Had he attacked, victory would have been certain for the superior British force.”


“Washington, greatly outnumbered, realized to fight would mean defeat…and the likely end of the war. Surrender was unthinkable. As difficult as it would be, he decided to retreat across the East River since all land routes were blocked by the British.”


“The American Army could have easily been surrounded by the British, but providentially, adverse weather conditions kept British ships from sailing up the East River. As a result, the American army was able to escape.”


“To make sure the British did not discover their retreat, Washington set out to evacuate his army in great secrecy, even from his own troops. He sent orders for every rowboat, sailboat, and sea-going vessel to be collected in the area. At eight o’clock on the night of August 29, 1776, the evacuation of the troops began.”


“The day before about one thousand men had come over to reinforce Washington’s army. Part of these reinforcements included Glover’s regiment of Massachusetts’s fishermen. These men, some of the best mariners in the world, manned the boats that were evacuating not only the troops, but all their supplies, guns, carts, cattle, and horses.”


“A heavy rain was falling as the evacuation began and the adverse wind, which hindered the British ships, continued. In this weather the sailboats were of little use and only the few rowboats were employed in the retreat. As this rate evacuation seemed impossible; but at eleven o’clock the northeast wind, which had raged for three days, amazingly stopped and the water became so calm that the boats could be loaded with extra weight. A gentle breeze also arose from the south and southwest which favored their travel across the river to New York.”


“However, as the adverse weather left, a new problem was created. Under the light of a full moon, the British were sure to see the American troops nearby. Yet, miraculously, the Americans retreated all night without being heard or seen. God’s hand was surely upon the army and, as was stated in their newly ratified Declaration of Independence, their ‘firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence’ was proving invaluable.”


“During the pre-dawn hours of Friday, August 30, through mistaken orders, General Mifflin prematurely withdrew his men, who were the covering party for the retreat. They were to be the last to be evacuated. However, he ran into General Washington, who knew that they should not be removed, and he ordered them to return. Though they were gone 45 minutes from their post the British had not even noticed.”


“The retreat continued through the darkness of the pre-dawn, but as the sun began to rise many troops were yet to be evacuated. Their deaths seemed apparent, but again an astonishing thing occurred. Major Benjamin Tallmadge, who was still on the island, recorded what happened in his memoirs: ‘As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us who remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety, and when the dawn appeared there were several regiments still on duty. At this time a very dense fog began to rise (out of the ground and off the river) and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments.’


‘I recall this peculiar providential occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards distance…We tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog remained as dense as ever…’ The fog remained until the last boats left Long Island.”


“Another miraculous event occurring during this retreat was recorded by Washington Irving in his Life of Washington. Near the ferry where the troops were being evacuated, a family lived who favored the British cause. Upon seeing the army’s embarkation the lady of the house sent a servant to warn the British of what was happening. The servant managed to slip past the American guards, but upon reaching the British lines he ran into an outpost of German speaking Hessian soldiers and was unable to communicate with them.”


“The servant was put under guard at the outpost as a suspicious person until early in the morning when a British officer examined him. Upon hearing his story, some soldiers were sent to validate it. They cautiously approached the American camp only to find it completely empty!”


“British troops were hurriedly dispatched to the river. As they arrived the fog had lifted enough for them to see four boats upon the East River. The only boat near enough to be captured contained three vagabonds who had stayed behind to plunder! Otherwise, 9000 men, with nearly all their supplies, had miraculously retreated to New York.”


“Here we see, as American General Greene said, ‘the best affected retreat I ever read or heard of.’ The event was so astonishing that many (including General Washington) attributed the safe retreat of the American army to the hand of God. Surely God was defending American liberty.”


God’s Providence in Another Incident Involving General Howe


From America’s Providential History pp. 162,163 “On October 17, 1777 British General Burgoyne was defeated by Colonial forces at Saratoga. This was a much-needed victory and an answer to prayer. General Washington had experienced many defeats at the hands of the British, such as the Battle of Brandywine the month before where 1200 Americans lost their lives. In great need, Washington prayed fervently for a ‘signal stroke of Providence.’”


“The Providence of God was evident in this victory. Earlier, General Howe was supposed to have marched north to join Burgoyne’s 11,000 men at Saratoga. However, in his haste to leave London for a holiday, Lord North forgot to sign the dispatch to General Howe. The dispatch was pigeonholed and not found until years later in the archives of the British army. This inadvertence, plus the fact that contrary winds kept British reinforcements delayed at sea for three months, totally altered the outcome at Saratoga in favor of America.”


“In response to the victory, the Continental Congress proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to God. In part, they stated: ‘Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God…and it having pleased Him in His abundant mercy…to crown our arms with most signal success…it is therefore recommended…to set apart Thursday, the 18th day of December, for solemn thanksgiving and praise…’ They recommended for everyone to confess their sins and humbly ask God, ‘through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance’ and thus He then would be able to pour out His blessings upon every aspect of the nation.”





Sirloin Steak


We had a very full day planned for out of town guests and so wanted our dinner to be relatively simple and quick. It was a good thing, because by the time we finished four wheeling and fishing, it was ten o’clock. I had intended to broil our sirloins, but Jon offered to grill them. I gladly accepted. So while Jon got the grill hot, I put several sliced onions on to sauté until golden brown. While Jon grilled the sirloins (for about 4 minutes on each side), I sautéed green beans in butter and made the following salad.


Red Cabbage Salad


I chopped red cabbage and placed in salad bowl. Added sliced radishes; sliced red, orange, and yellow small peppers; and chopped green onions. Covered with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and bleu cheese. Tossed and served.


Peach Parfaits


For a quick dessert the following week, I made peach parfaits with the Kentucky Butter Rum Cake left over from the weekend. I simply placed pinches of the cake into short clear drinking glasses. I covered the cake with sliced brown sugared peaches. Sprinkled those with a few blueberries and topped with a generous dollop of homemade whipped cream. I then repeated these layers. It was beautiful, delicious, and so simple.





Everything we do is being recorded for our posterity to know and understand the loving sacrifices we made to ensure their prosperity!


The following notes were written before the conference. The next issue will include work since the conference.


-Praise God, Buttercup had an adorable little boy. Unfortunately, he remains nameless because he might end up as you know what. As soon as he was born, Jedidiah sat with him and rubbed him all over. Both boys have continued to do this so that he is gentle around us and submits to the touch of our hand. Buttercup is as sweet as a buttercup.

-Presently I have fourteen files on the farm. They are titled Bees, Cattle, Chanticleer, Chophouse, Creamery, Darling Downs Duck Club, Farmstead, Flowers, Garden, Orchard, Peppercorn Poultry Club, Puddle Duck Ponds, Smokehouse, and Summers Estate. Besides the obvious, Chanticleer contains all the pertinent information on the chickens and our record keeping of them; Chophouse for our butchering facility; Creamery for the milk cows; Farm for general information on the farmstead; Garden for vegetables, grains, and herbs; Peppercorn Poultry Club is for the ducks, geese, and turkeys; Smokehouse for the pigs; and Summers Estate for ideas on our family homestead.

-I would say that laying out our vegetable and flower gardens has perplexed me more than I could have realized. And this is coming from someone who has landscaped all my life for my family, and even for customers in our landscaping business. I guess it is because I have never had so much room to work with and so much at stake in how it will benefit our family, our animals, and our future families. Besides, I must consider sun exposure on every inch of ground, which I am not quite sure of yet, and how to protect the plants from livestock and deer.

-First of all, after contemplating that in years past, our family spent 25% of our gross on food, and that our income this year will be decreased by nearly half, I realized that I had some serious planning to do to supply most of our food. I have always appreciated farmers’ wisdom in providing enough food for their families, but not until I was faced with such an awesome task did I truly realize the full weight of such an undertaking. Secondly, although I have gardened all my life, I have never had quite so much room to work with. On the one hand it is a marvelous opportunity, but on the other hand, I must think of keeping livestock, poultry, deer, and male dogs out of each bed, including the orchard. Questions like the following are ones I need to consider. Where should the permanent beds for asparagus, horseradish, and berries go? How will I keep the livestock from eating the poisonous leaves of our rhubarb? How many sunflowers will it take to supplement my chickens’ diet? How far apart must the corn varieties be planted from one another? How many square feet do I need for the quinoa? When the creek floods, will it reach my corn, melons, quinoa, or flowerbeds? This year is an experimental season for us where we will observe, investigate, and record our findings so that we are able to decisively determine where we will place crops next year.

-In ordering our seeds, I considered medicinal, culinary, aesthetic properties of each plant and categorized them accordingly. I am also attempting to raise our own chicken feed, so I tried to determine the number of plants I would need for Swiss chard, corn, sunflowers, buckwheat, cowpeas, and other seeds for fodder. After comparing the varieties offered from my favorite catalogs, I selected the most suitable for our family and animals.

-Once planted, I will make notes on each variety as to their germination, quality of plant, special requirements, production, and storage. Before placing next year’s order, I will peruse my records of this year’s trials to determine if I should reorder the same seeds or try other kinds I marked in the catalogs.

-In my Flowers and Garden documents, I listed all the seeds and seedlings alphabetically followed by pertinent information on each such as description of flowers and vegetables, perennial or annual, sun or partial shade, schedule for sowings, height at maturity, number of seeds, depth of planting, spacing between plants, spacing between rows, fertilization, mulching, time and length of flowering season, schedule for harvest, and information on storage. Special instructions for sowing the seeds, medicinal and culinary properties, recipes, method for drying and storing seeds, and such were also recorded.

-The Garden document also contains a section on permanent beds.

-In the Flower document, I ordered a duplicate list according to height at maturity, so I know exactly how to position them in my beds.

- I listed the seeds to be sown and the flowers to be planted under each heading: Entrance, Along Drive, Barn Gate, Hillside, Mounded Bed along Shed, Mounded Bed along Hillside, Wooden Fence, Mesh Fencing, Gates, Arbor, Front of Chanticleer, Back of Chanticleer, Sides of Chanticleer, Garden, Pond, and Planters.

-I listed variety and amount of vegetable seeds and seedlings to be planted each month under appropriate month, beginning in March and continuing through September.

-These are the flower seeds and plants I ordered: Agastache Tutti Frutti, Allium mullenium, Giant Perfection Mix Asters, Pink Surprise Calendula, Josephine Clematis, Cosimo Collarette Cosmos, Sea Shells Cosmos, Avignon Dahlia, Mom’s Special Dahlia, Centurion Rose Delphinium, Secret Affair Echinacea, Sweet Sultan Imperialis Mix, Lavandula Angustifolia Munstead, Lavandula x intermedia Grosso, Fairy Bouquet Mix Linaria, Nepeta Walker’s Low, Ballerina double Mix California Poppy, Butterfly Blue Scabiosa, Caucasica Vivid Violet Scabiosa, Blue Bedder Salvia, Pink Sunday Sage Salvia, Spider Plant, Starlight Sensation Stocks, Blue Reflections Sweet Pea, Pink Senorita Zinnia, Lilac Emperor Cactus Zinnia, Peggy’s Delight Zinnia, and Rose Giant Cactus Zinnia.

-What began as a quest for finding out if rhubarb leaves were poisonous to chickens turned out to be a blessing, as I soon realized that all the plants that I had landscaped around my chicken house were actually poisonous to its occupants. Granted the chickens would only be there for the first six weeks of their lives and then out on the surrounding fields, but they would return in the winter, so these boxwoods, rhododendrons, myrtles, hydrangeas, honeysuckle, clematis, Virginia creeper, morning glories, sweet pea, and scarlet runner beans were definitely out of the question. Yes, I was disappointed, but not nearly as much as finding dead or ill chickens in front of their house. There is so much I must learn. I am thankful to God for directing me to pertinent information when I need it even though I don’t know I need it at the time.

-Here is a list of the Vegetable and Herb Seeds/Seedlings that I ordered: Asparagus –Jersey Knight, Purple Passion, Uc-157 F-1; Beets-Burpee’s Golden, Touchstone; Beans-Calypso, Empress, Good Mother Stallard, KY Wonder Bush, Purple Dover, Provider, Red Mexican; Bees Friend; Borage; Brussels Sprouts; Buckwheat; Carrot-Dragon, Red Core Chantenay; Chives; Crimson Clover; Corn-Black Aztec, Bloody Butcher, Golden Bantam, Stowell’s Evergreen, Wade’s Giant Flint Corn; Cucumber-Japanese Climbing, Russian Pickling; Dill-Dukat; Hyssop-Anise and Herb; Kohlrabi-Purple Vienna; Lavender-English; Leeks-Blue Solaise; Lemon Balm; Lemon Mint; Lettuce-Aunt Mae’s Bibb, Bronze Arrowhead, Crisp Mint, Forellenschluss, Grandpas Admire’s, Gulley’s Favorite, mascara, Mantilia, Pablo, Red Iceburg, Red Salad Bowl, Reiene des Glaces, Rossa di Trento, Webb’s Wonderful, Winter Destiny, Yugoslavian Red; Melons-Charentais, Noir des Carmes, Pride of Wisconsin; Okra-Alabama Red, Hill Country Red, Red Burgundy; Onion-Long Red Florence, Yellow Rock; Oregano; Parsley-Triple Curled; Peas-Blue Podded, Sutton’s Harbinger; Potatoes-German Butterball, La Ratte, Purple Viking, Yellow Finn; Quinoa-Brightest Brilliant; Radish-Purple Plum, Rudolph; Rutabaga-Joan; Scallion-Parade Bunching Scallion; Shallot-Zebrune; Spinach-Renegade FI; Squash-Amish Pie; Sunflowers-Mongolian Giant; Rostav; Sweet Potatoes-Molokai Purple, Omani Pink; and Swiss Chard-Rhubarb Red, Silverbeet.

-I will purchase seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes.

-Sonia and I sowed flats of lavender, hyssop, lemon mint, chives, oregano, shallots, and leeks. The lavender was placed in the refrigerator for a month, while the rest of the flats went on the table in front of a window. On my work calendar, I marked what and how many seeds we sowed and then their corresponding dates for transplanting.

-I ordered our ducks: White Pekin, Welsh Harlequin, Khaki Campbell, and Blue Swedish; geese: Weeder Geese, Tufted Roman, Toulouse, and Brown Chinese; and turkeys: Standard Brown and Narragansett. Guineas, quail, and pheasant will come later.

-Clarabelle just had a little heifer.

-We just received another six inches of snow. To take a break from working on the conference, I asked Josiah if he wanted to take a walk. Fifteen minutes later, we were walking in a winter wonderland. All the dogs followed. Then two dogs went off after something. Soon they were barking incessantly and continued until Josiah ran off through the woods to see what they had treed. Soon I saw the light from Josiah’s flashlight and heard claws scratching against the bark of a tree. When he returned, he told me that it was a bobcat. Apparently it was a stand off between the two dogs and cat, neither moving, just staring each other down, until Josiah came. Then the cat climbed 30-40 feet up a tree. This was probably the one I saw several weeks ago.

-We ordered our bee equipment from Mann Lake. They were very helpful.

-Since the first snow in February, we have had woodpeckers, juncos, red birds, blue jays, goldfinches, tufted titmouse, and chickadees eating from our feeders. They provide great entertainment, as we are amazed at all the beautiful birds God created.

-Bluebell had her very first calf. It was a darling heifer that I have named Bonnie Belle.

-Sonia used our bobcat to remove a trailer full of scrap metal from our garden area. Josiah finished the job and leveled out the ground. He also worked with me to open up a little stream and make banks so more water will flow through. While we were working, he spotted a snapping turtle.

-Jon and I marked out the placement of our fruit trees so that they would be placed along their pollinators. We took the graph to the field where Jon, Jedidiah, and I marked out each place for the fruit trees.





Two Bowls of Blackberries and a Passel of Chiggers and Ticks


It began the moment I spied hundreds of blackberry briars in our newly acquired farm’s field. Whereas the sight of such noxious brush would prompt most farmers to get out their Roundup, I began calculating all the cobblers and little pots of blackberry jam I could make while thanking God for providing such a bountiful amount of berries right in my own backyard, so to speak. But when Sonia and I actually headed towards the huge patch of berries, just two months later, I realized what a paradoxical situation this posed. On the one hand, I love to prepare delicious blackberry cobbles, pies, and jampots, but there is nothing I hate more than snakes. And as everyone knows, blackberries and snakes just seem to go together. See I believe God’s Word to be absolutely true. So when He said that He put enmity between the woman and the serpent, I believe it!


Jon and the boys were all in St. Louis working, so it was just Sonia and me braving this wild tangle of brambles that spread out in all directions amongst the tall pasture grasses. Then it occurred to me that when the prior owners came the first time to visit that summer, they warned us to watch out for rattlesnakes because they always killed at least two large ones each year. Here it was the latter part of July, and not one of us had even spied a rattlesnake. So what were the odds that on this evening, while the boys were gone, we would run across our first venomous large rattlesnake.


Of course all women know that it is a law of nature called “When the Men Are Away, Chaos Is Sure to Arise” that terrible things always happen. Everything can be running smoothly for days, weeks, and months, but let the men go off, and all manner of pandemonium erupts. The animals bolt through fences and run down the road, calves get separated from their mamas in the next field with the bull, the chickens get loose right before dark, the dog jumps the barbed wire fence but doesn’t quite clear it, the intruder decides to trespass and cause panic—oh yes, Sonia and I have had some real experience with bedlam when the boys have been away from home. Knowing that this is a law of nature just as sure as gravity pulls things to the ground, it stands to reason that my logic would convince me just to wait until the boys return. Not so because I had never allowed obstacles, no matter how great, stand in the way of duty—and I had a duty to pick all those ripe berries for my family—so I focused on food and braved my way through the thick of that briar patch. Not without warning Sonia first, of course, to watch where she walked and to listen carefully for rattles.


When my mind is made up on a decision, I do not waste time lamenting, so I really began enjoying the harvest of the vast amount of berries that God had planted just for us. Up and down and through the brambles I searched for black berries from amongst the red ones, disengaging myself from thorns as I went, when out of the corner of my eye, I spied my four wheeler—our only form of transportation through the tall grasses that surrounded us in the setting of the sun—gaining speed past me as it barreled for the interior of the overgrown, snaky ravine. See, we have old four wheelers. The kind where the parking brakes don’t work too well, some not at all for that matter. Not even the driving brakes work well, which can be a little tricky at my age. That is why I have run into things before because I cannot remember that I am on the one where the left hand brake worked but not the right hand brake or the foot brake. Should have thought of this before we picked the four wheeler, but that was not on my mind at the time. Anyway, I may not be a spring chicken, but you should have seen me move. I tore after that rebellious thing like my life depended on it, and quite frankly I was not certain that my life did not depend on it.


It is true that when I was very young I used to comfort pieces in furniture stores after my parents expressed their dislike in passing, patting them and telling them that I liked them, but that was a long time ago. And yes, I realize now that objects do not have feelings, spirits or souls, but when that four wheeler crept past me heading towards the ravine that looked like it harbored all manner of venomous snakes, I lost all reason and began talking to that moving object.


“Sneaky, that’s all I can say, just sneaky. To wait until I am in the thick of the thicket, to creep by me and then gain speed once past me, and at my age, so that I have to tear through briars and run after you is despicable, just despicable. To drive me into thick grasses that could contain all species of snakes is just contemptible of you. Our very first four-wheeler, my very own; thirty years old and nearly falling completely apart—why we have kept you long after most people would have, and you treat me like this when you know that it is just Sonia and me out here in the wilderness surrounded by high grasses and woods and probably loads of snakes. How could you? I better not step on a snake. That’s all I can say!”


It was awful at the time, and yet the experience must not have been too bad because even though I had to retrieve that thing from the ravine, picked thirty or forty seed ticks off my ankles when we arrived home, and had arms that looked like pin cushions, two days later on a trip through the field to check on the cows, I spied more black berries amongst all the red. In spite of the fact that briar after briar had only two or three berries on their long stems, few and far between I might add, I asked Sonia, “If we go home without picking these tonight, they might be gone by the time we get back. Do you want to pick some more?” Being her mother’s daughter, we raced to the house for two bowls and then raced back to the same briar patch and picked until we could no longer see. Yes, even with the chiggers and ticks, briars and snakes, farm living is the life for me.

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