Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Transition to Home Economy

Herrick Kimball had a good post recently on Returning To The Family Economy. I have written on this before. I am a firm believer that this what we should be working toward. I have been thinking about it the last couple of days and think that the transition will be much harder than most people think. I have had some experience with it, as a lifetime "family farmer", and thought I should offer some insight into some of the challenges that the postmodern Christian family might face.

The fact is that most Christian families today operate in the system that keeps dad away from the homeplace most of the day. This is the norm. We can listen to Vision Forum tapes, read books about being families, and think we have the world by the tail. Once we take the first step towards a family business we start to notice a few things. The biggest thing I think will be learning how to get along and love each other all day instead of for a couple of hours before bedtime. It sounds easy, but most American families don't even know what its like to be with their spouse and children all day long. Ever heard the old lady that complains about her retired husband that spends to much time in her house? Sad, but it happens a lot.

Fathers, When we begin the home business we lose something that we have become accustomed to. An escape. I think its a darn good thing to lose for many reasons, but it will be an adjustment nevertheless. When we spend the day at the office, perhaps surrounded by unbelievers, its to easy to get away things that we would never let our kids get away with. Its to easy for example, to break 2 or 3 commandments just so we can close a deal and make the boss a quick buck. Then our homes become the escape we need to forget about the evil thing we did at work. We can go home and read the bible with the family and act as if nothing ever happened. The family economy brings us the accountability we need. We also will be faced with a new challenge. Our partners-employees-workers are now our wives and children and grandchildren. This can be a very sticky thing. I have for many years had trouble not taking the business arguments to the dinner table. No longer can the troubles at work be forgotten on the car ride home. We must turn to God's Word when dealing with this potential problem. These are just a couple things to think about. There are many more things that will be a challenge. I'm not telling you these things to discourage you. I want people to be aware that the transition may be tough so they can better prepare themselves for it. It can be done and should be done. The fruit of the family economy is bountiful and worth being pricked by a couple of thorns along the way. It is an edifying experience. We must remember that edification is not always painless.


At 8/02/2005 12:39 PM, Blogger James Cutler said...


Great point. I have been blessed to be working from home for my corporate job for many years now. When I have to go meet customers or go to the office, the temptations are greatly increased. My home-base is what protects me from the sinful world's temptations (and my sinful inclination to succumb).

That is why we are continuing to transition to the self-reliant agrarian model. The two converging factors are, as you might expect, income and outgo. As we increase our income by marketing our products directly, we are simultaneously decreasing our expenditures. When these meet, "Adios, corporate America!"

Also, spending all day long in the middle of the family makes it impossible to be passive, as so many men are.

I comment occassionally on our progress on my blog at shadylarchfarm.com. Rick Sanez of Draught Horse Press has some really good articles on the subject, too, as you might know.

At 8/03/2005 6:54 AM, Anonymous Matt Davis said...


Great article. The patriarchs were counted faithful because they acted on what they knew pleased God, not just because the knew what pleased Him.

Thanks, this was yet another encouraging post for me.

Jim, I liked what the farmer had to say about not working off the farm. I also know it's easier said than done, just like being a family leader and not just another jellyfish playing daddy a couple of hour per day.

Keep up the hard work and the blogging. God is using all of you to encourage those like me not to give up on the dream.

By the way, we just found out that in LA, we are limited to 1,000 broiler sales per year (from the farm) and raw milk (and products) are illegal. Now we are trying to find a way around this. Any advice would be great.

At 8/03/2005 8:08 AM, Anonymous Matt Davis said...

Addendum to my last post-

Great News! LA Dept. of Ag. just called me back and said they were wrong yesterday. It's not 1,000 chickens, it's 20,000 per year! raw milk products are definately illegal, though.

At 8/03/2005 10:15 AM, Anonymous Matt Davis said...


I'm sorry for dominating this post, but one other thing came to mind when reading Mr. Kimbell's and Chad Degenhart's posts about getting debt free and agrarianism.

You will also encounter vehement and often hatefull opposition to your ideas from family, friends and fellow "believers". This is true with agrarianism, home education, natural farming, being debt free, etc., etc. Be prepared... It WILL come. This is often one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome when transitioning to a home economy.

We do not even own a farm yet and have already been BLASTED by some in our families. How dare me say that it is better for men to work from their homes and be with their families more when our fathers did not.

Shouldn't we just stay status quo?

Do not be troubled, though. Jesus said this would be so.

At 8/03/2005 8:38 PM, Blogger KSmilkmaid said...


When raw milk sales are illegal, sometimes cow shares programs are available. Check out Real Milk.com for information on what is legal in your state. Be very careful about asking for permission directly on some of these issues. Check it out from a distance. Ag officials can be very discouraging to small farmers. You could also very well sell cheese age pastuerized if you can't sell raw milk. This is cheese aged over 90 days. The FDA considers it equivalent to machine pastuerized though it still has all the natural stuff in it. Aging it helps avoid expensive equipment. Check out New Farms article on the Ken Bechtold Dairy and the Sam Hedren Dairy too. Just type the name in the google search engine. I spoke with the guy and he is incredible. Very resourceful and creative. He lives in a state where it is illegal to sell raw milk but he sells aged cheese as I described. I also had email correspondence with Sam and he was very helpful too. Good luck.

At 8/04/2005 10:35 AM, Anonymous Scott Terry said...


Hello sir. I enjoy reading your blog and pray you will be able to farm full time in the future. You seem to be on the right track!


"vehement and often hatefull opposition to your ideas" I know what you mean brother. I am still suprised what a negative responce we receive. Its not like we're holding a gun to thier head, forcing them to do it. I think a lot of people know in their heart we're right, but nobody likes to think they have been wrong for half or all their life. I've never won any popularity contests (or spelling) but I can sleep at night knowing I haven't compromised my beliefs. Hang in there, its worth it.


Thats interesting. 90 days. I'll have to look into that.

At 8/04/2005 12:23 PM, Anonymous Matt Davis said...

Thanks Milkmaid, looking into it.

At 8/05/2005 7:50 AM, Blogger Puritan Mama said...

But how do you get to that point, Scott?
We've pulled a Mark 10:21a (sell all your possessions!), there are no "miscellaneous" entertainment or eating out expenditures in our budget, we save every penny we find (after tithing), we sew our own clothes, cloth diaper, hang clothes on the line to save electricity ($$), cook from scratch, the list goes on and on. Yet we are slaves to my husband's job (away from home). No matter how we work the numbers, we just don't see a way to find the capital to start the family business we dream of...what about the time between "the old job" and "the family business - doing well"?
If we had no children, we'd take the plunge...but how do you do it when you have little mouths to feed?
Having the whole family at home is such a heart-felt, prayed-over desire for us, but we don't know how to make it happen.

At 8/05/2005 8:34 AM, Blogger KSmilkmaid said...

Puritan Momma;

I fully believe in the power of prayer. Sometimes I look around our place and see the old buildings and especially now the dried up grass and think how will we see our vision come to fruition? I am reminded of the valley of dry bones. God showed the prophet that he could take old dry bones and make them move. If he can make dry bones move, part the Red Sea, make leaders out of weakend men, he can surely take this little farm and make it thrive. He can take your situation and return you to the land and home centered. The challenging thing about living this way is the period of waiting. There are many periods of waiting. This time is a building time a way to fortify your resolve a way to see God like you haven't seen him before. This is the goal of all of our efforts. The end goal of living off the land is only secondary. It is also a way to work out the weaknesses in our character. All of the things you are doing are counting for the long run. Many like us, have done less than you are doing and wasted so much money leaving us a wee bit short of that dream. If I had done even half of what you have done at the start of our marriage we could have been milking in a fancy little barn. Pray for God to open your eyes to a talent or gift that you currently have that may touch someones life and help you become more home centered as a family. You could even start with a few poultry in your yard. Keep the faith sister, he has a remarkable plan for you. Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their faith, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint, they mount wings and fly like eagles. Waiting and enduring while things fall into place is such an important part of this farming deal.


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