Today I had to put my oldest sow down. She has not been doing well since she had her last litter about 3 weeks ago. About a week after birthing she got down in her back legs. At first I thought she had hurt her back foot. But each day brought more problems with her legs. Finally she couldn’t use her back legs at all. It was a struggle for her to get up. Then she wouldn’t eat or drink. So today I decided not to let her suffer anymore.
She was the first pig we bought when we decided to start raising pigs. I had named her Frieda, she was so small when we got her, but she quickly grew to be a 450 lb sow. I remember the day we picked her up, it was near Knoxville,Tn.. We brought her home in a dog kennel in the back of a Saturn Vue. Even though Frieda was very large she was very gentle. She loved the back of her ears scratched and every time I was in the pasture she would come over for scratching. She was also a very good and protective mother.
But this is just part of farm life, the hard part. No matter how many animals I raise I hate to loose one to disease or anything other than butchering. That may sound odd, but we do raise these animals for food. That’s my sad day. Frieda gave us many litters during her 7 years and I will miss her but the farm goes on.
On a happier note, I do have her last litter and a bore that has her personality, he also loves to have his ears scratched. Thank you for reading, until next time God Bless.

Well here it is the day after Labor Day weekend. Everyone is back to work and school, even us school bus drivers.

I haven’t written for some time, we’ve been pretty busy getting our booth ready at Bleu 32, in Columbia, Tennessee. The store is top notch and all of the vendors are great. If you are in the area stop by the store on Columbia’s town square, and take a look. Don’t forget to check out Willow Tree Farm booth, thanks.

It’s been exciting around here the last few weeks, not just getting ready for the store to open, but the farm has been busy too. The last couple of weeks 2 of our Large Black Hog sows have delivered. The 2 sows had 5 new babies each. Unfortunately there was 1 still born in each litter. We have 3 new boys and 5 new girls. All of the goats have been bred except 1. That one belongs to a friend, I hope she gets bred soon, having winter babies is tough. The cold is hard on the new born. With all of this I have built 2 new clocks, 2 coffee tables, and 1 table made from an old treadle sewing machine base. I’ll be posting pictures on the photo gallery soon.

It was exciting at Bleu 32 store opening this weekend. A lot of people came through the store. Thanks to all of our friends and family that made Willow Tree Farm booth a success. Everyone said that this will be a big asset to the town square. I think all of the vendors had good sales. I know we did. Everyone put so much work into their booths, and it really showed. Columbia’s town square is really growing, a new boutique opened the same weekend as Bleu 32, there are restaurants and shops that wasn’t there a few years ago. Good news for the old town square.

Another note, the garden is about done producing. About all we have left are some hot peppers and watermelon. Speaking of watermelon, I picked a huge melon the other day. It was big enough for me to weigh the crazy thing. Guess how much it weighed? You’re close, it weighed 45.8 pounds. Biggest watermelon I’ve ever grown. With that little brag I think I’ll call it a night. Until next time, God Bless.

Did I get you’re attention? Let’s talk about honey. Today everyone seems to be looking for more real and healthier foods. With all of the chemicals used in our foods today, either directly or indirectly, it’s no wonder many of us are experiencing allergies, skin problems, and other more serious problems. I could go on about all kinds of problems with our foods today, but raw honey is what I would like to talk about today. (Most honey found in stores has been heated and processed, this removes much of the vitamins and minerals from the honey).

Honey is one of the oldest natural sweeteners. From what I have read,  honey is one of nature’s purest foods. It’s not just a sweetener but a functional food,(natural food with health benefits). Raw honey, which is unprocessed honey, contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, and 5,000 enzymes. Vitamins found in honey include B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin.

Honey has been used for years as a healing food. It has been used to help in healing burns and wounds. Apply it directly to the problem area and cover with a dressing. It is a natural cough syrup, one or two spoon fulls before bed. Many people use honey to help with allergies, I don’t have problems with allergies, but many people I know use honey and won’t go without it. When it gets close to allergy season I get a lot of calls wanting to know if I have any honey for sale. My understanding of how it works is raw honey contains bee pollen, which is known to help fight infections and boost immunity. The bees collect pollen from plants and flowers, which is what causes you to suffer. As you consume raw honey you are taking in that pollen that makes you suffer. After a period of time you become less sensitive to what is causing your suffering. There is much more to know about honey, more than I am going to get into here. Hopefully I have peeked your interest in honey and you will either try some in your regular diet or find out more about what honey can offer you. The internet is full of information on raw honey. If you want to try honey, locate a beekeeper near you, most of them only sell raw unprocessed honey. For allergy sufferers it is best to get honey in 50-60 mile radius of where you live. Until next time, God Bless

 

I would love to share ” more” of Our Story. This isn’t our first business, Mike and our son Shawn had started a trucking business.  Mike was still working at GM and Shawn drove one of our trucks.  We had 3 drivers and 3 trucks, learning as we went along and all was well.  We hired a driver and felt sorry for him, bought him clothes, food and kept him busy.  All he wanted to do is make a living, so we were happy.  Shawn decided to stay  home with Lucy, because of her illness. One of the drivers stole money from us and stole one of our trucks full of merchandise.  So our trust in him was shaken and so was our business.  We were too small to recover, so we filed bankruptcy.  So not only was Lucy sick, we also lost our business. This all happened 2 months before Lucy passed away.   Failure and lose were heavy on us but as our faith was tested, we kept our trust in God who had lead us to this beautiful, peaceful  Willow Tree Farm.

So Willow Tree Farm is more than what  we raise and sell here on the farm.  It is a testimony of God’s grace. So our scripture is very important to us; “Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord our God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

I must stop and  tell you, that we have some of the strongest kids and grandchildren.  Thank you Tara, Daniel, Ryan, and Brian, we feel so blessed to have your love and support.  You have climbed each mountain and been there in each valley with us.  And for that we are eternally grateful. Love you more than you’ll ever know.

The best is yet to come,

Maggie/Nana

I’m sure you have had one of those day where everything goes crazy. Well today was mine. It started out normal, me and Maggie gave the dogs a bath. Then I decided to burn a brush pile down by the road and pond. No matter what I did I couldn’t get that pile of brush and old pallets to burn. It started at first just with newspaper and matches. Not long it gave up. I got my weed burner and used it to fire up the brush pile. I thought it was going to go. Think again. Soooooo, I gave in and tried gas. That didn’t even work. So we gave up and we’ll try another day. Next it was time to trim some trees. Fired up the old chain saw and 2 limbs later it decided to quit. Not giving up yet, 4-5 pulls on the starter rope and here we go again. You guessed it, the old chain saw quit again. I gave it a couple more tries and enough is enough. I’ll work on the chain saw tomorrow after church. By this time Maggie suggested we do some lunch, good idea. We load all the tools in the truck and head back to the house to clean up a little, and off to our favorite Mexican joint. After a wonderful lunch we get back to the house to try and get something done. We have a frig on the back porch. We decided to move it to the storage room. Got it strapped to dolly and the dolly has a flat tire. Get the compressor fill the tire and into the house we go. Not yet, forgot to take the last hinge off. Do over. Finally got it in and in place and doors back on. That thing was heavy. Sat on the back porch for a little bit before going out to feed. It started raining, guess where all the tools are? Yep, in the back of the truck. What a day! One last thing, went out to feed and the billy was in the barn trying to get to the girls. Got him back in his pen, finished feeding and checked the electric fence and found it wasn’t working. Found where the fence was grounded and closed the barn. I forgot, all of this was done while it was pouring rain. I’m glad these days don’t come around often. Until next time, God Bless.

Here it is the 10th, how time flies. I sold a clock the other day so it’s time to make a new one. I spent most of the day working on that. Got the finished sanding done now it’s ready for the stain and movement. Got to buy that part.

I got home from driving the school bus today, went out to feed the animals and the billy goat had gotten out of his pen. What do I do now? I was feeding the chickens when we saw each other. Sometimes he can be very unfriendly. So here he comes just wanted to know what I was doing. I didn’t have time to get feed from the barn. What now? I called him by name and said come on. He followed me past the house and into the garden fence and right into his pen. So happy it was that easy. We have had some arguments before. I fixed the fence where he had gotten out and we are good until next time. Always something unexpected here on the farm. Until next time God Bless.

Well here it is Friday. School started today in Lawrence County. I’m a school bus driver so today is my first day also. Not a good day for me, the kids were good, the school a little hectic, but my bus didn’t do so well. Most of the day was spent at the bus garage getting it taken care of. I hope this isn’t a bad sign for the school year. Monday will be better.

Last night one of our sows had 6 babies. They are so cute. Should have got a picture, the litter that was born last week and the new litter last night were all piled up together and sleeping. All I could think of was (what a pile of pork). Sorry, but when you’re a pig farmer that’s how you think.

We are getting ready to have our yellow lab bred, she’s a beautiful lab, last time she had a litter she had 14 pups. It was in our bathroom. We’re doing things a little different this time, I’ve made a birthing place in the barn. If all works out should have pups by Dec.. We’ll have it on our web site and facebook if you are interested.  That’s all for today, I’m sure tomorrow will bring it’s own surprises. God Bless, until next time.

Today is the first day of my new blog. I hope it will be enjoyable to read. Here in middle TN it has been raining almost all day. I thought Aug. was supposed to be the hot and dry month. Guess again. There was so much lightning today I didn’t go out to feed until late afternoon. Boy were the animals ready for there grain. Maggie (my wife) worked at the senior center serving lunch today. This is something new here, hopefully it will provide needed meals for those who don’t have any.

This week we are working on getting things ready to move into our booth at Bleu 32 shop, in Columbia,Tn. on the town square. If your near Columbia, check out the new store. There’s many more vendors setting up booths there. The Grand Opening we have been told will be Labor Day weekend. I’ve got a lot of work to do before then. I promised Maggie i would have a clock ready and a coffee table. I might be able to put up some pics when I’m finished. I’ve been learning a lot about web sites and blogs, wish me luck. That’s all for today, I’ve been working on the computer too long today. Until next time, God Bless.