Never say Never

Today as I stumbled along happily in my 6th chicken house for the day (2 houses 2 times with Em, 2 houses 1 time with Ben) I suddenly burst out laughing:

You know how it always goes whenever your child says “I will never marry a guy that blah blah blah” and you smile and say “never say never” That was me and my confidant loud mouth saying I’d never ever be in a relationship with a chicken farmer. 😂

In the not too distant past I distinctly remember commenting on chicken farming. “I couldn’t do it. They smell horrible, they’re mean. I’m scared to death of them. I know they say ‘never say never’ but this is me saying ‘never. I will never be a chicken farmer’.”

Paramount Poultry ready for market

And then probably in the next breath: “I honestly am not sure I could clean for a living. I really really don’t enjoy cleaning houses.”

So here I am- happily committed to helping Ben or Em whenever they need another set of hands. And in between that I’m cleaning my Airbnb over and over again- and I’m loving it.

So if you’d ask me what my least favorite occupation would be- I’d say… Oh no you can’t catch me there- I wouldn’t say anything 😂

Admittedly as good as these two unforeseen twists in my life story are treating me- I’m super thankful that “never ever” means eventually in my case.

“Where God Guides, He provides.” Praise Him.


Bonus Pic:

I love our Shenandoah Valley ❤️

No Chickening Out Now 🐥

My dad called from Lancaster County. He was sitting in the bus outside of yet another little fabric store waiting on 32 women to secure their purchases and move onto the next stop. Boredom always pegs his pun meter completely out: “Well, have y’all chickened out?”

I laughed and referred the question to the Farmer himself.

After countless hours of work, D-Day was upon us and Glen Oaks Farm’s first bird placement was arriving in a sharp looking Pete.

The owner of the company that Ben grows for (Shenandoah Valley Organic) has been our friend for forever. In fact my mom’s claim to fame is that years ago Corwin brought out a coop full of the original organic chickens and they hung them with baler twine over our clothes line pole and dressed them quite happily. We had no idea how big this vision would grow to be. And it’s still growing. Anyhow I’m super excited/thankful to see my Ben friend getting this opportunity to join forces with them.

We got the fun of dumping the crates of hours old baby chicks into their new home.

It would’ve been a pretty big job if it hadn’t been for our confident air traffic control man shouting out orders 😂

Growing Farmer Focus birds is old hat for the twins-they’ve done it for years (or at least the 19 months they’ve been on the planet) but they were still delighted by all the baby birds.

And so begins a new chapter.

As I watched the transformation from the old, dark, silent buildings to the bright, warm, loud (baby chicks are so noisy) chicken houses, my mind went to Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

It’s a beautiful thing to look back over the last steps of the journey and to see God truly has made a way in the wilderness.

Thank you, Jesus


My Soul longs for you as a parched land. Selah

Selah may indicate a break in the song whose purpose is similar to that of amen (Hebrew: “so be it”) in that it stresses the truth and importance of the preceding passage… -Wikipedia

“Dry times weather wise are often dry times spiritually”

The wisdom of my friend keeps rolling around through my brain.

Psalm 143:6
I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah.

I’ve felt this in every way this summer. Dry dry times.

I’ve had times of urgent prayer when God remains silent, but this summer was different somehow.

I tried to remain thankful for the “beautiful drying weather” but as the moisture sucked out of the ground and the crops turned a critical blue-my soul echoed their desperate cry.

📸 credit: Sherman

But there was still beauty to be found in the Valley. And my heart echoed that too.

Definitely the highlight of the summer was the fact that Deb and Sweet Baby A joined us for vacation.

I use the term “vacation” loosely because if you’ve ever tried to pack 7 adults and 3 babies into a 3 bedroom condo along with the uninvited guests Headcold and Croup-you understand that there’s not but so much resting and relaxation involved…

But we did have an incredible time. Family is such a blessing.


Also the rains started while we were away. Praise the Lord 😭 We tried not to haunt the radar, but we couldn’t help ourselves. Em kept us updated by watching the rain gush off the roof past her security cameras. Thank you Jesus.

And before we knew it, we were back home in the Valley- asking God to bless another harvest.

Great is the Lord
He is holy and just
By His power we trust
In His love
Great is the Lord
He is faithful and true
By His mercy He proves
He is love

May you find Him faithful-even in the dry seasons,


Bonus Pics:

Recent travels took me to Norfolk on a boat tour- exploring the Elizabeth River around the Naval Base. Very educational. If you’re down that way and have 2 extra hours- definitely look up Victory Rover Naval Base Cruises

How we all feel about summertime watermelon parties and family time.

And finally-I’m sorry to keep going back to the drought… but this is the type of feed we’ve found. I’m so curious to see how these late rains will improve the situation.

Birthday Week

The end of July always means party week for our family.

3 birthdays in 6 days is definitely reason to celebrate.

This year we celebrated Deb via Amazon Prime. We borrowed the Ben Friend’s account and he thought he was hilarious sending Deborah Kennell’s packages to Deborah Doghouse. And then we all wondered why the mail carrier had trouble finding that address 😂

Julia’s birthday bash possibly set the record for the earliest party ever. I know it did in our family. We snuck into the house shortly after 5 am with intentions of surprising Jul when she got in from the barn. What we didn’t know was that the birthday girl had the morning off and was spying on our progress from her bedroom. 😂 Em makes a copycat skillet from Perkins that is amazing: sausage, ham, maple bacon, tater tots, scrambled eggs and gravy. My contribution was a blackberry cream cheese coffee cake.

And then the big celebration began.

For Mother’s birthday, Julia planned a night in the mountains nearby. Historically our family isn’t much in the way of campers-but after the incredible success of the event- I can see that changing,

The boys were everywhere and into everything- I love them. After lights out the stillness of the forest was interrupted with my dad snoring and the twins getting freaked out at the pitch dark. And the whine of a drove of mosquitoes. And the call of an unknown bird.

But a good time was had by all.

My mom’s sister and her family are seasoned campers and they joined our party. I hope I learn their ways. I think I could’ve eaten this entire Dutch oven of fresh cinnamon rolls-so delicious.

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Nathaniel Hawthorne

Another year of the blessing of family. What a gift-thank you Jesus


Bonus Pics:

Travel took me to Belleville this week. It’s so beautiful and green there.

It had been about 2 years since I’d seen my cousin Marj and her family. So having most of the day free was the perfect chance to hop across the mountain and catch back up.

I found these awesome flying monkeys on clearance and thought maybe her children needed them. I didn’t think about the fact that these monkeys have a pronounced cry on impact and how impressive 6 monkeys shrieking at once and 6 children laughing at once would be.

I think Marj’s husband will be fine if it’s another 2 years until I return bearing such gifts 😂 What a fun visit though.

And finally- a photo update on Glen Oaks Farm. With chick placement day looming ahead, the Ben Friend has his nose to the grindstone. What an incredible adventure.