First Year Farmers

Monday, December 19, 2011, we celebrated our one year anniversary of moving to the farm! We are amazed at all this past year has held for us… how we have learned and grown in more ways than we ever could have dreamed!  We shared a taste of our year as “First Year Farmers” in an article from our Christmas Newsletter that we mailed to friends and family… enjoy!

Reilly Family

First Year Farmers
You might be wondering, “How did that kooky family that decided to go and become farmers actually do this year?” We’re here to write that we survived. Actually, we more than survived. We thrived! The winter months here were sweet with settling in and exploring the farm and local community. We quickly re-started our educational endeavors home schooling our children, and especially enjoyed our Nature walks and animal adventures as we neared Spring! We began our Farm business in April with the purchase of 125 baby chicks that we would raise for our first layers. The kids loved caring for these active little birds!
We then added broilers (meat chickens) in May, really picking up our farming pace! Over the Summer, we continued to add broilers in intervals, reaching a total of 200 that we raised on our lush green pastures and processed on the farm.

This past Monday, December 12th, we sold the last of our broilers! People are hearing more and more about Four Corners Farm… through word of mouth, our flyers and posters out and about, and best of all, from our regular customers. The relationships that have formed through our farm have encouraged and energized us in many ways. And the support of our family and friends continues to bless us and spur us on in the passion and purpose we’ve found in family farming.

One of the blessings in our transitioning into farming is that Ian was able to continue working for the University of Florida. This continues to be a gift and is helpful in so many ways, allowing some financial freedoms as we venture forward in farming. We were able to utilize this income toward feed costs, product packaging needs, and other farm investments.

As we look back over the last year, we see many failures and successes. Whether we failed or succeeded, we are not to decide, but choose to thank God for His leading and direction, for the dream planted in our hearts. We give God the glory for our first year farming, failures and all, as He used all the experiences to teach us and grow us, in more ways imaginable!


We have been enjoying milk from our family cow (Buttercup) for just about a month now… What a blessing to have a nice supply in our refrigerator of fresh, raw jersey milk! We have even enjoyed homemade yogurt (I will post the recipe later this month), butter, & ice cream!

It was not necessarily an easy journey getting to this point, but I will say that I am very grateful to all the hands that helped us get here. First of all, my Father-in-Law, Jerry… he designed a beautiful Milking Shed for us to build while visiting here in July. Without his precise plans, who knows where we would be milking Buttercup!? Secondly, to my Mom, Betty… she helped build the milking shed, sweating and working diligently, looking ahead to the days when she could get her hands “milky!” At this point, she is the primary milker… very thankful for her confidence and motivation to have our own family cow. And lastly, to my sweet husband, Ian. He worked hard building the milk shed, on top of farming responsibilities, his daily telecommute to his FL job, and being a husband and Daddy! He persevered and did a magnificent job… Thank you honey!

So, for all of those who poured forth so much to help us enjoy the fresh milk we daily receive, we wish to dedicate a poem that Evelyn has loved for years:

The Cow
By Robert Louis Stevenson

The friendly cow all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart.

She wanders lowing here and there,
And yet she cannot stray,
All in the pleasant open air,
The pleasant light of day;

And blown by all the winds that pass
And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow grass
And eats the meadow flowers.

Carob Brownies

A dear friend of mine gave me Nourishing Traditions for my birthday this year… We have loved trying out the recipes and learning more about foods that are truly nourishing to our bodies. One recipe that we have enjoyed is Carob Brownies.

Carob Brownies
Makes 24
3 coups freshly ground spelt, kamut or whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat flour)
2 cups buttermilk, kefir or yoghurt (I use either buttermilk or yoghurt… plain yoghurt)
3/4 cup butter, softened (I use coconut oil)
1 1/2 cups Rapadura (this is a yummy, natural sweetener… can be found a most health food stores, we buy from Ward’s)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chocolate extract (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup carob powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup chopped crispy pecans (we don’t like nuts in brownies, so I used 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Soak flour with buttermilk, kefir or yoghurt for 12 to 24 hours in a warm place. (Those with milk allergies may use 2 cups water plus 2 tablespoons whey, lemon juice or vinegar in place of undiluted buttermilk, kefir or yoghurt.) Cream butter (again, we use coconut oil) with Rapadura. Add eggs, extracts, salt, carob powder and baking powder. Blend in soaked flour and fold in nuts (or chocolate chips). Pour into a buttered and floured 9-inch by 13-inch pyrex pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly and cut into squares.


The Cove

We watched “The Cove” last night. Wow… this movie opened my eyes to the cruelty and misguided (dare I say evil?) industries that are solely operating for the sake of making money. Greed. This movie has reminded me that we all have a voice and can help spread the word about what we care about… each one of us can make a difference in this world by sharing what we learn. So, I simply am passing along what I have recently learned. I highly recommend that you watch the movie. Want to make a difference and take action? Click here.

True Beauty

“…let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:4

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30

Why is the cosmetic and personal care industry so large and continues to grow making billions and billions of dollars every year? How is it that we purchase products looking for the “next best thing” for our hair, skin, & body? There is a lie at war with women that tells us to be more beautiful than others… to work so hard to keep up our outward appearance and adorn ourselves with whatever is of the latest fashion. Perfumes, lotions, scrubs, make-up, make-up and more make-up! But what is behind all of this stuff that we rub on our skin, brush on our cheeks and spray on our bodies? This was an eye-opener for me.

Over a month ago, Ian and I were on a short car trip and listening to NPR where we heard about Skin Deep which is a database of all cosmetics, lotions, shampoos… anything that you put on your skin… and how they have been tested to see what sort of risk level is associated with the product. We have now thrown away all of our old shampoos, many lotions, and toothpaste (we actually made our own recently). I encourage you to take a look at the database and see if there are any products that you and your family are using that are possibly dangerous for you. It might just change your perspective on true beauty!

The Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Bottled Water

We can make a difference… Just say NO to plastic whenever you can!

The Lord Your God

You shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no carved images or pillars, and you shall not place figured stones in your land, to worship at them; for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. – Leviticus 26:1-6

God is good and He loves to remind me to just seek Him. To follow His lead… to trust Him. When I faithfully follow His commands and obey His Word, He blesses. Big time. God.. the Creator, Master, Maker, Healer, Redeemer, the list goes on. Let’s face it, He loves it when we obey and seek Him. I need to be reminded of this…

“Come,” my heart says, “seek His face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek. Psalm 27:8


2009 was truly a year of growth for our family. Not just physically, with the birth of our fourth baby, Joy Elizabeth, but also we each have grown spiritually. Over the course of the year, God has slowly given us a clearer vision of what He is leading us towards as a family… and now in 2010, things are coming more and more into focus everyday! We are celebrating and overflowing with joy in looking back at the last year, and even the years prior, and seeing how God has slowly, specifically, and lovingly (always lovingly!) been preparing us for what is to come and the dream that has been planted within Ian and I both.

Psalm 128
Happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways.
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
May you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!

We will be sure to keep you updated as our dream becomes more of a reality! May God bless you greatly in two thousand ten!

Salsa Recipe

I realized several people have asked me for our salsa recipe and I decided to post it here… it is easy to make and can be modified to be taken up a notch… after all, “some like it hot!”

Ingredients should go in the blender in this order:

1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
1 can of green chiles (I think they are usually 4 oz)
1/2 jalapeño w/ seeds (could put the whole thing in!)
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
1/2 large onion (quartered)
2 Tablespoons of lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
Then I usually add in a couple shakes of chili powder, red pepper flakes & cayenne pepper and even some Tabasco sauce
Last put in as much fresh cilantro as you’d like (we like a lot!)

Pulse in blender 5-10 times or until mixed

The Midwives

Four weeks ago today, we gave birth in our very own home. The thought of doing this two years ago had never crossed my mind. I had known one or two people who had had a home birth and respected them greatly, but thought it was something I would never do. Well, as I’ve shared previously here, we truly grew in our knowledge and understanding of labor and birth within the last year and a half. Through friends here in Gainesville, we decided to explore for ourselves the idea of having a home birth.

We were introduced to the Midwives Cooperative and got to meet with 3 wonderful Midwives and being asking our personal questions regarding home birth. Through that “interview” process, we selected two Midwives for our 4th baby’s birth, Donna Rarey and Jessica Stevenson. They both came to all the appointments, which were in our very own home, which was very convenient for Ian to be present as well as the children to actively participate (they helped find the baby’s heartbeat several times!).

Over the weeks and months, we truly were blessed getting to know Donna and Jessica… they were so relaxed and we observed every time we saw them that they really enjoy what they do! They love nurturing women and encouraging them as they journey through pregnancy… answering questions, fears and insecurities. Now, after experiencing a home birth, I have seen the two of them in action! I shared the birth story here, but I didn’t share much about the Midwives. There was just so much I wanted to share about them!

During my labor (which was in the middle of the night), they literally snuck in and allowed Ian and I to continue working through contractions. They busily set up the birth pool, but it was as if they weren’t even there… they weren’t telling me what to do or instructing me to move here or there. After 3 hospital births and many nurses and doctors telling you what to do, how to do it, where to do it, it was amazing to have my own experience and they simply came along and supported that experience! Both Donna and Jessica came and encouraged me through words and touch as the intensity of the contractions increased and as Joy’s arrival neared, they gathered everything that would be needed for her as soon as she came out. But they did this all in our environment, with low lights, candles going, etc… I can only imagine how every birth experience they support is so different, yet similar as they welcome new life into the world. They adjust and come alongside with such grace and gentleness as well as confidence and knowledge. Midwives are truly amazing and I and I both are honored to have had Donna and Jessica deliver our precious little Joy!

The other thing that is wonderful about our Midwives is how they truly care about us and call to check on us after, come and visit 2 days after the birth and again at 2 weeks. It’s now been 4 weeks since Joy Elizabeth’s birth, and we have missed seeing Donna and Jessica! What genuine hearts they have. Below is a picture of both of them stamping Joy’s feet at 2 weeks of age. Thank you to all Midwives who are passionate about women having healthy pregnancies and home births!

Donna & Jessica preparing Joy Elizabeth's foot for stamping!

Donna & Jessica preparing Joy Elizabeth's foot for stamping!

Joy Elizabeth having her feet imprinted by Donna (right) & Jessica (left)

Joy Elizabeth having her feet imprinted by Donna (right) & Jessica (left)