I wish I could say that when we settled on a name for our farmette that it was strictly ‘spiritual’ in nature. On Christ the solid rock we do stand, but our farm name was the result of a more literal bent. Our acreage is, for the most part, glacial till. Translated, that means that we are situated on a gravel pit, with just enough soil to make it interesting. To get anything to grow here we need to dig a large hole, removing the ‘native’ soil, and replacing it with topsoil enriched with mushroom compost. It is a lot of work initially, but as the plants establish themselves the workload should diminish. Contrast that to a tree plunked into the original soil. To make it a productive tree would require constant maintenance as you fertilize and try to provide above ground what you should have done below ground. Of course, eventually even the prepared tree root system will reach beyond this artificial island of nutrition. Hopefully they will be so well established by the time they encounter the ‘outside world,’ that with a little supplemental feeding, there will not be any noticeable decrease in their output.
I like to think that our fruit trees are not the only things that we have enveloped with the best possible environment. When people challenge us as to why aren’t our children living in the ‘real world’, I think of what could have happened to our fruit trees if we had planted them in the ‘real world.’ They may have survived, but their growth would have been suppressed and the quantity and quality of fruit they would have yielded would have been drastically reduced. Likewise, they would have been ill-equipped to resist any disease or insects. Children, too tender to face the corruption in the world, might likewise be stunted from reaching their full potential. The good fruits that they could have produced may be sparse and inferior. They may also lack the spiritual and emotional stamina to resist the schemes of the devil.
Admittedly, preparing a nurturing place for our children that is as untainted from as much depravity as possible is a lot of work initially. However, by providing a moral cushion during the years when the children are most vulnerable, we should find that our maintenance level will recede. Admittedly, our desolate soil is not poisonous; however, it lacks the valuable nutrients that result in a productive tree. Likewise, many of the things in the ‘real world’ are not necessarily evil; however, they can deny our children the opportunities to grow to their fullest potential.
So what is growing at Solid Rock Farm? Fruit trees, rose bushes, and, by the grace of God, so are our children.
Note added in 1997:
Since that article was written, not only have the children been growing, so has the population of the farm. The children are now the ever responsible owners of 4 haflinger horses, 2 miniature donkeys, 5 black babydoll sheep and border collie pup in training to herd them, a small flock of miniature ducks, a slightly larger flock of chickens, rex rabbits that roam freely about the property, a batch of quail chicks that will join them soon, and a fun loving golden retriever. We all have our personal favorites, but all of us agree that God has really blessed us with this incredible opportunity to ‘farm’.