Don’t Ever Give Up

Sep 20, 2016 by

Don’t Ever Give Up

As a high school athlete I was prone to posting inspirational quotes on my locker and in our locker room. One post that I had up that I looked at often was from the famed college basketball coach Jim Valvano, also known as Jimmy V. It was very simple: “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” It was particularly inspirational because it was said by a dying man. I think at some point in this journey back to the land I forgot about that indomitable spirit that once turned a gangly gawky boy into a national qualifying track athlete. I was not a great athlete, but I became one, but it was only after years of hard work and set backs. Lately I have been feeling that spirit come back. It is tamer and wiser than it once was. Perhaps I am a bit more prudent and cautious now as I begin again to journey back to the fields that constantly beckon me.

I have been very quiet on here for quite some time. I will admit that I came within a hair’s width of giving up and going back to teaching. I made it all the way to the point of the interview and job offer. Then it seemed as though I had my Abraham and Isaac moment. God wanted to test me and see how far I was willing to go to follow him. The answer was simply as far as you want me to go Lord. Now it is as if I am awaking from a fog. Slowly I am remembering all the things I wrote on this blog. I am thinking again of the ideal of the land, and I am desiring to test it once again. The difference this time is that I know the cost.

For two years I have been away from full time living and working of the land. During that time I took the time to become a better farmer. I have learned from my mistakes on our farm on the plains. I also have taken the time to study and learn to be a better farmer. My first attempt at farming I jumped head first hoping I would learn as I went, and learn I did. However, that learning had an awful cost. Ultimately, many of the problems I ran into were a result of my lack of knowledge and experience. Yet, my ultimate goal in farming was never to be the world’s greatest farmer. Farming and the land were always about something deeper.

I forgot the reason I wanted to be on the land as I watched my dreams fade under the mandibles of  grasshopper plagues, crushing hailstorms, and blistering drought. As my stress level rose I forgot that the end goal was not to raise a crop. My end goal was to raise a family. My ultimate duty was to assist my spouse and children on their journey to holiness. It has only been since I started working outside the home again that I remembered how influential my constant presence on our farm was. I remembered and I once again desired that family unity that I had once only written about, but now I have lived. Today there is nothing under more attack by Satan than Marriage and the Family. The land can offer a place of refuge, a small Christendom for families today. However, we need other families who are like-minded. As the culture becomes more virulently anti-marriage and anti-family, we will need the support of others.

So where do I go from here? Forward of course! I won’t give up, and if you have a dream of returning to the land, pursue it. Yet, use prudence and be patient. Learn all you can, and remember that the land is a means to an end. It is an environment where the family can flourish, but the family will only flourish if you take diligent care of it.

I do plan to begin writing again as time permits. Our family has grown to 6 now, and I don’t always have the freedom to write as I once did. However, I will see what I can manage. Thanks to all who have written asking how things are going. A special thanks to all who have prayed for our family. We don’t have a clear path forward just yet, but we believe one is coming. I will be praying for all of you.

Pax,
Kevin

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10 Comments

  1. Franklin Jarrett

    Amen, congratulation and welcome back! As for me you made my evening with your post as I keep checking and hoping and praying you would post again.

  2. Mark

    I, a 60 yr old, and a 52 yr old male have been talking about finding land in Colorado -35 acres to get a well – where we live and elsewhere to invest/start an agrarian tradition – ora et labora – but the expense is beyond us. We have been looking for co-investors. The 52 yr old is facilitating a course on Distributism starting in a week in his parish to start the ball rolling again, not quite giving up either. He has been growing potatoes, some lettuce, etc. in his backyard since 2012. We have been learning and hoping…
    Mark F.
    Colorado Springs

  3. Larry

    Great posting. Yes don’t give up, keep working and praying, God, has something in store for you. My wife and I have been on the journey back to the land for 30 years with some amazing twist and turns. God Bless.

  4. Dear Kevin,

    Your blog landed in my inbox at just the right time. I needed some inspiration. Good to read about your testing times and how you overcame and regrouped with new vigor. I admire your passion for family and using the land to enable a better way of life for your loved ones.

    God Bless you all,

    Richard

  5. Sarah

    I am happy that you will be able to return to the land which you so obviously love. What have you been doing to make ends meet since your last post?
    I have read your posts for quite a while now and I feel that what you are doing is so valuable, especially in our time and culture. We are trying to do the same thing except that my husband still has a day job to pay the mortgage. I say that he has two full-time jobs.
    We graze animals and sell them for meat. There is decent money in grass-fed meats among local people.
    We will pray for your success in finding your niche.

  6. Matt

    Maybe this approach is something that would be more successful for you? http://theurbanfarmer.co/

  7. Chris Maurice

    Hey your story and work with this site are pretty awesome! What are the details of your farm (CSA, Market Garden)?

    I have been heavily influenced by Jean-Martin Fortier’s book The Market Gardener, Joel Salatin, and others, and have aspirations for starting a family farm for many of the same reasons that you yourself have, which revolve around strengthening the family.

  8. Kevin,

    It is heartening to hear you are still filled with this passion. Have you ever thought of gathering others around you to pursue the same goal? Maybe to start an intentional community, or take over a crossroads to start a new town, or even revive one that became unincorporated? My family is young and looking for direction, but I haven’t found anything like what I suggested yet. Makes one think there are plenty of people who would drop everything to move back to the land, and closer to God.

    You mentioned Permaculture once. I couldn’t imagine starting a new farm any other way, whether in the mode of Joel Salatin or Mark Shepard. It takes five years for a food forest to be established, but animal raising generates income seasonally from the start.

    But wouldn’t it be nice to start out with a community, even if the faces change a few times in the first few years?

  9. Jmf

    Hi, your institute should be in college station tx. We have a bit of an ag college here. I also have been planing to start an intentional Catholic farming community here and there are quite a few peopled here who appreciate the transcendence of the Extraordinary form in this area. We are working for its regular celebration. Contact Msgr John at St Joseph’s Catholic Church Bryan tx for a job at his school. My number is 832-312-7230.

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