What and Why

How we live and why we live that way.

This is a broad statement I know.  When I clean I tend to think through my conversations and relationships with people.  I was cleaning on Monday, and thinking about the finishing touches I had to put on my future-sister-in-law’s Christmas gift.  I was making her a recipe book with all my favorite recipes in it.  Ones I’ve acquired over the past 3 years of marriage and some classics from my mom and grandmother.  Many are from Better Homes and Gardens, Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, or various other places, but all are tweaked to be mine.  See I live a little differently than I was raised, and I love it.  This thought of the various recipes I’m giving Missy (name changed for privacy) and the naturalness of all of them lead me to think about why I care about the food as I do.

I can truly say I have made this gigantic change of my own volition and not by force.  It all started when, through studying about food and how it gets from the animal/plant to my plate I came to see that it really does matter what an animal ate or how a crop was grown for nutritional, moral, and Christian reasons.  Nutritionally the meats and produce have no rival.  Morally I can defend how all is done.  And my Christian beliefs are uncompromised by the fact that I am caring about something that God cares about too.

But it’s bigger than that.  I rarely use a microwave oven.  Why?  Because I have done my homework and don’t like that the molecular structure of the water molecules and molecules of the food is being altered.  And beside that… if water that has been microwaved kills plants I don’t really want that in my body.  I also don’t buy breads except for rare occasions (I can think of less than 5 times in the past 3 years)  Why?  Because it’s easy to make, and I can regulate the ingredients going into it.  If regular bread has more than 6 ingredients in it and I can’t pronounce some of them I don’t want my family nor I eating it.  {An aside with that.  I have picked up 3 breadmakers from GoodWill.  I paid a max of $7 for one and less than that for the other 2.  I use them to mix and knead my dough and then rise them in my own pans.  So easy!!!}  I make my own tortillas, sandwich buns, hot dog buns, and toaster pastries!  It’s easy to do these things if you make it a point to set time aside.  Something else I try to avoid are Genetically Modified Ingredients.  Why?  Because I believe that God had a perfect design when He created the world and we shouldn’t be mixing the genetics of animals with plants to achieve something that can’t stand in nature.  This means I try to avoid sweeteners other than Pure Cane Sugar in my cooking and use un refined cold pressed oils as I can.  I don’t buy things with MonoSodium Glutamate (MSG) Why?  Because that’s a chemical that is designed to addict the consumer to the food.  Look at where you find it and you’ll find yourself craving those things!  I cook with butter (making my own as I can) and never with margarine.  Why?  Because margarine is totally comprised of chemicals that our bodies were never designed to process.

Now let me state that I am not a purist and I don’t believe that it is possible to be entirely pure in this area of life.  It’s more costly to eat seasonally and locally and naturally.  I know this.  My grocery budget is primarily consisting of cheese, other baking supplies, come canned items (primarily organic) and some dry goods like noodles & condiments.  Our food budget/household budget is very tight.  $50 per week.  So extra things are rare treats.  Like Shrimp.  Pete’s new favorite food.  But when it’s on sale and in the budget I can do this. We don’t eat out unless we have a gift card that we’ve been given.  We have had to cut some things out of our lives, but we’re still happy!  And we feel great!

So when I tell folks that my kids only like Raw Milk and have only known homemade bread and tortillas, I get some funny looks and folks think I’m crazy.  To me personally, I can’t imagine feeding my boys something that I don’t know where it came from.  To me that’s neglect on my part.

Let me encourage you that caring about your food can be done.  You don’t have to live on a farm!  I’m always encouraged by blogs like 100 days of Real Food and Biblical Homemaking.  One has the food part correct, but not so much involving the Creator.  The other gives all glory to God but isn’t as caring about other things that I feel are important to God too.  I am always here if you’d like to ask questions cinnamon rolls grahams

New Year reflections and anticipation!

HI friends.  Welcome to 2015.  As I sit and sip my coffee,  (Land of a Thousand Hills rocks!!) watch my lil man play with his toy animals, my littlest taking his mid day nap, and enjoy a slow morning I am enjoying a moment of reflection on the past year and anticipation for the year ahead.  Care to join me in some reflection?  Ok

The past year was a fun one.  In January we started our house project of building a master bedroom out of a third of our giant living room/dining room/den/office.  We knew with a new baby on the way we needed another bedroom.  Construction began on January 1st and finished sometime in March?  February was our annual conference in State College.  Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture is a wonderful organization that we are proud members of.  Organic food is great and Local even better but it’s important to add in SUSTAINABLE.  That’s the hinging point.  We couldn’t get GMO free feed for years because it was unsustainable for us to do so because of how much we’d have to increase our prices.  God has blessed us with a local place now to get some GMO free ingredients and the rest are being brought in from Virginia.  That was my first time leaving my Micah man with my parents for more than a day. It was tough for me to leave him for the weekend but he had fun and I survived.  March we finished our bedroom (I think that’s when we did it!)  and continued preparing for the spring ahead.  April was filled with slow spring activities and getting acclimated to our newest intern Glenn.  He was a little rough around the edges when he arrived.  We are preparing to have him leave this weekend (Jan 3rd) and I’m sad to see him go.  He and our other intern Billy became like family to us.  May was fun.  Patrick was born in May and we officially became a family of 4.  June brought in visits from friends from Ohio and family from Mexico.  July Micah turned 2 and we celebrated at my parents house.  August was a blur.  September Pete and I celebrated 3years of marriage with a weekend trip to Erie PA.  In October Patrick got his first 2 teeth!  November was a whirlwind of traveling to Ohio to see friends, to my parents and NY for Thanksgiving and kicking into Pennsylvania Deer Season.  (We process deer as a side business)  That carried us into December.  December was fun with family coming home from Mexico for Christmas and traveling to spend some time with my folks in SouthWestern PA.    Wow.  That was a lot of happenings.

That doesn’t take into account the hundreds of cinnamon rolls, loaves of bread and rolls I baked for farmers markets, the 20 some lambs born this spring, the 5,000 chickens we processed this year, the 150 turkeys done this year, the beef and the hogs too!  Four farmers markets and our Pittsburgh deliveries made it a busy year.  It had its hard points when we wondered if this really was where God wanted us to be and if we were doing it right.  But friend I can tell you with all of my being that God is faithful.  When you commit whatever you do to Him He will take care of the rest.  It may not look like what you thought it would but it will be what He intended all along.  We love what we do and we know that it’s what we’re supposed to be doing… but there are days we struggle.  Farming is so very hard work, and finances get so tight.  But God provides and is faithful.  And I thank you- our customers and friends- for your continued patronage and friendship.


2015 looks to be fun too!  We have some new ideas on the horizon to help ease the initial start-up costs of the year.  More lambs will be born this year so be ready for more lamb available.  We start taking orders for Beef by the side now and orders for pork too.  We plan to expand /revamp our Buying Club locations/times this year to increase our reach there.  We’re planning on again offering 2 positions for interns for the 2015 season.  (If interested please submit a resume to pete@BurnsHeritageFarm.com after reading our requirements on our website) Something that I am personally SO SO SO SO SUPER DUPER excited for is a Cow Share Program this year with Raw Jersey Milk! (Again if interested in more information please email tara@BurnsHeritageFarm.com)  I can’t wait to have my own cow again and make ice cream and butter and cheese…. Yum.  Up until a few months ago my boys only had ever drank raw milk here at home.  I’d like to get back to that and keep it that way.  I plan to continue my baking business and increase more in the homemade craft items as the opportunity arises.

Well that’s all I have today friends.  I praise the Lord for all the blessings He has bestowed on me this past year.  The friendships that are blooming at Center Hill Community Church and the growth and development in my little boys is astounding.  I am so excited to see what changes happen in them this year.  God is so good.

Till next time.