Here is some of our story…
Most people we would randomly meet in the course of life either say things like, “Wow, a Vineyard, I’ve always wanted to own a vineyard?” or “Vineyards are beautiful… I didn’t know you could grow grapes out here.” The best 2 ice breakers we have are how many children we have and the Vineyard.=) The awsome thing is that the two go together. It’s amazing how much of an opportunity the vineyard has become in helping us share with people about our strong belief in purposefully teaching our children work ethic and how it glorifies the Lord to delight in work.
Did we plant the Vineyard ourselves?
Yes we did! However at first we did hire some help for certain projects. We hired someone with a tilling tractor 3 years ago to help us till the land b/c we didn’t have a tractor at the time. Isaac and our Neighbor Jesse, who has become a good friend, fell a HUGE, half dead tree that used to sit in the middle of the field where the Vineyard is now. That was a big job! Isaac, with the help of the kids… used Geometry to plan our the scape for the vineyard (the rows), they staked it out. Then we hired help to put the end posts in. Then once that day came, 2 yrs ago in October, the plants were delivered– 1286 of them. We dug every hole, filled every hole with water, planted every plant, staked every vine, and protected each one with a grow tube and tied it to the first grow wire. It was the most productive day for our family. Luke was just a few months old and so he either worked along with me in a baby pack or in the stroller. (People often say “how do you loose weight after a baby… this is a HUGE part of it… we have physical work to do daily… weekly on our farm, whether it is hauling 50 lbs of chicken pellets, 5 gallon can of water out to the chickens, cleaning their coop, squatting to prune all 1286 plants, watering the garden weeding, etc…) Work is what God made us for… when you have this kind of work, you don’t need a gym! =) We had an assembly line going and worked hard all day that first day. It took us about 2-3 weeks to get it planted although most of the work got done in one day! We worked until the moon was our light with no real breaks.
Since then we prune between 2-4 times per year… which has required taking grow tubes on and off as well. We do all the pruning ourselves. Those plants are like our babies… very fragile. We are going organic, so that means weeding when we need to weed… not spraying round up like most other Vineyards. This year we have only hired help to weed whack around the plants twice… that takes 4 guys about 15 hours. We have to mow twice down each row, which the kids love- they get to ride most the time (Usually takes about 3-4 hours). So during the late Spring and Summer, Saturdays are our work day as a family. Us girls go to the Farmers Market for what produce we don’t grow and then once we get home we spend the rest of the day working outside… taking care of the farm. In pruning seasons, which take us longer since only 2 of the kids can prune so far, we also usually have on average 2 nights per week that we work a few hours after dinner. Then there is the regular work with the animals everyday!
Do the kids like working in the Vineyard?
Not always, but that was why we planted it years ago. To teach them to delight in work. In working together as a team as well. We are building something, not just a vineyard, a legacy of our kids working together well and delighting in work. Usually after we get started a few still have a “bad attitude,” but that provides us as parents the opportunity to teach, pray and correct. There are wonderful God Glorifying days though, when the kids are excited and go out to work and they work so hard and get so much done. What a joy those days are and what fun to praise them for a job well done.
Since Isaac works with a young generation, for years we have observed many things about the changing generations. For example, sometimes the “more privileged” children are the hardest at getting to work. Since they are in sales, usually sales comes easy for them at first, but then once things get hard and they receive rejection or a “no” they want to quit. They don’t “need” to work b/c mommy and daddy pay for it all. They think they will always be ok. This is not true for all privileged though, it is refreshing when we see those that are blessed that had parents who wouldn’t let them take it for granted, but instead instilled in their children a strong work ethic and purposefully tried to mentor them into entrepreneurial thinking. Often, not always, but often times it is those kids that have learned to persurvere through struggles that make it and move up. Another joy is in meeting those who have immigrated from other countries, such as China or Russia. There stories are inspiring, and they help you to value the opportunity we really do have here in America. In a day when many freedoms are getting threatened. We still have massive opportunity! Most children grow up being asked the question, “what are you going to be when you grow up?” Versus the question, “What is needed today that you could create? What kind of contribution do you feel God calling you to give to this world?” You see, we believe most people today live with “victim” mentality. They are victims and don’t like their profession, they just do it, out of obligation to “providing” for a family. The problem is not that they are working hard to provide, sometimes people go through hard times and those times can require people to have to do things they don’t desire over others. However, instead of having a victim mentaltiy and getting depressed about it… shouldn’t we praise God for the job and delight in serving Him in what we do. Shouldn’t we a Christians look around at where God has planted us and look for opportunities to be on purpose, not only sharing the gospel, but letting people into our lives, loving them, and walking them to the Savior. We aren’t here to prune vineyards, or deliver food, or sit at a desk and run meetings… we are here to connect with our Savior as we delight in doing those things and lead others to Cross by being a light with our attitudes of Joy. The fruit of the Spirit in our Lives should attract others to Him.We are trying to create in our children the desire to work hard and have the habit of working while delighting in the work. When so many kids just come home from school and plop down in front of the TV, our kids are reading, playing instruments, working in the vineyard, working in the home, and being productive. We do have sometimes were we enjoy a video together… but with the standard of watching things that teach or edify us.
I may not be able to bend to do the pruning but I can mow! You should see how squished we get on here with a couple children on the lap- oh its fun!