Home grown / homestead dinner

Have you noticed that there seems to be an awakening of social consciousness concerning not just the nutritional value but the health quality of the foods we are eating in America? It may be the media’s illumination of life threatening conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and food allergies which has been inspiring a new level of deep social concern – or it may be something more. I don’t want to over spiritualize something like diet, but everywhere I look I see a plethora of common-sense, God-fearing folks changing their attitudes concerning what they put in their mouths. I’m not speaking of fad type diets for the sake of losing unwanted seasonal pounds, but rather life changing patterns and behaviors for the sake of life, and a better quality of human existence. I’ve been thinking that this new level of concern for food quality may not simply be a matter of social concern, but maybe more. Maybe it is God renewing our minds concerning a deep biblical relevance. He has done it before.

Home-cut lambchops

Much has been said about diet and food in the Old Testament. Entire books have been written about ancient Hebrew diet according to the old covenant law and how healthy it is, even in today’s world. The problem many of us have had validating Moses’ dietary laws (much of which is found in chapter 14 of the book of Deuteronomy) is that it seemed to be discredited by a passage found in Acts 10. Up to that point in scripture the gospel had not effectively spread beyond the Jewish religion. In Acts 10 Peter was asleep on the roof of Simon the Tanner’s house one afternoon when God gave him a vision. In that vision a sheet came down from heaven full of every kind of food including things not prohibited by Jewish law. Here is how the story is recorded: “Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” [Acts 10: 9-15]

Fresh from the garden

At first look it seems as if God is changing the rules, and in a way I guess he is; but not completely. First the scripture tells us that Jesus came not to abolish the Old Testament law, but to fulfill it; and secondly, the key phrase here is, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean”. In the context of the bigger picture of the vision, God is preparing Peter to share the gospel with the Gentiles which is an entirely new idea to Peter, but at the same time he is talking about a new concept in eating; that is “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean”. When I reread this with the concept of food in mind it dawned on me that natural God-given food, (food created by God) is good. Foods genetically altered, grown with pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, or those unnaturally processed or filled with preservatives, are perhaps not so good.

Chickens provide organic eggs & meat

One of our motives for moving onto the Timber Butte Homestead property was to engage in a more active and healthy lifestyle. We had always been hard workers, but because we’ve never suffered from poor health or obesity we hadn’t had to give a lot of thought to the importance of diet. For the most part, eating for us was a matter of substance and taste. Having lived the country lifestyle most of our married years, much of what we ate we have either grown ourselves, shot or caught during the various hunting and fishing seasons. Much of our lives together, Nancy and I have lived off and with the land, not so much for health reasons as for economic necessity. It wasn’t until years later that we became aware that those practices are now referred to as locally and organically grown foods. And that they truly are the healthiest and most desired food sources available for those who care about their whole state of being. It has created a renewed passion to produce as much of our own food as possible over the course of a year; eating fresh produce in the summers and preserving the surplus for the remainder of the year. We do this by canning, freezing and now more recently, dehydrating.

Organic grapes harvested from the vineyard

In addition to our Timber Butte Homestead garden, vineyard and orchard production, we raise and butcher our meat as well. Besides the chickens and ducks that lay eggs and are an excellent source of protein, we are now raising enough lamb and beef to meet our personal needs as well. Not only does this homegrown meat taste incredible, but it’s also natural and organic, as we only feed our animals hay that we have grown on our own acreage. No hormones or antibiotics are ever administered to any of the feed animals under our care.

Our vision for the homestead is not farming and ranching for financial gain, but rather as a means of sustainability and health. For us, the development of the homestead lifestyle has been about physical, emotional and spiritual returns. Our prayer for Timber Butte is that it will not only provide for us a more natural and functional life, but also inspire and encourage others as they pursue a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

The point of our blog site here at Timber Butte is not to teach people how to do what we do. Instead, it is to document our own journey as we seek to live a more whole and fulfilling life while being good stewards of all the Lord has given us. Like so many others, we are on a fast track learning curve out of necessity and desire. The desire is to not only put the best of food available on the table, but to eat foods that make us whole and healthy as well. This is not just about what we eat, but for us it is a matter of how it’s grown as well. In all things we desire to live our lives in such a way that honors God and his creation while leaving the earth a better place than we found it.