Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

U-Pick Event at Sanctuary Ridge Farm!

Welcome to Sanctuary Ridge Farm! We offer seasonal U-Pick events at our beautiful farm overlooking the Cumberland Mountains in East Tennessee. Come pick flowers to your hearts content! A variety of Zinnias are blooming in the field by our hand-crafted greenhouse where you can pose for some wonderful family photos. Feel free to bring a photographer along at no additional charge. Private sessions are available during our off hours, just contact me via email for more details. Purchase a container that you get to keep, and fill it full for $10. Bring your container back anytime and do refills for $9 all season long. Event dates and links for pre payment are posted below. We do accept cash, Venmo, and cards onsite. Local honey, jams, and homemade breads are available at our shop!

U-Pick Zinnia EventCome pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers on our farm! We provide a cup and the equipment to cut your flowers. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful view. Bring your own photographer for some lovely family photos. Cost is $5 per vehicle & $10 per bouquet. Purchase parking via the link or in person. We accept cash, Venmo, and cards.
Please remember this is an outdoor event where insects and wildlife might be encountered! 
1pm-7pm1917 Armstrong Ferry Rd Decatur, TN 37322
U-Pick Zinnia EventCome pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers on our farm! We provide a cup and the equipment to cut your flowers. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful view. Bring your own photographer for some lovely family photos. Cost is $5 per vehicle & $10 per bouquet. Purchase parking via the link or in person. We accept cash, Venmo, and cards.
Please remember this is an outdoor event where insects and wildlife might be encountered! 
1pm-7pm1917 Armstrong Ferry Rd Decatur, TN 37322
U-Pick Zinnia EventCome pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers on our farm! We provide a cup and the equipment to cut your flowers. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful view. Bring your own photographer for some lovely family photos. Cost is $5 per vehicle & $10 per bouquet. Purchase parking via the link or in person. We accept cash, Venmo, and cards.
Please remember this is an outdoor event where insects and wildlife might be encountered! 
1pm-7pm1917 Armstrong Ferry Rd Decatur, TN 37322
U-Pick Zinnia EventCome pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers on our farm! We provide a cup and the equipment to cut your flowers. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful view. Bring your own photographer for some lovely family photos. Cost is $5 per vehicle & $10 per bouquet. Purchase parking via the link or in person. We accept cash, Venmo, and cards.
Please remember this is an outdoor event where insects and wildlife might be encountered! 
9am-7pm1917 Armstrong Ferry Rd Decatur, TN 37322
U-Pick Zinnia EventCome pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers on our farm! We provide a cup and the equipment to cut your flowers. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful view. Bring your own photographer for some lovely family photos. Cost is $5 per vehicle & $10 per bouquet. Purchase parking via the link or in person. We accept cash, Venmo, and cards.
Please remember this is an outdoor event where insects and wildlife might be encountered! 
9am-7pm1917 Armstrong Ferry Rd Decatur, TN 37322
Zinnia Fields at Sanctuary Ridge Farm on July 31, 2023.
Just Desserts · Sanctuary Ridge Family Recipes

Biscotti- Baking at Home


Biscotti is the perfect snack paired with a delicious afternoon cup of coffee or tea! It’s not a cookie, a biscuit or a scone, so what exactly is a biscotti? A slightly sweet, crunchy slice of goodness! And who knew they are soooo easy to make at home? I first made these almost twenty years ago. Since then, I have tried creating several different variations. I hope you enjoy making these at home! Without further ado, here is the recipe:


Monica Scott
Biscotti that you can make your own way with cranberries, almonds, pecans, chocolate chips, or anything your heart desires!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 Biscotti


  • 1 Mixing bowl
  • 1 measuring cups and measuring spoons
  • 1 Baking Sheet
  • 1 Knife


  • 1/2 Cup Oil
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 1/4 Cups Plain Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine oil, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat until combined. Slowly add four 1/2 cup at a time, adding 1 TBSP Baking Powder with the last 1/4 cup of flour. Mix until dough is formed. *You can add cranberries, orange zest, chocolate chips, almond slivers, pecans, ect. to add your favorite flavors to the biscotti!
  • Shape dough into 2 equal sized loaves on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Slice loaves into 1 inch slices. Turn the slices onto their sides and bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool completely. Enjoy!
Keyword Biscotti, sanctuary farm family recipe
Brunch · Sanctuary Ridge Family Recipes

Banana Bread French Toast!


I usually make breakfast for dinner once a week. I rarely make a big breakfast FOR breakfast, but I love to host a big Brunch a couple of times a year. Many years ago, I saved a recipe from a coupon magazine for this delicious Banana Bread French Toast. The first time I made it I knew it would be a staple in my recipe collection. With layers of delicious flavor, this one is a winner in my book!

Back in November, I hosted the first Brunch in almost two years and decided this would be the centerpiece of the menu. One really great thing about this recipe is that you SHOULD make the bread a couple of days ahead of time. This actually makes it taste better. The Banana Bread recipe is not one that is good by itself. It is perfect for the right texture and flavors for the French toast though!

The Caramel Rum Sauce and candied pecans can also be prepared days in advance.


This year, I decided to prepare individual Ramekin dishes for my guests. I found mine at Marshalls but here is a link to something similar on Amazon. (

I find myself using these all the time now for side salads, soups and other side dishes. They are the perfect size!

I buttered these little baking dishes and then layered the custard dipped slices of Banana Bread in the Ramekin until they were almost full, leaving enough room for some sliced bananas and candied pecans to garnish each dish. I filled a baking sheet with the prepared ramekins and baked just before my guests were to arrive.

The Recipe

Banana Bread French Toast

Perfect for brunch or a special breakfast!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time for Banana Bread 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people


  • 3 medium bread pans, greased and floured
  • 1 Large Mixing Bowl or Kitchen Aid Mixer
  • 2 mixing spoon
  • measuring cups and measuring spoons


Banana Bread

  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, softened
  • 1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 3 Bananas, ripe, mashed
  • 1 Cup Plain Flour
  • 1 Cup Self Rising Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder


  • 1/2 Quart Heavy Cream
  • 4 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Caramel Rum Sauce

  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 TBSP Butter, sliced into thin slices
  • 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 TBSP Rum


Banana Bread

  • Preheat Oven To 350 Degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream, sugar, vegetable oil and mashed bananas until smooth and creamy. Slowly add 1 Cup Plain Flour and mix well. Finish mixing in 1 Cup Self Rising Flour and 3/4 tsp Baking Powder.
  • Pour mixture into lightly greased loaf pans and bake for approximately 1 hour. Allow to completely cool before removing from pan.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours minimum before slicing for French Toast.


  • Combine all ingredients until mixed well. Refrigerate until ready to make French Toast.

Caramel Rum Sauce

  • In a heavy bottom sauce pan, heat sugar on medium high heat until sugar begins to melt. Continuously stir the sugar until it is melted and turns to a dark amber color. Slowly add the slices of butter, whisking until butter is melted. Very Slowly pour in the heavy cream, whisking until smooth. Be Careful to not add the cream too fast! It will steam burn your hands and cause the sugar to ball up. Whisk constantly and add the rum. Allow to cool before serving. Refrigerate to store.

Preparing French Toast

  • Slice the bread into 3/4 inch thick slices. Soak each side in the French Toast Custard. Cook each side of soaked Banana Bread on 375 degree buttered griddle until each side is browned. Top with Rum Caramel sauce, fresh sliced bananas, and chopped pecans.
  • *OPTIONAL BAKING METHOD: Slice the bread into 3/4 inch thick slices. Cut the slices in half. Dip each half slice and place in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Rum Caramel sauce, fresh sliced bananas, and chopped pecans.
Keyword Banana Bread, Caramel Rum Sauce, French Toast, sanctuary ridge family recipe,, Toasted cinnamon Pecans

Family and Friends

I love hosting these special times with family and friends! What are some of your favorite brunch recipes? I’d love to hear from you, just leave a comment below!

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

“Crew” and The Farm

Almost 7 weeks old!

Farm Dogs

Every farm needs a farm dog! I’ve researched many livestock guardian breeds from Anatolian Shepherds to Australian Shepherds and everything in between. Since we have confirmed coyotes on our property, I felt it was time to add our own farm dog. I really liked what I read about the Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd mix for several reasons.

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs

These family friendly livestock guardians will protect everything on the farm with proper training! Even the family cat will find a friend in this fierce protector. This breed can reach 29” tall and weigh up to 150 pounds.

Check out this link for more information:

Great Pyrenees Dogs

The Great Pyrenees dog is a familiar breed in our area- almost every farm around has a Great Pyrenees. One draw back to this breed is that they wander. This dog will literally learn to walk the borders of the property every morning and evening. Their “home” range can be up to 2 miles, so if your property is less than two miles, the dog is likely to roam into your neighbors property.

This breed is also a fierce protector of their livestock and farm family! One major difference between this breed and the Anatolian Shepherd is that Great Pyrenees are very affectionate dogs.

Read more about the Great Pyrenees breed here:

Mixed Breed Dogs

I am a fan of mixed-breed dogs. One benefit is that usually you get the best of both breeds. When researching these two dog breeds, I found multiple farmers commenting that when these two particular livestock guardian dogs are bred, the result is less roaming and a friendlier pup.

For this reason, I decided to add a Great Pyrenees/ Anatolian Shepherd mix dog to our farm.

Meet “Crew”

We picked Crew up about two hours from our farm. He was already living with Goats, Cows, and chickens so I’m hoping he will do really well with all of our animals. So far, he is a normal, playful pup but he also seems to understand when the chickens, cats or goats have had enough of his playing one antics.

As the main caretaker of all our animals, I have to make sure Crew is being trained by me as well. With such a large breed dog, it is vitally important that he learn commands to sit, stay, come, ect. So that if he gets out of hand I can regain control. This is a whole new learning experience for me since we have two dogs inside that I have spoiled rotten. Leaving the pup outside in the barn at night made me feel guilty at first, but it is necessary for him to bond with his herd so he is compelled to protect them.

Although these pups are irresistibly fluffy and affectionate, they absolutely NEED to be outside. They were bred for a reason, for a purpose and they need a job or they will absolutely be a menace. This is why you rarely see them as only a pet.

“Crew” has been part of our farm family for almost four weeks now and he’s already grown so much! He is going to be a BIG boy! He has bonded with all of us, including our other dogs and all the animals on the farm. Even the cats like Crew and tolerate his playful pawing at them.

Crew loves attention more than anything. He grunts happily and leans against you for extra attention. When I’m out working, he follows me everywhere and interacts with the other animals as I go about the daily chores of feeding, ect. We are excited to see how he progresses in his training since he already knows the commands for sit, stay and come.


A Huge Commitment

As you can see, I spent a lot of time researching and planning this new addition to our farm. I even picked the “perfect time”, when I would be home over Christmas break, so that I could devote as much time as possible to training this sweet puppy. That’s why it was so hard for me to admit that this was a Huge mistake. Ultimately, I am responsible for all of the animals here. Everyone is willing to help some when needed, but the bulk of the responsibility for these animals is on me.

The reality of how much I fell in love with this sweet puppy is not to be lost in the reality of knowing this was a mistake. Crew was so attached to me, he followed me everywhere. But he was also a puppy in all the normal puppy mischief. That’s really not something I can deal with right now. I have so many commitments, I quickly realized that there was no way I could properly train Crew. This is a two year commitment with a livestock guardian dog, and I realized that I had to do something soon. In fact, admitting it and doing something about it was a very hard thing for me to do, but it ultimately led to Crew being adopted by a family who is familiar with farm dogs and their requirements. Thankfully, I had so many people interested in adopting him that I could carefully choose a family who had a large cattle farm, chickens and even small children to keep Crew busy. I cried when he left and I still miss him when I go out to do chores and he isn’t there. Crew’s new family have been so kind, sending me updates and even some video of Crew playing with their one year old daughter.

This sweet boy will always have a place in my heart…

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Tragedy on the Farm

Meet Rusty!

Rusty is the boy I didn’t want. When I picked up my first bottle baby “Gracie”, the farmer really wanted me to take this little boy too. He said “If you are bottle feeding one, you might as well feed two” and then he offered to sell this goat for $50. I’m not trying to make bank on goat farming. I really want them to eat all the undergrowth on a 15 acre area we have fenced and the truth is they are just too cute to resist. But I also know that in order to pay for their winter hay and a little grain for the girls, I will need to sell some of the offspring each year. I can only have one intact male goat/Buck for my herd and I already have one wether (a sterile male goat) in my herd. I didn’t want to add another goat that will require feed, minerals and other costly maintenance. But I couldn’t resist the $50 deal on this boy so I took him.

Rusty ended up being a really sweet boy. I was told that both he and Gracie had been on the bottle already. He was supposed to be 2 weeks old and she was supposed to be 4 weeks old. This meant that I would need to bottle feed them for around 4 weeks total, twice a day. I had all my supplies ready and even found a local farmer to buy goat milk from each week. It took some effort, but I was able to get Rusty to finally take the bottle. Gracie never took to it, but I did get her to drink some from a bowl each day. Both babies were eating hay and some grain each day too. Within a few days, they both got sick with Cocidia. It’s common for baby goats to get this, especially if they are stressed out by being removed from their mom so young. I treated them both with medicine and they were both doing really good for around 4 weeks. That’s when I spoke to the farmer who sold them to me. I was confirming with him about some vaccines when he told me he was wrong about their birthdates. They were actually 1 and 2 weeks old when I picked them up.

I knew this was a critical error or omission on his part. This omission made a huge difference in Gracie’s growth. I’ll share more about that when I introduce her next week.

Tragedy Strikes

I bonded with Rusty. He was so cute, snuggly and lovable. Just a few days after we finished building the Goat Barn and getting everyone settled into their new shelter, Rusty got sick.

I teach on Monday’s at our homeschool co-op so I went to the barn to take care of everyone before I had to leave at 7:15. As I walked into the barn, I noticed Rusty wasn’t getting up. He was too weak to stand. His body temperature was dangerously low. This is bad news for a goat. I immediately found a substitute teacher and loaded Rusty into the back of my car for the drive to the goat veterinarian. They drew blood and did some testing, then decided to treat him for worms because he was very anemic. Goats can be infected with a variety of worms, and the worst kinds cause severe anemia which can be deadly. The veterinarian said that based on his age, he likely contracted them before coming to live with us. She gave him a shot at the office and sent me home with one to administer at home in 24 hours. She also instructed me on feeding him and trying to keep him warm.

Rusty at the Vet

He did ok that afternoon, eating grass and drinking water. His body temperature even came up to normal. I sat outside in the warm September sunshine with him that afternoon.

My husband was out of town so I set up the dog kennel in my bedroom for Rusty to spend the night inside where I could keep a close check on him all night. Tuesday morning I woke to the sound of Rusty grinding his teeth. I called the vet and they assured me that we just needed to give the medicine more time. His body temperature was dangerously low again, so I turned off our central air conditioning. I brought a space heater into my bedroom and sat on the floor with Rusty in my lap while the warm heat blew in our direction. It was blazing hot in my room, and his body temperature slowly rose again. As I was caring for him, I researched to see if there was anything else I could do for him. I found a recipe from a trusted goat mentor to treat a downed goat. After sending Noah to the grocery to pick up the items needed and preparing the downed goat recipe, I carried Rusty out to sit in the warm sunshine. I planned to feed him the recipe with a syringe, but as I settled into the chair while holding him, Rusty took his last breath before I could even try. I sat in the sunshine for a long time holding him, sobbing at the loss of my little buddy. I tried everything I knew, but it just wasn’t enough.

What I’ve learned about Goats:

Goats are not “easy”. They like to escape. Goats will over eat. They have a specific diet- one that does not include cans! Goats can get sick with pneumonia, upset stomach, a cold, and a plethora of worms. I also think goats are “easy”. I know, I’m contradicting myself. But it’s also true that goats are “easy” because IF you keep them fenced and pay attention to their health, you can have a lot of fun with goats! They have big personalities! You will fall in love with them and it will break your heart if you lose one.

There is a lot more to caring for goats than just keeping them fenced and providing water. You need to be aware of what is normal for each goat. When sickness comes, they can die so quickly.

I lost Rusty in September and it has taken me 5 months to write about it. I mourned the loss of that little goat almost as much as his stall mate Gracie. She cried for days. She and I helped each other through the loss of little Rusty.

His little life was not a waste. I learned so much in the time that I cared for him. I am extra aware of the signs and symptoms of sickness in my goats. Losing Rusty probably saved my whole herd. After he died, I treated the entire herd for worms. ( I know you are not “supposed” to do that, but I couldn’t bear the idea of losing another while waiting to see if anyone else got sick.) I have collected and printed a whole binder of information for treating a wide range of goat illnesses. I spend time every day assessing the condition of my goats. I know I am not fully prepared, and I will probably make mistakes, but I feel much more prepared for sickness should it darken our barn doors again.

Rusty at 2 weeks old

The Best Biscuit Recipe!


A true southern delight, a flaky, buttery biscuit can be a challenge to perfect! After several attempts at making biscuits in my early twenties, I gave in to the idea that I just couldn’t make biscuits. It’s true! I have bought frozen and canned biscuits my entire life. It’s really ridiculous to me now that I can actually make them from scratch.

Last year my dad began searching for a perfect biscuit recipe. I’m not sure how many recipes he tried, but he made them with shortening and sometimes with butter. He tweaked the recipe, combining butter And shortening to make a perfectly flaky, buttery, high rise biscuit.

So, if you are like me and have struggled to make fantastic biscuits, you really need to give these a try! I can whip up a batch of these, bake them and have it all cleaned up in under thirty minutes! Want to add extra flaky layers? Just pat the dough out to 1/4 inch and fold it over 2 times before cutting the biscuits. Make sure you bake them close together too because this actually helps them rise UP instead of OUT. Cookies need space between them, but biscuits don’t!

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do! This recipe has become a staple in my kitchen over the past year. Actually, I think I’ll make some right now!

Dad’s Biscuit Recipe

The perfect, melt-in-your-mouth southern style biscuit!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 18 biscuits


  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Shortening
  • 4 Cups Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Cups Buttermilk


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Combine butter and shortening until creamy. Slowly add flour, salt and baking powder until a crumbly consistency. Next, add buttermilk just until combined in a fluffy dough.
  • Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface. Gently pat or roll the dough out to 2 inches thickness. Cut with a biscuit cutter. Place biscuits in a large cast iron skillet. Biscuits need to be close together to rise nice and tall so don't leave much space in between them! Roll the remaining dough into a ball and repeat the process until all dough is cut into biscuits. I use a large and small cast iron skillet to bake my biscuits but you can use a 9×12 greased baking pan if you don't have cast iron.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle with melted butter as soon as you remove them from the oven. Enjoy!
Keyword Biscuits, Freezer Biscuits, Sausage, Cheese, Easy Biscuits, Breakfast, sanctuary ridge farm family recipe
Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

A Peacock Trade

A Peacock on the Farm

A Peacock Moves In

One day this beautiful Peacock showed up on our farm. When I first saw her, I thought she was just one of the wild turkeys who roam our hills. I was sure she wouldn’t stay. Surely she was just passing through. She really loved hanging out with our chickens, eating their food and sticking close to the flock all day. I kept waiting for her to go home but she decided to stay here.

I notified neighbors of the peacock, hoping to find her owners. Days went by with no one claiming this beautiful bird. I considered keeping her since her owners couldn’t be found. There is just one problem with that big, beautiful bird: She really loved roosting on Noah’s car- and coincidentally scratching it. These were not little hairline scratches, no, they were long deep scratches.

Every time I looked outside, she was roosting on Noah’s car. I’d grab a broom and run out to the driveway yelling and waving the broom in the air to “shoo” her off the car, but it was useless. As soon as I turned my back, she was back on the car again. With frustration building I began to hatch a plan to get the peacock off our property.

Hatching a Plan…

One day I caught the naughty peacock as she was grabbing a snack in the chicken run. I raced as fast as I could to the chicken run door, just barely beating her to a narrow escape. I’m sure it was a funny sight to see- me frantically running to the coop in the middle of the afternoon! With the bird finally trapped in the chicken run, I quickly snapped some pictures and posted her “FREE” on a local farm page. Within an hour, a very happy young man showed up to take her home with him!

I wish I had a video of him catching her! The 6 1/2 foot tall fella entered the chicken run, cornered the peacock and swiftly grabbed her by the feet. With feathers flying, he brought her out of the run. I helped him tie her feet together and he carefully laid her in the back seat of his car for the drive home. We chatted for a minute and realized that I had planned to buy some goats from him earlier in the spring. I had to cancel the appointment when Jamey was injured. The young man was so happy to get the pea-hen, he promised me a “good deal” on a couple of young goats after we returned from the July mission trip to Belize.

We drove out to his farm one Saturday, planning to purchase one bottle baby doeling. He showed us all around his farm full of goats, turkeys, and even a few beautiful alpacas. He offered me an older nanny goat and another bottle baby boy. I really didn’t want another boy, since you can only have one in-tact male. At the last minute, he gave me a deal I couldn’t resist. We left with a nanny goat “Martha”, a doeling “Gracie”, and a wether boy “Rusty”.

So, that’s how we ended up with three more goats on the farm! You just can’t make this stuff up- farming truly is an adventure!

Sanctuary Ridge Faith Stories

When God Speaks

A Litte Background

I am notorious for buying books and then never having time to read them. I’m sure none of you do that, but it is a thing that happens to me often. I love to read and have stacks of books that I WILL get to one day!

Many years ago, I headed up the children’s Christmas play at the church we attended. The first year I was the only person willing to do it but I enjoyed it so much that I ended up leading it for the next 2 years as well. It was a lot of work but it was so rewarding! I would begin searching in July for the perfect little Christmas program for the kids. It had to have a great theme, some humor and of course really great music. By August I had the program in hand and was listening to the music whenever I was in the car by myself so that I would know every word before I started working with the kids. The most difficult part of the entire project was always deciding who would play which role in the play. It was inevitable that some child was going to be hurt that they didn’t get the role they wanted. I dreaded the day of announcing the roles of the play.

Second Guessing

One year in particular, I had a very difficult time deciding which play to do. I ended up choosing a play that included a theme of “giving” for the kids involved. The plan was for them to collect shoes to donate to the homeless shelters in town. I prepared big boxes to place in the church foyer for the donations. The play incorporated a beautiful story about showing God’s love to others by meeting their basic needs. Even after I decided, I had doubts about whether I chose the right program for our kids. Maybe it was too serious? Here we were focusing on a topic most kids are oblivious to. It seemed that things were not going as I had planned and I really began to doubt myself.

I presented the play to the kids in late August that year. We listened to the CD in kids church together and then began the list of who was interested in which role in the play. By the end of October, we had assigned roles and started practicing each week. By the end of November, the kids had memorized most of their lines but something still just didn’t seem to click.

Long Lost Book

Around this time, I began decorating my home for Christmas- bringing out all the boxes of Christmas decorations and family momento’s of Christmas pasts. As I rummaged through one of the boxes, I came across a book that I had bought 7 years before to read with my kids through the Advent season. It was one of those books that I never even cracked open. I decided to sit down and read the first story in the book immediately.

“Chicken Soup for the Soul- Christmas Version”

All week I had been doubting the kids play at church: did I choose the wrong one??? The kids just weren’t even TRYING to learn the songs this year. Most of the kids knew the speaking parts but the songs just weren’t clicking for some reason.

But then, the first story I read in the book that night was about a man witnessing some local teenagers on a side walk in town. The teens were riding their skateboards on the sidewalk when they stopped to talk to a homeless man on the street. As the man watched, the teens began removing their shoes, letting a homeless man try on their sneakers. The boys then gave him the socks off their feet and the shoes that fit him best. On a cold night. The teen Left the place barefoot- riding a skateboard!

And our play that year was about meeting the basic needs of people to show God’s love by donating SHOES!!!

What a powerful confirmation that was for me. Seven years before, I had bought a book that God would use to quell my doubts. So I knew it would all be ok. I was doing what God wanted me to do. I sat, reading that story with tears streaming down my face. It IS the right play for the kids! I love God’s sense of humor! HE”S got this- I just need to do my part and leave the rest up to HIM!

When God Speaks

Sometimes when God speaks, it’s just a gentle reminder to calm our minds that want to question everything. That’s what I think of when I hear people talk about a “still, small voice”. It’s a confirmation that can come in so many different ways.

  • Psalms 29:4 (NIV)The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.
  • Job 11:7 (NIV)“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
  • Colossians 1:10 (NIV)so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

My prayer for you today is that you will ask God to help you with those things you are worrying about. And then, keep your heart and mind open for that “still, small voice”, the voice of the One who loves you more than you can imagine!

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

How the Garden Grew

Rocky Top Garden

This was the site of my original 50 ft by 50 ft garden here on the farm. We named it Rocky Top because it is so full of rocks! The soil is great, but the rocks are a real pain. Just when I think I have picked up all the rocks, I find more. Over the past 3 years I have grown tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, potatoes, corn, herbs, cucumbers and even pumpkins.

Each January I begin planning the crops I want to grow. This year, I really out did myself! In addition to the crops listed above, I added butternut squash, honey nut squash, round zucchini, habanero peppers, jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, pop corn, Indian corn, watermelon, cantelope, and a wide variety of pumpkins. Because we purchased a large tiller for the tractor, I decided to just have Jamey till a larger garden closer to the house. I still kept my Rocky Top garden because you have to grow pop corn and Indian corn a good distance from sweet corn so it doesn’t cross pollinate. Jamey went right to work!

The New Garden

Jamey tilled the garden soil, but he tilled about 3x the size garden that I wanted. I had enough seed so I went for it, planting around 300×50’ in the new garden and 50×50’ in the old garden. It’s a lot to maintain- I could barely keeping up with it! So we’ve harvested 2 varieties of zucchini, green beans, potatoes, cucumbers, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, winter squash, spaghetti squash and pumpkins. Next year I hope to keep it more realistic! I’ve already decided that many of those crops will NOT be on my list next year because they just didn’t do well. I enjoy gardening but this year was just too much!

What I learned…

If I have learned anything this year, its that time seems to make the bad memories fade away. When I am bored this winter, I will probably concoct a new garden plan and forget how hard it was to manage that big garden. Somebody please remind me!

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming


Fergus eating crabgrass

A Boer Goat…

Not too long after Rain and Kudzu came to the farm, I found a beautiful Buck. Since we hope to have baby goats next year, we need an intact male to breed with Rain. Our new boy “Fergus” is a registered 50/50 Nubian Boer mix. Boer goats are raised for meat and for show. They have good temperament and I just fell in love with him. He is a beautiful boy!

He was NOT happy about riding in the kennel on the way home.

Fergus Cried all the way Home!

Settling in with Rain and Kudzu

It didn’t take long for Fergus to fit right in with Rain and Kudzu. The three kids get along great! I am amazed at how they each have a different personality. Rain is very sweet. Kudzu is sweet and very goofy. Fergus is sweet and dramatic. The three are very close in age and size. It will be interesting to see how they change as they grow. I am hoping for some beautiful babies next spring!

Rut Season

As Fall approached, Fergus began getting more aggressive at feeding time. It’s only natural for goats to use their horns to push and even to play, but it’s very easy to get hurt if you are not very careful. After a couple of close calls, I researched the best way to deal with this new issue with my beloved Fergus. I was surprised to learn that goats go into a Rut Season, or a mating season in Fall. This affects the Bucks of the herd, making them aggressive and a little crazy. A quick spray with the water hose calmed him down, but I won’t be able to use that method year round. I ended up using a large stick to “herd” him when I am in the pen with him. This method works great for me.

Fergus, just like other male goats, became a stinky boy during Rut. It is common for the male to urinate on their head. For some reason, this is found attractive to the female goats. The males also make this goofy face when they find a female they like. The female can be a goat or a human. Madison and I can talk sweet to Fergus or scratch behind his ears and he will act all goofy for us both!

Fergus loves me!