Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings. Victor Hugo
We were made to soar.
We were made to soar.
We were made to soar!
Ah, the rule of three! It is the magic formula to everything. Dorothy clicks her heels three times to leave Oz and return to her Kansas home. The genie in the lamp grants three wishes. And the little engine that could bolsters his determination by repeating I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. So today, I needed the reminder. I said it three times: I was made to soar.
In Need of an Updraft
Lately, my soul wings have had a hard time getting airborne.
I thought of Isaiah 40:31. . . . but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.
Had I grown too weary?
The COVID news these days is not encouraging. January is now the deadliest month. Many children are still not in school. Immunization locations canceled. Vaccine shortages. On and on. Close relatives fighting lung infections. Too many hurdles to climb. Too many walls that confine. Too many unknows. My rule of three in reverse . . . BUT, I was made to soar.
I read that adversity defines us. With that in mind, I do not want to be defined by the things that drag me down. I want to fly. So as turbulence whirled round me like a darkened storm, I went looking for new wings.
I recall in psych 101 that we are happiest when we pursue a worthy goal we believe will be attained. I began to follow a blog that chronicled a family’s pursuit of a purposeful dream. Against many odds, they believed in one goal. They persevered. Allow me to take you there. If you are feeling pulled down as I was, here are the wings to lift you–right off the ground.
Don had been following a delightful blog, ReMARKable Farm written by Denise and Henry Wetzel. Periodically he would tell me bits and pieces of this venture, marveling at the ingenuity and dedication of these two people.
Henry and Denise decided to buy a farm so their autistic boys, Mark and Joshua, could take part in a family business selling eggs. From the start, nothing about this venture was easy. The blog recounts the early years and the seemingly endless obstacles they faced. There were many setbacks. At times it seemed impossible. Undeterred, Denise believed in this dream. She recounts the day ReMARKable Eggs was hatched. It was rooted in the rule of three. When she realized that her son Mark could mirror behaviors after repetitions of three or more, he could learn to follow simple procedures.
Mark’s rule of three:
1. Watch . . . do . . .repeat.
2. Watch . . .do . . .repeat.
3. Watch . . .do . . . repeat.
Here is Denise’s narrative:
“I had taught Mark to feed the cat and dog after school each day. I could ask him to do it and I did not have to go down and watch. Once he learns a routine, he is good at repeating the routine. I remember I was walking down the steps and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. He could feed/water chickens and then we would have eggs to sell. This was in about 2015. I started researching. A LOT of researching. I started ReMARKable Farms to start selling items at the local Farmers Market to kind of learn the ins and outs of the market. Kind of like gathering intel. The Moscow Farmers Market is one of the best in the nation. We are SO lucky to have such a vibrant Market in our town!!! I knew if we could produce the eggs, we would have no trouble selling them. Even at $5/dozen…”
Everything had to be learned: the kind of laying hens, the proper coops, appropriate feeding, how to keep chickens warm in the winter, and getting the eggs to market. Dozens of questions lay before them. With financial woes mounting, they wondered if they could find a farm they could afford. Could they qualify for a loan? What do they know about the marketing eggs? But the Wetzels were determined to create the environment in which the boys would flourish.
From the blog: When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.
Fixing My Environment
When a flower does not bloom . . .
My spirit wilting, I knew I needed to create a new environment for my own growth. And when I began to read their story, ReMARKable Farm transported me to a new place. In step with the familiar notion that birds of a feather flock together, I fell into their formation, feeling the lift I was seeking, ascending with the Wetzels in altitude and attitude.
You see, I harbor a fantasy about raising chickens. In my imagination I would get up early each morning to gather the warm eggs, noting the variation in size and colors. I would collect them and place them in a wire basket held in the crook of my arm. Drawn to the simplicity of a morning routine that is Grade-A purposeful, I would relish the peeping chicks at my feet, following me around the yard. Each one would have a name.
Simplicity, purpose, and resolve are the cornerstones of the ReMARKable Farm. And I would have to add industrious. When the hens began laying, Denise and Henry looked to growing their own feed. And when they were growing their own feed, they looked to growing and drying herbs. Each year the farm tackled new ventures. Raising ducks. And beekeeping, marketing what the bees freely gave them: ReMARKable Honey. Then with COVID, new challenges meant new ventures.
From their blog: Lessons learned from our first year of raising chickens and ducks Part 2 of 2…
More learning opportunities…
“Be flexible with your business plan. Our entire business plan revolved around selling at the Moscow Farmers Market. With the COVID-19 taking over in the early spring, the start of the Market was delayed and completely reorganized to allow for social distancing, and we were drowning in eggs! Doing a delivery route was Back up Plan #3 but it became our main selling strategy. The bonus is that Mark LOVES doing the egg delivery! It allows him to have a more active role in the business. Having an online storefront was not even ON the business plan and now we have one! In fact, I was terrified at the idea of a website to sell eggs but we HAD to put one together to be a part of the Motor-In Moscow Farmers Market and now I love it! Also, we are getting everything lined up so that we can sell the duck eggs at an actual storefront, the Moscow Food Co-op! AND we provide eggs to a local farmer for her farm stand! Grateful for new opportunities that turned out to be successful for the egg business!”
And then another problem. Danger lurked for some of the “girls” as Denise affectionately refers to her hens. A few of the them were able to fly over the fence. Fox and coyotes were always scouting by night, looking for a quick meal. After some research, Denise knew the remedy. She would clip the wings of a few “high-minded” hens. No, it does not hurt. I too recoiled at the thought, but her video demonstrated how clipping only a few of the wing’s under feathers, the ones used for flight, was as harmless as clipping our nails. She slowly and lovingly held a hen with one arm, calming her down before taking hold of the scissors with her free hand . . . and snip, snip, the flightless girl scampered off.
Hmmm. Clipped wings. That is when I realized my own lessons learned.
In retrospect, I thought of the times when clipped wings kept me from my full flight. Sure, at times it was at the hand of others, but most often it was my own doing. What would people think of me? Clip. Clip. I am not good enough. Clip. Clip. I am afraid. I cannot do it. Clip. Clip.
But soon came the ultimate lesson. The next post regarding the plight of the girls brought new discoveries. The clipped hens still flew!
While that presented a continued issue for ReMARKable Farm, it brought a smile to my face. So, I did some research too. I found that birds and fowl of every kind and every size will continue to fly even with clipped wings, just not as high.
What comfort. Even with my clipped wings, I can soar. In the right environment, with a little help from my winged friends. Because that was how I was made. And no pair of scissors can change that.
We were made to soar
. . . on eagle wings.
Like ReMARKable Farms on Facebook and watch us grow:https://www.facebook.com/Remarkablefarms/
Some Highlights from the Farm
Drying: We dry lots of things, fruits, vegetables and feed for chickens and ducks. Here is Mark helping Denise to harvest apples and drying slices off a dehydrator rack.
More egg laying ducks and chicks: The “original” plan was to order 25 ducks each fall for 3 years to eventually have a total of 75 ducks. Since the duck coop is finished, we went ahead and ordered the next group of 25 ducks. They arrived on December 2nd and they are now out in the duck coop! They will stay in there all winter. Hopefully, the run will get built early this spring and they will be able to go outside once they get their feathers.
Rooster look-out for the flock. He keeps his eye to the sky to watch for predators. I have seen the girls run into the barn after he calls out an alert. Also, a rooster will crow if there is danger approaching. He crowed a lot when Henry walked by. That’s OK. Henry doesn’t like the roosters either. Denise
12 Comments Add yours
Wonderful article!! I enjoyed it sooo much. BUT, Denise is my daughter, and I’ve traveled her path with her from the beginning. I love she gets some attention like this. Thanks!!
Terry, You raised an amazing daughter. What a wonderful accomplishment. I am in awe of the Wetzels and their amazing farm.
Gloria has a reMARKable ability to write meaningful works! Thanks for putting this together. We are honored that you have shared our story!
Denise, I am so glad Don shared your story with me. What you are doing is such an inspiration for all parents and for all nature lovers. We wish Mark all the joy of empowerment. And send a little of our love to the “girls”.
oh yes you are so right regarding Gloria’s gift in writing these works – what a treasure to read this story! Thank you again Gloria and of course the Wetzel family for sharing your story, so many great lessons for all of us!
Thank you Nancy. I wonder if you too, have a fantasy about living on a farm. I spent the first 5 years of my life on one and I have missed it every since.
Feeling like all our wings have been clipped recently! Inspiring words….
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Gloria , you did it again ! What a gift you have ! So proud to be your (sister -in -law) ! This story is beautiful and so inspirational to other young families with autistic children bc it gives them so much hope for their kid’s futures ! I follow a blog called Finding Cooper’s voice which is all about her non verbal autistic son . I sent your story to her ❤️
Sandi, Thank you so much. That is so kind of you to share this with others. You have a heart for those who “do not flower” as Denise puts it.