Speaker 2: Hello and welcome [00:00:30] to learning to dad. I'm Tyler Ross and our guest today is Jesse straight. Jesse like me is a born and raised Fauquier county boy. But unlike me, he is a university of Virginia graduate with the studies and religion. And pre-med, I believe his first job out of college was working for habitat for humanity. Now he was raised in a fairly typical suburban setting, but now he and his wife, Liz operate the 82 acre wiffle tree farm in Warrenton, Virginia, where you're celebrating your 10th anniversary in business. And [00:01:00] you're raising chickens, Turkey, beef, pork, and more, all of which has done using methods consistent with being organic and humane and Jessie and Liz have seven children. And of the many people I know fewer have a greater orientation towards living a life of service and faith business, family, and flock, man, does Jessie. Thank you. Thank you very much for being here and, uh, interviewing with me. This is really cool. Happy to be
Speaker 3: Here, Tyler. Yeah.
Speaker 2: Yeah. So raising kids, as we know, there are no metrics or measurements [00:01:30] by which we can really gauge our success, but as we strive to be better people, husbands and fathers, we will be better. And I think a big part of that is learning from others. And so the people that I admire, the people I perceive to be high-level professionals and, you know, people that are deliberate fathers and people that are critical thinkers, people that are positive and supportive, because I think that you are those things. I feel like we'll get a lot of value out of this. And if for no one else does, I'm certain I will. Great. So again,
Speaker 3: Thank you. Yeah, of course. Thank [00:02:00] you for the kind words.
Speaker 2: So just to start right off the bat wiffle tree farm, can you paint a picture for people listening of what with,
Speaker 3: Yeah. Do you want just sort of the picture right now or like the backstory?
Speaker 2: Yeah. Give me some history on it. Actually. Let's paint what it is now back in.
Speaker 3: Sounds good. Yeah. So we do we raise and sell chicken, eggs, Turkey, pork, and beef. Like you mentioned before, it's 82 acres. We also now rent some additional acreage for our [00:02:30] beef cattle. And just to give you some ideas on, I dunno what we do and how we do it. So in the, this last year we raised about 10,000 meat chickens, and we keep about 2000 lane Hinz, you know, about 130 pigs a year. Our herd of cattle is about a little over a hundred head and we just finished up doing about 700 turkeys for Thanksgiving. And then in terms of who it is, you know, it's obviously Liz and myself and the family. And then my right-hand man, Jonathan Elliot, who's VP has been with me for now [00:03:00] over three years. And then we generally have a, uh, uh, part-time delivery driver, but we just hired a fella who was an intern this last year, and we just hired him on full-time.
Speaker 3: So he'll start in February. We're excited about that. So he'll be doing deliveries as well as helping manage operations on the farm. And then we have, uh, anywhere from one to five interns that are mostly with us in the spring to fall when we're busiest. And then we have a great crew of [00:03:30] local high schoolers and community college students, and otherwise adults who happen to be free on a Wednesday morning to help us with our process with our poultry processing crew. And so that's from may to November and a great group of, of people there. And then my mom and our friend, Kathy Stegman are sort of our, like our egg Packers. So every Monday, Wednesday, they come out and keep the store and clean and pack our eggs. And there you have
Speaker 2: Retail on that's, right? Yeah.
Speaker 3: We have a little farm [00:04:00] store on, on, on the farm. And so I'm hoping, I'm just trying to make sure I'm not forgetting anyone, lots of other people that help out, but that's the main people that makes up whistled tree farm and, and the animals. And then I guess, you know, like you mentioned before, we're proud of our farming practices. So, you know, everything's on fresh pasture, no antibiotics, no chemicals, no GMO grains. And our beef is a hundred percent grass fed. So we, we take a lot of pride in how we raise our, our,
Speaker 2: Our animals and things to this is near and dear to my heart, as you know, because my mom owns a natural [00:04:30] marketing, organic health food store or a grocery store. So you talk about interns and other things, and it just popped into my head this moment, the concept of using a farm such as yours is being a, an avenue of education for, for high schoolers and others for raising animals. And to think that it wasn't that long ago, that that was just the standard. That's just what people did. And everyone had chickens because how else do you get [00:05:00] your eggs? So I, I'm excited to talk about how the lifestyle that you've chosen. It's not that one you were born in, right. That the lifestyle that you and your family live now contrast that to kind of what the modern day is. So I'm excited to get into that. Yeah. Um, do you have any thought right off the top of your head?
Speaker 3: Yeah. So I guess you're kind of getting that, like, you know, there's a certain work and activities that, you know, I'm, I'm obviously I'm thinking [00:05:30] this is oriented towards our children. Like, and, but I guess it might also be to these high schoolers and young adults
Speaker 2: And business to these days where it's not a lot there. I don't want to throw too much at you get huge corporate farmers that really create the economies of scale and it's gotta be so hard to compete with versus the kind of hyper-local plus the lifestyle difference. So do with that, what you there's a
Speaker 3: Lot there. Yeah. So I think that is something that is an integral part of what we do is the education, [00:06:00] you know, with our internship, we want our interns to learn the easy way. Not because, you know, I had wanted to do an internship before I started, but we were married and had a baby already, and that didn't really allow for that. So I know personally I made all kinds of expensive and frustrating mistakes because I was learning as I went. And so I, you know, I want like our intern, our interns to really cheat the learning curve [00:06:30] and bypass all those expensive and frustrating mistakes I made, of course you can't bypass them all, but a lot of them, um, and set them up both in their education and then as well as like an ongoing consultant for them that they can, you know, help them launch.
Speaker 3: Um, so that is an important part. And, and yeah, I think too, like with our say our processing crew, we've had, you know, people that have started out when they were 12 and 13 helped processing with us and tell their 20. And, um, we really, I mean, we're not [00:07:00] claiming credit for their maturation, but like, you know, I, I don't think their parents would say that it wasn't like a part of what happened that they like, you know, we have really high standards. Like we want really good behavior and really good work, and we're really proud of what we do. And I think that rubs off. So they feel proud about, you know, what they're accomplishing with us and they see, you know, like to what standard they can get, you know, like someone holds them to a standard and they know like, Hey, I can work really hard.
Speaker 3: I can get really good at something. And I'm really appreciated [00:07:30] and I'm doing something I'm proud of. So that is, that is nice to be a part of that. And then I guess, as it pertains to our children, we can maybe get into that more if you want, but that's definitely something that was attractive to me about farming was how it's so easy to integrate your family, at least this model farming, to integrate your family into it and have, you know, my children understand my work and be with me in my work and, and that I can teach them how to work. And I mean how to work in general [00:08:00] and of course how, what we're doing, obviously in particular, and I can, you know, take opportunities to compliment them when they do good work and show them, oh, well, you know, when we're, you know, uh, when we need to work quick, like this is what it means to work quick.
Speaker 3: You know, if we're in a hurry, this is how you, this is how you turn up the volume, you know? Or like this is an, an important mistake not to make that one, don't worry about it. It's not a big deal, you know, so you can kind of teach them. And, uh, I think that's, you know, really valuable and it's, I think will, you know, hopefully give us a connection [00:08:30] with each other, you know, my kids and myself that, you know, I I'm really, I feel really fortunate to have, you know, I know that like a lot of fathers don't get that privilege of, you know, ha working alongside their kids a lot. And, um, and, uh, yeah, I'm really, you know, feel fortunate about that. I want to expand on that
Speaker 2: Cheryl a bit, because what I do, um, you know, real estate building, all these things like I'd love, and I get to the, like you say of working with my dad, which isn't the greatest. And I [00:09:00] hope that my kids want to do something with me, collaborate in some way, but I don't know, because at four years old, you know, my daughter's not going to write a real estate contract or, you know, do a layout for a development or be able to pound nails on a construction site. Whereas your children, what's the youngest that I'm going to do, bunny air, bunny quotes for them to work. You know, what, at what point have you gotten them involved in the activities of,
Speaker 3: Yeah, sure. So it's very gradual [00:09:30] and, uh, I hate to use the word organic, but use it a lot, probably, um, trying to avoid that. So, you know, for example, like I need to make deliveries to a restaurant. I'll bring even my two year old with me, they're not doing work, but they get to be with me and they think it's fun and they get to see, you know, me providing food to people and the people appreciating that and they get to be, you know, oh, look at how cute you are. I know you're helping your daddy, you know, and you know, all those fun things. [00:10:00] So, you know, they just, it just starts out by being with me. And then as they get older, you know, they want to help me, you know? And so we've, we've started this tradition where we have what we call the special Workday.
Speaker 3: So with, with our four, four oldest kids. So what happens is the night before they lay out their clothes and then I'll wake them up early the next morning in the, you know, then they'll get dressed and come out with me to do the morning chores. And we start the chores at six in the morning. So they'll [00:10:30] come out with me and we'll go open the hens nest boxes and feed the hens, and then we'll go over and move the meat, chickens to fresh pasture. We'll go check on the pigs, we'll move the cows. And so, you know, and when they're really young, say like, you know, they're for something again, they're mostly just coming with me and they might be picking flowers while I'm moving the shelter, or they might be on top of the shelter while I'm moving the shelter or going for a ride.
Speaker 3: Yeah. And I try and, you know, make it fun. I try. And I'm intentional about, you know, like, you know, telling jokes, [00:11:00] telling stories, teasing them and pointing, you know, without being too heavy handed, I like to point out like, isn't it such a beautiful morning, look at the spiderwebs in the, in the dewy grass or like, uh, you know, look at how the chickens love it when I moved into fresh pasture. Isn't that so cool. And I try and point out the things that, you know, get me excited about my work, because again, you know, some people joke like, oh man, you got seven kids. You're really gonna put them to work. Aren't you and get a bunch of free labor. And, you know, I know, you know, [00:11:30] you
Speaker 2: Can, you can still have kids.
Speaker 3: Well, that's true too. But I mean, like, that's a fine joke to make, but that aside, like, I really don't want to do that. You know, my end game, like what you mentioned is I want my kids to love the farm and I want them to love being with me and Liz. Yeah. And that won't happen if they are used as slave labor. Right. You know what I mean? And how the cliched story is. I grew up on a farm and I couldn't get off it soon enough. Right. [00:12:00] Because probably in a lot of ways, you know, who knows, but some of the reasons could be, they were used as slaves. I mean, you know, that's a little extreme, they were used as cheap labor, you know, or maybe the farm was aesthetically or aromatically, not pleasing, you know? So those are also goals of ours that we want to farm in such a way that it's pleasing to all the senses and, and, you know, that's how things work in nature.
Speaker 3: You don't have, you know, big manure piles in nature. Right. You know, the animals spread it out [00:12:30] and it gets used by the soil. So, yeah. So basically, you know, I don't, I don't want to go down that path and I would feel like, you know, one of my big goals in life, I would have failed if my kids resent me because of their work on the farm. And, and this is something I have taken from this farmer, Joel salad, and a Polyface farm has really kind of the guru of our field of sustainable animal farming. And, and, um, I really respect him for this. And he said he would rather at the end [00:13:00] of the day, err, on the side of pain, his children too much because who cares if you know, you have a little less money and, but if your kids love to be with you and to work with you and, and they have had an affection for the farm and the work, you know, how can you, like, what is that worth?
Speaker 3: You know? And of course, like I have no expectation that like all my kids are gonna love farming. They're all going to want to live in Warrington and you know, but I'm going to do whatever [00:13:30] I can in my power to woo them and to make that attractive. And of course, if they decided another path, so be it, but I'm going to do whatever I can to say, Hey, isn't this really cool. Hey, we can like make some really cool opportunities for you here, you know? And like, don't, you really enjoy this work and don't you see how like good it is, you know, whatever ways I can point out what I think are the true goods of the work and the life and the chips will fall where they,
Speaker 2: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said provide them the opportunity. [00:14:00] I think a lot of folks try to steer their kids one direction or another, which we all I think naturally want because we want our kids to be a particular way. But I think the most important thing is giving them the opportunity to exercise their own discretion. But if we can give them opportunities as parents, right. You know, they say, you know, the kids, the arrow and where the bow so pointed in the right direction, you got to let go at some point, but farming, I'm going to assume without any [00:14:30] personal experience, that, that is such a lifestyle choice relative to somebody getting a job or even a career. And then on top of that, having seven children is a lifestyle choice. Right. So, you know, tell me what a day is like, tell me what your hours are as a professional farmer.
Speaker 3: So yeah, so typically I wake up at four 30 in the morning and I try and do whatever planning for the day and the week that I was too tired [00:15:00] to do the night before between four 30 and six. And then we go out to do chores the morning chores. And when I say that, that has been, just generally means like taking care of the animals, which means moving them to fresh pasture and giving them feed and water and all the, the essential things for a healthy life. So we get that done, you know, and depending on the time of year, sometime between eight and 10 or something. And so then at that point, you know, most mornings I then, you know, like I said, there might be four [00:15:30] days a week where those, the oldest four kids are with me and then we'll come back to the house and we'll have breakfast at the house.
Speaker 3: So I get to, you know, eat breakfast with the family and then, you know, go back out in the rest of the day kind of between the morning chores and afternoon chores is sort of like when all the miscellaneous things happen, whether that's putting together orders for restaurants or helping customers in the store or taking animals to the slaughter house or, you know, fixing up infrastructure, all those kinds of things. And then again, we have the afternoon chores and again, [00:16:00] that's, you know, now we're gathering eggs, feeding the hens, again, feeding the chickens again, moving the cattle to fresh grass, all those kinds of things. And then, you know, I'd say probably about maybe 30, 40% of the time I eat lunch. And that's just kinda how I am. Like, I just kinda get going and I'll, you know, eat a big dinner, but, you know, but if I do have lunch, I'll come back to the house and be with the kids and, and you know, it's not unusual, you know, where, you know, after breakfast [00:16:30] in also to be able to sit down and read a kid, a book for a second and go back out and then, yeah.
Speaker 3: And then I try and finish up at five 30, come back to the house dinner and all the gin, all the nighttime stuff, you know, bed, you know, pajamas and baths and books and all that sort of stuff, dishes. And then, you know, it's pretty typical that then I'll kind of get back to work. I dunno, maybe around 8, 8 30 after all the kids are in bed and I might, you [00:17:00] know, work for an hour or so, and then, you know, off, off to bed. Yeah. So, yeah. And, um, you know, I, I work more than I'd like to at this point. Um, and that's something that, you know, I haven't like making progress with, but, you know, especially starting up, it was pretty intense and, um, I'm really grateful to Liz because she certainly has picked up the slack when, you know, I had to put in some really long hours [00:17:30] to get things going, but you know, it, it seems like we're going in the right direction.
Speaker 3: You know, like I used to work seven days a week and now I kind of worked five and a half days a week. And, you know, and I used to work a lot later in the night, you know, and now I go to bed more decent hour. And so I guess the other thing unrelated to sort of parenting that we've started up in the last, I don't know, maybe a year or so. And so we have the special chore day in the morning. And then in the evening we have a special reading day. [00:18:00] And so then each of the kids has a night of the week where then I take them aside and for an hour, we'll get like, make a nice fizzy drink and, you know, maybe get a little snack and we'll go off by ourselves. And we have a book that we're reading through together.
Speaker 3: And so that's another nice opportunity where I can have like, one-on-one time with each of the kids that, you know, and that, that, I guess that would be for the five oldest kids, um, that I do that with. And that's, you know, I think sometimes Liz, you [00:18:30] know, she likes that I do that, but I mean, sometimes I'm like, this is awesome. I get to go read a story for an hour. And like, you know, she's like, hi, I'm over here. Like, you know, taking care of the little ones and they're like having a fight and, you know, the dishes aren't getting done, you know, so I mean, it is, it's, you know, it's, that's really fun. Yeah.
Speaker 2: Uh, I'd love to hear you expand on, uh, on the, that kind of routine between you and Liz, husband and wife as parents of seven children, you know, [00:19:00] how do you manage a household like that? And in that question, I hope that you'll tell us, uh, how old all your kids are. So we got some perspective on like, to any parent who's thinking about, like, we have to, so we can, we can play man to man defense. We can play man to man offense, you know, but seven, like what was it like graduating along the way from one to seven and then, you know, what's that kind of divide and conquer among you and Liz. Yeah.
Speaker 3: Yeah. So, you know, it's really interesting. [00:19:30] We've really found that our like most strenuous or difficult times was when we had less kids and they were all young. So right now Josephine's 10. And then it goes down from Josephine Roberta, and they're all about two years apart. So Josephine Roberta, Leon, south, or Anne Jonah, Lucy and Xavier and [inaudible] was born in June. So he's about five months old. So it goes from 10 to five months old. Yeah. And I, I, I, you know, Phyllis was here, I bet she would say [00:20:00] that, you know, when she had three or four little kids that was maybe the toughest, and there's a number of reasons, you know, obviously, you know, Josephine and Roberta and Leon, you know, they're older now and they, you know, on one hand they are really helpful, you know, like they want to hold the baby and, you know, they can go grab this thing.
Speaker 3: Liz needs real quick to, you know, whatever. So they're very helpful. The other interesting thing that we hadn't really thought through was, [00:20:30] you know, when Josephine was just Josephine and she's not only looking to us for all of her needs, but she's also looking to us for all of her stimulation. And w and now these later kids, you know, there's so much activity in the house that sometimes they could care less about us, the parents, because all the fun, exciting things their siblings are doing. Right. You know what I mean? So, you know, they, you know, they just want to like, keep up with the crowd, you know? So like, you know, [00:21:00] of course, like sometimes they want to sit in our lap and us to hold them and all that stuff, but sometimes they're just like, where are the kids I want to be with them. That's where the action is. So that was like a, really an insight as w you know, our family has developed. And, yeah. So I guess the other part of your question was in terms of Liz and me, and how, like the breakdown, how everything gets done and that kind of stuff, you put it in along,
Speaker 2: And I'm sure she does also just like, I believe moms have super powers. And so I'm [00:21:30] sure I'm about to hear some about some Elizabeth super powers, but I mean, just to write.
Speaker 3: Yeah. So, yeah, I think, I mean, I think Liz is, is a very hard worker, and I think also it's just, necessity has meant more planning, you know, so really having an idea of, you know, not winging meals or, you know, like having a real solid meal plan and, and, you know, having systems where, you know, like, you know, it's usually like me and one or two other kids does the dishes every [00:22:00] night. You know, things that before when this less intense, you know, you can just kind of make it up as you go along and just probably a little bit more planning. And, uh, and then of course, like I said, you know, our older kids are helping out more now. Uh, and yeah, so I guess, you know, do you want me to run through like a typical day with like, kind of how Liz and I manage everything or,
Speaker 2: Well, you know, for the benefit of anyone who might have more than two. Okay. You know, I'd be interested just in any of the high points and low points. [00:22:30] What's really easy. And what's really difficult. That might be different than expectations.
Speaker 3: Yeah. So high points and low points in terms of like, maybe what's a difficult part of the day, or
Speaker 2: What's something that was when you said, all right, here comes this third kid, fourth, fifth, what's a challenge that you didn't expect.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So I guess, you know, the challenges that have come along have been, you know, like we were talking about before, where there seems like there's always one kid who needs a lot of attention [00:23:00] at that moment. So, you know, whether they're just acting really defiant or really testing boundaries, you know, just like, oh, man, your plans for the day are shopped because this kid just really doesn't want to empty the dishwasher. And then you're going to have like an hour and a half battle about, you know, you need to do your job or whatever it is, you know, so that those are difficult. And those are the times that I think are really wearing. And like, we're, Liz will kind of call me in for backup. Like, I don't care what you're doing right now. I need you at the house. So, you know, and I feel [00:23:30] like that just kids go through different phases where they need to make, see if you really mean what you say, or, you know, like really the rules do apply to them or not.
Speaker 3: You know? So that's something that can be really test us. You know, the other thing that's really hard with a big family is sickness. Like, you know what I mean? Like if, if everyone gets, uh, you know, the stomach bug, oh man, it's like a war zone, you know, it just, just like you just waiting for the next one to fall. And that is a real [00:24:00] challenge. And I think that's another thing that we'll just like, kind of zap Liz, like, oh no, here we go. You know, it's one thing to like, be like, okay, well, our two kids are gonna get sick. It was like, oh, no, like we're going to be dealing with this for two or three weeks, you know? So that's a challenge. Um, and then also Liz homeschools. So next question. Okay. Yeah. So, you know, as the kids getting older and she's homeschooling more and more kids, that's also more of a challenge. And
Speaker 2: Did any of them go to public [00:24:30] school or private school at any time? Or has it been,
Speaker 3: Yeah, so Josephine's in fifth grade and she was started from the beginning in wisdom. Yeah. Liz does it. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, so that's, you know, that's something, I was like, how's this gonna work? When like right now there's four that are doing school, you know, how does gonna work when there's more than that? So, you know, we'll have to figure that out as we go along, but yeah. So, yeah. And then I guess, you know, my Mo is I try and, you know, [00:25:00] take as much of the load as I can when I'm around. So, you know, when I come back for meals, I try and, you know, like say if there's that one kid that really needs a lot of attention right now, like that's the one I'm going to be like, Hey, come with me on the deliveries or, you know, come to the farm store with me or, you know, let me read you a story after breakfast, you know, anything I can do to kind of lighten the load for Liz.
Speaker 3: And then, you know, when I come home, the same thing there on whatever I can in the evening, I mean, whenever I can do, and then likewise, you know, you know, for the [00:25:30] day and a half off, I usually have, you know, like, you know, that's a chance to like give Liz a break. And I think the other thing that like Liz has found that's really helpful for her is just kind of keeping an eye quote unquote nap time so that she can just get away for a second, even if she's not taking a nap. So, you know, the older kids can do something quietly, read a book, whatever, you know, for a couple hours, the younger kids take a nap and Liz can just go away and kind of be like, all right, I need to just refresh for a second. Whether she's, [00:26:00] you know, taking a nap herself or, you know, just working on something in her own space. So I think that's going to help keep sanity.
Speaker 2: Well, I want to ask you a little bit more about homeschooling because I'm struggling with how to educate my kids. There they go there three and four. So they go to a, uh, kind of a small private school right now, which is amazing. They love them so much maybe, but at some point private school, at least around here has gotten so absorbing gently expensive, the value add, [00:26:30] I have a hard time getting my head wrapped around and public school. It's like, if you want your kids to be anything other than ordinary, you have to do something that's not ordinary. And, um, homeschooling is not ordinary. Right. And what's, what's homeschooling look like, how do you feel about it just generally for anyone thinking about, for me, I don't care what anyone listening thinks I want to know.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, so, you know, Liz background was conventional public schooling and she grew up in the suburbs. Okay. Yeah. [00:27:00] She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and went to really good public schools and had a good experience and loved school and did well in school and all that. So there's, you know, that's her background. My background is all over the place where I went to, I was homeschooled some, I went to private school and I eventually graduated from public high school. And yeah. So I, you know, kind of a bit of everything from my experience. Yeah. I guess, you know, there, I have some thoughts about homeschooling. One is like, I, [00:27:30] again, I feel really fortunate to that Liz wants to homeschool and that she's doing it in our context because I know that like a large downfall of homeschooling is the lack of social life.
Speaker 3: Right. You know, so like I could see, there's just a lot of things going for us in that regard. One is that like I'm around. So there's some extra social life and I incorporate the kids into my social slash business life. So, you know, like they, they [00:28:00] get to bop around with me and talk to customers and go to restaurants and, you know, interact with interns and colleagues and, you know, so, um, there's kind of a lot, there's a lot going on, you know, so it's not like that sleepy, suburban home in the cul-de-sac where like all the kids are off at school and there's, and like there's one parent at home and otherwise it's just kind of a dead zone socially, you know? And of course now that's painting a pretty bleak picture because there's, there's lots of, you know, nice, [00:28:30] uh, homeschool co-ops and all kinds of things that are really kind of growing more recently.
Speaker 3: Uh, but then also just so there's one sort of like the, the social aspect of the farm. And then also too, like the kids have this huge playground where, you know, they, again, you know, it, they might not feel as trapped as they would in like say a suburban context where like they can romp around and go down to the stream and go swimming and go Trek through the woods, go play with the animals. So like, there's kind of a lot of interesting [00:29:00] things going on that way, which is nice. And then I guess too, the other thing I would say is, you know, homeschooling where there's seven kids that are all generally like a couple of years apart means that they have built-in friends. So, you know, they, they just like have a lot of fun with each other and they, you know, consider each other to be their best friends.
Speaker 3: And so, you know, that's another nice thing. Whereas if, you know, you know, we had a couple kids that were four or five years apart that just has a different [00:29:30] social scene. And so that's another thing, and these are not things that we like really planned out, you know, we're just more like figuring out as we go along. Um, but that was like, oh, that's really nice. That that's that way. So, yeah. And I guess, you know, I share some of your thoughts, you know, private school is really expensive and also, you know, in, in both private and public school also, you know, they do add sort of like, I don't know how to say it, but they add work to your day [00:30:00] too. Like, you're not just like getting off, you know, like, oh, I just outsource that now I'm, you know, like that does not how it works.
Speaker 3: Like kids come home with homework, you're helping them learn things. You're dry, you're slapping them back and forth to school and activities. So all of a sudden, like, you know, you can feel like your day is filled with a lot of these things. So that's a really nice thing about homeschooling too, is just the kind of peaceful family life that allows for where, like the kids, aren't doing homework at night, like we're reading stories and we're hanging out and we're [00:30:30] not just like the rat race of like driving kids around and little kids just hanging out in a minivan all day. Like that's not happening. Yeah. You know, so we're, I think we feel really fortunate that we're, you know, not having to do some of those things, but you know, of course our concern is like our kids happy or also like will later on in their adulthood where they resent us.
Speaker 3: Like I wanted to go to school and, you know, you'd like force me to stay home or something like that. You know? So like, [00:31:00] those are things that our mind that we, you know, we're, we're trying to constantly talk to our kids and like, Hey, you know, you, you know, this people that go to school, like, do you, do you think you want to go to school? Or, you know, what are your thoughts about that? Are you, you know, what, what would you be happy about? What would you be sad about? You know? So we want to be, you know, we want to be really careful that we, I don't know, don't have to that, like for whatever agenda we do have that we're really careful to listen to our kids and be sensitive to [00:31:30] making change that we need to,
Speaker 2: I mean, this is kind of a hard segway, but in your lifestyle with the kids and more farmer lifestyle, do you reject, uh, like devices, like iPads and phones and television? Like, do you, do you have that at all? Or do you try to minimize it? Like,
Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. So we don't have a television at home and you know, none of the kids have any device at any, you know, phones or tablets or anything. So we don't have anything like that. I mean, I have like a smartphone [00:32:00] and a computer. Um, so that is part of the home because I'm doing work with it. So it's not like they don't know what those are, but they don't use them at this point or really, you know, play with them or things like that.
Speaker 2: Do you see a difference between kids, you know, that have access to those things, basically unfettered access versus your kids. You find them, like your kids are more present or more in tune with nature or anything. Or these other kids are zombies. I feel like my kids, we try to limit it, but you know, we go out to eat and they won't [00:32:30] behave. Right. It's a really great shortcut to sit there quietly for 45 minutes. I have guilt with that. And I just, what's it like to be so guilt-free
Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, I, I'm not here to judge news. Don't worry about it. Yeah. So I don't know, you know, I I'm, I don't, you know, our kids are so young at this point. I think that's going to be something we come across more later on when it's just more normal for older children [00:33:00] to have all their own devices, unfettered, you know, at this point, most of the families we're interacting with, you know, they're 10 and eight and six year olds. Aren't just like, you know, while in away hours on some device without any restrictions. So I think, I think our kids would think that was like weird. Like, what are you doing? Don't you want to like, I mean, that's not true. Of course, like any human being they're attracted to bright, shiny colors. So. Sure. So, yeah. So I guess I, to answer your question, I [00:33:30] just don't think I've seen a lot of children that are the peers of our children that are, are in that situation where they're just really like glued to the device. And maybe that speaks to like the crowds we run in, but for whatever that's, that's the answer. Yeah. Okay. Sure.
Speaker 2: I want to get into some more kind of we'll have like a lightning round at the end. I don't want to get into some kind of short answer, sir. And I'm going to start with what I expect to be the long, this is going to be my last and long answer to your question. So something [00:34:00] that I haven't had to do with my kids yet is he really explained to them what death is about. Like we had a cat that died a couple years ago, but they were too young and we have a dog that's going to die and I'm going to have to explain that to them. We have family members, friends it's just inevitable, whereas on a form it's a daily part of that operation. And I wonder what that conversations like with your kids. Yeah. You [00:34:30] recall that particular moment where like I got to explain what the circle of life is to my kids and then that, you know, the value of life and then
Speaker 3: Right. Yeah. Yeah. So I think maybe go at this in a couple of ways. So sadly Liz's mother passed away from a brain tumor. It's now about five years ago. And so some of our older kids, you know, were aware and went through that. And so, you know, that, [00:35:00] that was, you know, the closest person to them that, you know, that they had to go through her passing. So we had to deal with, you know, questions and all that kind of stuff then with the older children. Uh, and then, then, yeah, like you say, uh, death is a part of, of, you know, the farm life. Right. And, um, so, but I guess we kind of, don't, we kind of talk about our approach to the animals from start [00:35:30] to finish, you know, not just when it's comes, like say if I'm, you know, slaughtering the chickens, that's not the first time I'm talking about, you know, how we to approach and respect animals and be grateful for their lives and what they're providing us.
Speaker 3: So, you know, I, you know, you say, you know, say I'm, you know, I don't know if this is getting too real, but say, I'm say I'm, I'm, you know, slaughtering some chickens. And one of my younger children comes up and they're like, oh, that's so sad. You know, I, I won't be like, you're right. [00:36:00] It is sad. You know, it's not, it's not pretty when like, you know, an animal has to die and, and the reason I'm doing it this way is because I respect the animal and I'm grateful to the animal for what the animals providing. And, and I kind of try and take those opportunities to teach our children why we do what we do and how we are trying to have an attitude of gratefulness and respect. I will say that, you know, maybe even more so than death, mating and reproduction [00:36:30] comes up, comes up at an earlier,
Speaker 2: We've gotten that far. You enlightened me,
Speaker 3: You know, someone, I don't know if Liz read this or someone told her this, but it was wise. It was only answer the question the child is asking. It's very tempting to like a child would be like, why is that one cow jumping on the back of the other cow? And you can be like, all right, here we go. We're going to talk about everything. You know, like, no, [00:37:00] you just, you can just say like, just answer the immediate, you know, like trying to get in better position or like, you know, that's what happens in nature. Sometimes animals do that. And if they like ask another question, well, why do they do that? But a lot of times, you know, a three-year-old is going to be like, oh, okay, cool. You know? And then when they become, you know, a seven year old, they might say, oh, well, why did they do that? And then you answered that question, but, you know, um, anyway, that was, that was wise advice. I feel like. Um, but anyway, that is that more than death. I feel like mating [00:37:30] and reproduction are more the, the kind of the buggers like, oh, wait a second. How do I, how do I give an age appropriate answer here? And, you know, so anyway, I suspect that like our children will understand the things about the birds and the bees maybe sooner, um, um, the, the come about it, uh, come at it pretty naturally, you know?
Speaker 2: Yeah. That's great. Yeah. Okay. So you talked about being with your kids on the farm and trying to give them the opportunity to be [00:38:00] present and enjoy the spider webs and enjoy the grass and the doing these things. Now, what about the flip side of that? When you have to punish you, I'm going to, I'm going to use the word punishment for lack of a better term coming to my head, but when they need to be corralled, you know, I think I've said it before, but you ever go bowling and they've got the, the inflatable tubes down the side. I feel like that's just staying. We just kind of stay in the lane. How are you the bumper? Like what, what do you do when your kids are [00:38:30] being defiant? Like what
Speaker 3: Works for you? Sure. So, you know, I, I've seen lots of different things work for parents. And I I'd say probably the couple of things that come to mind the most are modeling for the children, you know, good behavior and virtue. And, you know, so I think that's really important like that, like you, yourself, as a parent are really trying to be, you know, a really good person [00:39:00] and, and show by example of your children, something to aspire to. And, you know, that's obviously easier said than done we're human, right? So I think that's one thing. And then I think another important thing is to really, these are kind of like fundamental, like things that, you know, allow for discipline or the possibility of discipline is to really show your children, your Goodwill for them, and that you really want the best for them. [00:39:30] And I think that can happen a lot of different ways.
Speaker 3: You know, obviously like lots of nice personal attention, you know, reading stories and playing with them. And, and, um, I think that really communicates to them that, you know, you're not some tyrant that just like has to have things your way and don't bug me, but that, you know, you really care about them and want their best. So I think like when children really are confident that you want their best and they really respect you that you are a good person, then I think those are like pretty, like [00:40:00] got to have those in place, you know, before anything else can happen. And then I think, yeah, whatever form of discipline, I feel like it's just important that it's consistent. That like, you know, when you, you know, when you say, you know, here are the boundaries and here are the consequences that you basically don't wimp out, you know, that like, cause again, your kids want, you they're rooting for you to be a good person.
Speaker 3: You know, they, they like, they want you to be a perfect dad, you know? And [00:40:30] part of that means keeping your word and being reliable. And you know, so like, if you're not reliable to keep your word, when you say here are the boundaries and here the consequences, then that can really shake their confidence in what are you going to be reliable in other areas? You know? Like, like if you won't keep your word here, when you say you're going to protect me and care for me, and you say, you're going to, you know, whatever, do these nice things for me, like, are you really? Cause you just didn't keep your word here. And so I think like [00:41:00] an interesting way, just being consistent is a way of really comforting a child and letting them know like this world, like they'll grow up and they'll learn about how screwed up the world is.
Speaker 3: But like the world that we're providing for you is something you can trust. And you can, you can relax. You can be at peace because like, when I say something's going to happen, it is going to happen. And I'm going to create this like secure place for you to flourish. And don't worry about all those nasty things that are going to come across when you're an adult, like you're going [00:41:30] to, we're going to hopefully build your character up such that you have the courage and the virtue to handle that when the time comes. But right now, like just enjoy these relationships and these experiences. Yeah. So I think those are some of the things that stand out to me. It's just consistency and, and keeping your word. And, you know, when some of these faces that come through with these children, with children that are, you know, going through like a defined period, you know, they have to get a lot of negative attention because they're budding up and they're saying like, are [00:42:00] you, are you serious?
Speaker 3: Are you serious? Is this really a rule? Is this really a rule? And of course, so they they'll need discipline to say, yes, this is the rule. And here's the consequence. And so I've found that too. It's really important in those situations to then give them lots of positive attention, because like, that would be such a downer. If you know, the majority of your interactions with your dad that day were negative and were like, you did the wrong thing. So here's the consequence. So I always try and basically like, [00:42:30] that's a situation I try and compensate with. Okay. After the discipline, let's like wrestle and tickle and have a fun time, you know, and like, just communicate through these nonverbal ways. Like, Hey, everything's all right now, like we're past that, that incident happened. I don't think you're a bad person. I'm just marking that, that behavior is not acceptable.
Speaker 3: And I'm not saying that like, you're a bad kid, you know, like, no, that, that just taught you a lesson. And now I hope you learn that lesson, but [00:43:00] you know, we'll do this again. But like also right now, we're gonna have a lot of fun and like wrestling and tickling. And then that shows the kids. Like I'm not holding resentment, you know, I'm not angry. I, this is a very unemotional thing in a sense of like a negative emotions, you know? Like, like, you know, I'm so angry at you, you know, you know, so I think, you know, compensating within lots of positive attention for kids in that phase has really born out that that's like a really important to, you know, remind them like, I love you. I care [00:43:30] for you. I want your best. And, and no matter, you know, how many times you disobey me or do something that's not right. Like I'm not going to resent you. I'm not going to be angry and we're moving on clean slate. It's incredible.
Speaker 2: Probably powerful. You can big moved to me during that description. I appreciate that a lot. I'm going to take a lot out of that.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Really, really great. Yeah. And I think that's one of the things on that. It's just like, I think it's so important to try and, you know, when [00:44:00] necessary discipline children in an unemotional way. Yeah. Couldn't agree more, you know, like just calm, like this is matter of fact, you know, like I want our children to learn the consequences of bad behavior. Now when the stakes are really low, you know, like I want them to learn that it's really bad to lie to me now and not learn when they're an adult and they're cheating on their taxes and they're going to jail. Stakes are a lot higher, you know? So that's one thing that's like just [00:44:30] keeping it really unemotional and that, like this isn't a personal thing. This is not like, I don't like you anymore. This is just, I need to teach you a lesson. So that you'll be happier when you're older. And I try and communicate to the kids. Like, you know what, like, what I'm trying to do here is make you happy. That's what I'm trying to do. And to be happy, like you need to learn some of these lessons. And, um, there was something else I was thinking in there, but I forget the other thing. But anyway, yeah.
Speaker 2: What are you talking about? Not being an emotional response and immediately made me think about my wife who says, [00:45:00] you know, managing a classroom in kindergarten, first graders. Yeah. So there's a second. You raise your voice as the second, every one of those kids, you know, that you don't have control anymore. And I've found that in order to not have an emotional response requires patience. And I believe that I've been conditioned to be quite patient, however, it gets pressed I'm. So, and I have practices that, you know, whether it's counting in my head [00:45:30] taking a deep breath or just having a mindful meditation regularly, which I wish I had, but is there anything in particular that you do to exercise or cultivate patients in yourself to be a better parent that somebody else might be able to do?
Speaker 3: Well, you know, I want I'll try and come back to that question. There's one of the things I was, I was thinking about that helpful. Yeah. And that thing is sometimes as a parent, it's really easy to discipline your children for your own sake, [00:46:00] whether that's because, you know, you just really enjoy that authority and you're like, I'm going to put you in your place, you know, and not for their good yeah. Or it might be like embarrassment, like, oh, you're just embarrassing me in front of all these people. Like, I'm so angry with you for embarrassing me, you know? So those are like really like common, easy to pack, you know, feelings easily to have. Yeah. And so I think like that's a really important thing is just try and remember, like, I need to put [00:46:30] my child's good first and this isn't about like, I'm really want to move on with my day and get my list of tasks done. And you're getting in the way of that. And it's not about like, you're making me look bad, you know, it's about what is best for my child. And, and how do I like try and come back to focusing on that, despite all these feelings of like rage, because the day's been ruined and I look like a fool and whatever else, you know?
Speaker 2: Yeah. How do you get to that place?
Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, you, you make lots [00:47:00] of mistakes and you don't, but I think that brings up another good point. It's like, I think it's really like maybe the, one of the things I think is most important is like, I think it's really important to be in the habit of asking you for your children's forgiveness. It's really nice. Yeah. So I think that, you know, as parents, we, we should aspire to be perfect parents and of course we're not going to be right. So she just, you know, from the gate, just admit, that's going to be the truth. And [00:47:30] if that's the case, then we should all from the gate and just have a plan and a habit of asking for forgiveness. And that's a good thing in itself, you know, like that should be done just because it should be done. But also how much might that save relationships?
Speaker 3: You know, for example, like the, the, the, if I'm in the habit of, you know, you know what, Roberta, like, I was hungry and I was impatient and I shouldn't have like barked out, you know, that like command or whatever it was, you know, we [00:48:00] please forgive me that, you know, I've seen in my kids how much they appreciate that. You know, it, it, they, I think relish those things. And I think they also think it's kind of funny that I'm asking for their forgiveness, you know, but I, they really relish it. In fact, there's this one story, Leon, so Leon is seven. Now at the time he was probably five or six. That actually the same thing happened where we're eating a meal. Roberta did something that was frustrating. I forget what it was. I was [00:48:30] probably stressed out about something. And I remember I just like spoke harshly to her and I was like, ah, you know, so then like, whatever, you know, a minute later I'm like, you know, Roberta, I really shouldn't have spoken to you like that.
Speaker 3: Will you please forgive me for speaking to you like that? And she's, and you know, and kids, like I said, kids are so rooting for you at this age, you know, like, oh, sure, yeah, no worries. You know, and Leon, you know, it was like, he said to me, uh, he says, Papa, I really like it when you ask us to forgive you. And I was like, you know, he stopped [00:49:00] there. And I was like, oh man, this is, this is juicy. I want to hear what I want to keep, keep talking, you know? So then I was like, oh really? Leon, why, why do you really like it when I ask forgiveness of you guys? And he says like, I don't know. It just makes me feel warm inside. How amazing. Yeah. So, you know, so anyway, but back to the point, which is like, we're all gonna make mistakes, but you know, how many adult children resent their parents.
Speaker 3: Yeah. And how many would, if their [00:49:30] parents regularly asked for their forgiveness? I mean, of course, like, you know, a parent that continues to make the same habitual act of some kind of violence against their children, you know, you know, that's, that's a hard one to stomach, but a parent who really authentically w you know, wishes for their child's good. And, and because they're human makes mistakes and does things that annoyed their children, or does things to, you know, unwittingly hurt their children, you know, how, how much sympathy would be engendered. [00:50:00] You know, if that parent just was regularly, um, asked for forgiveness, and then that would also really make it clear to the child that there's an open invitation for feedback. You know, like parents who never asked for forgiveness and essentially are saying, don't talk to me about things you don't like, because that's not, we don't go there.
Speaker 3: And if a kid feels open to be like, you know what? My dad always asked me for forgiveness. He thinks of something he did wrong. It's gonna be totally fine if [00:50:30] I go to him. And say, you know, when you did that thing and from my friends and you made that joke, like they hurt my feelings. Yeah. They'll feel really comfortable doing that if that's just a regular part of life. And so what could be something they just resent and are annoyed with and all that, you know, could like come out into the open and be an opportunity for, oh, I'm so sorry. You're totally right. That was mean of me and stupid. And I'll really try not to do that and let me know in the future, if I do it again, I'm going to try hard not to do that, you know? So. Oh. But yeah, [00:51:00] so you, but you were saying,
Speaker 2: I want it, I want to stay right on this. I think this is amazing. I just finished reading Lewis house's book called the mask masculinity, where he talks about all these masks that men wear to protect themselves from being vulnerable. And I think that's such a beautiful way to be vulnerable to your children, because if you, I would look at vulnerability as being the willingness to try something, knowing that failure is a possibility. [00:51:30] So that vulnerability, like you say, gives kids permission to try to come and speak to you because they have confidence that even if they are try as a failure, it's not going to be the end of the world because Papa's is going to respond in a way that is not dangerous. Right. So the fear isn't there for your child to communicate with. Yeah. That's I [00:52:00] thought I was moved before, but that is totally resonating with me. And I hope that a lot of people feel the same way that listen to this because that the importance of conditioning children to be vulnerable, the world beats it out of them that probably four or five or six years old. Right. And so if they can stay vulnerable, it means they'll be willing to take risks, which means they'll be able to do really amazing things. So,
Speaker 3: Um, and that comes back to, like we were saying about before, we're like, [00:52:30] if you, as a parent, keep your word about what the boundaries are that creates a security where, you know, a kid knows that a kid has a certain level of inner peace. I feel like where, you know, they, they know, they know they're standing on solid ground and they know what's what, and, uh, and, and likewise, I think ways that we, as parents can provide, you know, stability for our children is really freeing to them. Yeah.
Speaker 2: That's awesome. All right. [00:53:00] So yeah, let's ask that question real quick and then I want to go lightning round. Okay. Is there anything that you do to cultivate patients in your life for the benefit of your, your business and your family?
Speaker 3: Yeah. Let me think about it. You know, I think one sort of like step back from that is, you know, your background. So, you know, I'm one of six and, you know, used to house full and chaos and not everything in the right place. And, you know, things like that. Whereas Liz has two younger sisters [00:53:30] and, you know, she, you know, her house was less chaotic than mine, so it really comes, you know, like I feel like I have an easier go of it sometimes because I'm just, that's like normal for me. Right. And so things that might upset Liz, you know, don't, I don't see even see or hear. So there's, there's some bit of it, which is just sort of like background and how, you know, what bothers you, you know, in terms of like, when something actually does bother me, um, or get to me, [00:54:00] you know, I don't think I have really anything great in the moment, you know, there's no particular method except those things I said before, which were just to really try and remember, what's the point here in terms of like, the point here is the child's good.
Speaker 3: It's not so that I can move on with my day and get my list of tasks done. And I think also just to be regularly reflective of what is the priority here in terms of like, [00:54:30] will I consider my life a success? If my business is a little better organized or will I conceal it, consider it a failure if my children resent not having attention from me. So just trying to keep those kinds of questions in the forefront of my mind that so, you know, when I'm interrupted in work, I'm not just like, oh, would you leave me alone? You know? Um, so just trying to remember, like, wait a second, what's, what's my main job here, you know? And, um, [00:55:00] and then I think, you know, in a more sort of like foundational level, I would say my Catholic faith is a part of, you know, my path of trying to get things right.
Speaker 3: And trying to, you know, be a better person for, I mean, just in general, but also for my kids. So, you know, I think that, you know, whatever, all the sort of riches of the Catholic faith in terms of prayer and [00:55:30] going to confession and, and going to mass, you know, those are all things that I feel like contribute to helping me become the person I was intended to be. And also, you know, helping me turn the boat around when things have gone badly. Yeah. But no, I guess probably no, no great sort of, uh, in the heat of the moment method or anything. Yeah, sure.
Speaker 2: Yeah. No, that's a great answer. I think that's perfect. Yeah. Okay. Lightning round. Yeah. Sure. All right. [00:56:00] So how do you think you've improved as a dad over the last few years?
Speaker 3: I think maybe some of the major improvements are just making these plans where, like I said, the special work day, the special story night, you know, where I'm building into my schedule, things that don't just like, oh, well, we'll read if we can, but like no Monday night is Josephine's night, Tuesday night, his Roberta's night, you know? And so I guess these kinds of traditions [00:56:30] that we're creating, I think really help make things actually happen. You know? So, you know, I think that's been important and like important improvement recently.
Speaker 2: Let's keep jumping. We'll go. Yeah. If you were going to write a book about your life as a professional farmer, professional parent, what are a couple of the chapter two or three of the chapter titles? Maybe
Speaker 3: I would say maybe one would be integration. And by that, I mean, like [00:57:00] whatever ways you can in your life trying to bring all the different parts of your life together. So normally in a work's over here, a school's over here, extended family's over here, children over here, education's over here. And I feel like I'm really happy with aspects of my life, to the extent that they are in like bringing, coming together in that like work and kids and education and family and extended family are all overlapping. Do you want more chapter titles?
Speaker 2: I mean, give me one more, how about [00:57:30] here you go, I'll put you on the spot. How about one when you first had your kid that whatever that chapter was between schoolwork and kids.
Speaker 3: Yeah.
Speaker 2: Yeah. What's that chapter of life called
Speaker 3: Between schoolwork and kid. You mean when we had our first Josephine? Yeah. Oh man. It was so much fun. And we took ourselves so seriously and we did so many things that we laugh at now. I would maybe just say fun and early mistakes.
Speaker 2: [00:58:00] Well, so generally for the sweeping population of fathers, what do you think is the role of a father to their children?
Speaker 3: Yeah, I, you know, I'm sure there's lots of different things, but the thing that comes to mind would be someone that their children is really proud of. You know, some of them, they can just be like, you know, my dad is a good guy and, and like, you know, for whatever else he [00:58:30] is, like, he really tries hard to do the right thing and to be good to people. So I think like, as a moral example, and then, you know, with that, like if I feel like if everyone had a dad that was like someone that they were just proud of because of how good a guy he was. And he was that kid's cheerleader. Yeah. You know, like how could you have, you know, the world would just be like a different place, but
Speaker 2: Okay. Physical gift, if you could gift to every father on the planet, a physical [00:59:00] gift, what would you give that?
Speaker 3: Oh man, let's see here. They're small. The ability to read bedtime stories late at night without falling asleep.
Speaker 2: I like it. Okay. So what are three qualities that a super dad has?
Speaker 3: Okay. I would say one would be that they are, [00:59:30] you know, good and virtuous themselves as like a starting point. I'm kind of a broken record here and then system. And then the other, I would say is humble and willing to ask for forgiveness and the other, I would say a close listener. So, you know, I think if a kid doesn't feel like they're actually being heard, even if their dad's [01:00:00] a really good guy and in other qualities, you know, that's just that breaks down a relationship. Right? Like you can't have connection if like just missing each other. Right. Yeah.
Speaker 2: Okay. I don't know if you watch much TV, but is there a dad on TV that you grew up liking or one that you like now?
Speaker 3: Huh? Um, let me think about that. Yeah. I, I can't think of anyone. Sorry.
Speaker 2: That's okay. Yeah. All right. So this'll be [01:00:30] my last lightning round question, but I do want to give you one long answer shortly because it's near and dear to both of us. But the last lightning round question is, uh, one that I borrowed from Tim Ferris that I have to give him credit for. It is a podcast or among many other things. But if you had a billboard on which you could put a message to every parent, every father, uh, you know, limited to that billboard and they'd drive by it every day. [01:01:00] What message might you put on that billboard? Yeah.
Speaker 3: How long were we messaged? Can it be,
Speaker 2: It's gotta be legible. [inaudible]
Speaker 3: Yeah, let's see here. I would say maybe I would say since it has to be short and sweet, I would say, be with your kid. Love it.
Speaker 2: I love it. That's great. And one that, uh, I brought a said, it's just different than yours. It says go home, but be with your [01:01:30] kid on it. So we're going to call that a wrap, but I want to say a bonus question. Sure. That's not necessarily parent related, but I think it is because it's a part of what we do every day. Talk to me about food and what you feed your kids let's have that conversation.
Speaker 3: Do you want me to like run through the, the meal plan kind of thing, or,
Speaker 2: I mean, in terms of the quality of food because you and I are indoctrinated in eating things that are organic, even things that are local and trying to do the very best we can. Whereas, you [01:02:00] know, the average population doesn't know that there's added sugar in milk. So the importance of food, just in general life as a farmer, you get the, uh, you get this modest platform to say, this is what's wrong with food and what should be
Speaker 3: Sure. Yeah. I guess the starting point food is so fundamental to human flourishing. You know, something we do three times a day and if we don't, we're not going to be around for very long. Yeah. So [01:02:30] I would just say, um, that, you know, you can go look at studies and you look at the breakdown of, uh, an, an egg that came from a hen that was raised in confinement, never saw pasture, had added regular antibiotics and genetically modified feed. And you can compare that to a hen's egg that's raised on pasture and non GMO feed and no chemicals, no antibiotics. And it bears out it's, it's a different food. Um, so like, if you want to kind of, if you [01:03:00] want to go there, we can. Um, but I also say we don't need to common sense tells you that an animal that's raised in an unsanitary environment that's stressful and that basically only can live.
Speaker 3: If it's propped up on antibiotics, it's not going to give you food that makes you healthy. So, I mean, I feel like common sense just tells you what you need to know here. So I think, you know, how mind and body are [01:03:30] connected, you know, I think it's, it's, I'm sure that we don't know the extent to which all things, all these things are connected. So, you know, when we talk about a person's health, you know, you could be talking about cancer or depression or all these things. I think it's, I think it would be hard to say that, you know, your diet and what you put into your body, um, doesn't have an effect on those things. I think that would just be kind of like a silly thing to say, that's not the case because you know, of course your environment, you know, how [01:04:00] active you are, what kind of air you're breathing, all these things all do.
Speaker 3: But if you think about it, you know, this, this, this food is so intimate with your body, you're putting it inside of your body and it's becoming part of your body that like, of all the environmental things that you're exposed to, this is the most intimate thing. And you're actually putting it inside of you. So of all the things that we maybe would be the most careful with the most vigilant with that would affect all aspects of our human health [01:04:30] food would be like top of the list. So I think, you know, it, it, it bears, you know, that kind of vigilance. So, yeah. And, and then I think the other thing that's just part of this problem is that you have combination of human nature, which when it can, we'll oftentimes shake, take shortcuts, and it takes shortcuts when it's not held accountable and it's not held accountable when it can't be seen when it's not transparent.
Speaker 3: So [01:05:00] I just think that it would be naive of us to think that if we hide away food production, where very few people can see it with human nature, as it is, it wouldn't be so tempted to cut corners without that accountability that I think it's just so I, you know, I, I really believe that, um, small local farms really are the answer to that transparency problem where you actually, as an eater can come to our farm, [01:05:30] walk around, see our animals, see, you know, our feed, everything is exposed, there is nothing to hide. And so I'm human. I could have temptations to cut corners and I'm really grateful for the fact that there are transparency. Cause it helps me, you know what I really like. I don't, I, you know, I really don't want to move the hens to fresh pasture right now. I'll just let them muck around in that mud.
Speaker 3: No, that's going to look really bad. I'm not going to, I'm going to move into fresh pasture. So I'm grateful for that, that it, it, [01:06:00] it helps me do the right thing. So I think just, it's a, it's a systemic issue where we don't want the most important thing for human flourishing to be hidden because we know enough about human nature to know that hidden things are a temptation for humans to cut corners. So that's why, you know, I think like industrial, organic is not the solution to the problem. I mean, we already know the industrial organic label is compromised and there's all kinds of slimy things [01:06:30] that are going on where, what the eater thinks they're getting is now what they're getting. And so I think really it comes down to embedded local, small family farms that people can have as much of a relationship with as possible, whether that can be that accountability.
Speaker 3: And that's the kind of the negative way to put it, the positive way to put it would be that I have a relationship with people I'm feeding. And do I really want to like look them in the eye and see their sick kid and know like, oh man, well maybe that's because of the [01:07:00] chemicals I'm putting on the food, you know, whatever it is, you know, like, you know, I care about our customers. These aren't like abstract things that are off shipped, you know, away in the distance. So, you know, there's, there's that as well.
Speaker 2: Yeah. That's perfect. So is there any for the average population, what would you recommend to them and as far as exposing them or educating them, uh, maybe in a book or a website or a documentary or show [01:07:30] that they might dip their foot in to understanding what's available to eat and what they're actually eating and contrasting those things and helping them make better decisions.
Speaker 3: Yeah. I would say some of the more popular ways in which that information is out there would be Michael Pollan has written a number of books sort of as both expos a, of the industrial food system, as well as sort of a champion of local sustainable pasture-based farming. [01:08:00] And then the movie food Inc, is a very well-known documentary that does kind of the same thing. Joel is hilarious to me too. Yeah. So Joel Saladin is, is, is a champion of that. Another person that I really respect a lot is Wendell Berry who writes about these issues in a really compelling way, both in fiction and poetry and essays. So yeah, I think those would all be good. Good sources.
Speaker 2: Let's plug with Witchery real quick. Okay. Website
Speaker 3: Contact. Sure. [01:08:30] So our website is wiffle tree farm va.com. Wiffle tree is w H I F F L E T R E E. Farm va.com. And you know, you can check us out on Facebook and, um, you're welcome to, you know, my, all my contact information is on the website. So you can call me, text me, email me, and, uh, and come out and bring your kids, uh, and come see the animals and walk around. You know, the wintertime is not as much fun as the spring or fall, but yeah. But [01:09:00] you know, like I said, everyone's welcome to come out and, and, uh, you know, see the animals,
Speaker 2: The spots that carry your food or restaurants locally here in Fauquier warrants.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Um, yeah, we work with a number of restaurants here Claire's and black bear and the Ash BN. So, uh, there's there's other restaurants, but those are some of the ones that come to mind. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2: All right.
Speaker 3: Let's call it. Okay, great. Yeah. Thank you, Tyler.