December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Greetings to our dear friends and family,

2013 is just about over. We can’t believe its time to share another letter with some updates for our family.

Joseph is continuing his career path with the Army passing the 1 year mark on 9/24.  After Basic Training which ended in Dec 12, 2012, he completed his individual training assignment at Fort Gordon, GA studying to be a radio operator/maintainer.  His training was delayed three weeks so he had a lesson in patience.  He was the distinguished honor graduate for his class having the top GPA, for which he received a promotion…. YAY!  His next training assignment was jump school at Fort Benning, GA.  Here he encountered another huge test as he had an injury on one of the zip line training activities.  This derailed his graduation plans and he took a medical drop into a hold over unit.  His original orders were for Fort Hood, TX but with the delays he was re-assigned to Fort Wainwright, AK. That’s right Alaska.  We were able to visit with Joseph in GA briefly before his transfer to AK.  We have had a visit to Alaska on our “bucket list” for a long time so we hope to check that item off next summer.  We look forward to having Joseph home for a Christmas break starting Dec. 17th.

Judy continues to enjoy her association with Leigh, King & Associates as a staff accountant.  She is currently studying for the IRS Enrolled Agent Exam and has passed the first and second tests for her certification – ONE more to go!  She enjoys antiques shopping/refinishing and photography as her key hobbies.   Finding time to blog seems to be harder each year and 2013 just had too many moving parts to allow time for blogging.  Our gardening efforts were a challenge with a VERY wet spring, lots of travel and Charlie battling a back injury.  Our berries did yield much fruit and great peace of mind to enjoy fresh food right out of the garden.  Late July we visited with Judy’s High School classmates in Keyser, WV for her 30th Class Reunion. 

2013 had some bumps for Charlie as well.  He had a back injury that derailed most of his shearing plans and restricted most “normal” farm work.  He was thankful to be able to arrange for a shearer from NC to come shear our sheep and the bulk of his clients in North AL, and TN.  His former apprentice was able to shear for a few clients as well.  Farm life continues to bring great joy yet also struggles…not the best combination but such is life.  Charlie still enjoys his part-time employment with the Northwest AL RC&D Council as their Executive Director.  The Council was honored to receive the Outstanding Project Award for AL and the Southeast Region.  2013 continued his 8th year of service as the minister of the Hawk Pride church of Christ in Colbert County.   During our trip to WV he was able to visit the VA Tech University farm and view their Polled Dorset Sheep.  Charlie was able to add some breeding stock to our farm from VA Tech that we hope will help us increase efficiency and quality.  As we go to print with this newsletter Charlie is still struggling with back issues and awaiting test results with hopes we can find out what is causing the problem.

As we all encounter struggles and set backs in life they are a constant reminder of what is most important….RELATIONSHIPS.  We continue to cherish our relationships with family and friends and of course our spiritual relationship with the GREAT I AM!

We pray this letter finds you and your family in good health and best wishes for 2014.  May God Bless each and everyone!

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year,

Charlie, Judy and Joseph Meek

December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

I know I have been missing from the blog world for quite a while.  I hope to be back soon, but I didn't want to miss wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  This is what we have been up to this year:

Greetings to our dear friends and family,

2012 was another busy year with BIG changes again for our family.

Joseph began the year starting his second semester at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.  After a summer of reflection, he decided to re-focus his career plans and enlist with the US Army.  He completed his basic training at Fort Jackson, SC on Dec 6th.  We were thankful to have his girl friend of a year, Rachel, with us for his graduation.  He is now at his individual training assignment at Fort Gordon, GA studying to be a radio operator/maintainer.  He did very well during basic training and qualified as an expert marksman.  We are proud of Joseph’s decision to serve our country and we pray for his safety.  Needless to say our outlook on life, being thankful and praying for Joseph have all reached new levels.  We look forward to spending some time with him during the Holidays.

Judy continues and enjoys her association with Leigh, King & Associates as a staff accountant.  She is currently studying for the IRS Enrolled Agent Exam and has passed the first test for her certification – two more to go!  She enjoys antiques shopping and photography as her key hobbies.   Finding time to blog has been a challenge this year but you can still learn of some of our happenings and events at  We grew a larger garden this year and we enjoyed the fresh food right out of the garden and were able to freeze some for the winter months.  Judy was able to travel with Charlie to the National RC&D Meeting held in Madison, WI in June.  We were able to squeeze in a quick visit to the historic “shack” mentioned in the classic book, The Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.  We also enjoyed a visit to the Leopold Center, which highlights renewable energy and “green” technology. We also visited Southeast MN to get another state on Judy’s list visiting the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN.  The bluffs along the upper Mississippi River are captivating.  Other stops for our trip included the Decorah, IA Eagle Cam and a sheep farm in Iowa for Charlie to feed his sheep farming addition during our travels.  Late fall we visited the North American Livestock Expo in Louisville, KY with two dear friends.  Judy is rapidly adjusting to the role of an Army mom.

August 31 was Charlie’s one-year anniversary being “officially” retired from USDA-SCS/NRCS.  Charlie is as busy as ever, but most days don’t feel anything like retirement. Charlie is continuing his part-time employment with the Northwest AL RC&D Council as their Executive Director.  2012 continued his 7th year of service as the minister of the Hawk Pride church of Christ in Colbert County.  The shearing side-business continued in 2012 (6th year) assisting clients in TN, AL and MS (sheep, llamas and alpacas).  New for 2012 was planning and hosting a Farm Day for a group of home schooled students and their families.  Staff from the Florence USDA-NRCS office assisted and several special friends attended as well, we had a total attendance of 50 special guests. Charlie enjoyed shearing for the group to share our love of raising sheep.

Our small farm continues to not only feed us but also of equal importance give us wholesome experiences such as a glorious sunrise or majestic sunsets.  Seeing seeds pop out of the ground and chart their course to harvest and making trips to the barn during the wee hours of the morning and seeing steam rising from a new lamb and hearing its first bleat of “hello world” sure make the world seem right!  We continue to be thankful for our jobs, great coworkers, great neighbors and two church families that love and support us more than one could dream.  We cherish communication with our family and friends and seeing them when our paths cross which is NOT enough!

We pray this letter finds you and your family in good health and best wishes for 2013.  May God Bless each and everyone!

Happy New Year,

Charlie, Judy and Joseph Meek

August 18, 2012

Road Trip: Illinois Countryside Interstate 39

The first of June we left on a road trip traveling toward Wisconsin for a business/vacation trip.  We chose to drive this trip to be able to see the countryside all the way from Alabama to Wisconsin (a 2500 miles round trip journey).  We also visited Minnesota and Iowa.  These photos were taken around Rockford, Illinois.  We drove off the interstate to be able to get some closer shots.

Our first day we traveled through Illinois and enjoyed viewing the farm scenery...corn, corn, corn and corn was growing in this area.  When we looked at the farms passing by our car windows, every farm had one of these barns on their property.  They were dotted all over the landscape.  We wondered why every farm had this particular barn.  Most were exactly alike.  Some were painted, some were not.  Some red, some white, some green, some naturally gray.

We also noticed that there were no fences.  In the southern states, every farm has fences not only to keep their livestock in, but also as boundary lines.  We didn't see much livestock in this area of Illinois.  I guess there was no longer any need for fencing.

We stopped and worshipped on Sunday with a friendly congregation in Ottawa, Illinois.  One of the men was a farmer so we asked him why every farm had one of these barns.  He said they were old-fashioned corn cribs.  We soon got off the interstate after church and drove closer to one of these barns.  After a closer look, you could definitely see the gaps in the sides of the barns for the corn to dry out.

The barn below was painted white and had a slightly different design for the roof and cupola.  All of the barns had the cupola on top -- I assume for added ventilation.

We also saw plenty of windmills for electricity.  There was plenty of wind.  Such a nice change from the hot, humid air in Alabama.

We arrive the afternoon these pictures were taken in Madison, Wisconsin just a few blocks from the capital.  Stay tuned for more pictures from our trip.

Judy :)

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July 9, 2012

Farm Day at Wehdo Sheep Farm

We were honored to be able to host a wonderful group of homeschoolers this spring for a Farm Day.  Renea Dyer,  our county's District Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and my husband, Charlie, were the speakers for the couple of hours they spent here with us.

We began mid morning with Charlie giving a welcome to the farm and the order of the day.

We were able to have the shearing demonstration filmed by Ginger Leigh owner of Blue Lantern Productions.  We hope to be able to share some of the farm and Charlie's shearing with you soon.  You can view some of Ginger's photography here.  Ginger uses her talent to help missionaries document their work through photography and video.  She has taught me so much about my camera (and then I show you the picture below with a reflective spot...who put that in there?).  We love that girl!

Renea Dyer began the day with a lesson on soils.  She began in our garden and then spied some bare soil where we have a few eroded areas and moved the rest of her lesson to a more interesting area of our farm.

Renea talked about different types of soils.

She also brought different soils with her so the students could see and touch the differences.

Charlie and Brandon McCray another employee of NRCS, take a rest while sitting on a eroded bank while Renea talks.

And yes, that is Charlie holding our Craigslist kitty, Lulu.  She has certainly made herself at home here and is totally content.  A great Craigslist find!

Charlie began his shearing session by explaining what equipment he used and how the clippers work.

He also answered questions before he began his shearing demonstration.

Below, he demonstrates the first position for the sheep.  The sheep is comfortable and relaxed.

He began shearing.

As he sheared, the wool seemed to peel off the sheep into a fluffy wool blanket.

And the blanket grew until he was able to release a much cooler ewe.

He began a second demonstration...

and was able to let a couple of spectators give shearing a try.

Much harder than it looks!

Our tour ended with questions and answers in the shade.  The students enjoyed visiting with our newborn twin lambs and seeing the llamas and other farm animals.  Their day continued at a memorial to an special young lady (Te-lah-nay) a Native American, who walked back to this region from Oklahoma after she was removed from this area by force ( ...a must see if you are ever in our area.

What a beautiful day!  The weather was perfect, the sunshine was warm, and this group was a wonderful bunch of students and parents.  We loved having them!

Judy :)

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June 11, 2012

Expecting Twins?

This year's lambing season had very few twins.  Last year we had twins, triplets, and quadruplets so we felt such a let down for 2012.  What do you think Sunshine was going to have?

Yep, twins!!

These twins were our sheep in the middle of the street of Bethlehem during Vacation Bible School this year.  Will was fascinated!

Judy :)

May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

For all of our moms, Happy Mother's Day!

For some reason, I feel the same way about you
 that I felt about my kids
 when they were small--
that it wasn't their job to love me,
 it was my job to love them.

                                                        --Eat, Pray, Love