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tale of two conferences

This past month or so has been a wonderful season filled with lots of learning and inspiration here at the farm.


At the end of October and beginning of November, we hosted a couple of new events at Homestead Hall that folks came from all over the country to attend. The first one was a 'Homemaker Conference' on October 28-29, where a hundred women spent two days taking a deep dive into the role of wife and mother in the family today.


Becca Groves speaking at the Homemaker Conference at Homestead Hall in Columbia, TN

There were a number of different speakers who came from all over to talk about many different topicsall related to homemaking: Annette Thurman from Georgia, Beth Dougherty from Ohio, Becca Groves from Minnesota, Jill Ragan from Arkansas, Aliceson Bales, and our own Rebecca Lamb, from right here in Tennessee. Our Irish friends Colm and Catriona Kirwan led everyone in worship music on Sunday morning and on Saturday evening, I even joined in to sing 'Homemaker,' a wonderful song that Paul Overstreet had written and recorded thirty years ago that seemed perfect for the occasion.


 A photo of the speakers at the Homemaker Conference in 2023 including Annette Thurman from Georgia, Beth Dougherty from Ohio, Becca Groves from Minnesota, Jill Ragan from Arkansas, Aliceson Bales, and our own Rebecca Lamb, from Hardison Mill Homestead School.

Although it was a women's event, my nephew Mikel captured the weekend on film, while I helped run the sound board. And although we were some of the only men at the conference, it was incredibly impactful for us. There were multiple times that he and I both were crying like babies, listening to these women share their hearts, their stories, and their faith with everyone in the room. I can honestly say that event changed me. It not only inspired me to be a better man, it helped me to see what else might be possible here at the farm. We've hosted and held lots of concerts and tv tapings, homesteading and private events, but nothing like what happened in the room that Saturday and Sunday. God was there, moving, convicting, and encouraging each and every heart in the barn.


Mikel's still working on editing all the footage he shot and I'm sure in time, Ms. Rebecca and Annette will share some of the incredible talks from the weekend in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, here's a small glimpse into the heart of the first 'Homemaker Conference'...



The second event, which was on November 4th, was our first "Hatch To Harvest" workshop where folks spent the first-half of the day in the Hall listening to talks that covered raising chickensfrom eggs and baby chicks to frying pans and freezers and most everything in between. Daniel Salatin (from Polyface Farms) was the main speaker, and David Shaffer (from Featherman) also shared some wonderful information and insight with everyone.


Rachel Greenwood welcomes attendees at the 2023 Hatch to Harvest Conference at Homestead Hall in Columbia, TN.

After a morning filled with helpful discussions and talks, and a wonderful homemade lunch that my niece Rachel and her friend Tara provided, everyone moved outside for a few hours for demonstrations and hands-on participation.


Daniel Saltin teaches conference attendees how to process chickens at the Hatch to Harvest Conference in Columbia, TN.

It was a beautiful day and the perfect setting for people from all over to make new friends, while they learned some new skills.


Daniel Saltin teaches conference attendees how to process chickens at the Hatch to Harvest Conference in Columbia, TN.

Although both the Homemaker Conference and Hatch To Harvest were amazing in their own right, the highlight of both weekends for me personally were the after-dinner conversations we had on the porch here at our farmhouse. Again, there were more than a few tears shed, and of course, lots of laughter, as we all took advantage of the wonderful Spring-like Fall weather we were having (and mostly still are).


Conference speakers enjoy a campfire after a day of teaching at the Hatch to Harvest Conference in Columbia, TN.

But the truth is, my absolute favorite thing about the two events that took place here at the farm is that they weren't mine. I didn't play any role in planning, organizing, or putting them on... other than helping with sound a bit, and just making myself available if they needed me. Dalton and Rachel and Ms. Rebecca all did a tremendous job of not only making these two first-time events happen... but also making them incredible impactful for everyone who attended.


Including me.


PS: to sign up to be on the list for next year's 2024 Homemaker Conference, go to www.homemakerconference.com



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