March 8, 2012

Hello, Polyface! And Goodbye...

I think one of the toughest things we moms get to do is watch our children go through heartache. Yet, if we are constantly in prayer for them, begging God to have His will upon their lives, we can know that if they suffer a loss or a hardship, then it is part of His plan. Either we/they have wandered off into a place we/they shouldn't have, and thus experience difficulty, or we have gone precisely where God wanted us to go...and the difficulty is for our best and He will show us the reason for it at some future point in time, if not right away.

For several years, Bryan (and I) have dreamed of an internship at Polyface Farm in Virginia, with Joel Salatin. He applied when he was 17, but they had just changed their intern living situation for that summer, and it wouldn't have been appropriate for Bryan at that time, so he withdrew his application.

Last August (2011), he requested another application, filled it out, and got it in well before the deadline. There were about 100 applicants, and about 30 were chosen to come to Polyface Farm in January of 2012 for what they call the "check out visit," which is where they "check you out" to see if you are what they're looking for in one of their interns. Bryan was among the honored 30!

We spent 10 days with our friends in Canton, North Carolina, at Cold Mountain Cabins. Bryan was sick with a horrible head cold the entire time, and had to delay his arrival at Polyface as a result. (It was one of those colds where you live with a tissue stuck to your face for 4 days...really bad.) He was still a bit sick upon arrival in Virginia, but at least he wasn't in the "faucet" stage anymore! 

The experience, he said, was "awesome." I don't doubt it. It was a time of learning, of comraderie, and of some gut-busting-hard-work. I could try to describe it, but Bryan is not a man of many words. Instead, I'd like to introduce my readers to a delightful young lady named Caitlyn, who also experienced Polyface's "check out" this past January (during a different week than Bryan did). She blogged about her experience in full and entertaining detail, and you can get a flavor for the checkout visit via the link I'll provide at the end of this post. Caitlyn is also a new blogger for Mother Earth News! She raises goats out in Oregon, and I just love her style!

Bryan had been told that they would select just 8 interns...6 men and 2 women...and that the decisions would be emailed by February 1st. The anxious wait was on. We counted the days to February 1st!

Our count was interrupted on January 30th:
Dear Bryan,

Thank you for making the investment to come for the two-day Polyface intern
checkout. It was an extremely strong group and we are blessed to know so many
passionate and goal-oriented young people are out there.

As you know, we can't take everyone. The fact that you did not make the
final cut certainly does not reflect negatively; the field was very strong. We
appreciate your commitment to clean farming and healing the land and trust
that whatever your next step is, you will pursue this vision with enthusiasm and integrity.

As you pursue your farming endeavors, be sure to check the Polyface Opportunities
page for other intern or job opportunities.

We wish only God's richest blessings on you and trust you will find the best fit for your talents.

Best regards,
The Salatin Families

Oh, how his heart ached. How my heart ached for him. This dream had been held for so many years...and now it was over. It took a while for the "disappointment fog" to clear and for vision to return, but we both knew (and know) that God NEVER wastes an experience. There is a reason that Bryan was invited to Polyface for those three days, and when He decides to let us know what it was, then we'll know. Much was seen, up close and personal, and I had coached Bryan, before he arrived there, to take "mental pictures and notes" of everything he saw, to catalog how things were organized, how things operated, how things were laid out. Contacts were important! People that perhaps he will call upon in the future. Only God knows, and we rest in His path that He has for Bryan.

Lest you think this post is all sad news, it isn't! You see, God has led us to another farm, with another unique and talented farm family, up in New York. Though Polyface is THE showpiece for the "Honest Food" movement, and there was no way that Bryan wasn't going to try for an internship there, it does lack one important thing: sheep. I know a few farmers now. But God knows lots of farmers. Really good farmers. Sheep farmers, to boot. And once again, He's been moving in the life of my son...

Until next time, enjoy Caitlyn's engaging storytelling abilities as she shares her Polyface experiences by clicking HERE to visit her blog, "To Sing with Goats." FYI, she received the same email from Polyface that Bryan did, so she is off onto other adventures as well, and I wish her God's blessing!

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A Gracious Home said...

I'm a new follower. I enjoyed reading some of your posts. Your pictures are great. Doylene

Jennifer Hoots said...

Oh, that is rough! But, your attitude is totally correct. Can't wait to hear where God leads your son.

DoleValleyGirl said...

How proud you must be of your son, Lori, for his accomplishment in being in the top 30. While I'm sure the disappointment of not being chosen for the internship must be great, certainly the Lord's plans for your son will be made evident and that future will be brighter (and healthier) for us all because of young men who want to farm.

Blessings, ~Lisa :)

Canadagirl said...

I do look forward to hearing the rest of the story and where the Lord leads your son. There are lessons to be learned and sometimes we don't know for what. But when things start clicking into place and the Lord shows us the broader picture that is when we get the "ahh ha" moment. It will come and as long as your son keeps a open heart the Lord will lead him all in good time which is the Lord's timing.

I am hoping the Lord will lead me to more blogging but I am letting His leading my my time take president. I will pop in as I can.

Miss you!
Blessings and (((HUGS)))

Goat Song said...

Seeing those pictures and reading yours and Bryan's story has put me in tears all over again. The Salatins are very good at stealing a piece of one's heart, and you have to live with the fact that you'll never get that piece back... I'm sorry Bryan didn't make the final cut either, but I hope he has a blast at the sheep farm!

P.S. Here's a link that will relate all four days at Polyface:

And thank you for the kind words of praise! You made this farm girl smile. :)


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