Our family expanded again in August, as we brought home our precious, new daughter, 7 years old, from China.  Less than two years ago, we adopted our youngest son, then 3 years old, from China as well.  How blessed and amazed we are by God’s grace, to expand our lives and provide for the needs of two precious children who now belong in their own, loving family.

I have often been asked, “How do you do it?” when someone finds out we have a homestead and homeschool a large family, while Jeff works a full-time job for a company in town.  Well, I am not really sure, except for teamwork, and our efforts to be organized and efficient.  There is no way we could do all that we do if the entire family did not chip in.  Our kids work a lot, every day, and we remind them often what their efforts produce;  thousands of dollars of food (annually) for our family, plus healthy animals and a well-kept environment.  We are very proud of all 6 of them and their willingness to share and invest in the goals their parents have set forth.

We also try to “listen” to the tone and pace of the family, and have always said that we wish to “hold loosely” our homesteading endeavors, willing to let some or all of them go should the needs of our family change.  We have been doing farming/homesteading for 9 years and it seems very embedded in the fabric of our family, but perhaps it will not be “forever.”  Recently, in fact, we reached a “tipping point,” of sorts, where we just felt we had to make some significant changes.  Our first priorities are to our marriage and our children.  Homeschooling requires significant attention on my part, and we have also taken several steps back in the average age of our kids.  In any case, we knew we needed to pull back and restructure.  We knew we needed fewer livestock and fewer Pyrs.

Breeding the Pyrs has been a family endeavor, but I am the main point of contact (for the dogs and the customers!).  We realized we had come to a point where I cannot invest the needed time to be continuing to breed the Pyrs.  So, for now, we are not planning any litters, and our beloved stud dog, Legacy’s Mighty Dawson, has been sold to another family that is building their own homestead (and GP breeding program) in Michigan.  We are thrilled for him, as he has a wonderful, new, loving home, livestock to guard, and two new mates.

We are down to 3 Pyrs:  Kiara, Maddie, and Asia.  We may still breed Maddie and Asia in the future but, for now, we are so thankful for the downshift, and the freedom it has afforded us to get caught up and spend more time in much-needed ways.

–Amy Jo