answering common questions, and what's next?
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Billy & April's Farm News Vol. 1
February 2017

The short stories.

(aka answers to frequently asked questions)

  • You probably know that we bought a small farm in Randolph County, Arkansas, about 20 minutes from the town of Pocahontas. The farm is 41 acres (20 acres woods, 20 acres of pasture) with a house, a large workshop, a chicken coop that needs a little work, and a red three-sided barn. There’s also a pond and a small ephemeral stream.
  • We plan to grow kitchen vegetables, raise chickens, and care for bees, heritage-breed pigs, and rescued alpacas. (Alpacas have shown promise as therapy animals.) We may incorporate other rescued animals in the future. We’ll talk about our animal choices in a future update.
  • A few non-profits with whom we want to partner said that it would be easier to be partners if the farm is also a non-profit, so we are working on our 501(c)3 status.
  • We hope to welcome our first official guests in 2018! In the meantime, Billy is working on his Doctor of Ministry at Fuller Seminary and also working full-time at Union Rescue Mission. (The first few years of the farm will be his dissertation project.) April is wrapping up her design projects, and then planning to move in May or June 2017 to oversee house renovations and start preparing the farm for use and guests. More on this in a future update, too.
  • We think we have a name! It was a hard choice, but we are going to go with The Sanctuary Farm unless we run into barriers with that name.
Why are we doing this?
The Sanctuary Farm exists to provide a haven for people and habitat for creation. While anyone is welcome to visit, the Farm’s guest program will be geared toward people in recovery from addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, or burnout.
Making friends with the donkey across the road (not our donkey). 

The longer story.

The idea of buying a farm popped up early in our relationship as a joke, but the more we thought about it, the more we liked the idea. April is happiest when she is outside and gardening, and she has long dreamed of running a bed and breakfast like an ancient Benedictine hospitality house. She also studies therapeutic gardening personally and professionally. Billy counsels people recovering from trauma or addiction (and often both). Sometimes people struggle to recover from addiction while living in the same circle of “friends” that led to addiction in the first place, and we want to create an place where people can live in relationship with other people who support their recovery rather than dragging them back into those old patterns. Both of us know military veterans who have benefitted from outdoor programs coupled with talk therapy and medication, and we want our home to be one more option toward healing.
This past summer we bought a small farm from Billy’s mother and we went back to start cleaning it up in December. The good part? We enjoyed the dark skies, breathtakingly quiet nights, and visits with the donkey across the road (he likes dried apricots). The harder part? The farm had been abandoned for about 6 years and there had been recent vandalism. While we originally planned to keep the house as-is with just a coat of fresh paint, we found signs of little rodent squatters, a burst pipe, and mold. With the help of a few local connections we are going to gut the house, put in clean insulation, treat the mold, and remodel the bathroom so that it is wheel-chair friendly. We repaired the vandalism while we were back there and started coaxing ivy and wisteria out of the walls…thankfully the roof and windows are in good shape, and so is the flooring.

Billy attacking the wisteria vine that was taking over the well house. 
So, we have a lot to do! First on our list is getting the farmhouse habitable, repairing the chicken coop and getting a few chickens, and cataloging the plant life on the farm. Second on the list is figuring out our septic tank’s capacity, figuring out where to put additional septic for a guest house, selecting an area for the kitchen garden, and repairing fences.
The house needs a little work...but we look forward to making it welcoming.
We are excited to be working on this with our hands, hearts, and minds—and we’re glad you are alongside us on our journey. For those of you who pray, we would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and energy. For those of you who don’t pray, please keep us in your thoughts too.

Billy & April (Garbat) Vaughan
We will send out short updates no more than once a month and longer stories no more than once a month. If you would like to change your subscription, please let us know. If you would like to unsubscribe, please feel free to click the unsubscribe link below. Questions or ideas? Write us back! :)
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