MEET THE WALTERS
Hi there and WELCOME! We're so glad you're here! Truly.
However you landed here, we want to extend a warm
welcome to all who travel this way.
We are a family of six that owns a small plot of land in Amanda's hometown of Hickory, NC. We have sought to make the best use of our little corner of the world, cultivating beauty all the while knowing what we plant and how we live impacts future generations.
The quality of the soil, air and water matter and create a healthy or toxic environment for us humans to live in. Likewise, the quality of the environment, the words spoken, music heard and food tasted shape our souls. Things seen, tasted and heard come together to shape and nourish us whether as a tiny human fresh out of the oven or big, grown up person.
We are but one family amid billions on the earth, yet, our choices make a difference to our beautiful planet. We have been slow to wake up to this fact but want our kids to see that even old folks can learn new habits as we grow in understanding.
We view both our home and land as a 'lab' or 'classroom' for our kids to experiment with their interests, try their hands at different hobbies and possible ways to subdue the earth. We also view 'Rivendale' (the name of our home) as space to experience a safe space to play (which is a child's work and important in all stages of life) hang out in enos, dig in the dirt, play corn hole, work on cars, jump on a trampoline, do cartwheels, catch fireflies, jump on pogo sticks, build forts or throw frisbees.
With three of our four now teens, they are learning first hand of profits and expenses in running businesses while in our care to gain confidence and skills to navigate their lives. We hope their short window of childhood in our home will spark a possible passion or interest to enjoy and build upon for years to come wherever their lives may lead.
O how we have enjoyed raising little people who are now quite big!
It is hard to believe they are on the cusp of launching into their own story.
Yet, seeing them wonder over the beauty of the world from feeling crisp creek water on bare toddler toes or feeling thick blades of grass under feet for the first time, tasting fresh juicy mangos or feasting on mouth watering fajithits, watching their faces as they see their first sunrise on the parkway while sipping hot choclate with lots of marshmallows or cuddling on our laps under soft cotton blankets as we have read hundreds of books to them has been our brightest gift in this world. Introducing our children to people, animals and places all over the world giving them heroes and heroines to look up to and learn from through literature has been a daily rhythm and treasure since their first days in the world. O the joy of children!
The day each of our children was born was also their first day of 'school' in our home. Welcoming them into the world, into our hearts and our school of love we knew their lives were and are gifts to be stewarded well and that ultimately they belong to God. Too often we forget that the home environment where one learns to bond, love, forgive, serve, bear with one another, encourage one another while forming ties and bonds is often the 'school' that is most formative in life.
The birth and death of our second son, William taught us this. His death has shaped our living and our choices significantly. Beauty has come from the ashes of his story and we remember him with thankful hearts. Amanda might share his story in a blog post one day. He is buried here in Hickory.
Our children truly fit the definition of stair-steps--this year we have one in college, one in highschool, one in middle school and one in elementary school. Just the way we planned it, right?
Our daughter, Abby, expressed interest in breeding bunnies after her stunning, all white, blue-eyed Holland Lop doe, Everest, had a 'covid' surprise litter. Lydia's tri-color, dwarf Holland Lop buck, Hopper was the daddy. A business raising smudge-faced, soft Holland Lop bunnies to be fun pets and loving companions, why not!?!
With the help and loving support of a top-notch breeder in the next town over who we bought our bunnies from, Abby is now off to an excellent start! Kara Helton is the heart behind Wild Briar Farm and has been a generous wealth of knowledge along with a big ol' dose of love and laughter. We are over the moon thrilled for this apprenticeship and the solid role model both our daughters now have in Kara. Our whole family has helped in this addition of a rabbitry though, mainly Lydia as she is the Vice President of quality TLC (tender-loving-care).
We have seen first hand the sheer joy and delight these bunnies bring. They have been a delightful 'centerpiece' in the play pen in our front yard to safely social distance around. This has given us reason to see friends all the while lowering blood pressure, and making natural happy juice in everyone's brains. It is truly holy ground to 'see' this on faces, in shoulders relaxing, in eyes softening, voices calming. It makes my heart swell to see this occur especially during this time of heightened loneliness as we all seek to do our part to protect each other by social distancing.
We also raise chickens, grow some of our own food in our aeroponic tower gardens, and Amanda's personal favorite has been growing lavender along our front walkway. We have blueberry bushes, as well as hydragenas for indoor bedside beauty and gifts. This year we made our own compost pile using scrap wood from a childhood friend and parents' neighbor, the Caldwells. We dream of keeping our compost as toasty and warm in the winter as our longtime Brevard friend and farmer, Eric Manner, keeps his!
Our son, Jed, was exposed to many skills this summer as he helped to build our chicken coop with a childhood friend's Dad, Mr. Obst. He is an excellent carpenter! Jed has raised our chickens from chicks. They are now producing eggs for us. He is also frying his own eggs, occasionally offering one to his hard working Mom. What a guy!
Our son, Josh, may get back into beekeeping like he was in our days living in Brevard. It brings us joy to consider adding a few hives to our urban farm next spring for the pollination of our food that is necessary for sustaining life on our beautiful planet. This winter we will hopefully be planning out the spot to place the hives, gathering supplies and painting hive bodies. Be sure to join our mailing list so to see the buzz.
Our gracious neighbors, The Carswells, refurbished four Adirondack chairs to create a lovely community spot between our homes for social distance coffee dates or happy hours during the early Covid days. Amazing how sitting in a different part of the yard beside a big ol' tree can refresh the soul amid a days work, in between task, in the early morning or at dusk.
Like many of you, 2020 has thrown us for a loop and forced us to slow down,
take stock of our lives,
adapt to new realities and routines.
One of the best gifts of quarantine was our surprise litter of baby bunnies. Falling head over heels in love with them forming a friendship with Kara Helton while watching our daughters work together to sell the bunnies to wonderful owners has been a rich experience. This unexpected gift of bunnies and a friendship has awakened in us a desire to share them with others, sharing some of our urban farming adventures and creating a lovely space for both Mom and Dad to use their gifts of
teaching and writing.
O the joy of our Creator to make such soft, adorable bunnies!
We hope that you enjoy getting to know them (and us!) as you explore our website.
- James and Amanda Walters