Eleven years ago we moved from the Clark County, KY to Harrison County, KY. It is a one hour drive, but in many ways it seemed like we’d moved to another state altogether.
For one thing, the soil in Clark County was…. Well… soil. We would rotor-till a big patch of our back yard and make grooves, put in seed, cover them up and voila! Veggies!
The first year in Harrison County we picked out a spot that had reasonable sunshine and dug in for a garden. Clay…. Clay, clay, clay. We picked other places and found the same thing. It was then we noticed that there were few neighbors with big gardens. Cows were growing fine, but not veggies.
That first year I contented myself with building my first dry rock wall, filling it with imported soil and planting the roses I’d brought from Clark County. The next year we started to make our own soil in a garden spot and piled leaves, compost, and anything we could, besides the ever-present clay.
Planting a few fruit trees was a hard chore. The hole had to be big enough to-add nutrients and give the roots a chance. None of the fruit trees thrived.
So that was that. I had nothing good to say about the soil in our area. We decided to raise chickens instead of a garden.
A couple years ago a family donated 26 acres of land to our effort to the Valley of Baca Mission, and we were excited about building a retreat on it for missionaries on furlough. Funding such an effort was beyond our grasp, as all our money went to providing vehicles for the missionaries and the land sat and waited.
This winter our niece Laura, an architect who is on our mission’s board, insisted we could get started small, and that we could focus on building the planned Hobbit House at least. It would be more labor intensive than costly, and we could get church teams to come help fill sandbags for the construction.
A Hobbit House, by nature, would be built into a hillside, and once again clay was the culprit. It was not feasible to fill sandbags with clay.
Laura was undeterred. We could build the house in the style of Cob. Instantly old corn cobs came to my mind, and that seemed mildly ridiculous, so without much enthusiasm I started researching cob houses.
All this time I had been scorning the very land I was walking on. All this time I had been finding this area worthless for what I wanted to do… grow veggies. All this time I was blind to what was right under my feet.
With the blessing of clay, you can add some sand and straw and build amazing things! With hard work and little money a beautiful house can be built… It was right there all along.
How many times do my own ideas get stuck on what I can and can’t do? How many times do I insist that things are relatively impossible, when I am surrounded by possible? I’m only looking at things from my own perspective and even if it really is reasonable (growing veggies) it may not be all God has in mind (housing missionaries)
And so, as we detail plans for the building of the “Cobbit House” we are again reminded …
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they? “