The Courage to Go On

It was hot and dry. Rain hadn’t graced their farm in many, many months. The best the farmer could do was move the animals to shade and water and pray for rain.

Storm clouds brewed in the distance. Lightning flashed across the sky in fury. Not a single drop of rain.

image credit: Texas A&M University

image credit: Texas A&M University


The lightning was fierce and it shattered a tree. Flames of fire erupted.

Another tree was hit. More flames! And finally a third tree was overpowered by lightning and it too lost its life to fire.


photo credit:

It was the perfect setting for fire and it took the advantage. Fire consumed everything in its path.

Southampton Homestead, a sweet little farm stood directly in its path.

The firemen came with their trucks, but the already the fire was too much for them. The firemen quickly found themselves surrounded by the fire with no way out. They parked the truck in the clearing of the driveway and wet the whole thing down with water. Then they all closed themselves up in the firetruck and waited.

australian firemen

image credit:

The fire hurled across the driveway and the flames licked at the firetruck. The side mirrors melted away and I don’t know for sure, but I can imagine the firemen were praying for their lives.

The firemen came out unscathed.

The fire left the farm black and desolate.

The charred remains of pigs and cows and chickens were found everywhere. Most of the animals had made it to the river, but even that water wasn’t enough to save them.

Jeff found himself having to start over.

He’d been working the farm for several years already. Waterlines were run, fences put up. He was practicing rotational grazing and finally starting to get a handle on the brambles. Grass was starting to grace his pastures. Perhaps you can relate?

Now? Utter ruin.

10,000 acres were burned. His house was the only one lost in the fire. You can see the ancient farmstead in all its glory here.

Joel, Daniel and I had the privilege to visit Jeff and Michelle’s farm in Ballingup, Western Australia. This was 2 years after the fire.

Jeff welcomed us to their current house – a metal barn. Michelle gave it homey touches complete with a dining room table, rustic kitchen and a living room section.

They are currently raising ducks, trying to get the pastures back up.

Ducksducks in moveable sheltersportable duck shelter

Jeff’s attitude about it all was amazing. He made this comment: “I’ve decided that I know so much more about farming now than I did 2 years ago, so I can get ahead a lot faster without making the mistakes I did the first time around.”

I remarked on his positive attitude and he said this. “Well, there were certainly days, I just laid on the ground and cried.”

What strikes me most about this couple is this. They cried. There were probably times they were angry.

But they didn’t give up.

They’re following their dream. No matter what it takes.

Jeff and Michelle

I think Jeff’s t-shirt said it all:

Nothing to Lose. Everything to Gain.

With that kind of attitude, they’ll conquer the world!

Jeff and Michelle are heroes in my eyes.

This amazing couple has the courage to go on.

Would you?


Happy Friday!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Did you like this? Share it:

About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.
Sheri, , Permalink

8 Responses to The Courage to Go On

  1. Judy Whitaker says:

    What an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing. Judy Whitaker

  2. Russell says:

    Wow. This got me right in the feelings! I don’t know if I could picture losing everything, but it would be a huge setback, and a real life changer. Glad to see Jeff and Michelle keep going. I hope I would be able to find the courage and faith to do the same. Thanks for sharing!

  3. David Morrow says:

    Thank you Sherri. I needed this story today, we are going through a similar situation as Jeff, its a different kind of fire, but still one that will have the same result, barring a miracle. However I am beginning to think that the miracle might be getting the chance to start over. However if you make it through a real fire, one is often seen as a hero someone who has the right to have pride in their victory. When you are going through the fire we are it is commonly viewed as you made your bed now you have to lay in it. When in actuality we were duped into bed to begin with. Either way there is no heroism associated, no positive pride from accomplishment, and not even something other people (farmers) are sympathetic toward during the rebuilding stages. There is only looking for Gods blessings in the small everyday victories know one ever sees. Anyway enough whining, I just wanted to say thanks to the hen house for the positive messages that a farmer can relate to and find comfort in. ๐Ÿ™‚ In Christ David ๐Ÿ™‚

    • kzettler63 says:

      Hi, we all go thru different kinds of fire. Keep your chin up, You will eventually get thru it all and in one piece. I’ve been thru a few fires of my own over the years. One was a real fire, another was bankruptcy…something I hate to think about. And the closing of my store. That felt like I lost a loved one! I’ve had to start over a few times in my life. Yes its hard, but I know you can do it. My current husband has had to start over as well. He’s in between jobs at the moment since his heart problem started a year ago. He no longer can drive a big rig. That’s been very hard for him. I’m just glad I’m working, and we’ve had to get rid a some “luxuries” like cable tv, etc to keep our head above water.

  4. bettimace says:

    Thanks so much for sharing their story!

  5. Michael Givan says:

    Losers never finish. Quitters never win. Winners never quit.

    Good for them!

  6. Laina Y says:

    Wow! What an inspiring story of courage and rebirth as we are on the eve of spring.
    “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2

  7. Kristin says:

    This is inspiring. Having the Lord makes all the difference in tragedy–and every other day of our lives!