Springing from the simple desire to live a truly good life and to honor Our Lady, to whom we owe so much, the Verlander family has begun Fatima Farm. Fledgling though we are, we aim to cultivate the soil – as God and nature intended and as far as the hard work of man is able – of both the precious bit of land afforded to us on the homestead as well as in the interior plot of the soul. We read good books, recite poetry, look to the stars, pray and sing and play music, split our days between ‘book learning’ and chores, raise chickens and are scratching out our first somewhat larger-scale garden soon. There is fruit – real fruit, in the shape of fig, pear, and apple – to be harvested and cooked, dried, preserved, or eaten straight up, already. We are learning to provide for ourselves in little ways and work the land as we go, as best as we can. We hope, in turn, to share this small treasure of a place – for work and prayer and leisure – with those who also wish to live a simple, good, faithful life free from the fetters of the world.
About fifteen years ago we welcomed our first child into the light of day, and were called soon thereafter to the homeschooling adventure. Serving variously at different educational institutions, we reaped much through experience and came to discern a different way of life. Over the years, steered by a liberal arts education and our love for Holy Mother Church, the discovery of the invaluable ideas of Dr. John Senior and the reverence and beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass, as well as the specific instructions given by Our Lady of Fatima for the reparation of sins committed against the Sacred and Immaculate hearts, we feel grateful for the freedom to practice our faith and educate our children as we see fit. Now with six children, we have watched the good fruits born of real, good, true, beautiful endeavors, and have learned the lessons that come only of mistakes, and have labored to discard the bad fruits, to uproot the unworthy foundations of a life lived in virtue. We bought our first home in 2012 after the birth of our fourth child and when we could no longer justify living in an apartment in a big city, and felt called to small town life – away from anywhere we’d ever lived and as strangers in a tightly woven historic neighborhood off the town square. We reveled in the close community and prayed about what God willed for us. We took leaps of faith and helped found a couple classical schools in the Catholic tradition “in the south” – whose short-lived existences only brought clarity to us about the idea that the path is indeed narrow, and often unappealing to the masses – particularly in a financially viable kind of way. Then in the early spring of 2020 the bottom began to fall out of nearly everything, and many hard decisions and choices loomed. Looking for new employment was not an easy undertaking, nor was the selling of our first home or the finding of a new place to call home, in pandemic times and times of social unrest. But Our Lady heard our prayers and saw us through, piece by piece! Today, our way of life is no more lucrative than it was before, though we have come to welcome both material and technological poverty, living not without materials or technology but using them relatively sparingly, and trying ever to sever our dependence upon the machines that make us slothful, thoughtless, and sometimes foolish. In other words, we are trying to embrace physical and patient labor of hand and mind, guided in piety and by faith, and to eschew the ever tempting shortcuts to happiness, however they may manifest, for the health of our bodies, for the good stewardship of God’s bountiful creation, for the future prosperity (in the best sense of the term) of our children, and especially for the sake of our eternal souls.
Now, we hope you will enjoy the photos and stories we share of our small share of happiness in this world, and will pray for us and for the success of our good work!
On this little homestead our family aspires to work the land and hand on the Catholic Tradition, walking in wonder and learning to live by the fruits of our labor, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, who guides us to Him.