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Crunchy Con Help For The Hutchins Family

I wrote earlier today about the Hutchins family, the Texas grass-fed farmers I profiled in my book Crunchy Cons. Just great country people, a big family that raises livestock on grass and without chemicals and confinement, because as Christians, they believe that’s how God intended us to care for His creation. Their Rehoboth Ranch meat is also delicious. They’ve done so much to feed and to inspire food lovers in north Texas, and, I hope, readers of Crunchy Cons. From the book, this interview with patriarch Robert Hutchins, who quit a lucrative job in the defense industry to become a farmer:

Robert said living the life of homeschooling agrarians has not always been easy or remunerative, but the rewards are priceless.

“What do I gain? The hearts of my children, for one. I gain the ability to be the dominant influence in their life, because I’m home, working with them. I gain the satisfaction of doing something I know is good for people. I gain opportunities to minister to people. I have a number of customers that are recovering from cancer or other illnesses who are into nutritional therapy because they have seen the effect that good nutrition has had on their health. There’s a great deal of satisfaction in that. You know, the satisfaction of feeling like I’m walking in God’s will for our lives. I never felt like that when I was in the corporate rat race. It’s like a guy once told me, the only things running in the rat race are rats.”

Being with his children, working their farm, and having home-church on Sunday mornings fulfills this man, who saw his father break himself working a job he hated so he could retire early and enjoy the good life — only to have his heart give out just eight years after he retired.

“He thought if he could just get to retirement and be at leisure, that would be fulfillment. But it wasn’t,” Robert said. “I remember once reading an interview with a retiring executive of my old company, and he was asked if there was anything he regretted, looking back on his career. He said the only thing was that he wished he had spent more time with his family. That pierced my heart. I said, ‘Please God, don’t let that be my testimony.’ But for years it was. I was seeking the wrong thing: the prestige and the money that went with working at that level of the company. Today I can say honestly that these are the best years of my life. If you can’t say that about today, then you’re doing the wrong thing.”

Yesterday, in one of the worst days of the family’s life, a tornado destroyed the barns at Rehoboth Ranch, killed all the chickens, and severely damaged the family’s home. They need help, and they need help fast. Their son Mark has set up an online relief account for his mom and dad’s farm. Julie and I gave something earlier today, and I encourage you to be as generous as you can, especially if you are a fan of my work, or a supporter of Wendell Berry/Joel Salatin-style agrarianism. Now is the time to show that we are a community. Now is the time to show Robert, Nancy, and their children that their decision to live the farm life and to trust in God was the right thing, in spite of years of drought, and now this tornado.

It’s up to us. It’s Lent, y’all; please be generous, and please pass this on to everyone you know.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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