Homestead Mama Murphy DeBerry lives with her husband Josh and two children in Northeast Florida, where they are passionate about utilizing the most of a shared family 56 acre property to provide the most nutrient dense food for their family. The following is an excerpt of a previous Instagram takeover.
Good morning mamas! I’m Murphy and I am so honored to be taking over this account for the next couple of days!
My husband, Josh and I and live and farm in Northeast Florida with our two children, David and Eloise, our Jersey cow Tilly and her 2-month-old calf, June, our barn cats Mike and Nancy and our livestock guardian dog, Ruthie! We are raising American Guinea Hogs, Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, Katahdin sheep, heritage chickens, ducks, and quail on a shared family property of 56 acres.
My husband has a full-time job off-farm, so I do most of the day-to-day work here on the farm, while keeping up with my full-time job; being a mom to our 15 month-old little girl and our almost 3-yr old boy. We use diversified bio-mimicry to practice regenerative agriculture, so in everything we do, our main focus is the soil. If our soil is healthy, our grass will be healthy. If our grass is healthy, our animals will be healthy. By mimicking nature, we can avoid things like chemical dewormers, antibiotics, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.
This year we also grew a 6000 sqft garden and sold produce for the first time! Our main goal is for our children to grow up eating the most nutrient dense foods available to them. For them to be connected to the land and to know where their food is coming from and how it’s grown. Our second goal -and more long-term goal- is to make this farm profitable enough to sustain us on its own without supplemental off-farm income.
Like a lot of people our homestead journey started with chickens! Six years ago we bought 6 layer chicks and started a small garden in our backyard. We had no idea it was going to lead us to where we are today! As we learned more and more about what we were eating and where our food was coming from we started desperately searching for a local farmer that sold grassfed only raw dairy and pastured meats. We found Full Circle Farm, a small family farm not far from where we lived.
We went out for a farm tour and four months later we quit our jobs, packed up all of our belongings, put our house up for rent and moved into a tiny beat up trailer to start a 4 month long internship. That experience truly changed our lives and we knew that we wanted to try and pursue farming full time.
After our internship we sold half of everything we owned, packed up the rest and moved 1600 miles north, to the finger lakes region of New York to partner with a friend who owns a 1000-acre organic crop farm. We milled his organic grains to make feed for our layers, broilers and pigs. One week after we arrived, I became ill and found out I was 5 weeks pregnant with our first child, David. My debilitating sickness wasn’t regular morning sickness and I was soon diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I went from being in the best shape of my life to basically bedridden. Every single day I struggled to eat, keep food down and gain weight. I was unable to make my own food, walk up and down the stairs to the bathroom or even wash my hair without the help of my sweet husband.
This left Josh with the burden of building and starting the farm completely by himself while also being my full time caretaker (he would come in every few hours to prepare me food, and to make sure I was eating/ keeping liquids down) This became extremely exhausting and stressful for the both of us! Seven months in, we finally decided the best thing to do for our mental and physical health -and the baby’s health was to pack up our equipment and move back home to Florida, to be surrounded by family and friends for the last few weeks of my pregnancy.
I was sick until the very minute David was born at 38 weeks and then the sickness was suddenly gone. Being terribly sick for 8 months of my life was detrimental to my physical health but especially my mental health. It took me many months to find balance in my life again. It was hands down the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life.
As much as my first pregnancy affected me, you could only imagine how I felt when I found I was pregnant again 10 months after David was born. We were in complete shock. I went through every single emotion. But mainly I felt guilty, I felt scared. How did we let this happen? David was still a baby, how could we be having another baby? It wasn’t fair for him to have to share us with another baby. Would I get sick again? When would it happen? How would I be able to take care of David if I’m sick in bed? I was a total mess the first few weeks after finding out.
Week after week went by and I was waiting and waiting to get sick again… It never happened. My second pregnancy was a breeze, complete opposite of my first. I was able to eat, I gained weight, I was actually able to enjoy it.
Eloise was born in water in our bedroom while David slept in our bed. He woke up right after she was born and looked around. He saw me and Josh and his new baby sister and climbed down, toddled over to us, and kissed her head without saying a word. The sun rose through a beautiful layer of fog and we watched deer, wild turkeys and geese fill the pasture as a family of four.
It was truly magical.
It’s amazing how different my pregnancies and births were. Ellie’s birth empowered me. I felt invincible. It lit a fire in me and not even a week later I was harvesting chard from our kitchen garden with both kids in tow. I knew if I wanted to farm full time then I had to jump in with both feet. I had to evolve and adapt. I had to push myself and work through all of the hard and uncomfortable moments.
Being a farmer and a mom means that I might have to stop a hundred times to chase a toddler, nurse a baby at any moment, kiss boo-boos, make snacks, bounce a crying baby, entertain a bored toddler, change diapers, etc.. and it may take me ten times longer to do a simple chore but I CAN still do it.
I am a lot stronger and more resilient than I give myself credit for. Realizing that was a huge game changer for our farm and our family.