This is us and our crazy bunch.  I’m Gretchen, the mom.  Knut is my husband and then there’s our 5 kids. (We have a 6th little one now! I’m getting family pictures updated next month!) We live on the farm where my husband works, and live in his childhood home.  As of now, we have 20 chickens, 2 dogs, 3 sheep, and 8 cats.  Although some of those numbers change pretty often.  I like to write, knit, sew, cook, garden, and other farm-wifey things.  I actually grew up in the city so all these “regular things” on the farm like making jams are not so normal to me, but I’m getting there.

Most of all, we strive not to meet some stereotype of what a farm family does, but to live according to the life God has called us.  We walk by faith.  We work hard, but we depend on grace.  In our house, we sometimes need grace by the truckload.

Silje has creativity and imagination flowing from every part of her. She’s an amazing reader, and reads about anything she can get her hands on. She likes order, friends, and planning elaborate, yet organized parties. She would be the cruise director on our crazy ship.  At age 12, she’s so thirsty for knowledge and  loves to study biology for 3 hours “after school.”  She also loves to sing, dance and draw.
IMG_2922David is active and passionate 10 year old. He plays outside every chance he gets and loves to cross country ski, ride bike, play baseball, and do really any other outdoor activity. If  David does something, he does it at 150%. He knows no other way. He’s the type of personality you always want with you, not against you.   He’s always full of questions, and is really into audio books, especially anything on history.  He would listen to a biography of Genghis Khan or Julius Caesar any day.  He’s compassionate and competitive. He’s snuggly, and fast.

David has alopecia, as you will see in current pictures.  You can read about our journey with this here.

IMG_2833 Elias, the 7 year old “middle child” as much as we hate that stereotype.  He’s always wandering around making sure everyone is happy.  He especially protective of Solveig and takes his job as big brother very, very seriously.  He is a bit of a clown as well.  He loves Legos and battles, and yet he still has no problem playing house with his little sisters.
IMG_2783Solveig is our joyful 5 year old.  She’s a fearless climber, and has trips to the ER to show for it. She’s everyone’s sweetheart and is always full of smiles and big kisses.  She’s sort of like the smile-police of the house and goes around insuring everyone is smiling.  We loosely translate the meaning of her name in Norwegian: “Sunshine of the House” which actually fits her perfectly.
IMG_2695Ingrid is our little 3 year old.  She has an obsession with our kitties, and they are so tolerant of her “loving” on them.  She loves to dance with passion with her eyes closed, and will work hard to get a smile out of everyone.  Her laugh is extremely contagious.
Bjorn joined our family in July of 2016.  So far he’s the greatest sleeper I’ve ever known.  He also likes to eat.  His favorite spot is nuzzling right into my neck, sandwiched between my cheek and shoulder.  He’s very loved, always held by someone (there’s actually a line for him most hours) and he makes squeaky noises.  Oh, we love him.
Lena is our pooch.  She’s a black lab, German shepherd mix, and about 7 years old.  She fearlessly protects our yard from squirrels, and loves it when the kids play with her.  She’s a terrible chicken guarding dog.  She is afraid of pretty much anything.  She may lick you to death if given the chance, and she’ll play fetch for hours given the opportunity.

Nanny is the newest dog on our farm.  She’s a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd cross.  Basically she’s a livestock guardian who guards our sheep and chickens…or at least she will when she’s old enough.  Right now at 7 months old, she’s bigger than our other dog, Lena.  She still is 100% puppy, though, and hasn’t really figured out all this guarding business, like our previous livestock guardian, Missy, was so obsessed with.  But she adores our kids, adores running around over lots of space, and is slowly starting to pay attention to her job and learn that chickens are to be protected, not chased.  (We are told it takes puppies of these breeds about 2 years to…settle.)

All of these beautiful family pictures on this “About Us” page (besides the one of Bjorn and our dogs) were taken by my talented sister-in-law, Kristin.  You can find more of her work here.