My name is Brian Schalk. My wife Mary and I were married in 1985. In the years since then, God has richly blessed us with our incredible daughter Amanda; five amazing sons – Joshua, Jacob, Caleb, Matthew, and Joseph; an awesome daughter-in-law, Joshua’s wife, Yenifer; and our grandson, the unstoppable Ezra. Although the whole family does not live out here, everyone has input into Grace Heritage Ranch (GHR).
Begun in August of 2010, GHR was a dream of a self-sustaining homestead for our family. Because we wanted to have a source of healthy organic food, become more self-reliant, and instill in our children the wisdom and perseverance of past generations, we downsized our home and upsized our land. Endangered heritage breeds of animals, heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, and wise stewardship of God’s provision have become a part of our plan and lifestyle.
Here, just outside the little Texas town of Santa Monica, we grow our own organic heirloom fruits and vegetables in a large, rotational, three section garden. Tilling service is provided by Harley and Henry, our pet pot-bellied pigs, and soil amendments are courtesy of the compost bin and the animals.
With the help of our cats, dog and donkeys we raise Buff Orpington and Dorking chickens, Bourbon Red (Butternut) and Chocolate turkeys, Embden geese, registered American Milking Devon cattle, registered San Clemente Island and Nigerian Dwarf goats, one French Angora rabbit, and bees. We hope to increase awareness of the forgotten qualities and characteristics of these unique breeds and be influential in their rediscovery.
Days out here are busily filled with the basics of life. However, this life is never monotonous, as daily goings on may include any number of surprise situations and a sprinkling of any of these: school lessons, milking, yogurt and cheese making, planting, weeding, harvesting, composting, dehydrating, canning, bread baking, soap making, animal care, tanning hides, egg collecting, and lots and lots of maintenance.
Although we work hard, we have fun too. In our free time we entertain ourselves through many activities like camping, hiking, bird watching, playing musical instruments, fiber spinning, , knitting, growing mushrooms, reading, and photography just to name a few. Some nights, we sit by the campfire roasting our dinner while just spending time together under the stars. We also love to share what we already know, learn things we didn’t know, visit with old friends, and make new friends like you. Come visit with us soon!
Our Facebook page, Facebook.com/VisitGHR, is updated regularly; it’s another way for you to interact with us.