Monday, March 12, 2012

Interview With Lona of Shady Side Farm

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a married mom of four children--three girls and a boy. The oldest has graduated from college and working full-time, the next two are in college, and we have one left studying high school at home. We live on a small working farm, which my husband runs, and I have a part-time, off-farm job.

Dishcloth Set of Three

How did you begin working in your craft and how did it develop into a business?

I started weaving rugs when the children were small as something to do for myself. Little ones can consume you, and I was eager to escape to the basement after their bedtime to work on my projects. Several years ago, we added sheep to the farm, which opened up amazing opportunities to us to use and market the wool. My husband took an interest in making socks from the yarn we had made from the wool. I heard about etsy in 2007, and thought I'd give it a try.

What is one of your favorite homeschool memories thus far?

We have been able to take a couple of trips in the early fall that would not have been possible if the children had been in school--one to eastern Canada, and one to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These are some of our family's most cherished memories. But I also have a huge bank of memories of us working together on the farm that I would not trade for anything.

Handwoven Rag Rug Corduroy

What advice would you give to other homeschool families who are also trying to run a home business?
Check your sanity at the door. =)

Actually, I suggest you savor the moments. Business can be consuming, and relationships are very, very important. Don't forget to laugh and goof off so that those relationships are preserved.

Handmade Wool Socks - Double Hem Tops

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?

The form of our "art" remains pretty constant--a rug is a rug and a pair of socks is a pair of socks. Not much variation there. The fun for us comes in the colors that we put together when we're dyeing yarn or using fabric to make a rug. I think we approach our art with a sense of adventure--"I wonder what will happen if I do this..." So maybe we aren't copying something from nature or the world around us as much as we are experimenting with color.

Do you have specific goals for your business or for your homeschooling? Would you share some of those with us?

My goals for homeschooling have always included teaching the kids HOW to learn, while not extinguishing their natural interest in the world around them. Since I can't teach them everything, I want to give them the skills needed so that they can learn things on their own later.

And quite honestly, some days my only goal is to survive the day. I want homeschooling families to hear that some days are HARD. We don't need to pretend otherwise.

Our goal on the farm is to be good stewards of the land while we earn a living raising food and fiber products. Early in our marriage I stumbled across the verse in
I Thessalonians 4:11, which says "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. " This is something we've always tried to keep in mind as we work.

Thank you, Lona, for sharing a glimpse into your life.

Here are a few places you can visit Lona on line.
Her Etsy shop - Shady Side Farm
Her Farming Blog - Farming In The Shade
Her Facebook Page - Shady Side Farm on Facebook


Karen said...

Thanks for sharing your journey with us! You make gorgeous items!!!

K Low said...

A great interview, Lona! I love your shop and the consistency of your participation on this team! Thank you for posting, Sonja.

The Handmaden said...

I love just about everything you said Lona! So many of your principle really resonate with me.
It's lovely to see your loom, I'm saving up for my very first one!

Ewenique said...

Great interview! I also love that verse and often used it when my children were little and needed some instruction to stay on task when doing school - "Be quiet, mind your own business, and get to work!" :)

Laurel said...

I love Lona's blog - and her comments about home school are spot on. Nice interview!