Simple Times Farm

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Posted 12/15/2011 6:53am by Ethan DeSota.

Stephen, Jason, Wayne, Mike


Stephen, Jason, Wayne, and Mike are four men who have joined us during this time of building and renovation at the farm. They are part of the farm initiative ReFUEL which provides men in tough circumstances a chance to rebuild and relaunch their lives and careers.

We have come to love and appreciate each of these men for their service and expertise and are excited as they begin to serve in greater ways through Simply Services. Simply Services is a business providing a number of essential services to our farm clients and the surrounding community.

From auto mechanics (both Jason and Mike are excellent mechanics) to small engine repair, appliance repair, minor electrical, plumbing, and carpentry, and services such as local snow plowing and machine work, these men stand ready to serve. Contact Ethan at 810.874.6463 to arrange for a quote for services.

For all of our boarders - consider this; Get your brakes fixed or a tune up on your vehicle while you are riding and drive away in style - how's that for service!

Posted 10/11/2011 3:14pm by Ethan DeSota.


After a solid month of drilling holes and setting poles, we are beginning to put up the first boards on 2.5 miles of pasture and fencing at the new Simple Times Farm on Gale Road. Weather slowed down some of our work at the site as water muddied up the plateau here as well as the location where we are deconstrucing the final elements of the donated barn. 

Many thanks to Kevin, Wayne, Stephen, Mike, Jason, Josh, Brad, and all the others who have invested to get us to this point! We now have: 1) The barn down and 85% tranferred to the new property. 2) The drive and site preparation completed. 3) The well in and ready to go. 4) Almost 1500 posts set in the ground for fencing. 5) The poles and purlins set for a small wing of the barn. 6) 1/3 of the holes drilled for the new barn foundation. 7) All the internal lumber for the stalls, hay loft, arena, and tack rooms on site. 8) All the lumber for the fencing on site. 9) The underground plumbing for the exterior hydrants and water troughs on site and ready for installation.

Pray for us as we raise the final funds to complete the barn structure. We have been provided for at every step and are looking forward to sharing a couple of developing stories as God continues to provide for all 27 full time staff and students at Simple Times Farm. Go to the donate tab on this site to help us continue the story!

Posted 10/5/2011 12:52pm by Ethan DeSota.

It was a bad week – astonishingly so. Two blown engines – one on the family car and one on my younger brother’s. Dad fell off the porch and broke his leg. Costs were high and income was low as was often the case in our household.

The year before we had purchased acreage in the Hogback hills – a rolling, secluded area of comparative beauty in Genesee County, MI, the home of one of America’s poorest and crime-ridden cities. We were planning to build. Picnics on the property were combined with pencil sketches of future homes and debates about property splits. My brother and I were getting older and we wanted a piece of the action for our own future dreams.

Ten moves so far. I was only sixteen and we had already moved ten times! A move is tough, but a DeSota family move is really tough. This was before the age of the PC had swept our lower-middle class culture and dad had a good dozen filing cabinets filled to the brim with clipped articles as well as several thousand books in his pastoral library. Somehow, we always picked the home with the office area in the basement. Lugging the whole show down the steps and then back up again in short order for the next move was getting disheartening.

We were finally going to settle. Our wanderings had returned us to the city of my mother’s birth and we were happy – near family and friends. Money had always been tight, but we made the best of it and all participated in Dad’s work at the church, a small plant in the area of Flint. MI. 

And then that dismal week. We had already initiated the financing process for building a modest family home on our dream property. It would overlook the pond and be a cape cod (my mother’s favorite). We would build as a family, doing most of the labor ourselves to save money. I was sitting down in the office (yes, a basement office) and dad was reclining on the sofa – nursing his recently casted leg – when it happened. In our separate locations, we both had a strong sense that we needed to sell our property. 

Weird. Nobody was even interested and we certainly weren’t posting signs 

The phone rang. A real estate agent was on the line with a client, “I don’t know if you would ever consider selling your property, but a client and I were driving by and saw your acreage. It is exactly what we are looking for. We looked you up in the tax roles and decided to give you a call.” Silence. Deep breath. The deal didn’t take long and shortly we were minus two cars, one healthy leg, and one dream property.

Six months later we moved into a rambling Victorian duplex in the heart of downtown Flint. Not exactly our plan. Definitely His. The following years and how they cemented our love for the city and its people is another story for another time . . . .


Posted 10/5/2011 12:51pm by Ethan DeSota.
Over the next few weeks we will be telling the story of the individuals and families of Simple Times Farm. You will hear fascinating tales (all true) that range between the incredible and the incriminating as we weave the vision of Simple Times with the people who serve on it's staff and in its programs. Our goal through this series is to raise public awareness about the mission of the farm, add 5,000 new friends, and raise $100,000 to complete the new camp facilities. As you are entertained, inspired, and amazed by this series, please repost it on your home page and invite others to join the cause. Stay tuned for the first story: Of Dreams and Dead Ends.

Posted 8/27/2011 7:36pm by Ethan DeSota.

Campers helping lay out the new barn

2011 Campers helping to lay out the new barn

Thank you to all of our campers, staff, apprentices and pony pals. It was a super, although small, camping season at Simple Times Farm during this transitional summer of building and moving. We had some great times exploring the new farm, discovering soil types, evaluating the 14 apple trees, pear tree, and cherry tree in addition to our riding and equestrian program.

As we plan for 2012 we are looking forward to six full weeks of camp including an adventure week focusing especially on attracting more young men. We anticipate being able to accomodate up to 36 young people per week at the new facility. We can't wait!

Speaking of the new facility - we are almost done taking down the donated barn and we hope to begin erecting it at its new home the first week of September. We can always use volunteers so come on out if you have some time! Call Ethan or Nathanael to check on the schedule.


Posted 6/3/2011 5:57pm by Ethan DeSota.

Logs for Fencing on the New Farm 

Work at the new farm is beginning to roll as Mast's Lumbermill in Gladwin, MI receives delivery of the logs that will become fencing for pastures and paddocks at 9028 Gale Road. Simple Times Farm is working with NRCS to acquire funding for a rotational pasturing system. We are perfecting our fence installation skills in the small animal paddock as this is being written. Anybody bored! We have a solution that involves a whole lot of boards!

Posted 3/17/2011 9:06am by Ethan DeSota.

Yesterday was a red-letter day for the farm. After submitting the first phase of our plans for the new farm property to the Atlas Township Planning Commission last month, we were overjoyed to have them approved at yesterday's commission meeting!

We will now be completing the detailed drawings for the Stables, Indoor Riding Arena, and Staff Housing. When those are completed, we will be ready to build!

Rick Miseck - President of the Atlas Commission, has been very instrumental in guiding us through this process and we are thankful to engineers over at Bud Design for their work on the site plan and elevations. Only eight months left before we hope to move the majority of our operations over to 9028 Gale Road!

If you haven't had a chance to come by and check out the new digs, give us a week or two to dry out and then pop on over. We think everyone will love the expansive setting with two ponds, a creek, and over 40 rolling acres. We are so grateful!

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