Gospel and Grub With GRIT

By Eileen

The Reservoir Ministries is the name of Eileen’s homestead and the ministry she and her husband, Russ, offer on the property near Clinton, Wisconsin.

For her blog, Gospel and Grub With GRIT, she plans to focus on everyday life on their organic farm and the events and growth of the ministry.

Her secondary focus will be on healthful planting, growing, eating and preserving all that is needed for sustainability. The ministry is non-denominational, and Eileen and Russ are hardworking and approachable folks who “just happen to run a ministry, worship in a barn and offer a constant in this inconsistent world.”

“Our current project is in its infant stages,” she says. “We aspire to build up people to be able to plant, grow, harvest, cook and preserve healthful food for themselves and their families.”

On the couple’s to-do list is acquiring a building to develop an all-inclusive hands-on learning and distribution center for the produce grown on their farm. With nutritional and farming classes, they hope to “empower folks who didn’t have hope for a healthy future so they will know that it is a possibility.”

Eileen was born and raised on a farm. “So this is the only life I know!” And she’s always had a garden. “Growing up on a Guernsey dairy farm, we were totally self-contained, traveling to the store once a month for flour and sugar. We grew our own everything from animals to fruits and vegetables. What a glorious way to live!”

Her garden is filled with colorful flowers and shrubs, as well as strips of multiple vegetables. The plants vary from year to year depending on availability and what is requested for canning. “Tomatoes are always on deck; this year, five varieties, 39 plants. Six varieties of peppers in 38 plants. There were eggplant, sunflowers, squash of different varieties, rhubarb, onions, zucchini, spinach, lettuce, beans, peas, Swiss chard, and herbs: rosemary, basil, thyme, sage, parsley and lavender.”

The homestead is home to their tangerine Labrador Rez, and two recent additions, calico kittens Bithiah and Goshen, mousers who entertain as much as work.

Her country skills are many.

“Truthfully, I have been so blessed to grow up in a family that taught me pretty much everything one would need to know to survive in the country. I grew up on a totally self-contained, beautiful 160-acre farm. My folks taught us how to milk our herd of Guernseys, take care of calves, chickens, horses, and the discipline to show them at fairs. That always seemed to be a year-round vigil. We would leave the fair one year, go home and start preparing the animals for the next year. (My favorite time too, as I always got a new pair of boots!)

“My other skills are varied from rototilling, mowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, cooking, preserving, to teaching about all things I’ve learned. I have a PhD in holistic nutrition, which is why my passion for healthful eating remains my focus for the future. Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed that the Christian folks seem to be the most in need of that part of my expertise, and the most resistant to it! However, I’m confident that will change. Cooking is an immense joy for me; I’ve even owned and operated my own restaurant. Alongside me is my husband who is a fix-it preacher with wonderful sermons using our daily laboring as material. Things in need of repair, including the soulish type, he fixes!”

To Eileen, a homesteader is one “who makes a home on the land they live on and utilize al the resources available to them.”

And her philosophy of country life:

“We are fans of being a man and woman of our word, with fresh-dirt-filled handshakes as contracts, bartering for things, caring for our elders, and looking into the eyes of our children as they talk to us. Respect for all living things, in spite of how the “world” sees them. We believe in having your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no.” We believe in relationships, not religion. We believe by valuing what has placed before us in this country, we can prove to be good stewards, servants, and replenish the mighty gift given to us to ensure our children’s futures.”