Like dandilion seeds in the wind, ideas proliferate for use of the legacy farm given by Joe and Enid DeBarthe to their offspring. Joe and Enid gave a farm to their church and one to Graceland University, so we could follow their example and give it away. On the other hand, they were good stewards who magnified opportunities expanding their stewardship to give more to the next generation. We would like to do the same.
Joe walked from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Lamoni, Iowa (500 miles) in 1931 to work his way through Graceland College at ten cents per hour at the college farm. He returned to Wyoming to teach in a converted cattle shed, and found himself 20 miles from Enid Stubbart , who was teaching in a converted sheep shed. They married and began their family, but decided to return to Iowa for better educational, social and religious
opportunities for their sons. They invested sparce savings in a gully washed farm west of Lamoni, thinking it would be their stewardship to bring it back into production. They did not realize it would take a lifetime.
By 1951, two more children and a 240 acre farm were added to their investments. Marla Joy, thier only daughter, died from accidental poisoning before her third birthday. Grief took a toll, but they reinvested their love and energy in their sons and a series of foster children. In later years, dad was heard to say that his best crop had been his three sons.
Sheep, dairy, hogs and beef all took a turn as major investment on the farm, each sustained by corn, beans, oats and hay grown on the 360 acres. The draft horses gave way to Ford Tractors, which generation by generation got bigger, until the four wheel drive Ford 6600 "Old Blue," served dad in his last years.
At the family gathering to celebrate thier 65th anniversary, dad noted that the first 50 years of marriage are pretty tough. The next 15 make it worth it!
At about this time he determined that "Mom has never had a new house nor new furniture and its time we fixed that!" At age 90, he became the primary contractor and finisher of the house she enjoyed for the last two years of her life.
Dad worked outside and in his wood shop. Mom worked on her computer and with sewing crafts. Neither intruded on the other except as a stablizing hand. When mom died, her computer became available and dad discovered it had a whole new shop of tools with which he could play and produce. His daily email missives to his kids
for the last two years of his life have been saved as family treasures.
And so, the eight of us who remain in DeBarthe Farms, Inc. anticipate continuing the legacy of stewardship we have inherited. In November, 2009, we planted 16,500 trees around the ponds and along the drainages. Oaks and walnuts mix through the central portions with dogwood, birch and hazelnut close to the water. Maples trim the edges with the prospect of a sweet future. Another 8,500 trees are planned for next year.
We have formed DeBarthe Wind, LLC to explore prospects of harvesting the wind and turning it into electricity. Heartland Energy in Mount Ayr, Iowa is pioneering a more efficient turbine which should be optimal at our average 13 mph wind speed and we have a government grant to study the feasibility of turbines on the farm.
Their prototype is due for operation this year and we hope it passes the tests so we can begin farming wind next year. (Dad was exploring this idea in his last years both on the computer and in literature).
Paul DeBarthe - President
Hinano DeBarthe - Vice President
Tehani Walton - Secretary
Tehau DeBarthe - Treasurer
Additional Board Members include: