ILNews

Choosing a life beyond suburbia has shaped lawyer's family and future

Holly Wheeler
August 28, 2013
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Are you a city mouse or a country mouse?

Years ago, Sherry Fabina-Abney would have identified herself as an urban rodent through and through, but today her answer would be quite different. Fabina-Abney, an attorney with the healthcare group at Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis, moved her life and her identity to an 18-acre farm in Johnson County.

A country choice

apb-lawyer-statefair02-15col.jpg Sherry Fabina-Abney and daughter Angela represent their business Red Barn Farms LLC at this year’s Indiana State Fair where they showed an heirloom breed of cattle. (IL Photo/ Aaron P. Bernstein)

Fabina-Abney spent her youth in northern Indiana and completed her undergraduate degree at Purdue University. After law school at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, she moved to Indianapolis and began her career at Ice Miller. It was Fabina-Abney’s husband who pushed for moving beyond the suburbs when the couple contemplated setting down roots to start a family.

“My husband knew he wanted to be out in the country because his grandparents were farmers and he loved that lifestyle,” she said. “We started making a circle and found a property in Johnson County.”

The rural environment has had a tremendous impact on Fabina-Abney’s children, leading them to community involvement and leadership as well as career opportunities they likely would not have considered if raised elsewhere. Oldest daughter Angela is a junior at Purdue University studying agribusiness and operating her own beef business. Middle daughter Allie, a recent high school graduate, is state FFA president and will spend the year advocating for agricultural issues. Son Dougie is involved in 4-H and raises and shows goats.

“It’s kind of interesting how things go when you have children,” Fabina-Abney said. “If someone said, ‘25 years from now, tell me what your life is going to be like,’ I never thought I’d be out in the country, roosters crowing, cows mooing. It’s actually turned out to be a lifestyle for our family. We’ve been able to teach our kids and instill in them a good work ethic and the value of hard work.”

A rare breed

What’s black and white and bred from heirloom Scottish stock? A Belted Galloway, of course.

About 12 years ago, Fabina-Abney and her family began to raise livestock on their farm. Angela begged for a calf to

raise and show at the 4-H fair. The couple agreed – on the condition that they start a herd and take on the responsibility of raising and breeding them. A neighbor introduced them to the Belted Galloway, a breed of cattle whose pure bloodline can be traced back to Scotland.

“They are a long-haired breed and they are well known for their meat tenderness,” she said. “They are what’s considered a heritage breed. They are from one of the oldest pure-bred genetic pools of cattle.”

The breed’s signature black and white (think Oreo cookie) coat and long mane (think bison) make it attractive – so attractive that one of the reasons Fabina-Abney’s husband, Doug, chose the breed was because it would look good in their front pasture.

“We have the largest registered herd of Belted Galloways in the state of Indiana,” she said. “It’s like registering a pure-bred dog. Typically their hair can get up to 6 inches long. They also have a long undercoat so in the wintertime they don’t need as much fat to cover their body and keep them warm. That’s why they’re leaner. They’re great foragers. If you go back to their heritage, Scotland, a rocky, rugged territory, they’d have to eat anything to survive.”

Similar to dog shows, the family shows their bovine beauties at fairs and competitions, including this year’s Indiana State Fair. Because of the rarity of Belted Galloways, the Abneys entry was in a class by itself.

“This was the first time they were shown as a class,” Fabina-Abney said. “We were grateful that the State Fair let us do that to give the Belted Galloway group a place to show their cattle.”

It was as the family’s involvement in breeding Belted Galloways grew that Angela decided to open her own business – Red Barn Meats, LLC.

“When she was in high school, through FFA, she started her own freezer beef business that she continues to run and operate,” Fabina-Abney said. “She goes to various farmers’ markets – she does the Bloomington market, the Greenwood market, Franklin and she does the one over here at the statehouse – she buys our steers when they’re ready to be harvested and she processes that and sells that as meat with her private label.”

Red Barn Meats is purveyor of not just beef, but pork, goat and eggs. Angela works with her father, sister and brother to manage the business while attending school full-time.

Greener pastures

Choosing a life beyond suburbia has shaped Fabina-Abney and her family in countless ways. She looks at her oldest daughter as an example, citing how the life choices she’s making are a direct result of where and how she grew up.

“My husband and I didn’t come from an agriculture background. It’s a lifestyle for our kids and our kids want to continue that lifestyle in whatever career they choose,” she said. “It’s interesting how the kids have taken off with the whole agriculture passion.”

This story of a city mouse who became queen of the country may seem to disprove Aesop’s moral. Like most fables, however, the true meaning deepens upon reflection, and for Fabina-Abney, the lesson ultimately becomes, “You make choices and you live them.”•

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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