We are still on the farm…

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by brenda on January 24, 2014

 

My kiddos and their recent Valentines’ Day projects. We had to find something to do in our empty home while we wait to move!

We are still here, waiting for our sale to finalize. Real estate transactions really are like a big domino game. There was a glitch with our buyers’ buyer, which made it so that we didn’t close when we were supposed to. Unfortunately, we only found this out when all of our things were being loaded into trucks and brought to storage. Originally, we were going to be “camping” in our house for 5 days and then staying in a hotel for a couple of days before we got our new home, just because of the way our dates worked out…Now, instead of “camping” for 5 days, we are “camping” for a month–or more. We have mattresses, 1 couch, 1 pot, 1 frying pan, a couple of baking dishes, our school work, legos, 1 doll, suitcases full of clothes, a couple of board games and our moving helpers accidentally left a box of Christmas books sitting in the living room. I teased the kids that we will be reading Christmas books until Valentine’s Day, this year! :)

We’ve been making the most of our time in our empty house. Here’s what we have been up to:

-Doing extra school work to get ahead, because very soon we’ll be moving, unpacking, and busy.

-The kids have been making Lego movies on the ipad.

-I downloaded more free ipad games for them to play. They earn game time by working hard on character traits we picked out for each individual kid. (No whiney voice for 1 kid, for example. Interrupting properly and asking if it’s an ok time to tell mom & dad a long story, for another kid…Keeping things and spaces neat and tidy for another kid who seems to bring messes wherever they go….You get the idea….The kids are practicing these character traits, I keep score all day, and if they worked hard, they get game time.)

-We painted some canvases and have made a few Valentine’s decorations. After a trip to the craft store (where I promise, they have magic cash registers, everything costs more than you think it will!), we were all set and we had something to DO in our boring, empty house. :)

-Working on life-skill training. How to plan a menu and a grocery list, and how to make dinner–these seemed like good skills to start teaching our boys, who are 12, 11, and 10. How to properly scrub a toilet–you know, the basics!!

 

There are mixed emotions over leaving the farm–daily! We love the farm. We love the land. We love the memories we have had here. We love the ability to raise our own meat. But we are sure that we are supposed to be moving…

We keep feeling it more strongly, we need to be closer in to town, to be nearer to the people in our life. We live so far away right now. The long drive home has been wearing on us ever since we decided that we would be selling. Our church and friends are about 30 minutes away from us. I love hospitality and cannot wait to live closer to these dear people. We are excited to participate in more church events (I hate driving very far in the dark by myself, so I never go to any of the monthly ladies’ meetings, for example….). There are many reasons it will be nice to live closer.

Suburban life will mean less financial burden than farm life. On the farm, there are always unexpected expenses, and just like the magic cash registers at craft stores, farm supplies always cost more than we originally anticipate.

We can’t do it all. My husband works in IT, and that means that sometimes he has to work long days. Last week he worked some 12 hour days. This week, he got off early on a couple of days. We just never know what the week will be like. This kind of schedule does not lend itself easily to farming. Obviously, on a 12 hour work day, hauling 50 lb bags of feed up the hill, in the dark, is not be very enjoyable…or good for family time.

 

Sometimes we feel like failures. When we first moved to the farm, there were naysayers in our life. I hear their criticisms repeatedly in my head. We wouldn’t be good at it, they said, we weren’t “yard people,” (meaning, we didn’t spend every Saturday keeping our neighborhood lawn looking manicured), so why would we want a farm? We’d stink, and all of the city people would notice it, but we wouldn’t notice it. Yes, someone told us this. One person predicted that half of our chickens would die, and started laughing. I remember these things, and I think of the I-told-you-so’s we might hear today:

-You bought a farm, wasted all of this money and time, and now what do you have to show for it?

-Look where you would have been if you never sold your nice house in the neighborhood.

-See, it didn’t last. I knew it wouldn’t.

This is unhealthy, imagining how the naysayers would criticize us today…Yup, we bought a farm–we did our best. We poured our hearts, energy, and checking account into it. I believe that it *could have* survived, if we had enough time and $ to keep going another year. After we decided to put the farm on the market, we got many, many phone calls, asking about our products. People were so disappointed that we were going out of business. “But where will I get soy-free, corn-free chicken?” We heard that several times. We can only say “I don’t know….Hopefully more people will start producing it in the future…” :( So, I believe that it could be a thriving business–someday. But we are called to other things. We know that we are supposed to move on now. It does not mean that we failed.

We lived out a dream that we’ve had ever since we got married. We always wanted land. We couldn’t afford it (or much of it, anyways), until the market turned. Then we were able to buy this foreclosed, bank-owned home on 30 acres. 30 acres! We were so blessed–we thought maybe we would get a few acres, at most 5. But God blessed us with 30! We jumped right in and started farming! We got 50 chickens, some turkeys, ducks, and geese in the first couple of months. A little while later, we had pigs, too! After 3 seasons of The Farmer working full time and farming in his “spare time,” we decided to give full-time farming a try. We *really* jumped in that year! The Farmer quit his job, for 6 months. We raised dairy cows, beef cows, 23 pigs, hundreds of chickens and turkeys, ducks and geese. We were busy–and exhausted. We LOVED the farming experience though. We could have kept doing it–if it paid the bills. It didn’t. But we did it–we lived out our dream. If we hadn’t done this, we would always wonder. In that sense, we SUCCEEDED. We checked off an item on our bucket list. Done! Some people want to vacation in the Bahamas or road trip around the US. We wanted to FARM! Check! Done! We did it! :) And we made memories–lots of memories. I would not take back these farm memories from my children for anything. This life has shaped them, and I am thankful for it. We now have an appreciation for farmers, a first-hand knowledge about the hard lives that they live, and honor for the work that they do for us (their work keeps us all alive–thank a farmer!!).

So, sometimes we feel like failures….But most of the time, we realize, this was something we needed to do. Even if we were only farming for 4 summers, and that’s all we got–and that’s all we may ever get–we needed this.

I apologize for not posting earlier about what was happening with the farm. I have not felt inspired to write. We aren’t going to be farmers any more, and we haven’t been on the GAPS diet–what do I write about? I have some ideas now, and am feeling inspired again (and we’re starting the GAPS Intro again, so I’ll have some things to write about). I’ll be back. I just needed a little break to figure things out. :)

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  • Shellie

    Thank you for sharing Brenda. I’m happy for your experiences, your successes and that you are letting the positive aspects of your journey prevail. I look forward to reading more as you continue to share!

  • Rachael

    It was so nice to see a well fed homestead article in my inbox today! I look forward to more.

  • Marisa

    Brenda, thank you for sharing what you have experienced. You have succeeded in so many ways, and I imagine you will be able to use and share what you have learned over these past years–with your own family and others. You also showed many of us that “You can do it! We did!”. You gave insight and knowledge that many of us have tapped into and used. So thank you!! May your new adventure bring many blessings to your family.

  • Carole West

    Failure is when we give up! Doesn’t sound to me like you’re giving up. It’s when we stop trying to do better that we fail. From what I read online Homesteading can happen in the city or country so get creative in your next location This is what I would do – keep this blog going because it’s a great example of not giving up. Inspiration is what people need! Keep the name but change the tagline. Perhaps give your blog a little revamp once you get relocated. Read Pro-blogger The third edition (most current) – Fantastic book he also has a website! Opportunity is always there and if you already have an established audience I bet they would be excited about a little revamp. I found a link on Facebook to your original post about having to sell the farm from another blogger and then I went to see if you had anything current which landed me here. Lessons learned – simplify your story and begin with the goodness of a new door opening. Must find the positives in what you do and surround yourself with positive people. I Love this picture of your kids – great project! Remember anybody can quit but it takes a strong person to rise above and continue to strive to do just a little bit better. Will be praying for you and your family and start following! -Carole at GardenUpgreen

  • Viking Mom SD

    You are not a failure. We are what we like to call ourselves Suburban Homesteaders. We live in a semi rural suburban neighborhood in which we have converted our front yard into a garden and our back yard into the farmstead. You will be amazed how many city regulations will allow for chickens, small goats, and ducks. You will also be amazed how may livestock are perfect for small enclosed areas. Living in a suburban area allows the creative juices flow. There are certain plants we can’t grow, despite all my heroic efforts, in our garden so I find them on other “farms” or through our CSA. We developed a nice barter system with other farms. This is the time to let your imagination flow.

    My blog— http://suburbanhomesteadersd.blogspot.com/

  • rivrfox

    You’re not a failure. Without dreamers and doers who create beauty, bless our soil and produce wholesome food. The world would be a very sad place. Look into doing a smaller homestead/permaculture plot where your doing a bunch more perennials, herbs and annuals. Plant berries, fruit and nut trees. Never stop believing in yourself. Never stop dreaming. We are so much a part of our earth mother that it saddens me knowing my disconnect. Not sure how to find my divine path. I haven’t yet found a partner to start a family and I’m 33. I realize that it will come in due time if I keep my dream alive and follow my heart/passion. Be well!

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