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What do you do when the life you've been dreaming of turns out to be not quite what you want? What do you do when "simple living" in the country turns out to be not so simple, after all?
I never pictured myself as a country girl, to be honest.
My husband introduced me to his dream of living on a homestead back when I first met him twelve years ago.
At the time, I thought he was the craziest person I had ever met.
- He wanted to grow his own food...I always killed my mom's flowers when I was in charge of watering them.
- He wanted to have farm animals...When I was a kid, my pet cat decided she liked the neighbors' food better and eventually she stopped coming home.
- He liked the idea of working with his hands in the fields...I loathed pulling weeds.
For years we looked at homesteading magazines and read blogs to inspire us.
And we started creating our own dream - living in the country, growing and canning our own food, using animals to mow and plow the fields, all while sitting on our back porch sipping some lemonade and enjoying the view.
Since we got married, we've moved from Seattle to Portland to a small town outside Vancouver, WA. In each city our dream grew stronger.
And then one day the opportunity presented itself to move to a property on five acres - an old hobby farm with wide open fields, old barns, and a small home the perfect size for our young family.
We jumped in. Or rather, we dove in head first into this "simple" life in the country.
- We had four goats and a livestock guardian dog reserved before we even moved in...to a property with no usable fencing in sight.
- We ordered 25 new baby chicks to add to our six hens from the city...because there was an old chicken coop already on the property. It's fine that there were no windows in the window openings and the roof leaks...right?
You see, I have the
curse ability to make things happen FAST.
And once the homesteading bug bit me, I was all in.
- I wanted goats. So we got goats.
- I wanted enough eggs to feed our family and neighbors. So, we ordered 25 more chicks.
- I didn't really want to buy a tractor, so we found animals that would mow the fields and eat the blackberry bushes for us.
My husband is a gentle soul who likes to help out. So he fenced, and fenced, and fenced.
And he loved working with his hands, doing the farm life.
We have enjoyed three and a half lovely years on this property.
Looking back at the pictures, it looks idyllic.
We've had the opportunity to spend our time picking apples, plums, cherries, and wild blackberries...building a garden and growing food...even milking goats and making cheese and soap from our farm-fresh milk.
We raised pigs in our wide open pastures, corralled them when they found a way through the fence, and cried when the slaughter-man came.
We learned how to raise animals for meat, dairy, and eggs humanely with love and attention.
But the truth is that the "simple" farm life isn't actually simple at all. It's hard work. It's sun-up to sun-down work. It's rewarding work, and much needed work.
And now, more than ever, I have such a deep appreciation for farmers across this country.
I paint this picture in this post mostly as a way for me to process through this next sentence, but also to bring you along on our journey.
Why are we moving, you might ask?
Hmm...why are we moving? It's a valid question. One that I find myself pondering in between Craigslist buyers.
Our decision to move away from the farm is not politically motivated.
It's not a decision we've made in haste, nor one that we make lightly.
It's not a grass-is-always-greener type of situation.
And it's not a decision I ever thought I'd make.
So why are we moving? I think the simplest answer is: We're ready for a change.
We're ready to approach a weekend with the question of..."how can we have fun?" instead of..."what projects need done?".
We're ready for a break from the Pacific Northwest winter rain, and we're excited to learn about a different part of the country.
Life is short, and we want to be up for whatever adventure call us.
So we're moving. Away from the farm that we've called home for almost four years.
We're moving to a home in a neighborhood with a normal sized yard...where we'll have:
- No farm animals.
- No farm projects over the weekends.
- A productive garden (eventually).
- A different form of outdoor family time.
- Neighbors to greet as we walk out the door.
There's no question that there are challenges about living in a neighborhood (just like there are challenges about living in the country). And we know there's no perfect place to live.
But it all comes down to this...
Our dreams have changed, and that's okay.
I believe in following your dreams, even if it feels hard (or impossible). And right now we have dreams of adventuring and exploring on the weekends with our kids without needing to think about feeding and caring for animals, or mowing the fields and doing yard work every spare moment we've got.
I am so immensely grateful for the almost four years we've been here. We feel incredibly privileged to have had this opportunity. Watching my kids go from never-want-to-get-dirty girls to muddy-puddle-fanatics is a transformation that will always be with them.
Every now and then we wonder if we're crazy for giving up this place. What will our new neighbors be like? Will we even like our new city? Will our kids have enough space to play?
But those are the voices of fear and doubt. And when we take a step back to pause and reflect, we come to the same conclusion over and over again...it's time to be brave and step out into what we believe is the next right thing for our family.
Oh, and in case you're wondering...I'm still just as committed as ever to help you get healthy food on the table with less stress and more fun along the way...while encouraging you to follow your dreams, no matter how crazy they seem (or if they turn out to be not quite what you thought).
Have your dreams ever changed on you? Maybe your heart shifted while you were following your five year plan? I'd love to hear about it!
Thanks for following along our journey, and for your continued support.