Thursday, October 23, 2008

How did we get here?

Once upon a time I had a dream about raising my family on a farm.


This dream included:

a little old farm house or cottage with wood floors and a fireplace
pine trees
chickens laying fresh eggs
a stream
fields of grass for the cows (including a sweet milk cow with big brown eyes and long lashes)
a huge garden filled with heirloom tomatoes, purple potatoes, beans and squashes of every variety
fruit trees to climb in and eat from
beehives and honeycomb dripping with honey
open spaces and fresh air


me - knitting, baking, sewing, canning, kissing chubby baby cheeks, walking through the pastures with the kids, packing lunches with thick slices of homemade bread and cheese for the boys in the fields, and curling up in front of the fireplace with mark at night to read books or trade foot rubs

mark - putting in the hay, feeding the cows, fixing fences, surveying the land, and returning in the evenings to a home filled with children, a stunningly beautiful wife (that's me), the spicy, sweet smell of hot apple cider, and a huge mug of chicken noodle soup.


the kids - spend most of the day outside climbing trees, helping dad, gathering eggs, picking and eating fruit with juice dribbling down their chins, building castles or kitchens or forts in the trees, tracking mud into the kitchen over and over again, baking or cooking with me, painting pictures of cows, and chattering to each other as they fall into bed at night

It sounds pretty romantic, huh?



At the beginning of this year my dad gave me this book which became my preferred bedtime reading. Thoughts of farming started to consume my brain, and Mark and I began to hatch a plan.

I always thought my dream of a farm was something far in the future, when we were rich and could afford to purchase our own land. After reading that book we realized we had a valuable resource that many people didn't...mark's family's farm in Washington. The land was cleared by mark's grandpa early in the 1900's with a team of mules and is where Mark was raised. They have a small herd of beef cattle, but the farm has never been the main source of income for his family. Our goal is to change that.


So we started planning, and saving as much money as possible. We started buying almost everything from thrift stores or garage sales, eating out much less, eliminated the use of paper towels and ziplock bags and disposable diapers. I tried to be very mindful of the food I was buying, and eliminated almost all of the snacky sort of foods from the grocery list.

Our plan was this...start marketing the grass fed beef directly to consumers. Eventually start raising pastured poultry and grow a tons of different organic fruits and vegetables to sell. Spend as little money as possible. Eat what we grow. Have a lot more time together.


We rented out our condo in Utah and lived with my mom and stepdad until after I had Eden. Then, as you probably know, Mark moved up to Washington to build the house, and I stayed in Utah so my mom could help with the kids and I could stay out of Mark's way (I can be kind of demanding of Mark's time. He likes it.)

The house is taking longer to build than we anticipated. We didn't like being apart so I decided to move up to Washington. We are living in my dad's trailer that he generously donated for the time being. It's really cozy and easy to keep clean. And we have grandma's house ten steps away.


We are lucky to have such a wonderful resource to exploit (family) in our pursuit of living our romantic little dream. I hope we can find ways to somehow pay everyone back for all their generosity.

We plan to celebrate Christmas in our new farm house.

26 comments:

michelle g. said...

Ah, you are living your dream! I can't tell you how inspiring your story is and I'm really so very happy for you! Now I just can't wait to see what your house will look like!

Fairlightday said...

Wow, that sound's pretty much like my husband and I's dream. We have something very similar with my in-laws owning 80 acres in OK. I just haven't been ready to take the plunge and live on site with my in-laws, even though I love them.
Thank you for the inspiration. I can't wait to read the rest of your story as you live it. :)
Blessings!

Stephanie Jedlicka said...

*sigh*
That was so dreamy!! Excellent bedtime reading, thank you! :)

I SO wish I had some land and could follow the same dream. My husband and I are desperate for a farm.

kelly said...

i love how you have been sharing this amazing dream and completely enjoy watching it unfold through your blog and photos

Heart Felt said...

Amazing Jill...you have made your dreams come true, your girls will have such a wonderful childhood with wonderful memories. xx

kokopuffs said...

this totally makes me think of Laura Ingalls and the Little House on the Prairie. I loved those books.

one of these days, when the farm is up and running, can I come for a visit? i'd love to see and feel what its like to be on a farm.

and Mark makes for one hot farmer, and you make for one hot farmer wife.

monique(moki) said...

Thank you for sharing the story!!! I haven't been reading long enough to know all the details and love this! I want something so similar and love reading about people bringing their dreams to life!

kelly mccaleb said...

yep, i was thinking of little house too. have you read any lately? i recently re-read little house in the big woods and was fascinated by the detailed descriptions of all the farm processes.

i am so impressed at what you guys have accomplished! if you can dream it you can become it!

pakosta said...

you are living your dream! what's that quote: go forth and live the life you have imagined! you are doing it! good for yoU! tara

jill said...

thanks so much you guys! i haven't read theose books for while, but i loved them when i was little, and i want to try reading them to lia this winter.

Jennifer.T said...

Aaawwwww, I'm completely in love with YOUR dream. While it's not my ideal life, I love that you have this very clear picture in your head of what you want and then WOW you now have it! That's special and amazing and wonderful for your children too.
Me on the other hand basically have no clue what I;m doing and just live week to week!
Congratulations Jill and I'm SO haoppy for you and yours.

Lydia said...

This is a dream of mine too. Congrats on being there.

Nate, Kim, Lili and Baby Nate said...

wow that's so inspiring. and gosh, it sounds so inviting. I'm so impressed with you and your hubby for making it happen. :)

SELMA said...

YOUR A MAGICAL WOMEN.....i am glad you got your farm....excellent dream....and i love the photos....it's like the stories t church are coming to life on my computer screen....tell that farmer husband hello.....

Kendra said...

Um, you just shared my story but I really, really like how you wrote it. You will love the life. I promise. And all those thrifty habits that start from the desire to fulfill a dream, they become part of the dream. They don't go away. It's an added bonus that you keep them because you like them, not because you have to do them. : )

jora said...

I am so excited to find your blog (actually, I find it while ago, but just went through your archives!)....your story is truly an inspiration and I look forward to checking in on your new life on the farm. :)

Sarah McColl said...

i am so, so, so glad i found your blog. i am in heaven.

Molly said...

Hey Jill, Thanks for stopping by too. I am so glad I found your blog as well. My hubby and I share the same dream. I grew up on a small family farm. My dad was also a beekeeper. And we would like to return to that lifestyle now that we have children. I have such fond memories of my childhood and would like to be able to give my children the same joy, of a simple yet very fulfilling life. God bless you, I look forward to following you on your journey.

soph said...

Wow! your story is such a beautiful one. I read a similar book a few years ago "Living the good Life" by helen and scot nearing.... Youd love it im sure!

Looking at some land (complete with 50's cottage) myself in the river town of bellingen!

http://heyyousaycheese.blogspot.com/2009/03/bellingen-where-my-heart-is.html

heather said...

this is such a beautiful story.........

Kyrie said...

Truly truly dreamy! So glad to have found you!

Dea' said...

WoW! Fantastic! There are tones and threads of your story that are SO similar to where my little family is at right now (living in a trailer, waiting for the house to be built, starting a new life on the farm, changes in purchasing/ diet/diapers,etc).
I'm Deanna, living up a mountain in the middle of nowhere, waiting for our cabin to be built and going on month 8 of transient homes in the midst of it. I'm at alifelessloaded.blogspot.com So graet to find you )

rachelanna said...

i just happened upon your blog while blog-hopping. i love your dream, so close to my own. we are starting out a little slower than you but i can just feel the warm sun and smell the sweet grass as i read your story... ahhh... i look forward to being inspired by the courage and determination of your family...

ashlee.rose said...

i'm doing an art project for school, and i was wondering if i could use some of your photos :) we're doing landscape at the moment and have to get inspiration from other peoples work and record it. i absolutely love the pictures from your farm, and would love to use them if it's okay :)

Penguin said...

I"m impressed!
And the pictures you take are so very fabulous!!

starlitebrite said...

I love your life! I have lived in Oregon my entire life and I am very proud to say I live in the Great North West. I will never leave this state to live anywhere else. I love to travel but love coming home.
Keep up the great work on this site. It is very fun to read and exciting at the same time. Thanks for sharing.