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
chickens laying fresh eggs
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.