How we got here…

Posted on: June 18th, 2013 by

I am a busy mother, sometimes student, and aspiring farmer working hard to establish a functional and self sufficient homestead.

Which leads me to what that all means to me and how we got here.  Basically, a little background is needed.

My husband and I have been together in the neighborhood of 15 years; married for 12.  He joined the Army when we were just starting out and had been stationed in Texas for the entirety of his military career (which also included overseas war time deployments).  When he left the military he took a civilian supporting job and has continued to deploy in support of our troops.  For most of this time I worked office jobs and we lived in a typical ranch house with an 8 foot privacy fence and our dogs.  Five years into our marriage we were blessed with a little girl (who now has 3 siblings).

During this time I was learning how to grow a garden in Texas, which is much different than the gardens I helped my family with growing up in Wisconsin.  I spent time fighting rocky, alkaline, clay soil; lost plants and water to the oppressive heat; I even attempted container-only growing.  This was all because I wanted to be closer to our food sources-especially as the children began arriving.

With the birth of our second child we chose for me to stop working and stay home.  This offered a lot of opportunities for all of us, including allowing me to return to school (online) and finish my Bachelors degree in the field of Environmental Studies.  I also became very focused on issues I had previously taken for granted such as the rising costs of foods in my local stores without any increases in quality.  The schools in the area were ok, but I felt they were very disconnected and distant.  Finally, our much beloved dogs were aging and we began to discuss how our pack would be changing in the future.

All of the things made us aware that we wanted to dramatically change our lifestyle.  We wanted a small town with small town schools and connections and we wanted our own farm that would not feel walled-in and surrounded.  Here in Texas even small acreages are called “a ranch” so we made ourselves a list of goals for our ranch and started looking.  We needed a home with room for 6 plus dogs.  We needed open space and room for my husband to set up a range to shoot.  We needed decent water availability.  Finally, we needed to be back from any major roads, for our own comfort.

Through friends we found a perfectly imperfect place.  We’ve been here almost two years.  We think of it as our own little Renaissance Ranch.  We have 10 acres to live and grow and play on and we are working daily to make it our dream property.  And learning along the way all the things we never thought to consider before starting this family adventure.

Now, along with my brother, we are 7 people, 5 dogs, 11 chickens, 3 ducks, and fields of possibilities…….

 

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    Did you go to university?

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      Yes, a couple of times over. Firstly, my mother has been a librarian at a number of universities since I was a child. I can remember very vividly playing and wandering around university campuses after doctor’s appointments or on days I was “home sick” from school. After graduating from High school I attended the University of Wisconsin in River Falls, studying Land Use Planning. For various reasons I did not immediately finish that degree, but did earn just over 100 credits. Later, as a mother, I chose to go back to school with Ashford University and completed a degree in Environmental Science. I am a strong believer in education!

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