Restart and Rebuild

Once upon a time, we set out to Arkansas from Colorado with a lofty goal in mind: to create a small, self-sufficient farm that would give our family more food security, a closer relationship to where that food came from, and a better sense of what the day’s purpose was. More than working for a paycheck, the work done every day on the farm would produce tangible results that we could share with extended family, friends and neighbors.

We worked for a year on that farm, starting a house, raising goats and chickens, and struggling through a rough drought to produce a small yield from a large garden. We ended up with a year of knowledge under our belts, and a whole lot of pickles, the product of our most successful crop: pickling cukes.

For many reasons, we decided that Arkansas was not the best place to try our hand at self-sufficiency, so we picked up stakes and relocated to my home state, Ohio. We’ve said goodbye to extended family, sold our goats, and packed up the canned goods. Now, on six acres in the northeast part of the state, we’re trying again. The to-do list is long, but somehow, it seems more manageable than the list we started with in Arkansas. The mountain is high, but not insurmountable.

For the first time, we’re actually living on the property we’re working. Fear of a drought next summer is strongly diminished, and in many ways, the property we’re on now is better suited to what we want to do. We’re surrounded by Amish and other neighbors who use their land for food, animals, and wood.

So, we’re here. The boxes are unpacked, the newest baby is born, and the days are growing shorter. We’re bringing in chickens, installing a wood stove, and planning for spring.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I owe the rooster an afternoon snack. I hear he likes American cheese.


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