Yesterday I wrote about the huge pile of mulch that is sitting in our side yard right now.
That picture, looks suspiciously like the picture from my very first post on this blog. Except that pile was 16 yards of composted horse manure.
I am learning that farming is cyclical. Everything changes, but it all comes back again. The same, and yet different.
This June marks one year since Papa the Farmer received his final software paycheck. I think now is a good time to write about this past year. It’s good for my soul to write about it, and it will bring those of you who have only recently found this blog up to speed about our story. So let me start at the very beginning….
A few years ago our life was very different from how it is today. We had long felt that God wanted us to raise our children in the country. We started looking for our country home when I was pregnant with our first child. Every weekend we would go out driving in the country looking at houses we had seen on real estate listings, or just driving down country roads looking for a “For Sale By Owner” sign in a front yard. We toured hundreds of houses. By the time FarmGirl was born we still had not found our home. But the day I brought her home from the hospital was the same day that the water company started construction on a water treatment plant right across the street for our little house! The very same day. God was telling us, “MOVE.” So we intensified the search.
We continued to live in that little house for another 18 months still searching and searching for our country home. In the meantime, the construction on the water treatment plant progressed steadily. Every day we watched dumptrucks and bulldozers, caterpillars and backhoes going back and forth doing their work. We had a great view from any of our front windows! FarmGirl learned to take her naps through the infernal noise involved in building a water treatment plant. I got used to the weekly inconveniences of having the electricity turned off for an afternoon or the water turned off for a day or the telephone turned off for a week… And everyone just learned to live with the way the house would shake from the vibrations of the construction.
And then one day we found it! A little house in the country on 5 acres. It didn’t have most of the features we wanted. There was no dining room, no laundry room, no storage space, no homeschooling space, a strange layout, no useable workshops, both bathrooms needed extensive remodeling, the kitchen was decorated in a terrible pink and silver color scheme and it was a 1 hour commute to work for my husband… but it had a great front porch, it was on 5 whole acres and the instant we walked in we knew it was home. After two years of looking, this house just felt right.
So in June of 2006, we bought it. Now we only had the minor detail of trying to sell our previous home. It was a cute little house, but it was now directly across the street from a water treatment plant. I mean, really? Who would want to live there?
We moved into our current house that August on faith, knowing that God wanted our children to be further out in the country. Since God wanted us to move, He would have to sell the other house. We listed the house in October and then we waited.
On Christmas Eve we got a phone call. There was a family en route to Texas from California. They would be arriving that night and they needed a house to live in. Could they buy ours for full asking price sight unseen? Oh, and could they move in that night and rent it from us until we could get the deal closed? Oh, and one last thing… Could they also buy the sofa, chair, fridge and baby crib that we hadn’t moved yet? (We said “no” to the baby crib because FarmBoy had just been born, but “yes” to everything else!)
Now, isn’t it just like God to sell our house AND our extra furniture on Christmas Eve?
I admit, I was inclined to wonder…. Who in their right minds would want a house right across the street from a water treatment plant that was also near a noisy railway exchange station? Would this family spend a week in our house and then change their minds? No. Our backyard backed up to the purchaser’s brother’s home. Before the real estate deal had been closed, the two families had already torn down the fence between the properties and installed a gate so that all the cousins could run back and forth…
God had put both our families right where we needed to be!
A few years went by. Papa the Software Engineer left home at 5 am every morning to go to work one hour away in the city. He got home around 8 pm. I kept the children up late so they would see their father and our schedule was not what it should have been. Our family was living in the country like we felt God wanted us to, but Papa the Software Engineer was really living in the city and only sleeping in the country. Sometimes he would go for an entire week without seeing the house in the daylight. It was dark when he left and dark when he came home again. Sometimes he would go for a day or two without seeing one of the children. Everyone was asleep when he left and the baby might have fallen asleep before he got home again.
One day when I was about 7 months pregnant with FarmBaby, Papa the then-software-engineer dropped the bomb.
“You know what I want to do with my life?”
“This.” I said. I knew our life wasn’t perfect, but whose life is?
“I wanna be a farmer.”
Now this is the point in the story where some of you might not believe me. I get a lot of emails from my blog readers saying that I am living their dream…. but it is not my dream. Let me tell you, there was some yelling in our house that night. Words like “crazy,” “responsible people don’t do this!” and “midlife crisis” definitely spun around our kitchen. I begged him to not do anything rash or crazy like quit his job. I was convinced we were going to starve to death. I emailed other local farmers and they all said the same thing: That this lifestyle we were about to embark on was crazy, there’s no money in it, you probably can’t support a family and they love it. So Papa the Farmer and I agreed that he would not do anything until after the baby was born.
By the time the baby was born, Papa the Software Engineer was involved in a big project at work. I breathed a sigh of absolute relief, sure that this passing flirtation with a mid-life crisis was over.
A year later another round of layoffs came. He told me, “If I don’t get laid off this time, I’m going to ask them to lay me off and let somebody else stay.” It was time for a change.
So, we started farming one year ago.
Check back later this week for Part 2 of our story! I will also be hosting a very special Giveaway at the end of this series of articles so be sure to stay tuned for that too!