40 Acres and a Mule

We parked on the side of the long dirt road and started walking. It was overgrown and wild and I was so attracted to it, especially to the wild part. For some reason, I just gravitate toward all of the things deemed impossible or too much or too hard. This surely would be one of those projects. We kept walking deeper into the property and I was falling deeper in love with it. It was quiet and secluded, untouched for years and my God, did I want it.

For the last 6 years my life had been based off of the idea of downsizing, simplifying and becoming less consumeristic. When I started to do those things 6 years prior to this point, I finally began to find myself. I sold most of my belongings (for the second time in my life), moved into an RV, spent more time outside than inside and started getting closer to to nature again. My stilettos sat on the shelf in the closet and my running shoes came out more. I smelled like the fire pit instead of Chanel and used less makeup remover and more sunscreen. Life felt simpler and I felt happier.

Finding James and farming only helped me become even closer to those ideas of connecting more with the earth and all of her creatures. It had been so long since I’d felt a case of the “wants.” But admittedly, I had it bad.

“Do it, “ he said, a few mornings later when we were laying in bed. “Do what, James?” I knew what he was talking about. I just wanted to hear it from his mouth, to hear exactly what he was thinking. “Sell the farm. Buy the land,”. My heart started beating quickly at the possibility. The thing about James is that, in the years we have been together, he has never told me “no” when it comes to my dreams. Dangerously, I knew that if I got a case of the “wants” and he had any inkling of it, he’d find a way to make it happen. That morning I called the realtor.

21 days later our farm was sold. Closing of course felt years away but we started the prep of moving the farm hoping that no one would back out of the sale. We needed to close on our old farm to get the funds to put down on the new land. Everything was depending on the close of our old farm. Once closing commenced, we had 30 days to vacate the old land and to establish ourselves on the new land to be able to move the animals and ourselves.

Our old farm, after 4 and a half years, was exactly what we had wanted it to be. It was incredibly functional for a small farm. We had electricity everywhere we needed it, plenty of water lines, lots of shelters for all of the animals we raised and tons of fencing. But those 2 acres were also holding us back from reaching a higher potential. We were in a constant battle with the land and rotation. Trying to provide a humane and clean and natural environment for all of the animals was difficult on the space we had. So much went into the daily logistics of making sure we maintained the quality of life that we’d expect for ourselves and for others.

That little 2 acre piece of land is what started it all. Ellie rode on my back in a carrier while we cleared land and I built the chicken coop. She swung in a baby swing in the trees as James and I worked to build the barn and make preparations for our first horse’s arrival. She crawled in the dirt and found her love of all things outdoors on that land. She earned her first scars on that farm, her first ER trips came from that land and all of the freedom she had there. She learned to swim in that little pond and ride her bike on that bumpy dirt driveway. On that farm she earned her title as Farmer Ellie. Countless mornings I sat in the kitchen and watched out of the window as she chased chickens and played. Starting again, somewhere new was daunting but it was also bitter sweet.

That land shaped Ellie into who she was so far, in the four and a half years of her young life. But beyond Ellie, that land, those 2 acres, built me. That land taught me that my husband, is perhaps one of the most remarkable humans I’ve ever met. I learned that not only is he remarkable in all of his skills, but he’s remarkable in the sense of his belief in me and how it never wavers.

That land taught me that anything is possible as long as you are persistent and not easily deterred. Those two acres built me into someone who was proud to live life differently, outside of the box. That land taught me that my differences were my strengths and what made me who I was. It taught me that even I could make a difference in the world, even if I only started with just 2 acres. That land built me into a wife, a mother, a better person. That land built me into a farmer.

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