This weekend I am going to attend my 20th high school reunion. While I have stayed in contact with some of my classmates, there will be some that will be shocked to see me show up in bling jeans and cowboy boots.
Daniel and I both grew up smack dab in the middle of Columbus. Daniel then later moved to a suburb of Orlando, Florida with nothing but black top and concrete. Growing up I swore that I would never live more than 10 minutes from a mall. So...how did we end up on a farm?
While Daniel and I both lived in the city, we spent weekends in the country. My grandma lived on a 30 acre farm in, what was then, the outskirts of the city. She never had any animals or did anything more than a garden, but she had plenty of wide open spaces, woods to explore and a pond to catch salamanders in. We called the Cub Cadet riding mower a tractor and spent countless hours mowing the fields to keep the surrounding subdivision dwellers happy.
Daniel spent his weekends at his grandpa's house. His grandpa had 6 acres and his hobby was horse trading. Every weekend Daniel would go up and find a different horse in the barn. The only thing that was off limits was Daniel's pony named Star....at least until he outgrew him. Daniel, his grandpa and his aunt would trail ride on the the weekends. Grandpa baled hay at a neighbor's house and Daniel got a taste of that hard work. Daniel moved to Florida when he was 10, so by the time he was really old enough to learn the inner workings of farm life, he was away from it all.
Daniel moved back to Ohio after he graduated from high school and moved in with his other grandparents. They lived in the city, but had 300 acres in the country. Almost all of the property was wooded hills. They didn't have anything more than hunting dogs, but Daniel had plenty of elbow room. Here Daniel learned how to run tractors and equipment. One thing that his grandpa passed on to him was respect for the equipment and the importance of safety.
Daniel and I got married when we were 22 and 23. We moved into an apartment complex in the city. It was a big adjustment for us and an experience I hope I never have to repeat. I didn't do well with being able to hear our neighbor throw her shoes in the closet. We actually looked to buy a house in the city, but I always knew that Daniel wanted to move out.
About 6 months after we got married, we started spending a lot of time at a family members horse boarding facility. Daniel got the itch and we ended up with 2 horses. We started looking for a house again, but knew we didn't want to board the horses. This meant that the only option was land. Our budget and expectations were low. We wanted 5 acres and not a mobile or modular home. A year and a half later, we lowered our expectations a lot more. We were down to livable and had a bathroom sink (don't ask).
Our realtor was a saint to put up with us, and finally found us a place. We ended up with 11 acres and an old farm house that was not livable...at least by our standards. I guess you could say we were young, dumb and desperate.
We spent a month and a half gutting the house and trying to get it livable (if you consider not having a fully functioning bathroom or kitchen livable). We moved in 14 years ago this month. There was no fencing, stalls, hay field or really anything that we needed to bring the horses home with us.
So, only city slickers would do what we did in the picture above. We thought my horse would really like some of that fresh green grass since he had been in his stall all week. We tied a lunge line to a cement block and thought that he would just nibble around the yard. Fifteen minutes later we found the cement block without a horse attached.
Lesson learned...fencing moved to the top of the list.
The last 14 years have brought a lot of blood, sweat and tears to this place. We have turned it into the home that we love so much. A lot has been done, but there is still so much more to do.
We now have two boys who love to just be at home. They go back to Grandma and Grandpa's house in the city every day, but make no secret of the fact that they hate the city. The farm is where they want to be. We are so thankful that we are able to give our boys the experience of living in the country and working on the farm.
Living in the country is not easy. Everything is harder out here. You don't get to shovel the snow out of the driveway, you plow through the 3 foot drifts. The bugs are super sized and don't get me started on the wolf spiders. We share our home with uninvited guests of which I am too embarrassed to list.
We spend a lot of time in the car. Two hours a day of our lives is spent commuting. It isn't easy, but at least I am able to put a lot of distance between my job and home sweet home. We always say that we have a very close relationship with our car.
Would I ever move back to the city? Not by choice. The country is my home. It is were I love to be and where my family loves to be. It has been a journey, but one that I would take all over again.
Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.