“Fire ants! Move!” I shouted to my sister, who was looking at a cricket chirping happily on a piece of grass next to the huge ant nest. Alessandra didn’t even notice the bright red ants slowly walking up her leg. She was too busy looking at every intricate detail of the cricket.
Childhood memories like this are what inspired me to pack up our family for our biggest move and adventure yet! During much of my youth, I was brought up on farmland. Back then, I hated it. I thought I lived too far away from all the fun activities, and didn’t like not having any neighbors in sight… but, I’m thankful for it today.
We often came inside for dinner covered in dirt. We moved a lot because my dad wanted to board horses, and land in Southern California was expensive. So, if it didn’t work in one location, my family simply picked up and moved. I remember sitting under the big oak trees and watching baby quail run from one bush to another. While picking wild blackberries on the trails, we would hike onto some of the great big California boulders to discover smooth holes pitted into the stone, where indigeneous peoples from long ago ground their acorns. It was magic! We would watch the incredible bee man arrive and use his specially-honed skills to take down the bee colony which had made the side of the barn their home. What fun it was to watch how the honey would drip from the side of the barn, as the shrouded man transported the hive to a box!
Fast forward to life with three children, living in the city with a smallish back yard, reminiscing about the days when we would play outside until it grew dark.
I longed for things like this for my boys. Around the same time, I felt the itch to acquire some land of my own, I met Farmer Paul from Primal Pastures (www.primalpastures.com) — a small poultry farm in Murrieta, California. After Instagram-stalking them (ha!), we decided to go check out the work the farmers at Primal Pastures were doing. When we met Paul, he was farming off just two acres of land. Primal Pastures have since moved — after a few years and a lot of hard work and success — to a forty-acre piece of land in the heart of Murrieta, California. I recently visited the farm and deeply enjoyed seeing the pastured animals enjoying life wild and free, the way all animals should.
After a couple of years of saying, “Someday we’ll have a piece of land or farm,” my family and I had to make a big decision. Did we want to always say “someday,” or did we want that day to be now? We were sick of the traffic, and the cost of living, and wanted to be able to raise the boys in the country. So we signed up for real estate listings in several states (eight to be exact) and, after a couple of years of searching, have found ourselves in Northwest Arkansas.
We bought an old historic farmhouse on twelve and a half acres, and bought chickens, ducks, geese, pigs and goats. The boys get up every morning and make sure the animals are taken care of, and after our homeschool lessons for the day, they are free to roam. They often spend time making forts, discovering bugs and animals and scheming up crazy ideas and inventions. It’s exactly how I imagined it would be, and exactly what I think these city boys needed.
The unfortunate part of this adventure is how the former owners of the farmhouse and property hid mold from us during the inspections. The house managed to pass inspection because they’d covered up the decaying floor in the kitchen with three layers of flooring, sneaked plywood into the middle of the cabinets to hide mold damage, and tacked sheetrock over old, moldy sheetrock. We have had to take the house completely down to the studs, and with every layer of demolition, our dream of actually living in the house gets further and further away. We are currently all living in a small RV on the property. This has so many challenges! We aren’t sure what to do about the house now, since the cost of fixing the once-hidden problems are way beyond what we ever could have imagined or budgeted for. But, I do believe we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we should be doing. I still believe it will work itself out. I want to encourage anyone who desires a change in your life to take the plunge and just do it. Get up and take those steps. It might not be easy, but sometimes working for the things we want so badly, makes what we want even more special!
Learn more about our farm at www.folkandflora.com,and follow our adventure on Instagram @folkandflora.