Saturday, February 28, 2009

Birth of a Dream

Perhaps you are wondering what, why, how, the initial thought of moving to the country came into our consciousness in the first place. It didn't happen over night, I can tell you that! It's been a gradual, lifelong development, with small steps taken along the way toward the place we find ourselves now, yet without realizing what was happening.

For myself, Krystal, it all began quite young. I inherited the 'dreamer' quality from my parents. First, we moved to a 1/2 acre with chickens, pigeons, horses, dogs, cats, hours spent pouring through the pages of "Back To Basics" countless times. Let me not forget to mention "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Wilderness Family". Then, a relocation to a tiny ranching community in NE Oregon where my imagination went wild! More horses, vegetable gardening, jam making, swimming in the Snake River, rodeos, county fairs. By this time, simple country life was so much a part of my very being, my personal identity, no matter where I found myself in the decades to follow the dream to return to the country was ever present.

For my darling husband, Tom, it began at a young age, too, although I believe unbeknownst to his parents until quite recently! His grandpa and grandma Beers built a small farm for their retirement years. Tom spent many a visit picking and hauling rocks! It helped teach him the value of hard work and he witnessed the fruitage of ones labor the land offered in reward, even though he admits to not appreciating it at the time. As a kid, his family also had a few chickens and rabbits, mostly as pets. When we married in 1993, the influence of my memories and dreams gave his own dreams flight!

Fast forward 10 years... we relocate to Washington State with hopes of finding a couple acres for a large veggie garden and chickens, to raise most of our own healthy food. What we found was a lovely house on 1/4 acre in the suburbs, zoned for a combination of 6 poultry. Well, we knew that wouldn't do. Around that time a new PBS program aired, "1940's House", set in London during the most difficult years of WWII. In an effort to supply meat for their families in those days of severe food shortage and rationing, many had a at least one pair of rabbits in a hutch near their Victory Garden. The light bulb flashed bright in our minds! Currently, we raise two breeds of domestic rabbit, have a small flock of laying hens, and tend a large veg garden, comprising what we affectionately refer to as our "urban homestead".

However, the larger dream still flickered. A 'cousin' and her family live on a 10 acre farm. Folks met through the rabbit world live on a 3 acre farm. Both raise a yearly pig, beef, etc. Our dream begins to take on shape and gain momentum!

Now, we find ourselves embarking on this incredible journey. Tom doesn't think 'incredible' is the right word. I can think of numerous other adjectives- marvelous, wondrous, amazing, incredulous, fabulous, extraordinary- which happen to be included in the very definition of 'incredible'. It's been a natural process. Like the flowing river, we've come around the bend to see the place we've been heading all along.

The Lands Criteria

We have a long wish list of features for our future property! I've been told it's probably a bit unrealistic to think one parcel will have everything we want. Okay, first reality check. In view of that possibility, the desired features are now prioritized, as follows:

~ water- creek frontage, or spring (developed or not), or a well in place (drilled or dug).
~ not too steep- we have livestock paddocks and building placement to consider.
~ year-round access, but not necessarily a county maintained road, Tom loves playing in the dirt and snow.
~ a balanced mix of trees and meadow/pasture.
~ no more than a 30 minute drive from the local Kingdom Hall.
~ soil not too dry or sandy, but able to sustain pasture without irrigation.
~ at least 10 acres, maximum of 40.

I think that's all. See what I mean? Believe it or not, there are a few properties currently listed that meet all the above. Now it's a matter of narrowing it down to a 'short list' to take on our first land finding trip in May. Exciting times!

This Blog was created for all our dear family and friends, to follow the progress and see the updates. Thank you for all the support and encouragement, and for not making us feel like we're crazy. :) We love you!

Is It Possible?

"Is it really possible for us to live in the country on a small retirement income?"

The question was thus raised. How, I forgot, but we couldn't get it out of our minds nonetheless. Uncontrollably, we were therefore launched into exploration, research, soul-searching. Five months long. Is it? The answer... an unqualified, YES!

So begins our incredible journey into buying rural, raw land in Northeastern Washington state. There our hope is to build a small straw bale home, use power generated via the sun, utilize a basic grey water system, rain water collection, cook/heat/bake/hot water with a 25 year old Waterford Stanley cookstove (more on that little gem later!), sawdust toilet, continue to raise rabbits and have our little flock of laying hens, grow all our own veggies, add fruit, beef and dairy to that list.

It is ambitious, I'll admit. It is also completely doable. We know they'll be days we want to throw in the towel, throw up our hands, throw something. Perhaps we're a bit loony. Or maybe we're more sane than we've ever been in our lives! One thing is certain- we're ready for this adventure.
It's time.

Watch us spread our wings and FLY !