Homestead Update: We Bought a Farm!
Before I get started on this post, I just want to say a big THANK YOU! This is honestly the first big life decision that we've made a public journey on this space, and while it was not anything detrimental to our personal psyche, it was something that was a little stressful on our entire family to share. While I don't always love saying that social media can be a tool for us, it is a big part of why our business has had its success, and your sharing of our move and our little homestead that was for sale helped us get this farm we wanted so desperately! Just by sharing and leaving a comment, you made a huge impact in the sale of our home, and I cannot thank you enough!
Honestly, it went by so quickly. What a stressful period of our lives, but so fast that it's almost like I don't remember it happening. We had been looking at this property for some time. It's about 10 miles away from our first little homestead, the next small farming town over, in the country and with hardly any close neighbors. Well, technically they are close by country standards! It's strange. We've never really lived outside of town. I am sure there will be things that we won't get used to quickly, like having a place to take a stroll or easily stopping at the local grocery, but that's okay. At the end of October, we decided to call up our realtor and take a look at the house. We had actually been there before... to pick aronia berries! If you've been reading us for this long, then you might remember our aronia berry discovery. They're the only fruit currently known with the highest amount of antioxidants, which help to fight cancer. They're also the darkest natural dye. A true superfood! It was nice to see the "farm" with different eyes. It's small, about 5 acres, and has over 12 rows of established aronia berries scanning a majority of the property. We have not officially measured, but are assuming they take up about 1.5 acres - so awesome. We fell in love instantly!
Then we saw the inside. It was basically, well, done! That was a first for us. As you know, our last house needed a whole lot of love. We decided as a family to finish the outbuildings first; the inside of the house could wait while we built our homestead and business. We've had our fair share of fixer uppers; the first house I lived in as an infant was my parents' first fixer upper. We moved quite often as I was growing up, fixing up one house after the other, and this house was a little different for our family. It was already restored, beautiful, with original wood cabinets, trim, and floors. And it was big. Something that we had kind of grown away from. Even with that, it was hard to say no to! It was perfect for our family (yep, still living at home, and that's okay! It works for our family; I am the primary "farmer" at this point!).
We saw the house on a Thursday, put it up for sale on Friday, and sold it on Saturday. Kind of! The sale of our homestead was a bit of a rollercoaster. But we finally found a family who wanted to take on the project. I am really excited for them! I hope they love the yard, garden, greenhouse, and chicken coop as much as we all did.
There have been so many questions flying! Hopefully I can answer some:
What's happening to the greenhouse? Well, we had to leave it behind. That's okay. I will miss it, but we already have plans to build a second one (maybe attached to the house! eek!).
What about the chickens? Our flock will be staying behind at the original homestead. This was not an easy decision for us, especially for me. They are just chickens, but I know that many of you will probably feel the same as I do, like they're being abandoned. I think it's in our best interest to know that the move might have been too difficult on them. We're only moving a few miles down the street, but the days and nights are getting colder, they'd be living in an unfinished coop, and would most likely not be allowed outside for a majority of the winter when the snow starts to fall. The family moving into our house is really excited to try homesteading, so I am glad that our first girls will be in good hands. I wrote them a very detailed list about how to care for chickens, how we did it. I think their children are really excited to take on the project; that makes me feel better. Still, it's little like abandoning a passion project, giving that to someone else that you don't really know and hoping for the best. All I can say is that I will be glad to purchase new chicks in the spring, many more chicks, and probably some ducklings too!
What's next for Under A Tin Roof? Oi! This is a big question. It's honestly a big part of why we even looked at the property and decided to dive in. While it's a small chunk of acreage, I decided to look into what exactly was considered a farm. Want to know? A farm is any place where you make money off of what you grow/raise there. Hm! I am not positive on the technicalities of that statement, it's just what I happened to come across, but it was good enough for me. We will now be the Under A Tin Roof Farm! How bizarre is that? For a while we thought that maybe we would buy a restaurant. I know, it seems a little strange and out there for us. Sometime I cannot even keep up with our own crazy ideas! I swear, every time we meet up with a friend they're saying, "What are you guys up to now?!" before the conversation even starts.
But yes - a restaurant was in the idea cloud. It was actually one of the first ideas I had to try making a living off of back during my pregnancy. That was an incredibly terrifying and lonely time for me; I really probably need to write all of those thoughts down at some point, especially now that I have moved on and coped with them. Then, I was cooking quite often because I was bored, looking for a creative outlet, and was obviously hungry around the clock. I learned a lot about cooking, took some classes, and began my experimentations. I soon learned that I was a pretty good cook, and now over three years later I have gained so much more knowledge and skill! I love sharing my recipes here on this blog with you. It's one of those hobbies that I love and could potentially market off of, so it was always just kind of sitting on the back burner. And we considered that. Do we stay at this home, buy a restaurant space, and make a full time living off of that? Or do we buy this farm?
You see, the farm was something that I think was calling to all of us. In the days after we put our house up for sale, I remember sitting with my dad and we both started crying realizing that this was the family business. It was turning into something that was bigger than ourselves, than all of us! It was something that could be passed down for generations, something to invest in. And that made us excited, it made us weep.
What's next? Well, I have a lot of ideas. First, I need to wrap my head around exactly what to focus on and what to slowly ease into. We're still going to do all of the things next year on the farm that we planned on doing at the original homestead. That means bees, the CSA garden, chickens, selling bulk herbs, and creating meal plans for eating seasonal vegetables. Then I want to see what I can do with all of these aronia berries. I've never marketed food before... I've only just started to get a hang of marketing retail goods! It's all going to be a learning process. I still am dedicated to showcasing what we do with our land, our homestead, and teaching you how we do it. I don't think there's anything to hide... I wish more people would homestead and become sustainable! It's a beautiful lifestyle that you can also make a living from. People need to eat and they want to return to the land, to learn where their food and goods come from. Of course I have dreams of what we could do here. It has established apple trees, only five, so we can potentially have a 3-season U-Pick if we grow pumpkins, too! We want to get some ducks (have any duck breed suggestions for me?!) and learn how to ferment. It's all just overwhelming right now, honestly!
I think the biggest thing we will be doing out of all of it is finishing the garage/chicken coop area and turning it into a small general store! You’ll be able to come see us during business hours and shop, eat, play, and say hello. I am really excited for that!
What will happen to your handmade items? I think this is the question that I even struggle with myself. We are going to keep making things. They're just kind of on hold for right now, at least until after Christmas. This property has a pretty large garage that we will turn into our studio/general store. It's all going to be happening in spring; so this winter will be our time to plan, to get settled, to rest. We'll be making goods inside of our house until the studio is up and running. That should be interesting! But we still want to make our goods. You might have seen that we opened a wholesale shop. If you're a small shop owner that might want to sell our goods, please click HERE. So don't worry! If there was something you wanted to grab, we'll be back in time for the new year. We just need a little bit of time to settle and get things back up and running. Hopefully you took advantage of our holiday sales these past weeks!
And after that, it's all just rosy. I am excited to add some home decor and room renovation posts to the blog. We actually have a cute house to photograph! I am just so grateful that this opportunity came our way. The house was a big bonus; we'd been dreaming about land for a while and were not expecting to also get a beautiful home in with the mixture. Usually it's one or the other, you know? All I can say is that we lucked out! Again, thank you so much for taking the time to help us share and sell our house. What a whirlwind!
Thank you, too, for reading our blog, for following our journey. We have some really amazing readers, and I know that bloggers say that all of the time, but whenever I meet one of you or read your comments I just feel like you are my people! We get each other, and that is why you are here, right? You've helped make this dream possible, you know! Okay - time to go move all of our things inside and get to planning! Happy December, friends. I’ll be back to a normal blog schedule on Monday.