Our decision to homestead was not made overnight.
It’s true! Both Farmer Hick and I were born and raised, or partially raised in the big city.
Farmer Hick’s father passed away early in life and when Farmer Hick’s mother remarried it was to a wonderful country man who possessed many skills. This was a great experience for a young, impressionable 11 year old boy. In fact, it was the best thing that could’ve happened to him. He learned many things from this simple, but wise new dad. Things like wood cutting, mechanics, gardening and much more, creating in Farmer Hick a desire to have his own farm in the country…someday.
My own story is quite different. I was a city girl through and through. In addition to being afraid of animals and not really enjoying the outdoors, I had a serious dislike of getting dirty. I did however like flowers…a lot!
The first summer after Farmer Hick and I were married I grew several trays of flower seedlings. When the flowers were big enough I set them out on our 8th floor apartment balcony. I spent a lot of time reading about flowers and came across lots of beautiful pictures of these gorgeous cottage gardens. I loved reading about the people behind these gardens, the more I read the more curious I became and slowly but surely I knew that I wanted to live in the country and have a simple life…someday.
Whenever we visited Farmer Hick’s parents in the country it was like entering another world, a more natural, simpler, more wholesome one. During these visits we’d help garden, can, cut wood, bake and whatever other projects were going on at that time. I was learning and enjoying myself so much! Over time a deep awareness crept into my soul and I realized, I wanted to garden, I wanted to grow food, Farmer Hick and I could create our own paradise!
We often talked about our future place in the country. And we dreamed. And we worked! Him as a machinist, me as a dental hygienist.
Fast forward about 12 years and we were able to realize the beginnings of our dreams. But let me back up a bit and tell you some of the other things that happened.
After the birth of our first son, the one I refer to as Farm boy, both Farmer Hick and I did a lot of reading and researching. It was during this time that Farmer Hick came across the topic of cheap housing, specifically underground housing. It wasn’t long after that he told me about his plans to build us an underground home, debt free of course. I remember not being very impressed about it at all! Who wants to live in a deep, dark hole in the ground? Farmer Hick presented me with many pictures (who knew underground houses could be bright?) and some concrete plans, and how this could all be done quite cost effectively. You see, it was extremely important to both of us to become debt free as soon as possible. Slowly this idea grew on me, I could see it fitting into our plans of living simply, in the country.
To make matters even more interesting (some would think complicated), we made the decision to keep our future home off the grid. We kept reading, planning, researching, working and growing our family, we had son # two around this time, the one I refer to as Shop boy. We also had the pleasure of being introduced to several real life homesteaders. Talking with these folks opened up a whole new world and another piece of the puzzle was found. This thing called homesteading, this was exactly what we wanted to do with our lives, everything just seemed to fall into place and we started looking for land. It took several years to find the right piece of land. It had to be Southerly exposed, it needed good soil, water and quiet surroundings. It could not be on rock because Farmer Hick didn’t want to use explosives to create the underground opening for the house.
Finally Farmer Hick found our piece of land. I remember making the 3 hour trip here while being 8 months pregnant with our third and last child (a girl this time). How exiting it all was!
We found sandy loam, perfect for our future gardens, a sandy, southerly exposed hill into which Farmer Hick could build our home, an unused gravel pit next door which would become the greatest playground for our kids and their friends, and the best part….miles and miles of abandoned rail road tracks, perfect for walking and biking.
And so we ended up with about 4 acres of pasture and 16 acres of bush, not a building or garden in sight. We were all set and could start creating our homestead and the life we’d dreamed about.
We didn’t decide to become homesteaders overnight….the idea grew on us step by step over a period of time.