We are officially ranchers now. We have survived our first year on the ranch with minimal damage and maximum gain.
Our tangible losses this year: Our faithful 11-year-old dog, Oak; our 8-year-old head hen, Ariel, and about 8 other chickens; one trip to the emergency room for a chainsaw accident; two runaway cows and three runaway pigs. (We have all of the runaways back on our land thanks to some amazing and helpful neighbors.)
Our tangible gains this year: One rambunctious puppy, three kittens, about 20 baby chicks, three donkeys, nine heifers, one steer, and one bull.
Our intangible gains this year are my focus for today.
Peace of mind. The peace of mind I feel on this land is something I have dreamed about my entire life. As a child, I faithfully watched Little House on the Prairie and dreamed of living back in the pioneer days in a cabin and taking care of farm animals. When we first saw the land online, I knew in my heart that this was our home. My heart actually skipped a beat when I first viewed it on Google Earth. I dropped the little icon on the entrance to the land and when the camera showed a panoramic view of the land, my heart welled up in my chest and started beating so hard that I knew this was the home God had chosen for our family.
A new home for our family. This has been an unexpected and huge blessing for The Outdoorsman and me. We underestimated how quickly our children would take to this as their home. Within the first six months of our move, Braveheart and Miss Sunshine had brought home many of their college friends for visits and Green Acres quickly grew to be a place of wonderful memories. Because of the novelty of our animals and land, it is a great place for college kiddos to hang out, shoot skeet, sit around a fire, take pictures, and explore. Due to the proximity of our land to their universities, it has enabled us to have frequent visits with our two older children along with the regular, much closer drive to retrieve The Trooper for her weekend and holiday visits. It has been such a blessing all around that we are overwhelmed by God’s grace and goodness concerning the location of Green Acres.
New hobbies and experiences galore. Not only have The Outdoorsman and I enjoyed the land, but we have loved learning about raising cattle, keeping donkeys, raising Kunekune pigs, and building things on our land. The Outdoorsman is truly gifted at building and excels at taking my vision and making it come to life in the form of a structure. I am so blessed that he enjoys building things and shares my love of rustic structures. We have only had time to build or add to three different structures and a couple of benches, but we know that we have years, and even decades, to shape Green Acres into the vision in our minds.
A new way of life. For the first 50 years of my life, I was raised in the sprawling city of Houston, Texas. Even though I enjoyed many aspects of city life such as conveniences at every turn, close proximity of friends and family, and fast food on every corner, I have quickly learned to adjust to our new way of life associated with country living. It could not be any more different for this city girl. The closest Target is almost 60 miles away. (Enter gasp from many Target aficionados including myself who has always been within 10-15 minutes from a Target location!) Fast food? What is that? There is one fast food chain restaurant located in our tiny town and it is located inside a grocery store and does not have a drive through window. (I probably just scared off half of my city friends thinking about moving to the country!) I must plan ahead very carefully for big gatherings at Green Acres because the closest chain grocery store is about 20 miles away. In addition to the change in grocery shopping, we are adjusting to having no central air or heat in our farmhouse. It has been difficult at times, but we are learning ways to manage during the hot summer months and cold winter months by relying on fans and small heaters in every room. It surprisingly adds an element of adventure to everyday life because it feels like camping at times!
Lovely people all around. The thing I have enjoyed the most about our move is the slow pace of life that exudes through the calming personalities and people we have met in our town. No one seems to be too rushed or busy to talk, too distracted to visit, or too focused on life to notice when you need a smile or a hug. Although I have always found and treasured those type of people in my life, it seems that everyone you meet is like that when you live in the country. It makes me stop and take time to appreciate the way that beautiful scenery and physical, but relaxing, labor causes people to seem less stressed out. For me, it has helped me to take note and stop worrying about so many things and people who are out of my control. As a natural worrier, I have learned to let our animals and land help me to keep my mind at peace as I wander around looking at God’s beautiful creation.
Looking towards the future. The Outdoorsman and I have been making lots of decisions concerning our future for Green Acres, our children, and our family. We have had ample time to reflect on our marriage and the direction our family is heading and make adjustments accordingly. I am thankful for this huge “leap of faith” that God has helped us take in leaving our comfortable life in Houston and purchasing our first-ever ranch without feeling afraid because we could sense His presence in every step of the journey. We are so grateful for the way God wove this story together for our family and brought us to Green Acres. He has blessed us beyond our hopes and dreams.
We are so very thankful you have joined us in our Green Acres Adventure.