It was about the time I turned 28 when I had an epiphany of sorts. I was a single mom of two young children, living in a townhouse in the suburbs, running a small home daycare and pretty content with life. I was happy, my children were happy, and things were going as could be expected. I don’t remember how exactly, but I stumbled upon the book Independence Days by Sharon Astyk. I imagine it’s not the type of book that rocks everybody’s world, but it did mine. Quite literally. This book had me look at my life through a different lens, and it set me on a path that I never would have believed I’d be on.
I grew up in the suburbs, I had a typical latchkey kid life growing up in the ’80s and ’90s. We didn’t live on a farm. Heck, I don’t know if I’d ever even visited a farm growing up. We had a little vegetable garden once when I was about 6, and I don’t even remember if anything grew in it. We didn’t have another one. My mom’s thing was flowers, and she did that well. The closest thing to farmers that I had in my family were my grandparents. They lived in a darling mobile home in a beautiful park. My grandpa taught me how to swim in the clubhouse pool, and my grandma baked me birthday cakes with a doll standing up in the middle, her dress being the cake. They also had a little garden in their little backyard, next to their clothesline and deer statues, that my grandpa would proudly take me out to whenever I would visit and have me sample the strawberries and tomatoes. There was something about the simplicity of their lives that I was incredibly drawn to, even as a small child, and it stuck with me my entire life. I just didn’t realize it until much later.
After reading Sharon’s book, it sparked something in me that was laying dormant, and when it was ignited it blazed with such intensity that I couldn’t help but let it loose. I knew what I had to do. And it was to start a farm. I had no idea how I was going to make it happen, or how to even do it. Remember, suburbs kid. I just knew that it one day would happen. I started a little garden in our townhouse yard, which was about the size of a postage stamp, and with the help of my littles we grew as much food as we could. I learned how to preserve the food we grew, I learned how to make a lot of different things from scratch, I read as many books as I could, and I never stopped dreaming of what our farm life would one day look like. There have been a lot of mistakes made over the years, a lot of learning opportunities too, and plenty of two steps forward, ten steps backward. I got so discouraged many times that I almost wanted to throw in the towel because some of the hurdles seemed just too large. But then I found a way around them.
Fast forward to today and where we are at now. I’m still a single mom (happily), and my children are a tad bit older now (hello, teen years. *gulp*). But we are living out our dream on a farm in the mountains of BC, Canada. We raise chickens, ducks and rabbits, we grow food and herbs, and we live as close to a homesteading life as possible. We’re even hoping to live off-grid in the future. I unschool my wildlings and have for about 13 years now. I’m self-employed working from home as a freelancer and herbalist, while raising my children and running the farm. I’m adamant on living this life to the fullest of my abilities, while at the same time slowing down completely and taking everything in. Living a life less traveled, if you will.
I found out not too long ago that my grandpa was indeed a farmer back in the day. So that spark that was ignited inside of me some 10 years ago was actually in my genes all along. It just needed to be woken up.