In November of 2007, we set out on a journey. Leaving our city-sized starter home and our city-sized yard and our city-sized neighborhood behind, we packed up and moved to the country. We decided, rather suddenly in fact, that we needed SPACE. To grow our family, to grow food, to grow our minds. Our home search derailed very abruptly from the “biggest-city-yard-we-could-afford” to a very different track entirely, one called “The Farmette”.
Somehow the home of our dreams found us: a spacious, well-loved Victorian home nestled in five acres of rolling hills. There’s a pristine trout stream in our backyard which sealed the deal for the Mister; the chickens (Lovely Ladies, as we call them) sealed the deal for me – 15 beautiful laying hens that were the icing on this delicious cake. All this, and we’re still within spitting distance from our beloved city of Madison, WI.
So here we are, beginning our transformation. From this very spot, we hope to grow our own food, (that’s veggies, herbs, and some meat too) produce our own energy, make by hand as much as we can, and instill in our growing family the skills, values, and little nuggets of wisdom that we’re able to pick up along the way. And laugh – we are absolutely nothing without our sense of humor.
To be fair, we acknowledge that we’re certainly not the first to undertake such a journey. Scores of folks before us have made this pilgrimage back to the earth and undoubtedly scores after us will do the same. Regardless, this journey is our own and we bring to it our unique perspectives. We’re a young family: Andrew and I (Mary Jo) are both breaking in our thirties and Isadora is 2 1/2 growing by the minute. Newest to the Acres is our son Errol, who joined the adventure in April 2009. I bring to the table a degree in Fine Art, some training as an herbalist, finely-honed thrifting prowess, and an insatiable hunger for knowledge. Andrew, besides being the Breadwinner and Financier, is a rather skilled Handyman, and brings what is perhaps the most valuable to the creative table: Patience. He acts as the grounding rod which allows our visions to take root. And we’ve not strayed too far from our roots: both Andrew and I grew up in the country, with strong foundations of family, hard work, and home-cooked meals. Ah, yes, food: we care pretty deeply about what we eat and how, where it comes from, how it was processed. (or not) I’d be lying to you if I said that reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver when we were shopping for that house in the city didn’t have a sizable impact on us. All this and we like music a whole lot too, taking up instruments of our own for the first time.