Ready to Pay the Price

After months and months and months of planning and researching and searching, our homesteading dream is finally happening.

The excitement!!

The joy!!!!

The utter amazement!!!!

Bring on the chickens, goats, pigs, ducks, turkeys, and sheep!!!!

Let’s get this garden started!!!!

And I can’t forget the orchard!!!!!  Apples, pears, cherries, and peaches.  Yum, yum!!!

I’ll also grow grapes and I’ll eat them off the vine and make jelly.

Oh, wait a minute . . . . .

April Fools!!!!!!

Our homesteading dream isn’t technically happening, but we are going back to Missouri to look at potential property.  We have a realtor that will be showing us 9 properties near Ava, Missouri and another realtor will be showing us some properties around the Buffalo, Missouri area.  I do feel that we’re making progress in the right direction.

While nothing has necessarily changed, the dream remains.

Be Still My Gardening Heart

A few months ago I stumbled across some information regarding Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and quickly decided we would need to stop there on our next visit to the area.  About two weeks ago we were in Missouri and made went to check it out.

It was not at all what I was expecting.  Oh no, it was so much better!!!

We arrived shortly after they opened their doors and walked in to see walls of shelves with little boxes full of seed packets.   More seeds than I imagined there would be.  They also had books and magazines on gardening, animals, cooking, preserving, herbs . . . . the list goes on.  They had homemade jellies, salsas and soaps.  Outside the store were a variety of trees for sale – apple, pear, nectarine, cherry, different nut trees as well as ornamental and shade trees.  So many things I didn’t expect to find.

I made another discovery about Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company . . . . .

The store is in a small pioneer village called Bakersville.

They have a restaurant, bakery, apothecary, Harriet’s Mercantile, animals and more.

Garden spots run through the middle of the village.  Because it was still so cold, we were only able to see the beginnings of some early plantings beginning to emerge thru the soil.  I’m sure it will look much more like the photo below in a few months.

The seed store opens first at Bakersville and we weren’t able to stick around until the other stores and restaurant opened their doors.

About 1 1/2 weeks later we were back in the area, so we made another trip out to Bakersville.  We just hadn’t purchased enough seeds the first time there 🙂  As we were making our purchase, the girls were given little paper bags and invited to pick out their own seeds from a large bowl on one of the tables.  The bowl held a variety of different beans and legumes.  Lili carefully sifted thru the bowl selecting a variety of seeds.  Naomi grabbed a handful and put them in her bag.  Both of them looking forward to planting their seeds in the garden this spring.

Just like the previous visit, we were too early and had to leave before the other stores had opened their doors, but we will most certainly be planning a return trip to Bakersville in the not-too-distant future.  They have monthly festivals (the first one of the season is today) and I’m excited about our return trip(s) to check them out.

This company has a wonderful history and although hubby doesn’t think it would be a great idea for us to live to close to Bakersville, my gardening heart longs to live near this wonderful gardeners paradise.

If you’re passing thru southern Missouri, check out Bakersville.  If not Missouri, they have locations in California and Connecticut as well.

Searching for Home

Hubby and I are in search of our homestead and recently found several acres of land.  For a matter-of-fact, we have looked at the property 3 different times now.  It is overgrown with new trees, berry bushes and grass, so is in need of clearing.  There is power along the road that could easily be run onto the property, but doesn’t have a well or septic system, so we would be spending a fair amount of money preparing the land for building our home.  Most of all, the view from the property is breath-taking.  It over looks the Ozark hills and I could easily envision our home there.  Deer and wild turkey roam the property and it is very peaceful and quiet.  It fulfills much of what we’ve been looking for in our homestead.

As we were driving home from our little family vacation a few days ago, I had time to do a lot of thinking about the property.  In so many ways it seemed perfect, yet somehow it just didn’t feel right.  I also couldn’t shake the feeling that there might be a more perfect property out there for us.  So after discussing my concerns with hubby, we agreed to keep looking.

Now we’re back from our trip and scouring various websites looking for property that could one day become our homestead.  A piece of property that gives us enough room for our goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and turkeys (yes, hubby has added turkeys to the list of animals we’ll raise on our little farm) and any other farm animals we may choose to raise.  Land that provides us with a sunny space for our garden and orchard.  We are searching for a piece of land that we can call home.

Crazy Acres

We have put our crazy plan wheels in motion, which means we put our car wheels in motion and made a drive down to the Missouri Ozarks to look at some property.

I found out about some properties via a member of a website forum called Homesteading Today.  I had posted a question on the forum about property and she responded with the information.  We traded emails and phone calls about the properties and I looked at them on-line.  Both hubby and I were anxious to see these properties and I already knew which ones I wanted to buy.  After all, I could tell everything from the website.

Our trip started out pretty crazy as we drove thru a snow storm during the first 1 1/2 – 2 hours of the trip.   The heavy snows got lighter, but as we moved further south, it turned to ice.  As we got into Ozark territory, we drove out it.

We stayed at a little cabin in Mansfield, MO called Mansfield Woods.  It was dark by the time we arrived, so all we knew was that our cabin was one of five, nestled near the woods.  It was quiet and peaceful, which is what we were looking for.

The next morning we ate a quick breakfast and then headed out to find the property.  The interesting thing about Missouri, or at least the Ozarks, is that not all roads are paved.  Here in Central IL, an unpaved road typically leads to farms, so unless you’re heading to visit someone living off the road, you’ve likely made a wrong turn and need to get back out to the paved road and go a different direction.  So as we were looking for the property we found ourselves on different paved and unpaved roads, but our crazy adventure eventually lead us to our destination.

After our little adventure on the back roads of Missouri, we pulled into the driveway of my wonderful and new homesteading friend.  After visiting with her and her husband, we spent a little time with their goats and sheep, then got in our vehicles so they could show us around the neighborhood.

First stop was the property I had my eye on, but we didn’t quite make it to the property.   The road was very overgrown with grass and weeds, which is okay, but it’s not okay when we have to drive down a steep grade on an overgrown gravel road followed by a steep grade back up that same overgrown gravel road to get to the property.   So there we stood, looking down the hill and across at the property.  It was the very property I was just sure we would one day occupy.   Instead, I just stood there shaking my head saying there was no way we were buying that piece of land.  So we got back in our cars and moved on to look at the next piece of property.

It was up on the ridge, off the county road (which is a dirt road).  I had seen this property on-line, but had already decided we didn’t want it.  After a quick look, we decided to move on.

The road to the next property wasn’t as steep as the first, but it was definitely a steep drive that ended at the property.  Half-way down the road, hubby and I decided we wouldn’t be considering this one either.  The view was beautiful, but it just wasn’t what we were looking for, so we headed back up the hill.  Well, sort of.   Other than the few families living nearby, these vacant pieces of land have only been inhabited by wildlife.  It’s privately owned land that hasn’t been maintained, so all the roads are overgrown.  About half-way up the hill we began spinning our wheels (literally) and the car began sliding to the side.  We backed down the hill and tried again.  No luck.  At this point, I got the girls out of the car and we walked up the hill.  Hubby took the car back down and tried again.  No luck, so back down he went and I began to think we would have to buy the property because we were going to be stuck down there anyway 🙂  Fortunately, the 4th try was successful and it was time to move on.

There were three more properties we wanted to check out, so our friends headed home while we drove the opposite direction.  We found ourselves driving down a winding dirt road and at the bottom of the hill sat the three properties.  Again, not what we were looking for.

As we drove back up the hill,  we began talking about the success of our trip.  We had successfully determined the properties we most wanted to see, where not at all what we thought they would be.  Pictures and maps on a website give buyers the best view, but don’t always share the ups and downs on the properties for sale (pun intended).  We had expected to see something very different from what had seen and we learned much from the experience.  We were so happy we had made the trip.

Our new friends had invited us back to their house for a visit and what an awesome visit it was.  Not only did they make us feel welcome and at home, but they provided us with some great information about the area and farming.  The girls loved being there and felt so comfortable around our new friends and they were wonderful with the girls.

When our visit was over, they sent us on our way with some goat meat from their freezer, a jar of rabbit meat and fresh eggs.  All grown on their little farm.

As we drove away we stopped to take a second look at the property sitting at the top of the ridge.  A second look can be a good thing and in this case it was a very good thing.  We saw it differently and began to discuss the possibilities.  Then we drove away and headed back to our little cabin.

We revisited the earlier conversations we had with our new friends and discussed the property sitting at the top of the ridge.  We also began to discuss two other properties at the top of the ridge that we hadn’t considered at all.  As the day we on, hubby and I thought more and more about our day and both of us became more and more interested in taking a closer look at the properties on the ridge.

The next morning we checked out of the cabin and headed to Baker Creek Seed Company.  WOW!!!!  But that’s another blog post for another day.  Then we went back for another look at the properties on the ridge.

Like I said, the property has not been maintained, so there is a thick layer of leaves (good compost), lots and lots of young trees, shrubs and grass.  Immediately I saw just how perfect this property would be for goats and sheep.

Hubby went thru an opening in the barbed wire fence to get a better idea of the topography.  He began to walk down the property and before long we lost sight of him.    He was out there for several minutes and finally we saw him walking back up the hill toward the car.  He reported that it didn’t take long before the car was out of his line of sight and we felt that while this property might work out well for goats and sheep, it might not be the best for building our home.

Then it was my turn to walk the property.  I wanted a different perspective, so I walked the opposite direction.  After a few minutes of walking, I headed back to the car.  I asked hubby to drive while I walked the along the perimeter of the property.  During my walks, I made some wonderful discoveries.

Not only do the properties have some good building sites, but I could see the spectacular view we could have from those properties.  Someone just needs to give those properties a little TLC and they would be exactly what we have been looking for.  So, why not be the ones to buy the property and clean it up?

With some new found excitement, we spent a big chunk of our drive home talking about the property.  We discussed just how much we enjoyed our trip and how fortunate we felt to meet some wonderful like-minded people who, if things work out, will be our neighbors.  And they are also transplants from Illinois 🙂

Although we have not made an offer on the property yet, hubby is going to be contacting the owner soon.  Until then, this experience has shown me that a crazy plan can cause some crazy things to happen.  I suppose that is why hubby threw out ‘Crazy Acres’ as a possible name for our future homestead. It’s catchy and it describes us, our ideas and our lives pretty well I think.

A Crazy Plan

A couple of weeks ago I wrote Planning a New Plan.  We had spent 1 1/2 years trying to come up with the perfect homestead plan, but weren’t making any measurable progress in getting there.  The time had come to re-evaluate and create a new plan and that’s what we have done.

Now, some may think this plan sounds crazy and that we’re delusional.  Maybe it is crazy and we won’t even discuss the delusional part right now.  Yet sometimes the best things in life come out of crazy delusions.

So what is this crazy plan you ask?

We have decided to buy property.  Actually, we plan to buy property when we find the perfect property to buy, but our plan is to make a purchase none-the-less.  It’s ambitious, but it’s an investment in our future.  It’s a step forward.  A chance to have property that is ours and begin working on that property – putting up fencing, planting an orchard, preparing our garden area, building a chicken coop, a shed, a barn, maybe even a house – while we wait for all the stars to align so we can move to our little homestead.

A nice benefit of the internet is the ability to shop on-line and I’ve been property shopping.  I found some property in the Missouri Ozarks that hubby and I are very interested in seeing, so we are going to look at it this weekend.

We like our new plan.  It’s probably a little bit crazy, but crazy makes sense to us, so we’re moving forward and hoping for the best.