from zero to twenty: the day we bought a farm…

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Screen shot 2013-03-20 at 3.05.38 PMI remember years ago when I first started naturalmommie.com. Back then my about me page said something like “I don’t exactly have chickens running around the backyard…but maybe one day…”

Well, here we are. At that one day.

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It’s always been a dream to live on a farm and raise my little boys surrounded by trees with room to roam. A place to run wild where they didn’t have to be conscious of a perfectly manicured sidewalk. Where they could do what boys should do without raised eyebrows and without worrying about playing and yelling too loud in the backyard because the neighbors are eating their dinner 7 feet away.

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I grew up in the sticks. A tiny little rural community on a farm with cows and horses roaming behind our house. Hours upon hours were spent collecting tadpole eggs in ice-cream buckets from the marsh, chasing my jelly sandals down the swirly brook, watching calves being born, counting fireflies, seeing my sister riding her pony for the first time and laughing at our little farmdog, Lady, getting fat from lapping up the cows milk when nobody was looking.

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But nowdays, living the country life while being just minutes outside the city means a million dollar price tag. Not exactly attainable. So, while I prayed for the “perfect” place for our family, my husband kept an eye out for new listings and the day after our latest “I reeeeally want to move to the country” conversation, a 20 acre farm fell into our lap.

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There was drive after drive to the farm with lots of discussions about renovating the 1940’s farmhouse or building a new one, subdividing the 20 acres or keeping them, what type of fencing would we build and ah! would we need a gun?… all those questions and none yet with a concrete answer, we decided the details could be worked out along the way.

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And so we bought it.

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Everytime we drive to the farm it’s a certain sense of peace; a calmness. Everyone breathes a little slower. Deeper. It just feels right. That’s not to say this hasn’t been a bit of a scary process. Having to sell our almost brand new home to move into a smaller, run down farmhouse with one little bathroom is daunting. The night we put our house up for sale I was in tears after thinking about what we were willing to give up for an old farm.

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An eco-friendly tankless hot water tank for a well?  A walk-in closet for…no closet? A huge soaker tub for a baby pink toilet and tub?  Three living rooms for one? What about our playroom? What about our home-gym? What about our walk-in pantry? What about our heated garage?

When it comes down to it? None of it really matters.

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We need space. A big garden.  Wild flowers. Fresh air. Enormous trees to build forts in. A place where my boys can get dirty, kick their boots off in the mud room and cozy up next to a fire. The real kind.

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Fresh eggs (eventually). A huge porch for a swing to rock on next to my husband while holding hands and listening to the sounds of nature. Big evening fires in the backyard all summer long.

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Falling asleep to the sound of coyotes and owls.  Wooden barn floors. Nooks and crannies to explore, poke through, and build stories around.

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It’s actually quite perfect.

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And of course every farm needs a name. Ours? Screen shot 2013-03-20 at 3.05.38 PM

About Amanda

Amanda Robinson is the eco-chic, green living, fitness loving mom behind Natural Mommie. Since 2009, Amanda Robinson has been the source for moms to learn how to bring more balanced green beauty, eco-friendly, sustainable, organic products into their homes without being too “crunchy” or “granola”. Amanda is passionate about design, wellness and inspiring moms to make more eco-friendly and healthy choices without having to trade in their stilettos for Birkenstocks. In addition to Natural Mommie, Amanda is also the owner and designer behind Top Knot Style - a beautiful collection of handmade oversized luxury knitwear.

43 thoughts on “from zero to twenty: the day we bought a farm…

  1. How exciting for you! We just moved to our farm last Thursday and we are in LOVE with it. We went from 4 backyard chickens to 70 and 5 roosters. A mama chicken and her 6 week old chicks living on my porch and a pig. I could not be happier. The best part of our day is first thing in the morning, putting on the mud boots and heading to the barn. The sounds of the roosters and hens greeting us and finding eggs all over the place. I am so happy to start my garden this spring and having a little piece of land for my family to just be!! Congrats to you and enjoy every minute!!

    1. Sounds amazing!! I think once we get everyone settled and our house all fixed up or at least somewhat fixed up, I’ll work on getting the henhouse up and running again. Right now it’s filled with old, beautiful windows that I can’t wait to pick through. I’m thinking maybe 5 or so chicks to start and see how it goes?? I don’t know about a rooster…I’m finally getting my sleep back now that my boys are a little older! LOL

  2. If that doesn’t increase my desire to raise our children on a farm, I don’t know what does. Beautifully well-written post. Nothing can match clean, fresh air and natural outdoor space for your boys to explore and learn. All the newer materialistic-type things – big closets, numerous garages – don’t really matter in the long scheme of things, do they? :) Congratulations on your new adventure!

    1. Megan thanks so much for your always sweet comments! I’m am so looking forward to getting to the farm and sharing more pictures of our adventures. Nothing but room to explore. I think it’s going to be perfect for us :)

  3. You won’t regret it Amanda. We moved onto our farm a year and a half ago and have never looked back! Traded in sidewalks for dirt roads, sitting on my deck watching the neighbors house across the fence for sitting on my deck watching the sunset, and winter shovels for tractors (my husband especially likes the tractors). Enjoy!

    And I agree that every farm needs a name. We rent out about 30 acres of our farm to a local farmer so we are surrounded by crops of oats and peas and went with a play on words using out surname. Our farm is called Crops and Roberts’.

    1. Men and their toys, right? Mine is already looking for a tractor, ride-on, quad for him, quad for the boys..OH the fun they’ll have :)

      I’m really looking forward to not hearing our neighbors conversations while I’m sitting on the deck (not that they’re awful, but you know what I mean!) or worrying about the dogs barking too much or the kids acting when people walk by….I miss living in the country. We did for so many years! Walks in the farmers fields on gravol roads was what I’ve been used to for the past 6 years up north! Looking forward to seeing some dirt again ;)

  4. Oh. My. Gosh. I just died. Reading this makes me want to move to a freakin farm. And just for the resons you started, and the love our family could grow up with. I CANNOT wait to read more of this venture! (And start looking in the dirtiness of AZ for a beat down farm!!) best of luck to you guys <3

    1. Ask me again how starry eyed I am when I’m waiting for the fire to warm up the house in the middle of winter! Ha! But really though….we just needed something MORE but something less, if that makes sense? Something that’s a different sort of easy but worthwhile and away from the big house, the perfect driveaway, you know? I want to feel like our house is a re-treat and being in suburbia isn’t doing it!

    1. And love it needs….yikes! But it’ll be a fun project to work on over the years. I’m especially excited this time around because I don’t have to worry about making it “re-sale” friendly. It’ll be whatever I want it to be which makes it so much more fun!!

  5. That is crazy! But, in a good way. I can’t even imagine living on a farm. I’ve never even thought of it before because I am so used to the city. I would definitely enjoy the peace and space and all of the animals you will have roaming around, soon! I think your boys are going to have such a fun experience growing up in that kind of environment. Good luck on all of your adventures and can’t wait to see how you put your final touches on your new home!

  6. oh my gosh! so nice and beautiful images really i haven’t seen it before to live in such like this place. so calm and having so different kind of natural resources. when you live in this place you witness the calm . the health and the good air all this going hand in hand to make like those place so beautiful amazing.

  7. Three years ago our family of 3 plus two dogs moved from a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 living room, garage, closeted, 2 car, spacious house near the city to a small town. We sold one car and bought a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, no closets, no garage, one living room/kitchen/dining room/office/playroom (a 20 X 20 room) house with a big yard very near woods and trails. We had another baby. Now there are 6 of us living and working in this space (my husband works from home in the attic) and we couldn’t be happier. For us, having more space outside our house is more important than having more space inside. And the lack of extra rooms means we spend more time together. I LOVE it! It was an incredibly tough decision and the move was heart-breaking at times and the renos very trying, but it was all worth it. Enjoy your farm!

    1. I love this! Thanks for sharing Beth Ann! Sounds similar to what we’ve bought…2 bedrooms, 1 bath but a huge living room, mudroom/sunroom and LOTS of space outside. With a little renovating it’ll be perfect eventually and I’m actually looking forward to having less house to clean! Well…once the renovations are done. Although are they ever done in an old farmhouse? Haha!

  8. That looks AWESOME! It is a dream of ours as well as now we’re stuck in a suburban town home we can’t sell, there isn’t even a yard – just a shared tiny space with pesticide treated grass. I’m looking forward to the ‘someday’ that we’ll be outta here! :) Wishing you lots of chickens in the near future!

    1. Maybe at the right time it’ll all fall into place for you! I find that’s sort of what’s happened with our situation…seems the stars have aligned (so far! knock on wood). But 6 months of even 3 months ago it wouldn’t have happened the way it has.

  9. So excited for you! We’re so happy to be put on our little acreage/farm, with a big garden and lots of space for the kids to roam. Can’t wait to see more pics…. When do you get possession? We had to wait 6 months so I fully understand the anxiously waiting! Enjoy every quiet country moment when you get out there! We don’t miss the city a bit (okay except for when we want to go out for ethnic foods ;) )…

    1. Thanks Leanne! I can’t wait to have a garden for the first time. I thought about doing raised beds in our backyard in the city but I couldn’t be bothered! We take possession in June. It’s already been a month…such a long possession but not nearly as bad as 6 months! I don’t think I could do it!

      Thankfully we’ll still be very close to the city so that’ll be wonderful while we’re renovating.

      Okay, and for cravings too. HA!

  10. Congratulations to you and your family, Amanda!

    That is such amazing news! Maybe this is not the ‘perfect’ place YET that you had in your dreams – but it will become perfect as you make it your home :-)

    Very much looking forward to seeing photos! :-D

  11. I thought I commented on this, but I guess it didn’t go through.

    I know the feeling Amanda. We went from planning a build with Jayman in Leduc to moving 18 hours to Terrace, BC (a small city 5.5 hours away from the nearest Costco) in a matter of a month. It baffles that I was looking at builds to now looking at a rental that is tiny and very…old.

    At least you have all those acres and a great plan :)

  12. Ah, the simple life that I miss so much! I was lucky to had grown up this way. Its where kids actually learn to use their imagination to entertain themselves. (Something that kids today are lacking.) We had so many different animals, horses (my parents raised them), chickens, goats, many dogs and cats……Then there were the orphans we would raise, a racoon, a red fox, jack rabbit, a squirrel and baby calves. My mother instilled in me my compassion and love of all animals. I learned not to be afraid of hard work & getting your hands dirty. Having animals you take on a responsibility of caring for them. One that can’t be ignored or put off. Every summer we got up with the sun each morning to clean many horse stall before it got too hot and take care of all the other animals. When I graduated high school I couldn’t wait to get away from it and to see the world, which I did. Seeing the world and how different people lived was a great experience, but it also made me extremely homesick by missing the way of life I had always known. My life has gone full circle now to where I’m back where I started and I am grateful and feel blessed to had grown up this way because there is nothing but good things that has come out of growing up this way. Especially my love, compassion and respect for all animals and nature. Too bad not everybody could grow up this way. It would probably be a more compassionate and less violent world.

    I am happy for you and your family! Your boys are lucky! : )

  13. We have been toying with a move to the country. Just soo many questions and like you said hard to give up the comforts of a modern home and city living. How do you find the school thing with your boys are you close to a school do you bus or drive?

    1. Hi Kirsten! School is actually easier in the country than it was in the city. In the city we lived close by but I had to drive my little guy to elementary school (which meant dragging along younger brother!) or we walked/biked when the weather was good. This was rare because it was about a 30 minute walk which is hard for a 5 year old first thing in the morning! It was a complete pain. Now in the country the bus comes to the end of our driveway even though school is only a 5 minute drive away! If you’re thinking of it, you can always call the school transportation office, give them the address of the place you’re thinking of buying and they can probably give you bus information.

      As for a modern home…I do miss that a little bit. I had a huge master ensuite with a vanity, big corner tub and separate shower. We also had big walk in closets and 5 bathrooms…now we’re down to 1 bathroom and hardly any closets. :P It’s a lifestyle change though – the space and freedom and country life far outweighs the house space we used to have. And I don’t miss my fancy dark hardwood floors that my kids were slowly destroying ;)

  14. How far out of the city do you live? I am a city girl, but am so wanting to move to the country, just don’t want to be too far from the amenities, and my daughter has special needs so I will be driving in a few times a week. Do you notice the time driving, or do you get used to it? Currently in Calgary. Thanks!!

  15. What kind do wood did you use on your ceilings walls and floor? What color is the paint on your walls? It’s all so beautiful. Thank you.

    :)

    1. Thanks so much, Sheila! The ceilings, walls and floors are all tongue and groove planked raw yellow pine. The floor is a bit more knotty and roughed up than the walls and ceiling wood. It was a touch more expensive for the walls and ceiling to have a smoother surface. The paint color is Delicate White by Olympic.

  16. Wow, I came across your blog from the Good Housekeeping link. First, I love your house. But second, and more importantly, holy crap this post speaks to me! You’ve seriously described all of my biggest dreams about moving to somewhere rural with sky and space and air. Except I grew up in a regular town on a regular street. :) But I did a lot of camping, hiking, beach time and general outdoorsy stuff with my parents. And now I live in the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area. But I seriously YEARN for outdoors. Space. Dirt. Mud. Trees. For my kids. AND for myself. I *totally* get where you’re coming from. I somewhat have my husband in agreement but this will require that we most likely move out of state to achieve so it’s a BIG decision and move and process. So it’s a work/discussion in progress…

    I’m excited I came across your blog!

    1. Hey Lisa! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! We visited San Francisco this past summer and it was absolutely beautiful! But yes, exactly the opposite of what we’re used to!

      This move was a pretty scary/exciting move and it’s been beyond rewarding! My husband is very handy and we love doing renovations together…if we had to pay labor for everything we’ve done we wouldn’t have been able to do it since property in the country is $$$$$. I’m on instagram and share lots of photos/stories there @naturalmommie

      Good luck with your journey! xo

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