Farmstead Cheese – How did we end up here?
The Beginning . . .
We met in 1999 in western North Carolina. Two people following similar paths meet and become life-long friends. We apprenticed together at a spiritual training center learning how to teach a meditation technique. This is where we established living in the heart and being the love. When you get there, you just have to share. So . . .
During the deepest part of our training in 2000 we dreamed of a sustainable farm and community living. We wanted to raise good food, experience loving relationships with others, soak up nourishing nature and remember our kinship with creation. Two souls had found each other.
In the summer of 2003 we bought our first piece of land in southwest Virginia. We rented a trailer nearby. At this point in our lives we had a great deal of debt: credit cards, school loans, taxes, and now a mortgage. We set out to pay everything off in full. We would have our farm — but we would have it debt-free. We both took on lucrative jobs which required extensive travel. We traveled all over the US and to a couple of foreign countries as well. Every other week we flew home to Virginia to visit our beautiful piece of land.
In 2005 we bought our own trailer and moved it onto our land. And in the fall we held our wedding at the farm. It was so beautiful. Even though it was November the weather had permitted the leaves to change very slowly. And with very little wind this particular fall there were many leave still on the trees. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect time.
Learning to Produce Food
Our first experience with raising chickens was the summer of 2006. Our employment contract was up. I moved on to a different contract and continued traveling. Scott stopped working for a while and built a couple of chicken tractors ala Joel Salatin. He raised and we processed around 100 chickens. We ate a lot of them ourselves and gave a lot away to relatives and neighbors. That was just a taste to get our feet wet.
Turns and Bumps Along the Way
Somewhere along that time period we got everything paid in full. Now we needed money for infrastructure. February 2007 Scott went back to work — in Texas. I started working with yet another company and was now traveling to various places around the country every week instead of every other week. What a far cry from the peaceful life we envisioned.
In 2008 we bought an additional 40 acres adjoining our property. Now we are in debt again. This time we are in debt more than ever before. It’s a good thing that I get to walk around that property on the weekend or I might forget exactly why we did that. We did it because we were dreaming bigger now.
All that travel got really old really fast for me. Within a year I was insisting that Scott get a job closer to home. If I was going to fly home every week I wanted it to be Virginia — not Texas.
Slowly Building the Dream
This weekend life allowed us to move forward a bit. In 2009 we put in fruit trees. In 2010 we bought our first sheep and a donkey. In 2011 we bought cows. In 2012 we added more cows. Now we’re thinking about adding goats.
And then there is making cheese . . . ummm . . . really looking forward to that.
All of our food is now either produced on farm or purchased from other like-minded farms in the area. We spend hours and hours working, sweating and loving every minute of our life. We are beginning to participate in local farmer’s markets and social events.