by Texas Homesteader ~
Many have asked how we got started in this Homesteading life. Were we born into it? Did we work our way to it later in life? Just how did we get to this Texas Homestead? And why?
Read on, dear friends.
No Longer Feeling Fulfilled In City Life
We had the good life alright. We lived in Dallas and had a nice home, wonderful children, promising careers and all that qualifies for the good ‘ole American life in suburbia.
Our children excelled in school and had many friends. We were in close proximity to entertainment and restaurants, museums and parks, movie theaters and concert halls.
But we found ourselves in a stagnant rushed daily pattern of get up / go to work / work all day / come home / try to live life.
It seemed we were stuck on a pattern of rush – shower – sleep – REPEAT! It felt like we were doing the same thing every day and we no longer felt fulfilled.
When our children graduated high school and went off to begin their own lives, we really began to feel even more out of place. We wanted something more.
Taking The Leap To Country Living
We began looking for a piece of property that would suffice for a weekend getaway. But when we found this piece of paradise in Northeast Texas we knew this would be where our future was to be found.
As we stood next to the cobbled-together gate and viewed the overgrown and cluttered property, the old and broken fences and the tattered 1880’s barn, it was apparent that we had LOTS of work ahead of us!
But with renewed hope for a new and exciting future we took that leap and purchased the property.
(yes, this tattered falling-down barn is the SAME BEATIFUL BARN you’ve heard me talk about after it was refurbished!)
You can take a virtual tour of this beautiful old barn HERE
Preparing Raw Land For A Future Homestead
The first several years were a (hard) work in progress. We came from the big city on weekends to clear trash left behind by previous owners, repair the tattered old barn & remove multitudes of the dreaded Honey Locust trees.
We wanted to restore this property to its original beauty. Although it’s still a work in progress, several years of hard work have polished it beautifully.
But now that we’ve cleaned it up, what to do with it?
It’s really just a bit too large to become only a weekend getaway. Could it be possible we could actually make a living here? Maybe even move here ourselves in the future? Hummmm…
Our First Cattle
We’d never been to an auction before and were very intimidated by the entire process. One of our first local acquaintances was a veteran cattleman who purchased our first calves for us at a livestock auction.
Then he brought them to his own corral to immunize and pour them for us, then delivered them to our own fledgling ranch. We were cattlemen! Now there was no looking back!
Choosing A Cattle Breed To Raise
We decided that we liked the old-time western look of the Hereford breed. So we contacted a breeder and purchased our very first registered Hereford pairs. We’ve built our experience from there!
We’ve gone from that timid inexperienced landowner to raising a herd of registered Hereford cows and calves.
And now RancherMan is even certified to get them bred through the complicated procedure of bovine artificial insemination.
That not only allows us access to some of the greatest bull genetics available, but also eliminates the need for a bull to even be present in our herd unless we want one.
Simple Living Lessons Learned
Living where we do has taught me a new appreciation for the beauty God has blessed us with each and every day.
I notice the small things more – the beauty of the first tiny spring flowers to peek out from the sleeping grass, the graceful hawk that calls to her young as she teaches them to fly, and the amazing array of colors present on a butterfly’s wings.
I try to be as gentle as I can as I tread on this land and in this life. I’ve learned to improve our garden soil so that I can produce more of what we eat.
Being Gentle On Our Earth
Our garden is so productive that we’re able to share with friends, neighbors and community. There’s even enough to preserve for later by freezing, dehydrating and canning the rest for winter meals.
I’ve learned to preserve the rainfall by capturing what flows from our roof. We have 3 Rainwater Catchment Systems we utilize now on the homestead.
One downspout diverts rainwater into a huge 20-ft deep underground concrete cistern for garden irrigation. Two others are used for other outdoor watering needs.
I’ve learned about the price paid for convenience foods in currency, health and environmental terms. And I’ve begun to make many of those products myself for a healthier, cheaper alternative.
I’ve learned to make cold-pressed soap as well as cleaning products, spice mixes, yogurt and pasta.
As a result I’ve become so much more aware of my environmental self. And I’m pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make small changes that have a real effect.
Everyone has a dream but we’re so blessed that our dream has finally come true. One step at a time I find that I’m rediscovering myself.
I’ve heard the phrase “Bloom where you’re planted” and I’m so blessed to have been planted here!
Links Included In This Post:
- Photo Tour Of Our 1880’s Barn
- Honey Locust Trees: Useless yet Useful!
- Blessing Basket – Bounty To Share
- 3 Rainwater Catchment Systems Used On Our Homestead
- Outdoor Water Conservation Tips
- MYO Lavender/Rosemary Homemade Soap
- Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning In Minutes
- Homemade Yogurt – Stovetop Method
- Homemade Pasta – Just 3 Ingredients
Love Our 1880’s Barn? See More!
- Tour Our 1880’s Barn
- We Now Have TWO 1880’s Barns
- Refurbishing An Old Barn’s Chicken Coop
- Repurposing Old Barn Wood For Rustic Mirror
- Customized Reclaimed Barn Wood For Country Headboard
See ALL Our Barn Posts
Other Homesteading Posts
- Tour Our 1880’s Barn
- Evidence of A Past Homestead
- Evidence of (Yet ANOTHER) Old Homestead
- Top 10 Homesteading Posts Each Year
- Why Bother With This Homesteading Thing??!
- Building Life With Our Own Two Hands
- Easily Separating Cream From Raw Milk
- Teaching Free-Range Hens To Come HOME
- What I’ve Learned About Free-Range Eggs
- 3 Water-Catchment Systems We Use On The Homestead
- Soap Grows On TREES: Using Natural Soapberry Shampoo
- Easy Self-Sufficiency Steps You Can Take Now
- What Working From Home REALLY Means (and what it DOESN’T)
See All Our Homesteading Posts
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Yours is an inspiring story. Wishing you only great things in 2017~
I so enjoyed reading about your journey to owning a piece of the simple life. It sounds WONDERFUL!!
What a gift the Lord has given you and given us as you share your “piece of Heaven” with us week after week.
What a great post. When we lived in northern Wisconsin in the 1970s, and there were few jobs, I threw myself into the garden, canning, making from scratch -just about everything. As retirees now and a gourmet grocery store just 2 blocks away—we are still trying to do that…though the grocery is very tempting, but fresh lake fish and garden produce can’t be beat.
Ps Your cow looks very pleased with herself and that gorgeous calf. Happy New Year, you have a new follower! Sandi
What a wonderful story – I’m so glad your dream has come true! Visiting from the HomeAcre Hop. 🙂
Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead
So nice to hear your story…….Gentle Joy
What a great story! I love your photos!
I adore this so much! This is what I want! It’s so awesome that the dream came true for you!
I’ve read this story several times and I love it more each time…it gives me hope!!!
Wonderful story! It’s great you were able to follow your dream 🙂
This is a lovely story. I moved to ElPaso from rural life in Bastrop, Tx. I dream of that quieter, simpler time. You made your dream come true.
Thanks for linking to What’d You Do This Weekend and Happy New Year!
I will have to follow you. I’m from Texas but stuck in Florida for now. I get so homesick. Thanks for the pictures.
Michael – I was born in Florida and grew up outside Gainesville. Moved to Texas with family and was so homesick for Florida, I jumped at the chance to move back nearly 20 years later. After living there 2 years, I BEGGED to move back to Texas! I miss some things from FL, especially my oldest daughter who is still there raising her family, but wouldn’t move back for anything! Two sayings have stuck in my head over the years. First being “you can’t go home again”, but the second is “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could”! Now if I could just get that little farm of my own and get out of town!
I so know what you mean, I was born and raised in Chicago. I left 8 years ago, and never looked back, I never knew how graceful and entertaining squirrels could be. Never have I seen so many different bugs, and yes they intrigue me. Moving to the country from the city is like being reborn, of seeing the world for the first times, thanks so much for sharing again on Tuesdays With a Twist.