Some Major Changes… (part 1)
We have had quite an adventure these last three months. With everything that has happened, I have done a lot of dealing with what I needed to, but otherwise disappearing off the face of the earth. I have done my best to write things down here and there as they have happened, but I now realize that the story keeps getting longer and longer. I figured that if I didn’t “return to earth” and start sharing soon, it may turn into a full blown novel.
Because the story has gotten quite long, I figured that it made sense to break it up into 4 parts that I will share over the course of the week. I’m praying that not too much changes between now and then!
Loosing it All
Over the past number years, we have poured pretty much all we had into our two small businesses. Our “real food” distribution company and our farm took up the majority of our time and resources. They were our life along with our children’s lives, but we were happy to be able to work together as a family… at something we all loved. We also ran a landscape company that we had phased out with the recent growth of our farm.
Our farm had gotten to the point where we were raising dairy cows, pigs for meat, dairy goats, sheep for both wool and meat, chicken for both meat and eggs, turkey, ducks, geese, rabbits, etc. We had spent an entire year building our large “Back to Eden” garden… layering cardboard, compost, and woodchips well over a foot deep. We had come up with a new Farm Share program that would provide us with the income we needed, spread out over the entire year consistently. We had done the research, the market analysis, the advertising, the visits and tastings, and even had our member contracts secured. We were ready to start this new program on April 1st, and our new farm share members were equally as excited as we were.
Then, on March 27th… Easter Day… 5 days prior to the official launch of our new program we received news that the owner of our home had sold it for a price far more than what we had discussed having the ability to buy it for one more year down the road. All of our dreams, all of our work… everything we have poured in over the last half of a decade – crushed in the matter of one email notifying us that we needed to vacate the property asap.
To explain a bit further, we had significant snow on the ground from early November straight through March and Kevin was not able to do any landscaping work to keep us afloat through the winter… we had fallen behind on our rent payments – something that we had discussed and communicated with our landlord. We were open with what was going on and were told that they were willing to work with us and that as long as we continued to make small payments and get caught up come spring, that it would not be an issue. As a formality, the landlord delivered a number of “3 day notices” but communicated that they did not plan to act on them. We received another 3 day notice on March 22nd and notified the landlord that we would be able to get the complete balance due to them on Monday, March 28th. This was a bit more than what we had planned since they had previously agreed to work with us receiving payments over a little more time, but we were able to quickly work out the cash flow in order to make it work. On Sunday, we found out that they were not willing to wait the one additional business day and had accepted an offer on the home for almost $100k more than what we planned on buying it for.
We tried to fight it for a handful of days, tried to come up with a way to buy the house ourselves, but with the great number of repairs needed, we knew that was not worth the high price tag that was offered by another party. We then started searching for a new place to keep our farm. Not much of anything was out there regardless of what fit into the budget. We had a number of people offer to help or provide housing in one way or another, but nothing realistically would have allowed us to continue on with our farm program as we had planned. Without being able to fulfill the program as we had contracted with our share members, we were not able to move forward in a manner that we were confident that the farm would be financially stable. After considering a few of these options, we gave into the realization that we had to move forward with selling the entire farm, packing up our house, and moving all of our belongings into storage then go from there.
With the current housing market here in the Colorado Front Range (Douglas County, especially), we decided that it did not make sense to stick around. It was way to expensive to live anywhere… land or not. Since our business were not able to run without a significant amount of land and at least a basic infrastructure, not only had we lost our home, but also our livelihood. We really didn’t have much reason to stick around outside of the friends we have made the past 10 years we have been here.
Where to Go and What to Do
We decided that it made the most sense to take advantage of the new freedom that came with not having a home, a business, a farm, etc. and purchase an RV to travel in for the next 6 months or so… making it back to the area sometime around September in order to rent a place for about 3 months. We would travel around to different farms across the country in order to network and learn from those who are living our dream. We would enjoy this time together as a family and do some sight seeing… something that we have not had much time for these past 10 years that we have been in Colorado. Between livestock responsibilities, business, and babies, we have not taken a lot of time to travel. (honestly, our last real “vacation” was our honeymoon almost 11 years ago)
And a Surprise
Among everything else going on, I had also recently found out that I was pregnant with our 6th child. Of course, this discovery was made about a month after we had decided that this year was super full as it was and that we needed to be careful for a number of months to make sure that we did not have a 2016 baby. It’s funny how those first few weeks that I knew I was pregnant, I was concerned about how we were going to keep up with the calendar we had put together let alone with having a new baby in there. Now… we have nothing concrete on our calendar for this fall except to welcome this baby with love and time. I love that God is continuously reminding us to trust in Him rather than our own plans or concerns.
After researching and dreaming about the RV option, Kevin was offered a job as an account manager with a new landscape company located in Parker. We believed that this would be a wonderful opportunity for our family to rest for a few years, morn the loss of our farm, and spend some time focusing on each other. We would take the later half of this time to regroup and plan for rebuilding our farm venture, better than ever down the road.
We were then presented with an opportunity by one of our milk share customers that was willing to purchase a property, lease that to us, and leave us with the opportunity to buy it back when the time was right. We were hesitant about this because we truly felt that God had called us into a season of rest and to focus on our family. We decided to try and look anyway… We searched for a home that would fit our large family and the land necessary to continue on with our farm share program in the future. We figured we could continue with the plan to rest for a couple years and then move back into things. Unfortunately, there was nothing to be found that would even come close to fitting our needs balanced with our budget.
You can read part 2 of this 4 part story here: PART 2. You can also sign up to receive updates by email in the upper right section of the window where it says “Don’t Miss a Thing”.