Some Major Changes… (part 4)
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!
Finally, Some Hope
Thursday late afternoon… after a long day of errands and Kevin having meetings, we met with the owner at a bank in Parker, signed the lease, and got the keys. We immediately picked up Hank (our dog) and after a quick stop at Walmart to pick up an air mattress, we headed to our new home. We made a plan to move in slowly… since our belongings were spread across three 10×20 foot storage units that were paid for through the end of June, it made sense to keep things as low stress as possible.
We started moving items from the storage unit the next day… first priority – the kitchen and our bed! Slowly, more and more furniture made its way to our new home – my husband literally moving every single box and every piece of furniture on his own.
My efforts to unpack were about a tenth of what I was hoping to be able to do. I am now at a point in my pregnancy where I have to be extra careful not to use too much energy because the baby is now old enough to be producing it’s own hormones that my body can potentially steal from. This can cause a number of predisposed issues to with the baby after it is born, so I continue to pray and do all I can to make sure this is not happening.
So… lots of unpacking consisted of me sitting in the middle of the room while Kevin unpacked a box and I directed where things should go. I have to say, I LOVE not having a house full of moving boxes! We have continued to work on a few boxes at a time and making sure they are all unpacked before bringing in more. This has done wonders for keeping the stress level of moving much lower!
We hadn’t been in our new house for 12 days when we were hit with yet more hard news. Kevin no longer had a job… the job that we had stayed in Colorado for… spent two months looking for a house to live in so that we could keep our commitment to be with this new company and help them work through some of the many growing pains that come with being a small business start up.
Things had been difficult for the last month or so with the company. He was learning his new position still and working out some kinks. Unfortunately though, the jobs that he had sold were not getting done on time or to a standard that was acceptable. He was making promises to customers based on what the owner of the company told him would happen, but these promises were not being upheld and customers were rightfully upset. Kevin was put in a very hard situation where he did his best to offer ideas and advice to the owner who had no experience in landscaping or being a small business owner. We have been playing this game for the past 10 years, so we have gone through many of the ups and downs and made many of the mistakes that were being made.
Kevin and I both tried a number of times to offer solutions or assistance, but unfortunately, this was not received in a manner that we were told it would be. When Kevin took the job, we were told that it was a family company and that they would love to utilize both Kevin and my help on a consulting level to work through the business. When work got busy and the stress of being a small business owner weighed in, the owner was not at all willing to accept any sort of feedback… and he was failing miserably in their landscape division.
The job that was in progress at the time this all happened was going so poorly that the customer requested that the company Kevin was working for pull off the job immediately and that Kevin take over and finish the job himself. Since he was now unemployed, he was able to get started on the actual install process the next day and fix some of the poor workmanship and finish up the project to the standards that he had originally promised.
The customer was more than pleased with his work and very happy to have him finish the job… and not have to deal with the poor craftsmanship and drawn out progress that the few other customers before her were left with.
And now we find ourselves in a funny situation that we are trying to make the best of. We stayed in Colorado for Kevin to have a job where he could primarily work from home with the exception of one or two half days a week. This would give him the ability to help me where needed so that I can continue to heal in the best way possible. Now that this is no longer an option, we are seriously considering getting back into the landscaping business. We have a few more projects that were picked up from jobs that he had sold with the company he was working for, however they are up in Parker and we are about 45 minutes away in Monument. This commute made sense when he was traveling up there once or twice a week, but adds a lot of drive time when he needs to be on a job for the full day, five days a week.
Our plan is to start up a company based here close to our new home in Monument and to ideally find some good help so that Kevin is able to spend less time in the field. He really excels at the selling aspect of the business and working with the customers, but will need to make sure to be very hands on from the beginning to make sure that high standards are being met in the field.
We have learned a number of lessons, each in being small business owners, working together as a couple, and in the landscape industry overall. With this, we hope to be able to hit the ground running and build a decent business rather quickly.
Our long term goal is to also spend these next two or so years figuring out a reliable way to make an income remotely so that we are able to work wherever we may be. We would then like to take take about a year to travel and live in an RV while we visit as many farmers around the country as we can. We hope to network and learn about raising crops and livestock in all the different areas of the country, as well as how farmers work within the different markets that exist. From there, we hope to be back to farming again in about three years… closer than ever as a family, well rested, and ready to break back into small agriculture better than ever.
Yep… it has been hard to go through and there is not a day that goes by that we don’t miss the farm, but we really do trust that God has us right where he wants us.
Farms Across the Country
Please let us know (comment below or use the contact page) if you own a farm or if you know someone who has a farm that we should visit anywhere in the country. We will do most of our traveling two years from now, but also hope to fit in a few smaller trips between now and then.
We are looking for all sizes and types of farming and as much as we are eager to learn, we are also happy to share some of our experience with any newbies out there!