After reading the blogs of several others who share our passions for an self-reliant, agrarian, Spirit-filled life we felt it was high time to put our journey into a blog.
I'm Jon, just shy of 26, and I'm married to my high school love, Nicole, who's not too much younger. We've been blessed with three beautiful daughters, L 4, B 2, and K 6 weeks. While they take up most of our time we hope to occasionally find time to post on here.
I developed a love for the outdoors in my days in Scouts. During those days I dreamed of being a chef and owning a restaurant. My love for the outdoors was not considered "profitable" so it was placed in the "hobbies" category of my life. I started college fully intent on a degree in business management. Once I discovered the short-sightedness of my classmates and after taking dendrology as an elective (who does that?) Providence, and prodding from Nicole, led me to a new career path in forestry. Land management combined my love of the outdoors with my desire to control my surroundings. That and I was making an impact on the world that lasts far longer than the next quarter.
Upon graduation, I, the young idealist, went to work for state government in a state 4 states to the south of my roots. The outdoors became my office, I was at the bottom of the totem pole, and all that mattered was pushing out next year's timber sales. So much for long term thinking and being my own boss. Pine plantations were a foreign outdoors to me, so my love was replaced with a semi-apathy.
Youthful ambition can lead to a dangerous disappointment when reality replaces its idealism. In my shock I settled down into the normal American lifestyle. I was already married, with one child, and a career, so I took the next plunge and bought a house. We took on a mortgage with gusto (and a little help from the government), a car payment, and a few credit card debts. We ate hamburger helper, store-baked bread, and far more fast-food than any small country could handle. I went to my job, 8-5, Monday to Friday. After work, there was four hours with the now two children and one very frazzled wife, some tv, a bit of internet, bed, and repeat. Thus was our modern American life.
Now, about 80% of that is still true. I still have my mortgage, my car payment, my credit card debt; I still spend the vast majority of my time away from my family, and we still eat far more fast-food than we should. But something changed in the last year or so. A desire to avoid the materialist debt trap of my fellow countrymen developed. The desire to be my own employer reared its head again. A new idealism took form in my mind.
Back in college I invited my wife on a class tour that would have far more of an effect on me than I ever imagined. My Forest Operations class routinely visited logging sites to teach us about the various methods of logging. This time is was horse-logging. I figured she like horses, so why not invite her. The impact was not known then, but this tour would plant a seed that would only germinate after several seasons of scarification. I plotted in my head the path to a horse-logger career: I would graduate and while she finished up her last year of school I would take the apprenticeship and learn the trade, then we would face the great unknown, hand-in-hand. God had other ideas.
Two weeks after the tour she woke me up with the news that we were expecting our first child.
My mind quickly changed gears, I would not go the unknown route, I would take the safe route. I would do the standard "get a degree, get a career, buy a house, settle for security" route. Only after two years of taking this route would I realize the liberty I had sacrificed. I was now tied to a house, tied to my debts, fully reliant on others for my subsistence, and at the whim of any financial disaster brought about by the embrace of Keynesian economics.
The dream to be a horse-logger came back to life, and along with it a desire to do for ourselves all that we are able. We started cooking from scratch, planted a garden, bought chickens, read more about off-grid living than anyone should, and a variety of other things. There are still debts to be paid, skills to be learned, character to be developed, and tons of logistics to figure. Thus, we are somewhere in the middle of our transformation from suburbanite consumer to rural producer.
This is our story of the rest of that journey, if God wills it.