I haven’t posted on this blog in many months because I was suffering from a broken heart. You see, Rindle Ridge Farm is dead and it’s not coming back. Over the past two years I put my heart and soul into this place and I felt I finally found my own little corner of the world where I truly belonged. Things seemed to be going great. We had the incubator built with a 400 egg capacity, numerous brood boxes, and I was taking names and numbers of people who wanted chicks and even more names and numbers of people interested in coming to classes I was going to start teaching in the spring. These courses would be anything from the History of Chickens, Incubating Eggs and Raising Chicks Year Round, A Beginner’s Course to Basic Chicken Husbandry, A Beginner’s Course to Choosing Chicken Breeds, and the most popular – a workshop to learn how to slaughter and process your own chicken which would feature both a Cornish Cross and a heritage bird, two separate slaughter methods, two different processing methods, and a lot of help in cooking them properly. A big emphasis would be on encouraging women to join. I was so excited to be giving back to the community! And my boyfriend of six years who I had travelled to all the Lower 48 States (keeping a blog the whole way!) and started this farm with was discussing marriage and I was getting ready to turn the extra bedroom into a nursery. Things made sense. I was soooo happy.
And then with no warning what-so-ever my boyfriend came home and told me he was done with us, he wanted something “different” and I needed to just accept that. Everyone was in total shock, myself included, and behind the shock was a tsunami-sized terror. As many woman who came before me I found myself in a very bad situation. I don’t talk about it on my blog but I have health issues that have prevented me from working outside of the house. This was why this farm meant SO much to me – it was the first time since I was twelve that I have been able to successfully do anything useful… by going my own pace. But there I was, no savings what-so-ever, no ability to get a job, and with my only option to move back into my mother’s Love Canal house which probably was what trashed my health in the first place. (It’s in a livestock free zone and during the many years I grew up and lived there all the animals I tried breeding ended up with horrendous birth defects… cleft pallets, twisted limbs, mega colon, and eventually one kitten was born with a brain outside of it’s head. Vets and doctors were useless in my search to figure this out and I asked A LOT of them over the years. Moving out was the best thing I could have done – my health improved drastically… and now I was being sent back there… in my thirties, to live with my mother once again….)
I realized too late that I need to be financially 100% independent of any man. This is my right and my duty and I am rallying to achieve it. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out where to go after having lost it all, with so many now useless skills in my back pocket. My trust shattered, probably permanently, I do not have any desire to be dependent on anyone else ever again. I got depressed, very depressed, realizing my only options were to go back to the shitty house which ruined my health or find a low income apartment where I would be more or less kept in a human storage unit just existing – not living – existing. How could I go back to that after living on this slice of heaven?!
And then it occurred to me. I didn’t have to. I could say no. I could fight the system and everything else, I could find a place to use my special talents and skills, I could still do everything I had planned and then some, and I didn’t need any romantic prospect to fund it for me! I am not going to go down without fighting!! Pretty soon I started looking around for land to start a proper actual self sustaining homestead. If I could buy a property and building outright that had a well, a septic, and a hookup to solar panels or a windmill, my largest bill would be property taxes paid once a year. I believe this I can do, as it’s cheaper than any other option (aside from moving back in with mom!)
I found myself looking at land – large swaths of it, completely wooded. Twenty, thirty acres, for $30-45,000. Properties with well and septic were much more expensive and even something as large as ten acres was a hard find. I decided the wooded lots were the way to go as I could have logging companies take some of the trees, pay me for what they take, and I could go from there. I found myself visiting pre-fab buildings and fell in love with a 20 X 30 foot barn with a half loft for $23,000. It was just a shell – and would need to be insulated and installed with plumbing and wiring but it was there… in a rent to own agreement if I needed it. A well would be another 8K, a septic 2K, solar panels 2K. I figured if I could raise 100K I could probably buy the land and build this initial mini house homestead. Once built I wanted to immediately start “paying it forward.” I don’t want a farm-for-profit like Rindle Ridge was trying to be, at my ex’s insistence, I want an educational farm that gives back to the community and those in need, that makes enough money to live and to expand but anything beyond that will be icing on the cake, not the goal. [Photos are of thee cabin shell I chose and how it has been set up by others before me.]
It would start with buying the land. From there I promise to blog EVERYTHING so you, my faithful readers, and anyone else can learn from the process, from my successes and failures. I will blog about the logging, the building of the cabin, what life is like off grid, and then when I am settled in I wish to start giving back in a more physical way. I want to start a tool library and a seed library for anyone that needs it. A tool library is just like a book library but instead of checking out books residents of the community can come, pick up a tool they only need for a short time (perhaps a wet saw to put in their new kitchen tiles) free of charge and bring it back no later than two weeks. The seed library will be comprised of seeds donated by anyone and everyone that are accompanied by a photo and short description. Residents will be able to come, find heirloom seeds of the variety they need, and take a packet of them for free, with the express understanding that if they succeed in growing plants from them that they will preserve and return seeds to replace the ones they previously took.
If these work I want to start a large garden, a co-op. People can buy a membership with money and/or labor and come pick up fresh veggies, herbs, berries, etc once a week or so. Excess veggies will be used to feed livestock on the grounds and if we have even more excess I will look into the legalities of donating it to a food bank or the needy. I will also be holding my chicken and likely gardening and other homesteading classes just as I was going to do on Rindle Ridge, charging probably $25 a head for a 1-3 hour class, but holding at least one seat open for someone who may not be able to afford $25. The gift of growing your own food!
I wanted thirty acres to expand since if I am successful in these endeavors there’s no telling what I would add to it but either way I want it to be a place of healing, of learning, of wonder. I want to help other people as much as the people donating to this campaign have helped me.
Right now I am working on a fundraising campaign that will probably eventually be hosted on GoFundMe but I will be basing it on the Kickstarter formula. You see, I am also a talented artist, and I would love to give tokens of appreciation to all those that donate through that. Prizes will be everything from hand sculpted clay magnets for small donations all the way up to a very large, exquisitely detailed, sculpture (probably a few feet in height and a few feet long) which will take me a few weeks to finish. That will be gifted to the largest donor. I will be launching this officially probably in May. However if you’d like to donate to the cause before it’s up and officially running I will happily accept any help you would be generous enough to give. My PayPal is purplecow @inbox.com (delete the space after purplecow and make sure to write a note!) 🙂 Thank you all so much for reading and joining me in my journey!
And if you’d like to see photos of my artwork and watch me work at getting them all together please join me on FaceBook!