Tim and I (Sandy) married in 1987 and we have 10 kids; six boys and four girls. We were born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and so were our kids. I have always dreamed of living on a farm ever since I was a little girl. I grew up traveling and staying in Wisconsin and dreamed of living there, but after 20 years of trying to move to Wisconsin the Lord shut the door for the very last time.
I can remember talking about and visiting a few places in Missouri and I said that I would never move to Missouri. Why I would have said that, well, I can't say for sure. But one thing I thought I knew, was that they didn't get snow in Missouri so I couldn't live there. And I knew that I could never live without snow. I had myself convinced that I would go into a "state of depression" if I had to live without it.
In November, 2012, Emma and I took a painting class and Barrett and Landon took a pewter class in Missouri. We camped for a few days and it was beautiful. After talking to the locals about the area, I called my husband to tell him about how pretty it was here and land seemed pretty reasonably priced.
That was pretty much the end of our conversation. Without my knowledge, Tim went online and found a farm on Craigslist that was for sale and we knew the owner. We had been to that farm twice before and now it was for sale. He called the owner and talked to him and now here we are. We weren't looking for this place. We were looking for a place in Wisconsin, but the Lord had other plans for us.
In Spring of 2014, we have moved to the rural southeast of Missouri about 125 miles southwest of St Louis; 55 miles northwest of Poplar Bluff, 75 miles south of Rolla, Mo, and 170 miles east of Springfield, Mo.
According to some of our friends, Missouri is "The Promised Land". And after being here for about 3 months, I'm starting to believe that what they have been saying is becoming a reality.
One day, a friend of ours said, "What are you going to do in such a small town in Missouri?" And another one said, "How are you ever going to find a church?" Then, someone that came to the auction that the owner had for the farm before we purchased the place said, "You know, I live in the middle of nowhere, but this, is the middle of nowhere!" And then, where are you going to work?
Well, to answer the first question, there is so much to do here in a small town such as this. For one, we really get to know our neighbors. This area isn't like the sea of people who you pass on a daily basis and know nothing about. You really get to know them and what a blessing that is. Oh, if you could only hear the stories they tell and hear the laughter as we are gathered together.
And as time goes on, we get to know the people who run the businesses that live in the area. Living in Chicago, I can count on 1/2 my hand the number of people that even remember me when I go into their store and nobody even knows my name. And how many of those clerks or store owners - if you even get the chance to see them - even have a smile on their face when they see you? And I've lived in Glen Ellyn for almost 20 years. Now, I will admit that I never even thought of getting to know an owner of a store, but here, it just happens so naturally.
The more we get involved and the more people we meet, the richer our lives become.
A church? Well, that's a long story for another time, but I will tell you that the first church we went to, well, we didn't feed like we had to try any other place, so we will stay there until the Lord moves us along.
And as far as being in the middle of nowhere? Well, we aren't really in the middle of nowhere, it might just seem like that to an outsider, and to us at first, maybe a little, but we're really not. I think that there are some places in this world that are pretty well kept a secret, and after so many years of "searching", the Lord led us to one of them.
As far as getting a job? Well, that is something that we need to be praying about. There is work around here and now that we have been getting settled, it's about time for the boys to start looking. I know, without a doubt, that the Lord has brought us to this place and has provided everything that we needed to do that and He has led us to a church and He will provide for us a way to make an income.
On our ranch, we know we have to start building it to where we would like it to be. And the only way to do that is to put one foot in front of the other and just start doing it. So we have started to do that slowly. Do we know what we are doing? Well, maybe just a little. For the past many, many years, I've read all the books that I can up until this point and now it's time to put what I've/we've learned into practice.
Will we stop reading and learning? Absolutely not!! I will continue to read as much as I can because life is a never ending sea of information. And thankfully there have been others who have paved the way before us and sorted through the good and the bad so we don't have to do as much work now.
And we will also continue to search out others that are doing what we would like to do. And what I've learned so far, is that you can have all the head knowledge that there is, but it's not until you actually start working the ranch and farm and making mistakes along the journey, will the real learning begin.
We want to raise everything on clean green pastures without the use of chemicals. But I will say that in the case of a major "emergency" we might for a time have to use something that we are not wanting to use and we will let you know about that. But, our plan is to stay as far away from chemicals as we possibly can.
We want to practice good husbandry, grow gardens to feed ourselves and others, grow beyond the organic movement, use non-GMO feed, become sustainable, join the ''Farm to Table" movement, and preserve the land for future generations.
Also, we would like to teach classes in some of the lost skills here on our ranch. I'm an ideas person and depending on how you look at it, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. I happen to think it's a good thing. And I have hundreds of ideas. Some might work and some might not, but we won't know until we try. So stay connected with us and we will let you know what we are up to.
One last thing that I would like to say. I'm not thinking that this journey is going to be easy or not without it's problems, but what I will say, is that it is my deep felt prayer that we will be able to show you the good side and the bad side of our journey - from the city to the county life.