Grit Blogs > Homesteading Tales from Rowangarth Farm

In the Beginning

By Fiona Wagner

Tags: farm, Ontario Canada, goats, horses, small-scale farming,

I’m trying to figure out when it hit me that by golly, we were country folk. Was it the very first day on the farm when we found ourselves alone, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by acres of woods, hay fields and a trillion crickets? Or perhaps it was upon tasting that first egg from our new brood of hens. Then again, maybe it was the arrival of the donkeys… or the goats… or the horse.

Yep, I’m thinking it was then.

Lee (short for Leeroy), one of two guard donkeys in-training.

For years my husband and I yearned to kiss the city life goodbye and move to greener pastures. We'd spend hours talking about living in the country and the ways we'd simplify our lives: we’d raise animals, grow food and reduce our dependency on cheap oil.

As we both worked from home – me as a freelance writer and my husband as an IT consultant – we were free to live almost anywhere, or so we hoped.

Then we found it: our 71-acres of rural happiness.

Rowangarth Farm

When we told people we were moving four hours east to a little village in the country, most asked about our farming experience.

None, we replied. "You're brave," said some. "Are you nuts?" the rest asked.

Perhaps. But we also knew we'd regret it if we didn't try. We decided to dive into country living head first and learn to swim along the way.

Henry, our desperate-for-a-sheep-to-herd farm dog

So, last summer we said goodbye to our 150-year-old semi-detached home in the burbs and traded our minivan for a pick-up truck.

There are times that I think we’re in over our heads. Like when we’re faced with an ornery head-butting goat, when our wood is disappearing faster than expected and the forecast says, “long cold snap ahead” or when our bank account is as low as our wood pile.

Oscar, our cranky head-butting wether goat

Yet I already know how a mid-morning walk through our woods soothes the soul, how incredible a home-grown tomato tastes and that nothing could replace the looks of sheer joy on my kids' faces as they explore the four corners of our farm.

I’m the first to admit we've still got a lot to learn. But already things that were once extraordinary -- felling trees, collecting eggs, tending a woodstove -- are now part of our ordinary. We've fallen into a comfortable routine of rural existence. As busy and full as this life is, it's the only one that makes sense to us now.

Read more about our early adventures in homesteading at Rowangarth Farm.