Grit Blogs > Adventures in Rural Living

Pleased to Meet You!

Marie James head shotHello readers! My name is Marie, and I enjoy talking about the rural lifestyle. My husband, Jim, and I have always been “homesteaders at heart,” though most of our life has been spent in urban and suburban settings. We bought our first acreage in 1981, moved several times for job changes, and then found our “finally farm” in 2007.

property meadow pond forest 

Though they live elsewhere, our children and grandchildren share this slice of heaven with us. They come and go as they can, participating in farm projects and working on their own cabins and future home sites. Jim and I feel blessed to have great relationships with all our family members: the four that we raised, the four that married them, and our baker’s dozen of beautiful grandchildren.

Together we spent three years developing our property before Jim and I moved here full time in 2010. Gradually it’s all coming together. We now have a small home, a large utility barn, a chicken coop, and a garden shed/greenhouse. Two Maremma sheepdogs and a small flock of laying hens live on the farm all year long.

We raise meat chickens in the summer and have plans to add beef cattle and pigs to the mix. The family has planted an orchard which promises future fruits and berries. We have a nice sized vegetable garden and preserve some of our bounty by canning, freezing, and dehydrating. It’s a wonderful feeling to sit down to a meal that originated right here on the farm.

Dad haying 1940s 

A family of adventurers, we like to try new and old methods of farming, gardening, and homemaking. Our parents and grandparents set examples for us, and we desire to live close to the land and be good stewards of it as well. Now we’re seeing another generation follow suit as even our young grandchildren jump right in and help with animals and gardens.

Our projects reveal the engineer here, the administrator there, and creativity in many forms. The complementary interests and skills of all eight adults result in a myriad of ideas. We win some and lose some, with our share of projects that worked better in our heads than in real life. But we also see many successes and have a lot of fun.

baby chick in hand 

Though the farm chores and other activities keep us busy, I always make time for writing. With other family members I review kitchen equipment at The Homesteader Kitchen and share practical how-to’s at The Homesteader School. We also offer encouragement and tips for the urban-to-rural transition at Rural Living Today.

And now I’ll be writing here at Grit about our journey along the rural roads of life. It’s truly an adventure, and I look forward to sharing it with you! 

mary carton
2/17/2012 5:03:03 AM

Shana welcome to GRIT, I blog as Rosedale Gardens. I moved back part of our old dairy farm and have my 3 rescued Border collies I call my hooligans. They are constantly into something.

nebraska dave
2/16/2012 11:40:54 PM

Shana, welcome to the GRIT blog community. I'm excited to hear that your dream is coming true. Many of our bloggers here have similar stories. It's going to be great to hear about your experiences in homesteading. I am an urban dweller with backyard garden beds. I seem to stay busy with all my self imposed projects. It's a great life and I wouldn't have it any other way. Have a great day.

lori dunn
2/10/2012 4:16:45 PM

WOW, boy oh was I off just a little! It's beautiful anyway, regardless!

marie james
2/10/2012 5:51:33 AM

Thanks for the welcome, you all! Lori, it's actually the other side of the country: we live in the Pacific Northwest. It's not green right now though!

nebraska dave
2/9/2012 9:40:15 PM

Marie, welcome to GRIT blogging. I think you will like the mix of folks here. Some are county folk and some are urban folk like myself. However a recent land purchase in the middle of the not so good part of town will keep me busy with gardening this year. I like hearing about home steading and the folks that have realized their dream of country living. I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences on improving the land you live on. Your picture of the hay stacker brought back great memories for sure. At the young age of 12, my job was to run the stacker. Of course we used the tractors for the sweep and the stacker. Later all the farms went to baled hay and the hay stacks dotting the fields went away. Have a great home steading day.

lori dunn
2/9/2012 8:37:18 PM

Hello Marie and welcome! That first picture looks like possibly Virginia?? A very beautiful landscape! My husband and I are also working on our own little orchard, adding fruits a little at a time. Last year we planted a couple apple trees, blueberry bushes, and a cherry tree. This year I want to add a couple pear trees. Eventually I would like to have grapes, raspberries and blackberries, and maybe a plum tree. Welcome to the GRIT community!

wendy slatt
2/9/2012 4:50:04 PM

Pleased to meet you too, Marie! Looking forward to reading about your adventures on your "finally farm". Have a great day!