Grit Blogs > Pasture Deficit Disorder

Finding Your Dream Homestead

Cheryl in Texas head shotIf you’re like us, we are beyond ready to get away from the rat race and live a more simple lifestyle.  We don’t want to be where the sound of sirens, traffic, horns blaring and the thumping bass in a passing car is commonplace.  Instead, we’d rather hear the neighbor’s rooster crowing, the donkey down the road braying, cows mooing, or the plethora of birds we see (and don’t see) telling their stories.  We’re not looking for Easy Street.  Having a homestead and raising animals and your own food is really hard work.  But it’s the lifestyle we choose with intention.

Now reality is, we have to have jobs to pay the bills and build this homestead that dances in our dreams.  So to have our “perfect” homestead and way of life, we have to be able to commute to jobs in the city.  That puts limitations on location.  And let’s be honest, who wants to spend 2 hours (or more) each way in a car five days a week, even if it does mean you live in your dream location?  Over time, that becomes a stressful scenario.

We looked all over the area for the right place.  After months and months, we had come to the conclusion that our dream homestead just didn’t exist – or at least not a price that we could ever hope to afford.  We even settled for a house in a subdivision.  The neighborhood was nice enough, the house was nice enough, and it had a decent yard.  But it was settling for less than our dream.  As fate would have it, the major national bank we were dealing with royally jacked us over seven days before the closing.  As horrible as that whole scenario and loss of money was, we were back to square one and not stuck with something that would have to “make do”.

We drove through the countryside on the weekends, and I swear, we looked at every piece of dirt for sale in a four county area.  We wanted a place with good soil, some open space and some trees.   Because of the geography and geology in this part of Texas, your options are usually rich Blackland Prairie soil (but not a tree for miles), or sitting on a limestone cap of rock that you have to blast through to dig a minor hole, or fields of rocks where you can’t turn a shovel without more than 50% of being rocks.

After many more months, we found one little place that seemed to cast a spell on us.  When we had nothing else to do, we drove by it and just stared and dreamed.  And it wasn't easy getting financing for rural land either, but we finally found a local bank willing to do business with us. (Moral of that story and the previous busted real estate transaction - BUY LOCAL!)  It actually wasn’t until our purchase was complete (six long months later), and we were walking the land that it hit us…we had found our PERFECT homestead.  It has lots of open pasture with pretty good grass (although we plan to eventually restore it all to native grasses), a tank (stock pond), trees on our land and tons of trees surrounding it.  Our only neighbors we can see are two of the nicest, most down to earth people you could ever meet and across the road is a huge pecan orchard – let me tell you, it’s a beautiful view.  And it’s only about 30 miles from our downtown jobs in the city.

We’re just getting started, but we have the room for everything we ever wanted for our future – space for our house, our furry kids, a woodworking shop, a garden, chickens, bees, a greenhouse, a fruit orchard, any other livestock we decide to have and plenty of wildlife. 

Every time we step foot on our homestead, we are so grateful for the blessing of becoming stewards of that land.  Such a sense of peace completely overtakes us both.  It has felt like home since the first time we left our footprints there.

So I guess the moral of my story is, if you’re looking for a different way of life in the country, keep looking until you find a place that calls to you.  Yes there may be compromises you have to make, as with most choices in life.  But if you have a dream, try and be patient and stick with it because I believe the right place will come along.  We know ours did!

Until next time, worms rule and bees rock. 

nebraska dave
1/28/2012 2:03:24 AM

Cheryl, in our microwave society dreams die quickly so it seems. If it doesn't happen just like folks think it should, well then just give up so they think. Dreams are meant to be long term. If there's any thing I've learned in life as I advance into my "golden" years, it would be never never never give up. (Winston Churchill). If there's a dream that anyone is dreaming then it's there for a reason. That's the passion in life that will ultimately made a person satisfied with living. Life after retirement for me is to expand my life long garden dream on a newly purchased piece of land in the inner city. I've heard nothing but negative challenges from the neighbors but you know what? I was born to overcome challenges. I started with head high nettle weeds. Now the weeds are gone and fence building will commence in the spring. This land will be my homestead even though I don't live there. It's only a small parcel that measures 168'X160' and it has burrowing animals, deer, wild turkey, and squirrels. It's a huge challenge but I'm determined to live in harmony with all this teeming life and have a harvest at the end of the year. So dream your dream and keep us all updated as it unfolds in the future.