You may have read Jim Baker’s blog, The One-Acre Farm, which has appeared on this site from March 2015 through October of this year. Jim and I began corresponding in the summer of 2015, after reading each other’s blogs and realizing that we shared a common perspective. Both in our retirement years, we were in the early stages of single-handedly launching a homesteading venture on a small property.
Jim was full of ideas and enthusiasm and showed as much interest in learning about my activities as talking about his own. Partially raised on his grandfather’s farm, Jim had some valuable insights and experience with rural life. His encouragement was a great support to me as I dealt with the challenges and frustrations of managing a poultry flock and a large garden with very limited experience, strength, or know-how. Though we lived about three and a half hours apart, he graciously offered to come to Panther’s Hollow for a day or two and lend a helping hand. As much as anything, I think he was curious to see the place and what I was doing here. He also mentioned another homestead that he wanted to visit if he had the opportunity.
So in the fall of 2015, we planned a visit, but the weather didn’t cooperate. With rain in the forecast, we decided to postpone it a couple of weeks. Then Jim fell ill with what he thought was a case of pneumonia. He kept assuring me he was going to make that visit as soon as he was better, but the recovery failed to materialize. A couple of months later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Not one to give in to discouragement, Jim lost no time in self-pity. Optimistic though he was that he might beat the cancer through faith, drugs, the support of friends and family, and a positive attitude, he still realized that his time might be short. “It is what it is,” he said.
He continued working while undergoing chemotherapy, and his enthusiasm and optimism never seemed to waver. But after a brief period of remission, his condition worsened, and he was able to do very little. It was then that he began planning for the future of The One Acre Farm. His vision was to have it become a community garden, and he began reaching out in many directions to find support for the idea. He envisioned having a 4-H club involved, or a possible Eagle Scout project. Eventually he found someone who was interested in managing it, with the idea of renting out portions to interested groups or individuals.
In early November of this year, Jim was told that the cancer was growing and he had about six months to live. He had just arranged for hospice care when he passed away suddenly. At present, the status of the community garden is uncertain, but anyone wishing to get involved may contact his wife, Cheryl, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim’s enthusiasm, courage, and good humor will be missed by many. May his efforts be rewarded, and may The One Acre Farm live on!