Moving On With Life – Our Journey to Homestead Living

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Our Journey to Homestead Living – Moving On

Every so once in a while I picture us where we were a year ago, or maybe 2 years ago, and I think about where we are today. I feel like I say it all the time but when I think about where we are today it’s somewhere where I never pictured us to be. Yet here we are.

Over a year ago we had just moved into our camper, ready to sell our house, pay off debt, and move on with life after a difficult year. We’d previously lived in a camper before we bought our first house in order to pay off debt so it wasn’t anything new for us. A few months later, all the dreams that we’d been planning came crashing to the ground in just one day and it changed everything in our lives. We’d sold our house but were still in more debt than we’d planned and had to change course. After a few tearful nights and feeling lost and hopeless we started looking for a piece of land. Having land was always our “backup plan” and we figured we could always live in the camper while we built our new house. So we searched for land in our area (something we’d been doing for months already but not seriously), nothing was affordable and when we started adding up the expenses of building a road, digging a well, getting a construction loan….it just didn’t fit into our goal of being debt free.

Then along came the farm. A tiny farm, 300 miles away from anyone we know. My hubby was drawn to it at first sight (having grown up a farmboy himself), I was not. (Rancher girl, big difference!) The three of us hopped in the car and drove across the state, I told hubby we’d go take a look so he could see that it wasn’t for us. I didn’t want a money pit for a house, I wanted acres upon acres, I wanted to stay close to family.

Homestead Living

And then we arrived at the farm. I carried the baby around the yard while hubby talked to the realtor and filled her in on our story. The barns were ancient, the house was crooked, the trees were huge and intimidating (I’ve been a prairie girl most of my life, trees are beautiful, but scary!). The house needed a ridiculous amount of work just to get it up to code and not be a complete fire hazard. I walked around and didn’t say much to the realtor, I’m sure she thought we were not interested. I may or may not have repeatedly called the basement a dungeon and the stairs a death trap…

After looking everything over we got back in our truck and drove down the road. Hubby asked, “Well what did you think?” I said (to his shock, and surprising myself as well), “I think I can see us living there and being happy. I think we need a fresh new start and I think this is it.”

Later that day we put in our offer and it was accepted. We paid roughly 42% of what our previous home was worth. We definitely wanted something that we could pay off within a few years of hard work so we got a 5 year loan. Hubby was offered a job in the next town over and we broke the news to our family that it was time for us to move on. Unfortunately it meant moving away from them but it was what we felt called to do, even though we couldn’t (and still can’t) explain it.

Homestead Living

Within a few weeks we were ready to close on the house. We packed up the few belongings we had stored away (we’d gotten rid of most everything including all furniture when we moved into the camper), put our tractor on a trailer and headed east across the prairie.

Read the Farmhouse Renovation Part 2: Getting Started here.


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  1. Just love following your story! Hope you are very happy in your new home. It’s so exciting, and you should have such a sense of accomplishment!

  2. I can’t even begin to tell you how connected I feel to your story. My family and I yearn for a little homestead of our own and are working so hard to find it. I look forward to reading more. Congratulations and Good job on all the hard work! You have many years to walk out on your front porch and just smile and your amazing accomplishments!!

  3. We are new/but not new homesteaders as well. My husband grew up on a farm and I grew up in a neighborhood.

    We are currently cleaning up his family farm after over 20 years of neglect. I also looked at the job much as you did, but I am now beyond excited. I have always had a homesteaders heart and now we are actually living the dream.

    I will be reading and following along with your journey. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Your little house is adorable! Twenty years ago we made a 500 mile move that we did not intend to make. It has been such a blessing!

      1. Thanks for the story; we are in the middle of moving to a community far
        Farm where we have our own acre but will live in a trailer for 1-2 years.

  5. Looks like a cute place! Will be interested in seeing what all you do to/with it. And it’s nice that you’re still close enough to family to be there in half day’s drive.

  6. I am very interested in hearing about your journey . I continue to hope that one day, I too, will be able to homestead a small farm. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I have been anxiously awaiting this series of post since you first made mention of it several weeks ago and I’m excited for more. Our family is being called to a land thousands of miles from where we are as well. Our story is far to long to share in this spot but simplified it goes like this; Ian (fiance) was suddenly violently ill and unable to work, our sole income. His employer, as required, approved his FMLA leave. After federal minimun of 12 weeks expired and still unable to work, he was terminated. His employer refused to pay the short term disability he had earned. In the nine months that have followed we have lost our home and are renting rooms from a friend. Two adults and three children in 300 sq. Ft. Of space. Ian is still ill with no fitting diagnosis or successful treatment. I’m working on getting the certifications necessary for me to return to work in order for us to finance a move. Our goal is within a year. Your story is inspiring and I really enjoy your post!

  8. I have enjoyed your website so much and have looked forward to the start of this blog on your homestead renovation….love love it. Keep it coming!

  9. Oh how I yearn to be younger, with life’s adventures ahead. I love hearing how your family learns, adapts and thrives in your new journey. All the best to you!

  10. Oh, what a disappointment when I read the words..”To be continued…”. I love following your blog and was so involved in your story. Hope to see more about the continuation, SOON! When you stated “it was what we felt called to do, even though we couldn’t (and still can’t) explain it”….I feel very deeply that the Lord places us where he needs us to be.

  11. Hi Marissa,
    This is such a great story. You are really creating something beautiful, and putting a lot back into the world and your children will look back on the wonderful childhood they had. They will also remember parents of integrity who worked hard and stayed out of debt and taught them SO much. Don’t let the hard parts get you down. It’s worth the effort, and realise that most of the world longs to do what you have done.
    All the VERY BEST!!!

  12. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m looking forward to following . You are a very positive person. I would like to be more like that.

  13. I’m reading your story and it’s similar to ours! We just purchased a small homestead in Davis, SD we have named Solace Farm. I’m curious where your located and can’t wait to read more! Keep your head up and your hands dirty, I’m proud of you!

    1. Looks like we are west of you 🙂 I love the Mason Jar lights you have on your site, I wish I would have known! We purchased some very similar for our kitchen lights.

  14. I am enthralled! This is like the beginning of an epic tale I always wish to find at the library. Real is amazing, all its ups and downs, thank you for having the courage to share with us all.

  15. So excited for you!!!!! May the Lord bless you and keep you, shine his face upon you, show you his favor and grant you peace!!!! Love following your journey…. The Lord actually used your story to tell me and my husband to move to a temporary place we actually did not want to or think of, while my hubby finishes school. Because of it we were able to afford for him to work part time and go to school. We are about to move to a new state and are looking to buy a home. Your story helped me have faith in His plan for us:) Thank you for sharing!!! Enjoy your new beginning!

  16. Merissa, This sounds incredible! I’m constantly tempted to launch out into the country and raise our boys on a farm, but never pull the trigger. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story – great stuff!