I think almost every blog starts with a getting to know you post and mine will be no different. I think telling your story is where all blogs, and all journeys, begin, so let me tell you mine.
I’ll start with telling you a bit about myself and then we’ll go from there.
My name is Crystal. I grew up in Upstate South Carolina in a nice, quiet neighborhood, raised by my great aunt until I was 12. My great aunt, we’ll call her Aunt M, was pretty old-school for the most part. We didn’t live on a farm or grow our own food but we took advantage of a large “pick your own” farm not far from where we lived.
I grew up running up and down the rows of that farm. I also grew up snapping peas, shucking corn and watching Aunt M can and cook from scratch.
Aunt M also sewed and my mother was a seamstress by trade and made all my clothes back in the 70’s and 80’s. I had a complete terrycloth (sp) wardrobe when I was 5. Unfortunately, even surrounded by such crafty people, I never picked up the ability to sew myself. A skill I hope to learn, by the way.
My husband, who I’ve been with for 18 years, practically all of my adult life, grew up on a dairy farm owned by his grandparents in Indiana. By the time I met him just before his 22nd birthday, he was in the army.
In spite of our childhoods, we’ve never really put down roots anywhere. We’ve been chronic renters (and movers) the whole time we’ve been together.
As Pagans, we’ve dabbled in green-living and growing what we could, when we could, but we’ve never had anything permanent.
Last summer, we moved yet again. My brother-in-law is a welder by trade and got my husband hired where he works. He and my sister offered us a place to stay while we relocated and we stayed with them until a few months ago.
We’re now living in a hotel with our pug and faced with slim options when we get taxes in a few months.
We sat down and had one of those “real” conversations recently about “here we are in a hotel again looking at renting…again”.
We both agreed that we’re not getting any younger and we’re tired of constantly moving. We’re tired of not having anything to show for our lives and we’re tired of the way we live. It’s time for a change.
Now, there’s nothing I can do about our immediate situation. We have no savings, no nest-egg. We’ve lived paycheck to paycheck for so long that neither of us really know what it’s like not to.
Last year, we bought a camper from some friends and we lived in it for a few months. In theory, it wasn’t a bad idea, but the one we bought was old and had been sitting unused for a few years.
It was also one of the small ones. Very small. No pop-outs, no real bedroom. The heat barely worked and finally died completely right as spring was coming on. Then it got hot. The AC didn’t work at all and it was so small there was no where for fans. The plumbing was shot, the oven didn’t work, there was a leak in the ceiling in the living room…it was pretty bad.
In hindsight, we don’t regret the decision to get a camper, but we needed more space. A real bed. Something that didn’t need to be completely over-hauled. Something with pop-outs.
I’ve been following the small-space/tiny house movement and we’ve considered a number of ways to go about that, but we agreed last night that by the time we build something like that, we could have bought and paid for a new, decent-sized camper with everything already set up except the land.
Besides that, building a home, even a small one, takes time and we can’t afford land payments, rental costs and building costs. It’s just not realistic. We also can’t afford to buy a mobile home to live in while we build.
In the end, it’s looking like buying an RV is going to still be the way to go. It will give us the option to build if we choose, and do it right, without having to pitch a tent while we do it to save money.
Also, if we buy a new one that meets our needs, we could set it up as a permanent living situation and perhaps just add on to it.
Renting, at least for a year or two, may still be in our immediate future, but it feels good to have a plan.
While we’re renting, if we do, we’re going to try to begin the switch to more sustainable living. I’ll grow what I can in pots, begin the move away from processed foods and take the time to learn all we can.
Regardless of what we live in, the goal is to own an acre or two in at least a few years so that we can begin our little farm.
We decided on the name, Once Upon A Farm, for a few reasons. One, we’re both a fan of Once Upon A Time. Two, this farm will be our fairy-tale come true. Our “best chance” and “happy ending”.
This blog is intended to be a journal of sorts while we transition from urban life, to urban homesteading and finally to owning our own sustainable homestead. I hope you’ll join me for the journey.