How We Got Started:
Both of us have had a dream, since we were kids, to be farmers or ranchers or homesteaders in some way. There’s just something about being active and outside, growing your own food, connecting with nature, being away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, and getting to work alongside our family each day that calls to us. It seems more natural, more the way God intended man to exist. We never imagined it would be easy or stress-free, but it would be a different kind of stress than the jobs we had, and the hard work would feel so satisfying. In fact, having an endless opportunity for hard work for our kids has been part of the draw for us.
From the beginning of our relationship, we dreamed up and planned out ways to at least have a small garden and some hobby animals for our family to care for and enjoy together.
After getting married and the more life we lived together, the more we realized how much we craved this old fashioned, hard, rewarding way of living. We would stay up into the early hours of the morning talking about how we wished it was possible.
We wished for more land.
We wished for more time spent at home together.
We wished for more financial freedom.
We wished for more knowledge.
We wished and talked and did some tinkering, but that was the extent of it. We certainly couldn’t say we were actively chasing our dreams.
Then we had our son. He was our motivation. Looking down into his innocent little face, realizing we had been given a soul to nurture and care for, and knowing that he was a clean slate just waiting for us and the world around him to make a mark….
That was terrifying. And exciting. And the push we needed to actually DO something.
Now it was real. This wasn’t a hypothetical child we hoped to one day create a legacy for. He was here. And we needed to start creating the environment we wanted him to grow up in.
So with no extra land
No extra money
No extra time
And no training,
We took the leap.
We lived on three acres in Argyle, Tx, but with the pond, house, and barn, only about half of that was farmable pasture. Poor quality, rock hard pasture with almost no grass. We began to research how we could possibly make such a small, infertile area into a thriving, sustainable, productive farm.
We discovered permaculture.
Instead of specializing in one species, we could rotationally graze multiple species which DRASTICALLY increases grass growth and almost completely eliminates species specific pests and parasites.
Rather than well spaced, perfectly manicured orchards and gardens, we could plant dense food forests that would become their own self-sustaining ecosystems.
This would take less financial investment because we wouldn’t need to pay for fertilizer or pest control.
By allowing the different plant and animal species to fulfill the roles they would in a natural ecosystem, we would reduce the time investment as well. Chickens and pigs tilling garden and forest patches. Chickens weeding, manure spreading, and pest eating. Cover crops and productive ground cover plants choking out weeds.
The more we learned, the more we fell in love with permaculture, and the more in awe we became of our Creator and the perfect designs He implemented for life to thrive.
We decided we could get a more decent start on our 1.5 acres than we had previously thought. We began building chicken tractors and got our first trial batch of 25 birds. The next batch was 100. The next, 200.
We dreamed of one day staying home to farm full time and create a permaculture paradise to hand down to our children. But to be able to do that, we needed a lot more land, and that would require a huge life change. A smaller home in exchange for more land. A longer commute to everything. A fixer upper property and putting in a TON of work. Being farther from family. Starting our life over in a new community. A LOT of change. But to us, it sounded worth it.
We started looking for land. Every time we looked at a property, though, we compared it to our ideal property that one of our friends owned. None of the other places felt right. But that property wasn’t for sale, so we would have to settle for something else. We placed offers on a couple tracts, but everything fell through. Reluctantly, we took it as a sign to just sit tight and be content where we were. One week after giving up control and stopping trying to force something, our friend called and said he needed to sell the property that we loved.
When I say that we loved this property, I do not in any way mean that it was a perfect picturesque farm fairytale. It was a dump. Literally. There was a landfill 40 yards behind the house. For us, that added to the excitement. We would truly get to reclaim a piece of the planet and restore it to a state of health, biodiversity, and abundance.
Besides being buried in trash, the poor pastures were abused to the point of being almost beyond recovery. Many neighboring ranchers told us there was nothing we could do but reseed the grass. All of the ponds were dry and had leaks that would typically be sealed with expensive chemical compounds.
Thankfully, we weren’t just looking for quick and easy band aid solutions.
Instead of seeding, fertilizing, spraying, and dumping chemicals in the ponds, we began to work with our animals to repair the property together.
We rotated our chicken tractors throughout the pastures to fertilize, spread cow manure, and eat the seeds of weeds. Cows were in small mob grazing sections which forced them to eat some weeds, trample the rest, and quickly move to a new section to allow grass to recover. Pigs worked at clearing under trees and tilling up gravely and rocky sections of pasture to allow for new areas of grass to develop. Then they were moved to live in the ponds which they quickly began to seal.
In just one year we saw diversity of species of grass and wildlife drastically increase. The land is healing. And as a byproduct of managing the earth well, we get to enjoy and share the highest quality meats available. Our dream is becoming reality.
What Drives Our Passion:
For us, this is very personal. Our son has a lot of complications with his ability to process and digest highly processed foods. Monoculture farming and the willingness to sacrifice quality for quantity have resulted in an epidemic of people who suddenly cannot process things that humans have been able to eat for centuries: milk, wheat, etc. Our son, not to mention several other members of our extended family are among those affected by this epidemic. When we switched his diet to clean foods and foods that we raised ourselves, he was a different child almost overnight. He is no longer in pain every night, he doesn’t suffer from sensory overload and is much better able to navigate things cognitively and emotionally. That is how we can say with complete confidence that we will continually be striving to create cleaner, healthier foods, and that we will not ever come to a point where we decide the extra work involved with our methods is not worth it. We are all in.
Learning as we go, raising all-natural, grass-fed beef for purchase as shares in Flower Mound, Lewisville, Argyle, Trophy Club, and Allen