According to the countdown on my phone, we will be moving from Southwest Florida to Clay County, Tennessee in 19 days, 9 hours and 18 minutes. For a family of seven who has lived in Florida forever, combined with my cautious and analytical nature, this is a major thing to be able to write, and something that definitely did not happen overnight!
Six years ago we purchased a 10-acre rural property in FL after Erica caught the bug for rural life that I’d been nurturing for as long as I can remember – at least back to high school. During these six years, we taught ourselves much about raising our own beef, pork, chicken, eggs and dairy. We planted fruit trees and did what we could to grow vegetables in the native FL
soil sand. We considered many different ways we might be able to start a farm-based side business, none of which really seemed viable or ultimately interesting enough to us. Even without finding a commercial outlet for what we were learning, all along we were growing more and more fond of raising our own food, and learning how to take care of ourselves through knowledge and skills now largely forgotten in our society.
Then in early 2019 we decided to look for a modest piece of property in another state, with the idea that we would vacation there as a family, and then maybe, just maybe, someday way down the road, consider living there. We wanted a place more hospitable to our newfound way of life, both culturally and in natural resources. We wanted it to be a place we could slowly work on over the years while there on vacation, preparing it for our future. After hunting through many listings, we found our perfect property in middle Tennessee, not far from the Kentucky border. Seven acres of mostly pasture, surrounded by forested hills, bordered by a wide, year-round, hard-bottom creek. And that loamy creek bottom soil, the stuff of dreams.
We bought the land, tent camped on it once, decided tent camping wasn’t fun anymore, and then brought in a travel trailer camper where we stayed as a family every chance we could get. On each visit up from FL we became more and more enamored with the land and the community. It didn’t take long before Erica and I were staying up late, dreaming up ways to move to TN – not “down the road”, but now, while our children are all still at home, while we still have strength and vigor for the task of making a farm and a life in a new place. Once we began to seriously explore this idea, we saw the proverbial doors fling wide open at every turn.
Now, here we are with our FL farm sold and our little home in TN just about finished, and in 19 days we will leave everything familiar to venture out into the unknown to start over in a new place. This blog is primarily a way to chronicle this adventure for our own future reflection and amusement, and if others drop in to see what we’re up to, then all the better.