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A transformative life change - from business suit to Carhartt's.

I was a business exec living the dream with 2 kids 2 dogs and husband in a nice house in a development in the suburbs outside Columbus Ohio. I had nothing to complain about, yet- something was missing. I came home exhausted with nothing tangible to show for it. The kids and I had food allergies. I had immune problems. Finding clean good food was hard and expensive.

Seeking an outlet to my frustration, I tore up the majority of our backyard and planted fruit trees, two giant gardens and got a flock of 6 illegal backyard chickens. I deeply wanted a farm, but I was stuck in suburbia. We saved and planned and I spent every spare moment learning how to use a pressure canner, make jams, pasta, cheese, cook from scratch, and use eggs in 100 different ways. And I read every book on homesteading skills that I could get my hands on. I didn't realize it then, but I was in training

 for farming.  

Interestingly, my farming journey began before I even had a farm. As I began accumulating skills in suburbia, the process itself was a transformative experience. It anchored me in life, changed my mindset, and was key to being a successful farmer.

The timing was fortunate. 2008 and I got laid off and couldn’t find a job for 2 years. And boy did those skill pay off. We were poor as dirt and ate like kings and went shopping in our own basement and nearly lost our home. Of course, I was worried about my illegal hens. I bribed all my neighbors with veggies fruit and eggs.

It was a strange time for me. I was at a tipping point: I'd become obviously too farmy for suburbia. I was becoming increasingly UNcomfortable.

I eventually got busted by the HOA, but I’d found a new job by then, we had saved up. It was exactly the push that was needed. Time for the plunge and actually buying a farm!

It was what we could afford because it was a total mess. Decades of neglect it showed. Not one single flower or bush. Poison ivy everywhere. Brambles. No fences. A big leaky barn with no door, full of debris, and infested with vermin. A muddy rutted driveway winding up the side of a steep hill was our driveway. The house leaked. Broken water lines underground between the house and barn flooded the yard, overgrown brush in what should have been a pasture, There were piles of broken glass and debris. But the location was ideal. The land had a mix of woods and fields. It has some protection from extremes because it's in a small valley. Three different soil types are present on the property. The water is top quality. Everything else was fixable and I saw it would be beautiful. It was time to get working.

Being a first generation farmer, I had NO idea what I was doing because I was still too 'city' but I was game. Over time, it all settled out nicely. I was no longer uncomfortable. I became experienced.

We planted fruit trees, asparagus beds, a huge garden, 100+ varieties of daylilies, more chickens, heritage turkeys, Icelandic sheep, guard llama, potbelly pigs, Katahdin sheep, dairy goats, peacocks and more dairy goats and more sheep! I gained experience. Skills. Made errors. Oh the errors and stories… you can read about them here on the blog. Over time it has become beautiful and productive! But my business exec job still paid the bills.

Fast Forward several years... COVID lockdowns laid bare the brittle-ness of modern supply chains and food systems. I was working from home full time, but evening and weekend-warrior farmer. I decided that it was time to do more and contribute to the local economy. I launched my company CapriDerma, a goat milk skincare soap and shampoo bar business. I did it using the time I'd previously used for commuting.

Local things reopened. I vended at events and met a new segment of people entering homesteading, urban farms, and small farmers. They didn’t have personal experience or generational knowledge to draw upon and were searching for mentors. I met many people who had just moved to the country and started keeping livestock for the first time. I was getting requests for lessons and answering questions at events. It all accelerated quickly from there. In a post-covid world, other people had learned how much world events had a ripple effect and impacted supply chains and food availability. And they wanted to do something about it.

At the start of 2022 COVID was ending. It was time to return to the daily office commute and leave work-from-home-farm-life. And I just couldn’t do it. I decided I'd rather stay present in my kids lives and bet on myself. (I wrote about this in my blog entry, 'Staycation and Funemployment') I left the corporate exec life and now am a full time farmer and entrepreneur.

Today I help people to be achieve their goals of being more resilient, doing more with simple basic ingredients, and finding local sources for food and goods. Whether they’ve just moved to the country and are struggling to make their own land productive, or maybe they’ve started a garden for the first time or beginning to opt out of the supermarket food supply chain and support from local farmers. I help people how flatten the learning curve and get started in a homesteading / farm fresh lifestyle. When folks take concrete actions to learn skills and create a more resilient, abundant life, they discover their anxiety about the future is lessened. It’s through this learning and working together in a growing community, where we encourage and support each other and contribute to our local economies.

I always wanted to be a farmer when I grew up. And now, it’s exactly what I’m doing. It’s been worth the wait. And even better than I’d expected.

I started with 6 illegal backyard hens in suburbia with 2 toddlers in tow before I moved to my farm. Now after almost a decade farming. On any given day I may be butcher, midwife, parasitologist goatwrangler, shepherdess, animal behaviorist, gardener, scratch cook, botanist, entomologist or soapmaker.

If you want to homestead, you can do that wherever you live.

If you ever wanted to farm, do it. Now is the time. Agriculture needs you.

I help you start to make your dreams reality because I’ve been there.

Let's talk about how to build you something amazing; today.  

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