The Rural Living blog chronicles the trials and tribulations of life on a hobby farm while promoting a heart healthy, eat fresh lifestyle.
In the late 1980's, forced to find housing closer to work, we discovered this tiny farm in rural Jackson County, Texas. This farm had been on the market for 2 years with no takers. It was a simple 5 acre farm with a large brick home that sat on a treacherous curve and across from two natural gas pipeline booster stations. The home had been well built, the property had been well maintained and the price was right. We bought it well under appraised value.
In the mid 1990's John was offered a great job elsewhere but we didn't want to give up our farm. We moved to the big city and used this place as a weekend get away with dreams of chickens, big gardens and a partially self-sustaining lifestyle in this rural community again one day. In 2006 our dream came true when John was able to retire.
When we moved back we immediately built a coop and had taken our first step to build up this farm. We soon discovered that the soil was a heavy gumbo clay, difficult to cultivate and, for homestead purposes needed, to be amended before we grew anything, not an easy chore for mid-lifers. We also discovered we had wildlife that, if give the chance, would destroy a chicken coop and kill all the chickens. It was a learning process, a slow progression, however we were well on our way to our dream lifestyle.
Over the years we acquired the skills that were needed to successfully run a small hobby farm. John bought and restored an old backhoe/front end loader. We created partnerships with the local utility company to dispose of mulch and chips, we built a secure chicken coop and acquired hens and roosters - most of them given to us. We bought a lawn tractor, several generators, air compressors, amassed a large variety of tools, started an orchard and a garden that grows in size every season.
We also became Master Gardeners that gave us additional skills and continue to make partnerships, acquire tools and gain the community support necessary to operate. We were doing great until the Fall of 2011.
For several years we have been advocating an "Eat Healthy, Eat Fresh" lifestyle although we had not adopted it ourselves 100% of the time. We still had our fair share of fast food and evening snacks but for the most part our dinners were made from scratch with fresh vegetables. We ate a lot of things that were healthy and some things that were not. We always ate big meals and consumed many more calories with snacks.
Then September 24th, 2011 John had another heart attack but this time it was near fatal. He coded upon arrival at the hospital ER and by the grace of God the emergency room professionals were able to get him back. It was time to change our lifestyle to all "Eat Healthy, Eat Fresh" foods and watch proportions. We were both on-board 100%.
What we learned was that our lifestyle was much better than most but that in order for both of us to have a much longer life we needed to cut out several things including sodium and calories. Thus the Rural Living farm was reborn.
Now we are advocates not only to promote "Eat Fresh, Buy Local" but also "Eat Heart Healthy." Our health has dramatically improved and in 20 weeks we lost almost 50 lbs together. Best of all, it is catching on in our community. Now the produce section of our only grocery store is well picked over by 5:00 p.m. The local Hospital District is holding film screenings of such movies as "Forks over Knives" and "Food, Inc." and we have plans to start a community garden and farmers market soon.
We hope you enjoy the website. Please tell a friend or two about Rural-living.com. And remember, "Eat Fresh, Buy Local" and support your local small farm.