By Heather Bryant
My lifelong dream was to own a self-sufficient farm. In my dream I would have a beautiful century-old house on top of a mountain that overlooked hundreds of acres of well-tended pasture and woodlands. I would raise two wonderful children – a boy and a girl – on this homestead with my handsome and attentive husband. We would raise all of our own crops and maybe sheep or goats, too. Definitely chickens.
And, you know what? We did. I know – crazy, right? We actually packed up everything from the city and bought a farm on top of a mountain in rural West Virginia. Our home is a classic farmhouse built in 1890 on 60+ acres. When we moved there our daughter was two years old and I was pregnant. Our son was born there. We raised cattle and put in flower gardens. It was a dream fulfilled.
Except I was completely miserable.
In my pride and ambition, I forgot to factor in that I’m a highly social creature, an innate technologist and a complete hypochondriac. I HATE dirt, mud and birds of all kinds - especially chickens. I'm not a huge fan of goats, sheep or cows either. And I have an absolutely black (not green) thumb. I’ve killed every houseplant I’ve ever owned.
Not to mention that my husband is allergic to dust. And dander, fleas, trees, grass, pollen, hay and basically everything else you might find on a farm. He was sick all the time. Plus he had to work 10-hour days (with an hour commute each way) just so we could afford the place. There wasn’t much time for tending the cattle, mending fences or doing anything other than keeping the place up and taking care of the kids.
I was so lonely living on top of that mountain, without friends or family to support me during my times of need. The nearest neighbor was almost a mile away and my closest friend (who lived in the same town as me) was at least a 15-minute drive. Our family was over 500 miles away.
It was a humbling experience to realize that I wasn’t meant to live as a farmer on top of this mountain. It took a lot of serious introspection and prayer to finally accept that this dream wasn’t meant to be mine. In fact, it took near bankruptcy to come to this most obvious of conclusions.
So what did we do? We prayed. A lot. And I cried. A lot. Then we decided it was time to move back home. My husband accepted a job back in the city near his family, we put the farm up for sale and moved into an apartment.
After a turbulent couple of months, you would think we would be mired in despair, but we are finally content. We've learned to be grateful for the blessings we have rather than yearning for the life we don't.
When we prayed for God to help our family thrive, he helped us by closing the doors on the dream life we had chosen and opening doors to the better life he designed for us: one where we are surrounded by family who loves us, friends who support us and opportunities for us to bless others.
Oh, and if you are interested in buying the most beautiful homestead ever, please give me a call. We still have a farm to sell...
Heather Bryant is a Christian, the proud and loving wife of RockstarDad and the grateful mama of a toddler and preschooler. Heather blogs about parenthood and preparedness at Cube2Farm. She's the author of From Cube to Farm: Surviving and Thriving as a Stay-at-Home Mom.