How Our Farm Journey Began

My family’s journey on the farm started many years ago when my grandparents bought the place in 1970. The farm consisted of a house and a milk barn with a dirt floor. The house burned early on and my grandparents built the home that we live in today. Granddad decided he and grandma needed to move back to Michigan so my parents bought the farm from them in 1972. At that time mom and dad had been married four years and none of us kids had come along yet. Mom and dad ended up staying on the farm for the remainder of their marriage. Over the years they ended up bringing three children into the world and raised all three of us right here on the farm. Myself, my sister Jennifer, and my brother Travis. The farm was the only place I had ever lived as a child until I moved to Nashville for college. It was quite a culture shock for me and to say I was anxious to return home after graduating is an understatement.

Mom and dad put a lot into the farm over the years building a few structures, building fence, etc. I remember when I was a child dad and some of his buddies along with my grandpa Ford poured a concrete floor in the old barn. My parents continued living here until my dad passed in 2017. My mother moved in with my sister and the farm was sitting empty. At this point the future of the farm was undecided.

Mom missed dad terribly, just like the rest of us. She isn’t getting any younger and with all the work it takes to just do the upkeep on a farm, mom knew she couldn’t do it alone. Mom and us kids thought it best if one of us bought it from her. We all had our own homes. We were not real sure what we were going to do, but we knew we couldn’t sell the farm. After all, it had been in the family for nearly 50 years at that point in time. We all had way too many memories there to ever let it go.

The housing market at the time was not the best. Bethany and I had just completed a $125k addition to our home in Pomona. It was the home Bethany and I had always wanted. Still, I knew deep down that I wanted to move to the farm. I was having thoughts of selling our newly completed home and moving to the farm, but I had not shared these thoughts with Bethany. I wasn’t sure she would want to do this even though she loved the farm, too. She had some roots at the farm as well because she was only 15 years old when she was introduced to the farm and yours truly. I kept my thoughts to myself and my siblings and I started having discussions about who would want to move out to the farm.

The farm needed a lot of work so it was a big feat for any of us kids to take on. The farm had become non-operational a number of years before dad passed. Mom and dad were aging and weren’t able to keep things up like they had done in years past. Before dad passed away, I had talked with him about Bethany and I selling our home and moving down to the farm in order to help them restore it to it’s former glory. We still had kids in school that it would affect so we wanted to wait a few years until they were old enough that they wouldn’t have to change schools. However, dad passed before this ever came to fruition.

After much discussion about the fate of the farm, I decided to just ask Bethany what she thought about moving to the farm. To my pleasure, her response was absolutely! I really wanted to make sure she wasn’t just doing it for me. I knew all the work that laid ahead of us. She was emphatic about wanting to move to the farm even though we had just completed the addition on our home. The farm was special, and we both knew it. Both my siblings and mom knew it as well. That is why any one of them would have taken on the task if I wasn’t able to.

Growing up we had a really tight knit family. I am not saying we never had any troubles or problems. I think we are all still close to each other today because of that close knit raising.

The next step was to go ahead and purchase the farm.

The pictures above are of dad and mom. Left picture is dad in high school. Top right is of dad and mom early in their marriage. They were working at the West Plains Shoe Factory at the time and that’s where this picture was taken. Middle right was dad a few years before he passed away being his funny self at one of the kids birthday parties. And bottom right is of mom and dad when they brought the tractor to our house to do some work. I pay tribute to my dad and honor my mom for all they put into us here on the farm. It wasn’t perfect and we weren’t rich, but it has always been a safe place and full of love. I just hope that Bethany and I can continue the legacy they started.