I married a really wise man. Before we got married we talked. A lot. Long distance relationships are good like that. You are forced to fill the air time with words that would otherwise be taken up in silence or giddy chit chat just soaking in each others presence in person. Not to say those in person local relationships are inferior on the communication front (to be honest I still feel a twinge of jealousy over how easy the whole in person romantic experience must be) but I know for us the states separating us were instrumental in us having good premarital communication.
So this wise guy I was gonna marry asked a lot of questions. He wanted to know if our visions, or our goals for a future life together were compatible. If I even had a vision for the future. We made a lot of plans and outlined a lot of goals together.
7 years down the line the details of those plans and goals have changed a LOT. The core of our “vision” has remained the same however. This past week someone asked me about this crazy dream we have of developing a natural themed community-neighborhood. We have a lot of unorthodox plans and dreams. But it’s fueled by the overreaching vision and goals we had all those years ago.
We wanted to raise a healthy family in both body, minds and emotions.
We want to teach our children to be strong, to be leaders and how to serve others and the world at large with kindness.
We want to leave whatever patches of this earth that come into our possession better than we found it.
We want to encourage and help others as we are able to.
Out of these simple heart desires the driving force behind a supplement company was born. The two homes we have lived in in our marriage have housed a lot of folks at all different stages in life. We put a lot of time and effort into learning about health and how to live our lives more sustainably and responsibly. We spent a lot of time with our children. We adapt almost every area of our lives to incorporate our children.
We love to dream. We’ve learned that it’s Ok to dream big. We’ve learned it’s Ok to make mistakes along the way trying to learn how to make those dreams a reality. We’ve made big mistakes along the way. We’ve learned, we’ve adapted, we’ve tweaked. We’ve had to pay and are still paying for some of those mistakes. The whole process of mistakes = learning new and important lessons is something we’ve come to embrace as a part of life. The College of Life has been expensive for us and the certifications not as respected as Harvards but we are grateful for them anyway.
One of the dream-goals we are working towards right now is the purchase of a piece of property large enough that it can be subdivided and a community developed. It’s a logistical nightmare and there are probably a 100 ways we can think of right off the bat for it to easily go wrong. But we’ve learned that some of the best things in life come with a very high probability for failure. We were told when we partnered in the launch of www.beeyoutiful.com that it was a foolish idea. It was destined to fail. There were a thousand reasons NOT to start that business. We counted the cost and decided to do it anyway. It’s been a headache, it’s dominated the majority of our married lives but for every frustrated and even tearful moment it’s taken from our lives it’s given that and more back. It’s allowed us to work together as a couple in our own home. It’s allowed our children to be more active parts of our lives. It’s been the vehicle to allow us to become physically healthier. It’s been the source and means of good to what now number in the hundreds of peoples lives. We would never have done it, never have stepped out and taken the risk of a brand new business if we had not been willing to dream, hope big and act on the vision we wanted for our family.
One thing we have learned that a dream is just a dream if it is never brought into the realm and responsibility of real life. We are working to bring our current big dreams into the realm of our reality in a lot of small ways. The first and most obvious are financial. It just makes sense to gain financial freedom so that is the front receiving the bulk of our efforts right now. The other is trying to learn as much as we can about how to properly and effectively manage a property. How one goes about doing sustainable and natural animal care and raising. How to garden efficiently and effectively. About 98% of this knowledge is purely head knowledge and hypothetical at this point in our lives. So, we are hacking away at that percentage ratio to get it much lower by the time a financial breakthrough can be obtained. We are going to get a small chicken tractor and start raising some chicks. This year if we are still on this property we are going to build a key hole garden to test it against more traditional raised beds and some of Ruth Stout’s gardening techniques. We plan on identifying and learning about the types of trees on our wooded hill. Steve is managing his bee-hive organically without the use of antibiotics and chemicals that most bee keepers use and is learning what it would take to manage multiple hives. All of this real life practical small scale knowledge will help lower our real life experience ignorance for a bigger property with bigger logistics if that ever comes to fruition. In the meantime our lives are the better for the knowledge and experience we are gaining.
So what is the vision for your family? Do you have big dreams? What are you doing to make those dreams and goals a reality? Do you include your kids in the dreaming big process?
Stephanie, our Ruth Stout way of gardening goes back 20 years now! I would never do anything else. I found her book ‘How to Have A Green Thumb without an Aching Back’~ a mouthful, but I have the back issues due to injury & knew I needed to know what was in that book. I have never looked back. Thus far this year we have gotten hold of appx 15 round/rotted bales of hay(for free) put down in our newest garden. We cleared the land of the thick trees (3 yrs. ago-w/a gyro track) & in order to make the soil usable for a garden (3/4 of an acre, for a total of 3 acres that were cleared for pasture) we have gotten that soil so beautiful & growing the most amazing garden.
We began 25 years previous to see what covering bad soil (Florida sand) can do to be improved. This was God in Christ working in me a knowledge I am hooked on because it works. We had nothing but stinging nettle growing on the side of our Deltona, FL house (to which I moan that I cannot get some growing here on the Cumberland Plateau for its nutritional use! humpf~) & I took some black plastic & covered the ground just to try & kill it off. Three month’s later, I wanted to plant azaleas, so I tore & dug holes in the plastic & to my utter shock, there was black dirt in there! I could not figure out what happened…after reading Ruth Stouts book 5 years later, I knew the answer. The high heat & blocking of sun to the “weeds” killed but provided a way for the heat to break down the poor soil & make it good soil.
I don’t have the scientific answers, I just know what I can do to improve my soil. The hay seems daunting to try & gather so much for a thick mulch, but I put ads on lsn & freecycle, to which many have responded, requesting rotted hay. They of course are very curious to what I need rotted hay for. The nightmares of spreading all that seed confuses them. But it does not bother me in the least, cause I have seen it do its wonderful process.
Ruth Stouts updated book ‘The No Work Garden Book’ is a little easier to understand her method..well her grandfathers. You will be amazed to. I suppose I just did a book report rather than a comment, but I know it works for large areas as well as small ones. I have a kitchen garden we began 12 years ago that had been virgin forest & never been cleared of trees. The soil with those conditions is acidic which was great for growing sweet potatoes, but not for long term. The hay has made this soil the best for growing anything. You don’t need to test your soil, you just need to keep the hay covering the ground or the weeds will be your crop!
Great article Stephanie. I love the Ruth Stout gardening method. Yield is high, labor is low and water bill is low. What more could you ask for in gardening!!! … oh, and you don’t need power garden tools like a digger!