Thanks for taking the time to drop by.
I’ll admit it. This whole blog thing started out kind of shaky. I’ll tell you all of the reasons why in a minute, but before I indulge in you all of my insecurities in this new pursuit, let me just say now how happy I am you’ve stumbled upon our page.
Ok. Now to let the whining commence. Here we go. These are the reasons why it’s taken me so long to start this blog, ranked in no particular order. I feel the need to share these, as I have about seventeen (that’s an exaggeration, it’s more like three, but who’s counting?) angry emails from WordPress in my inbox, all of which are imploring me to finally activate my account and, of course, to make good on the account that I paid – yes, paid – to open.
Here’s why I’ve been procrastinating.
1. I am really, really busy.
That’s no excuse. An excuse, but also not an excuse. Everybody is busy. Right?
Here’s my level of business. About four years ago, my now husband and I found ourselves in radically different positions than we are in right now. We had both recently started teaching jobs, and decided, at the ripe ages of twenty-three and twenty-two, respectively, that it would be a great idea to build a house.
We had very little to start with (both financially and intellectually) besides a heaping dose of foolhardiness and more than our fair share of ambition. We knew after years of searching for houses in our native Adirondacks that there was no way we’d be able to afford what we really wanted unless we started from scratch.
And we like starting from scratch! At the time, we had no plans to start a farm of any size. We already had a small garden, just a couple of raised beds, really, and a dog. A really loveable, really dumb, dog. However, because of this dumb dog and our joint affinity for privacy, we knew that we wanted a fairly large chunk of property.
What we learned was that, in our chunk of upstate New York, large chunks of land were common, but pricy, with the biggest parcels either passed down between generations or offered with hefty price tags.
When we first started looking for a parcel of land on which to build our home, it was disheartening to see that just an acre or two came at a usurious rate, and that was on, as my husband referred to it, Prime Adirondack Swampland. We were looking at tens of thousands of dollars just for land, and not good land, either.
Luckily, we are both either really stubborn or really fortunate. After just a few months of searching for land in a new zip code just outside of the Adirondacks, a parcel opened up. It had been listed for just a few days when we found it. I won’t go into the details, but it was a decently sized chunk (over twenty acres!), offered at the same price most smaller (read: an acre or two) lots were going for.
We called the realtor.
She wasn’t particularly interested in checking out the property with us. It was wet, hot, and mosquito-ridden. Instead, my husband met with the landowner himself. In his typical fashion, he did some serious, honest-to-God schmoozing.
“You wanna build a house here?”
My husband nodded. “Maybe have a garden, raise some chickens.”
Turns out, the property was a former farm, all the pasture gone completely to scrubby brush and swamp. But there was potential, and the landowner appreciated what we wanted to do with it.
We purchased the land for roughly $1,000 an acre, a serious bargain in that neck of the woods. Plus, it was outside of the Park, so the taxes and building regulations were much less restrictive.
Fast forward to today, and that house is built – a two-story modular – and surrounded by a ridiculously large garden, a small barn, about an acre of animal pasture, and countless other features we’ve put a lot of sweat, swear words, and work into.
We both work full-time as teachers and private contractors (I’m a freelance writer, too). We raise chickens, sheep, and pigs for ourselves and a limited nearby market, and produce almost all of our own food on site.
Oh, and we got married somewhere in there, too. Which leads me to point number two…
2. I’m hesitant to share…you know…everything
I’ve always been a little shy about sharing everything, and have always been reluctant to meld my personal and professional lives. But as I get deeper into the adventures of our tiny farm, I realize how important it is to share our newly acquired knowledge with other people who are just getting started.
We’ve always been reluctant to call ourselves a farm, or a homestead, or anything cutesy. Because there’s nothing cute about it! It’s dirty work, and we aren’t on the scale of many of the more well-respected farms in our country. We don’t have employees. We work full time. We don’t produce large amounts of food for people outside of our close inner circle.
Most of that is because I don’t feel worthy of the acclaim that “real,” “full-time” farmers should receive. We just aren’t there yet. But there’s also a small part of me that’s embarrassed to call ourselves a small farm, because there is, to an extent, a major demonization of people who choose to raise their own food.
I’ve had this attitude for years, and we’ve always talked somewhat quietly about what we do. But then, this summer, I read this quote by Joel Salatin, one of my favorite writers and a role-model to us in our agricultural pursuits, and it gave me pause:
“Despite all the hype about local or green food, the single biggest impediment to wider adoption is not research, programs, organizations, or networking. It is the demonizing and criminalizing of virtually all indigenous and heritage-based food practices.”
So there you have it. Time to rip the Band-Aid off, and get going with this whole “talking about farming” thing. Which, of course, leads to point number three.
3. I have no idea what I’m doing
I’m not just being humble. If you’re reading this and trying to figure out why this chick is using weird fonts or weird formatting or just being weird in any way, chances are it’s a) because I actually am weird or b) I’m not doing it on purpose. I’m new to this, and as you can probably guess, I have little experience with blogging.
I’ve been writing professionally for several years, and as a result have seriously expanded my portfolio in the farm and garden niche (shameless marketing plug here: if you’re interested in hiring me or reading more of my work, please drop me a line!).
Besides writing, though, I know nothing about blogging. But as you’ve problem guessed, despite being a wee bit foolhardy, I’m also quite curious. So full steam ahead!
So what do you think? Bear with me for a bit? Here goes nothing.
Be sure to check out our Instagram page (@ jrpiercefamilyfarm), and drop us a line with questions or feedback.