We are closing down the farm.
It was, as I'm sure you can imagine, a tough decision. But that is the decision we made, and we both feel surprisingly good about it.
Listen, I love the farm. I do. It's a beautiful life we have out here, and I will miss chickens eating dead bugs off the grill of the van, and butchering my own turkeys, and the tactile joy of feeding myself and my community from plants we grew from tiny seeds, and my kids, wild and free, jumping off the corral fence into giant mud puddles.
But we always knew that it was going to be hard to build the business the way we were trying to. Buying the land instead of leasing it put us in a position where we had to keep our other jobs, which put us in a position where there was never enough labor to grow the farm to a size that would have allowed us to quit those jobs. We worked so hard to break out of that cycle, and we came so close, but just couldn't quite get there.
We could continue, of course, exactly the way we are now, doing everything other families do and running the farm. We just don't really want to. It's too hard, and requires too much sacrifice to be a part-time gig.
Also, Matty and I have spent the past 18 months arguing about the farm, about how to run it and about how to balance life around it and about chicken feed and weeding habits and the price of irrigation valves.
Recently, we realized that all that business arguing had, like the farm itself, bled into every other aspect of our lives. We were arguing about really dumb stuff, like whether hives were a good enough reason to keep the girl home from school or whether we should wash the car at a gas station in town or at home in the driveway.
We really aren't like that, or at least, we had never been that way with each other before, and we're coming up on 15 years of marriage. We didn't like it.
It's sad. But in one sense, it feels good to let it go, really; a huge relief. During the five years we have lived on the farm, we have traveled together back east to see our extended families exactly once. We have missed so many barbecues and birthday parties and events with friends we love that we are rarely invited anymore. I feel guilty about how little I've tended those relationships. We have sunk every penny into the farm infrastructure and management, and now that my sister and Matt's parents could use some help, we can't afford to offer any.
In the end, as much as I love the farm, I do honestly believe that marriage, and family, and friends should come before any sort of work, whether you love the work or not. And that hasn't been happening for a long time.
So, we're taking a cue from Mitt Romney and selling the place off in pieces. We split a parcel off the north to sell. We sold the water rights. We are working to sell all the equipment. We will put the remaining 13 acres and our beloved little prairie house on the market as soon as we can get it cleaned up. We're not sure what happens next.
We're both deeply grateful to have been reminded that none of that matters as much as the fact that we're leaving, all of us, very much together.