The first time I laid eyes on our mini farm was 17 years ago. We were preparing to build a new home on a few acres we had purchased down the road. Our neighbors mentioned that a nearby older couple was planning to sell their 100 year old farmhouse on 4 acres. As we drove down the street to check it out, the bright sunshine yellow rays of light were beaming from the corner property. Seriously, the yellow farmhouse was so bright, you needed sunglasses to witness the glory.

Instantly I fell in love with the charm and idea of raising our babies in a fairy tale family farm dream. I had visions of my baby girl with me riding piggy back through the field with the boys running ahead of us. The stinkers were free and climbing the pear trees to pick the juiciest fruit ever known to man. In my “love at first sight” vision, I’m pretty sure the blue birds were chirping and angels were singing. Oh goodness, it was awful & beautiful all at the same time. I could easily see past all the fixer upper projects and focus on that huge oak tree that needed a tire swing and giggling toddlers on it.

The owners of the mini family farm were named Herb and Dollie, and they were just the most precious couple I’d ever met. They had been married FOREVER. They raised their young family in Colorado and eventually made their way to the Kansas City-Liberty Missouri border. Herb adored his bride Dollie, planting her sugar maples for Mother’s Day, tending to her orchard trees, and as the years progressed he moved their bedroom to the main floor, when the stairs were too tough for her to climb. You could tell theirs was one of the true & rare love stories. Long before the recent “She Shed” trend, Herb built Dollie her own adorable workshop & craft house for her porcelain doll making kiln. Dollie named it “The Carriage House” complete with a bathroom and studio kitchen.

Herb and Dollie were aging and in their 80s. Eyesight and movement were becoming limited and they were faced with some difficult decisions for their future. Before they agreed to sell to us their family farm, they already had several purchase offers on the table. Dollie knew God’s destiny for our clan and insisted on selling their home to the fireman’s family with all the sweet kids. We obviously didn’t bring the kids in the house to meet her. They were playing out front, an acre away where you can’t hear the name calling and sibling “you idiot” banter. All rowdy children look precious from an acre away, right?!?

They picked us. Yes us… and with that one decision, everything changed. We felt like we had just won the lottery. The gift they gave us years ago, has proven to be more valuable than any winning lottery ticket or gold. We are truly grateful for all the joy, tears and memories they have allowed us to have on their mini farmstead.  

The circa 1900 farmhouse house came complete with 1970’s light fixtures and the standard worn green shag carpet. Over the past 100 years there had been several minor additions with the last remodel in the 70s. That was obvious. The kitchen was tiny and there were not enough bedrooms for our kids. Hey, they can share. Bedrooms are for sleeping and the kiddos can run amuck and play outside on the family farm.

Our home building plans down the road had changed. We were now giving up the blue print drawings of a huge master suite and luxurious bath in the brand new modern home.  The farmhouse didn’t have a master suite, so we were moving our bed into the 10×10 den. Who needs a master bath? We can use the bathroom off the kitchen. We agreed to sacrifice convenience because the charm meter was off the charts.

Before moving in, we were instantly hit with thousands of dollars in septic, roof and basement repairs. As a stay at home mom with a fireman’s salary providing for 6, times were tight and we were frugal. My man was handy with tools, so we did most repairs and updates ourselves. The hard work and joy were so worth it.

We’ve had bonfires, lemonade stands, firework displays and lots of smoked BBQ. Under the willow tree in the back, you can find our furry family members in the pet cemetery. Sadie Jane was our trusted Golden Retriever and Fat Cat Momma was the kitty that thought she was a dog. Every corner of our mini farm has treasured memories.  We have tree houses and forts, paint ball gun arenas and tire swings, along with volleyball nets and skateboarding ramps. Sweet Herb and Dollie left us with their family farm produce complete with pear and apple trees as well as the most fragrant white sweet pea flowers and peonies.

The traditions and joy of moving into someone else’s family farm is indescribable. They hand you their memories and you promise to carry on their heritage and family values. Herb and Dollie have both since passed away, but have left us with their legacy and a very special porcelain doll for my daughter. At Herb’s funeral, we enjoyed hearing the stories from their grandkids. My favorite was Dollie sending a grandchild to the airport with freshly made applesauce in a glass too hot to hold. Now that is fresh. In their homesteading spirit, we now raise chickens and bees as well as a few grape vines. We are tapping our maple trees for syrup and our garden is as full as our hearts. I hope our mini farmstead inspires you and shows you what you can do with your place. You don’t need that much space to enjoy your family and pass on the love to the next generation.

Thank you guys SO MUCH for stopping by today to see what we are up to. We appreciate our community of friends.

Blessings to you!

Lana

XO

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