Hi! My name is Chrissie and welcome to 1878 Farm, a blog that I’m writing to record our farm life and my personal journey this year to live more fully by living more simply. I’m a farmer, mother, wife, maker, and aspiring writer. My husband and I have been married for 15 years this summer and we have four children ages 13, 12, 10, & 8.
We purchased our current farm, 187 acres and a brick Victorian farmhouse, in 2016 from my husband’s family. It was the farm his grandparents had purchased in the 1950s and operated as a dairy. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the farm had fallen into disrepair and was empty for 8 years before we decided to make this our family’s forever farm. We had and have a lot of work ahead of us, but hard work is something my husband has never shied away from! There is so much history on this farm and I have loved researching the families that have made this farm their home and livelihood before us. Neat fact – the original 200 acres purchased in 1839 by the Smith family are almost all still in tact! Twelve acres was divided out in 1979 for my husband’s grandpa to build his retirement log cabin on, and a small 4 or 5 acre plot was sold to a neighbor to build a house on.
On our previous (much smaller) farm I ran an organic CSA and on farm market. We spent a lot of time learning to do things for ourselves because we wanted to not only have an environmentally sustainable farm, but also a sustainable family life. On the farm I learned to milk goats, raise chickens, pigs, beef cattle, and bees and tapped maple syrup trees. We grew vegetables and fruits for our family and community. At home I learned to make as many things from scratch as I could. I canned and dehydrated and froze the surplus from our gardens and fields. I learned to make candles and soap, to sew clothes and knit scarves and hats and socks. We built up a library of do-it-yourself, homesteading and natural living books that I cherish. For several years I also homeschooled our four kids and although those years were a lot of work I loved all of that time with them.
During the time that we started fixing up the brick farmhouse so that we could live in it – did I mention it had no working electric, water or plumbing, and some very content raccoon and groundhog tenants? – life was very stressful. We had financial stress, the stress of putting in 18 hour days on renovations, and the stress of four kids who were not so sure about their parents crazy plan to move out of a perfectly good and beautiful home into what looked for all extensive purposes like a haunted house. And so many of the things that had been a major part of my life; making, creating, growing a garden, keeping livestock, and homeschooling, were pushed to the side in an effort to just survive.
And so in 2018 our life has become much less stressful. We sold our old home, we are comfortable in our new old house with lights and plumbing, and just a mouse or two, our barns have new siding and stalls and our horses and pigs and goat are happy, our hoophouse is up and waiting for new plastic, and our chickens are laying eggs. So as the new year rolled around and I entered my 39th year of life I knew that it was time to get back to the things that I felt were essential to living life to its fullest. For myself that meant simplifying, slowing down, being present, creating and making things with my hands and my mind. I’m only 17 days into the new year, but they say it takes only 21 days to make something a habit. I can’t wait to see where this year takes my family and I and if I am able to keep to the goals I’ve set for myself.
Although I hope one or two other people may enjoy this blog, I am mostly writing it for myself because it feels like it is another piece of the puzzle I’m trying to sort together. Keeping a written log and maybe hearing from others who have similar dreams and values is important to me on this journey. I hope you enjoy something that you read here, even if it is just entertaining to listen to a crazy lady ramble on!