Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

The Best Thing I Never Knew I Wanted

By  0 Comments

By Sam Monks

Two city kids who knew nothing about living in the country, Craig and I wanted to raise our two boys in the dirt. We didn’t know exactly what that meant, what that looked like or where that would be, but we knew we wanted our boys to be raised with space to be wild, free and learn the value of work. A place to plant a seed and see it become a beautiful flower, a place to raise a few animals, and a garden to grow their own food. And here we are, five years later, living on a five-acre, beautiful piece of land, the former property of dear family friends. Yes, it is a lot of work, like everyone told us it would be, but we have found such joy here. It is all the things we thought it would be and so much more.

Several years ago, we started a little pumpkin patch, and every year it gets bigger and bigger. The boys are involved in all aspects of this orange carpet of harvest, from gopher hunting to laying down the water lines, sowing seeds, harvesting and working the long Saturdays selling pumpkins. Our hope is that this will be that cute little pumpkin patch just outside town where families can create memories as they enjoy the traditional hunt for their jack-o-lanterns and fall décor.

Our small garden out back started out with lots of vegetables and a little fruit. Realizing the family loves fruit more than vegetables, we transitioned to plant more of these foods we like to eat. Now we are preserving jams, jellies, pie fillings, to name a few. We are blessed to have the space to experiment with and grow a wide variety. We are learning every day! Laying out the crops, harvesting, canning, all of it. Thank goodness for YouTube and local Master Gardner resources to walk us through the many steps.

Thirteen chickens, two goats, two dogs and a cat.

All of them have their purpose around here. We started out with four chickens and now have 13 hens. We treat them with leftover salad and goldfish crackers. And they love those crackers! You can’t beat farm-fresh eggs, and the hens lay enough to share with family and friends. Our goats, Gunnar and Justice, are not meat goats or milk goats. Nigerian Dwarf goats, they are perfect for us, fun pets that also work hard. They keep the property tidy as they eat down almost all our trimmings and cuttings on the property. The boys are also learning what it takes to care for the animals.
Right now, I’m most excited about starting our flower business, Monks Blooms! I can’t think of a better way to spend my time, growing beautiful flowers to bring joy to others. This spring we hope to be the local flower farmer for fresh-cut flowers, wedding needs and sweet bouquets.

Part of the freedom of living in the country is the open fields, the ditches and areas available for adventure and fun. We added a dirt bike track out back, which the boys enjoy. We have the most amazing neighbors on our fence line who have quickly become more like family.

This journey to live off the land is still in the beginning stages. Our little desire to buy dirt was really the start of a bigger plan that was unknown to us. Our boys are still young, and it is a joy to watch them love the dirt, the many farm projects and gardening. We know that time is fleeting, and we want our family to soak up as much of this farm life as we can. We wanted to have a place for more time together and fun gatherings with family and friends, and to experience a homestead business, and we realize moving out to a little bit of dirt was honestly the best thing we could have done. We can’t wait to see what’s to come!