Last month, Jessica over at The Fioneers led a workshop for the Women’s Personal Finance Insiders on 5 year planning. Part of what she talked about was experimenting about big dreams you have – taking action in the place you’re at but practicing the big stuff.
My head’s been spinning since then. It probably comes as no surprise that I’m constantly dreaming about more acreage to have a “real” farm and homestead instead of being limited to our quarter acre. Often enough, you can find me scrolling online, looking at properties with five, ten, fifty acres for sale. Realizing that we could sell our home and buy many of them outright.
And while we technically could do that, at this point in our lives at least, we won’t. Our day jobs are here, our family is here, and our roots are here. But I can’t help but keep dreaming about the what ifs.
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Experimenting Where We’re At
That piece Jessica walked us through about experimenting has really stuck with me. We did a follow up Zoom chat with the Insiders after the official event, and again she pushed back against my reasons why “I can’t” do those big dreams now. Instead of dwelling on the fact that we aren’t moving any time soon – by choice – she encouraged me to reframe my thinking and focus on the things that I can change. Now.
The more time I’ve spent considering her comments, the more I’ve thought through how true they really are. We may currently be constrained to a quarter acre within the city limits, but that doesn’t mean we’re stuck and out of luck. There’s clearly much more we can do right here.
To start with, finally getting chickens has been huge for feeling like we finally have an “urban homestead” instead of simply a large garden. Like I’ve said a few times now, there’s something about having livestock that feels so much more official than growing only plants.
They aren’t quite old enough to start laying eggs, but they’re already a productive part of our micro farm. Dropped plums from the tree, grubs picked out of the garden, and leftover food scraps head into the run for the chickens to eat. And I’ve already taken chicken manure and added it to a raised bed when swapping out plants after a harvest.
The fact that food scraps go to making eggs and garden compost feels so much better than having them go out to the street and to the industrial composter. Clearly much better than them going to the landfill, but keeping them on our property and supporting the food we produce ourselves is the best.
Creating Our Own Pea Patch
A little while ago, we offered some of our our yard to some friends who live in an apartment with no outside space. We planned with them to create another 4’x8’ garden bed in front of the lines of raised beds we have in the front yard.
After talking about it for a bit, we made plans for them to come over this past weekend to begin the process of building the bed. At one point, she remarked that maybe I should build another bed too while they’re at it. I had told myself that I couldn’t build another bed until the chicken coop was completed, but clearly, the coop is complete these days.
Because of that agreement with myself, I figured that I wouldn’t build any more garden space until at least next spring – and that my next big projects are enclosing the side yard to give the chicks some more space to free range, and building a greenhouse. Raised beds really weren’t on my radar short term.
When she mentioned the option though, I heard Jessica’s words ringing in my head – how could I do more of what I was dreaming about right now. And right now, that means realizing that more raised beds means more garden space immediately, and that they aren’t nearly the same size task as fencing or greenhouse making. So now we have another sixty four square feet of garden space, waiting to be filled in with more plants.
Our friend was so excited about having a small patch of garden of her own. When I first tried my hand at gardening, I just had some pots inside a sunny(ish) apartment window. (Spoiler: everything molded and died that first year). After that, I had a small space in the house we rented in Seattle.
It wasn’t until we moved into this house a decade ago that I had more than the size of that single garden bed – thirty two square feet – to garden myself. And chickens weren’t even a possibility. Seeing our space through our friend’s eyes reminds me that we do have a lot more space than many, and we can do a lot with it.
It might not be acres of growing space of a dreamy working farm, but as my husband remarked tonight, we’re a bit closer to self sufficiency and feeding ourselves on this little patch of land. We have space yet to expand, and lately, I’m seeing our quarter acre with new eyes and reminding myself of how much space it really is.
So today I’m grateful. Grateful that we have this (not so little) patch of land to call our own. Grateful for all our raised beds and our chickens and the space we have yet to expand out into. We may not be able to “have it all” at this house, but we can sure experiment and dream bigger, using every inch we have now.
Will we someday move on to a much larger property with space enough for all my dreams? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But I can sure accomplish many of them on this patch of land.
10-Day Intentional Living Challenge with The Fioneers
After raving about how great our workshop was with Jessica, I wanted to share an upcoming event that she’s putting on beginning August 1st. I would say that if you’re like me and trying to figure out how to balance someday dreams and today’s realities, you should sign up, but honestly, I believe that everyone would benefit from taking a class from Jessica.
Here’s a snippet in her words about the challenge:
A 10-day challenge to help you build awareness and jump-start your lifestyle design process.
In this Intentional Living Challenge, I share my best tools and resources to help you build self-awareness, eliminate things that aren’t adding value to your life, and rediscover joy.
Over the course of the ten days, you’ll work through daily reflection prompts and activities as you work through the 6-module online course. At the end of the challenge, you’ll walk away with a set of goals to help you take control of your life.
If this sounds like something that would benefit you, I would highly recommend signing up. Truly, you won’t regret it. Jessica is amazing, and she really understands how to guide people to live more intentional, wonderful lives. You don’t have to wait until you reach financial independence / your kids are grown / you buy that perfect home. Jessica does an incredible job showing you how to live that more purposeful, amazing life, right now. Sign up here.
Tell me, how are you living an intentional life now? What are you waiting for?