There has been a resurgence in homesteading and small animal husbandry operations over the last decade. In many cases there is a common theme.
Mark and Nancy
An innocuous enough word. Not a particularly angry word, but one that resonates with many people that have embraced the natural food movement.
Our story is similar to many others out there. Of course, it is more real to us, but that is the nature of these things.
In 2011 Nancy began having episodes of intense abdominal pain. There was no rhyme or reason. She would be fine one moment and in agony the next. One particularly severe episode ended with a ride in an ambulance to the E.R.
Once in the hospital the medical team began a series of tests and scans. They eventually settled on a diagnosis of a rare but threatening condition. Little did they know how right and wrong they were. Surgery was immediately scheduled for early the next morning and we spent the evening getting her prepared.
Off she went to the surgical room. The time projection was 2 hours. At hour 3, I was beginning to become concerned. By hour 4 I was getting anxious. At hour 4.5 I became agitated and started pushing for answers. I was told the surgeon had just finished and was headed up to see me after he cleaned up. When we met he explained that he'd had to open Nancy up and bit more than planned and she needed additional anesthesiology but I had to grant permission in front of her so off we went.
After we had her comfortable the surgeon explained what had happened. The condition they went in to treat was not an issue at all. Instead, they found a tumor growing around a major nerve bundle. When the tumor would flare it would squeeze the nerves which resulted in the painful episodes.
Once they saw the tumor she had to be opened up further so they could look for more. They also had to call an oncologist in for a consult. The result was a much more invasive and longer duration surgery than planned for.
Once Nancy woke up the surgeon explained what was happening. Nancy took the news extremely well and when the surgeon was done she looked over at me and said: I never want to eat anything that we didn't grow ourselves again. I of course said no problem. I'd been given my marching orders.
We'd always had a few raised garden beds but we dramatically increased our production. We'd already been looking at land for recreational purposes but we shifted the search to include properties suitable for homesteading.
In June of 2014 we closed on our property and School Bell Farm was launched. We began working on infrastructure and also started expanding our growing efforts. Soon we added chickens and as with many others, the chickens became our gateway drug to other animal enterprises.
In early 2018 we sold our house and moved full time to the farm. And the rest, as they say, was history...