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How to Ditch the City and Start a Farm

How to Ditch the City and Start a Farm.001

Well, it’s been nearly 8 months since we gave up our big city-living and moved to the backwoods of Western North Carolina. My husband and I were both raised in large cities, so raising our children the same way just felt normal.

However there always was this itch and this itch just started to grow and grow. It would be in small ways at first…like me traveling hours to visit small farms to let my kids play with the animals or to pick blueberries. Then it grew much bigger…we started searching for homes in the suburbs that allowed chickens and possibly goats. Our realtor thought we were crazy and didn’t understand us. Β We hit roadblock after roadblock and after *almost* buying a very expensive house on ONE acre (which we thought was a lot of land), because that was all there was, we felt like our dreams of homesteading were crushed.

What If

I remember the first time we played the “what if” game. My husband said to me one night, “what if we moved somewhere else.” At first, I was caught off guard that he was entertaining the same thought I was. Then I played “devil’s advocate” and said that we were raised in Orlando, this is where our families live, this is where we *should* live……….right?

This went on for months and we started going deeper with our feelings. My husband asked me where I always dreamed of living…he knew my answer but it’s just a dream….right? I mean, it’s just a game you play, like MASH as a little girl. You don’t really go and live in your dream place. You just dream about it...right?

Ok, so you get the drift of how confusing of a time this was for us. We both loved Western North Carolina. We loved visiting it and we even rented a cute little cabin near Asheville one year. We finally agreed that WNC was our dream place to live and we finally entertained the thought that we had the choice to move there *one day*. Sigh….one day….there it is again.

And then I said it. I said, “Why one day?” And my husband looked at me and felt the same way. Let’s do this NOW! Life is too short to not live and do what you dream of doing! And that was how it all began!


How We Ditched the City and Started Farming

1) We Found a Job

This is much harder for some people…I know that. But, it’s worth trying, right? So, we drew a 100 mile radius around our dream city, Asheville, NC on a map and my husband applied at all the jobs in that radius that fit his career. We heard back from a few and we chose one! We came and visited the nearby city and we fell in, complete, love with the place. Actually how it really happened when we sealed the deal was like this: we went to a nearby vineyard and sat down and looked out at the beautiful mountains. I looked over at my husband and said, “let’s do it“!

2) We Found a Rental Home

We still weren’t ready to buy. We have been aggressively paying off debt for a year now following the Dave Ramsey plan. So, we knew that we needed to find a rental home that allowed us to start doing our homestead dreams. We found a perfect home on Craigslist that had 4 acres of land, a barn, a huge chicken coop, and a beautiful fenced pasture. We plan on staying in this home for a few more months till we are ready to buy.

3) We Said Our Goodbyes & Sold a Ton of Stuff

This was the hardest part of the move. It’s hard to leave your family, but it’s so rewarding to follow your dreams. So, we downsized and sold a lot of stuff to make the move easier. We sold our king set (we just sleep on a mattress on the floor now!), dining room table, and all our large furniture. This isn’t necessary but we wanted a fresh start and we needed the money for the move. In fact, we are just now (8 months later) starting to buy furniture again! We waited till we were 100% out of debt, which we are now!

4) We Ordered Chickens!


Seriously, I had the chicks ordered and planned for delivery before we were even in the state! I was so excited to start homesteading and couldn’t wait for my own pastured eggs! Chickens are the best way to start homesteading. They are the easiest animals to care for. It takes about 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night to care for my chickens. As chicks, you need a few things, like a brooder area (we use stacks of straw for this), a heating lamp, and food and water bowls. Start-up costs is under $100 and that is including ordering the chicks online and paying shipping. You usually can find chicks local at a feed store for pretty cheap too!

5) I Found My Goats


I had my goats planned, as well, before we even were in North Carolina. I knew I wanted fresh, raw, goat milk. Goats are MUCH easier to keep than cows and I am more keen on goat’s milk than cow milk. I found a lady on Craigslist who was selling a goat-in-milk and her doeling. I arranged for us to pick them up about a week after we moved. It actually is a hilarious story if you would like to go read about it! I watched You Tube videos on how to milk a goat for hours but it did NO good. You have to just learn it hands-on and it does take a little practice! However, it’s so worth it. My goat has been giving us nearly a half gallon a day for the past 8 months that we have had her. Sadly, I’m drying her off right now because she is pregnant (and so is her baby!) and needs a little break before her babies come in the early summer.

6) We Started Composting


There is a local furniture store near us that gives away pallets and these large pallet containers. We grabbed them and started using it to hold our compost in. We definitely planned on a spring/summer vegetable garden so we started composting right away. We throw most our vegetable and fruit scraps to the chickens but we compost everything else! Composting is so easy.

7) We Started Raising Meat Rabbits


I don’t even know how we started doing this but it has become my husband’s favorite thing so far. We have 3 does (the moms) and 2 bucks (the boys) and we breed them every other month or so. Actually they are due any minute now for this round! The benefit of meat rabbits is that they reproduce a ton and have short pregnancies. Their meat is like chicken too! One set of meat rabbits (one buck and one girl) can give you 400lbs of meat a year! We pasture the offspring before they are ready to be butchered, that way they are living as natural as possible and eating lots of fresh grass.

8) We Slowed Down & Relish Our Life


This has been THE HARDEST thing for me to do since we have moved away from our city life. You never would have thought that slowing down would be so difficult, but it really is…especially if you are used to hurry, hurry, hurry everywhere you go. The drivers here drive me crazy…they are so pokey! It’s all a mindset and just truly realizing that being rushed is pointless. It doesn’t’ get you anywhere any faster. It just stresses you out and causes anxiety.


How to Ditch the City and Start a Farm | .001

We couldn’t be happier with our decision to ditch the city and start a farm. Our kids absolutely adore their new life here. They miss their family, of course, but we are our own family now and it’s important to us to do what is best for them. The city was scaring me more-and-more and the thought of raising my kids there just kept me up at night.

Now they are able to cherish simple things like the joy of collection eggs, and planting seeds and watching them grow, and watching animals give birth! It is amazing to see how they thrive in this environment.

Books I Recommend: Raising Dairy Goats | Raising Chickens for Dummies | The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It | Back to Basics | Let it Rot | Storey’s Guide to Raising Meat Rabbits

Websites I Recommend: The Prairie Homestead | Weed em’ & Reap | The Elliott HomesteadΒ | Blue Yurt Farms


Have you ever thought about ditching your city life and starting a homestead or a farm? Leave a comment and tell me about it! I’d love to connect with you!

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111 Responses to How to Ditch the City and Start a Farm

  1. Sarah March 28, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    Do you kill the rabbits yourself and all that or do you have to take them somewhere for that? I am really curious about how to get started with raising your own meat. One day I would like to start a farm and raise chickens for eggs and for meat but I do not like the thought of having to kill them myself. How do you do it?
    I love your blog by the way! πŸ™‚

    • The Paleo Mama March 29, 2014 at 11:04 am #

      We butcher them ourselves but you can easily have someone else do it. Just put a craiglist post up and see if anyone can come do it for you. They can probably clean them too and package them up. We plan on doing it all ourselves though because we are trying to be as sustainable as possible.

    • Amanda May 10, 2014 at 11:26 am #

      Rabbits are the easiest animals to process yourself. After a little bit of practice it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to take it from live to ready to cook. There are a ton of youtube video on it. If you can get past the sad psychological part of killing it the actual physical act is easy and if you seriously have issues processing the animals you are raising for meat then maybe you shouldn’t be raising them! πŸ™‚

  2. Betty Jo March 28, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    Love, love, love your story! I just moved back to within an hour of Asheville myself last weekend after living away for eighteen years. A lot has changed in the area but not the incredible mountains surrounding me now. I never want to live any place else until heaven!! My son and family will be soon moving to this area as well. It’s God’s country!!

    • The Paleo Mama March 29, 2014 at 11:03 am #

      Oh that is awesome Betty Jo! It’s so beautiful here and I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon!!!

  3. Cara March 28, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    I am a country girl but never had any experience with animals or more than just a salad garden.. We just started “homesteading” our little two acres and it is so addicting! We have about 75? or so chickens… (my husband can’t go to the feed store without bringing home more) and just started with our meat rabbits, expecting our first litter next week! Our garden is growing more every year. It feels good to grow your own food and not be totally dependent on others for our daily necessities. We have a lot to learn but have so much fun trying new things. Great article and good luck on your adventure!

    • The Paleo Mama March 29, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Thank you Cara! We just had a new litter this morning of 8 rabbits!! It’s so fun raising them!

  4. Melissa March 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    We all miss you here in Orlando but are so happy for your family & amazed at how much you have accomplished in a short period of time!!! If anyone is trying to find country living in the city (since we can’t get Jackie to move back here), come be my new neighbor. My current neighbors are selling their renovated 3/2 home with a newly refinished pool on over 3 acres. Horse ready barn. We’re zone agriculture πŸ™‚

    Listing here:

    • The Paleo Mama March 29, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Oh wow that is great! We miss you too Melissa! and lol…I’m stuck here! Love it too much!

  5. Liz March 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    This is my dream! Congrats on the bold move–it looks like you’re reaping the rewards. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. This is inspiring! I grew up in the country (though not exactly on a farm), as did my husband. And we are happy in the city… most of the time!
    Sometimes I wonder if we should move. I’m wondering harder now! πŸ™‚
    ~ Christine

  7. lala March 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    This is my 2015 goal!! I live in Boston, MA but own land in Jamaica, WI that I want to move to full time, build a small cottage and raise chickens, goats and plants. (w/ my hubby of course!) No kids yet but planning and want to bring them into such an environment. it all ties into my dream of a sustainable wellness oasis on an island. This article proves its not crazy and totally doable!!!!


    • The Paleo Mama March 29, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      No, you’re not crazy!!!

      • Ivan May 4, 2014 at 9:51 am #

        No, she IS crazy. And so are you. And so am I! But that’s a good thing to be crazy enough to pursue dreams. Embrace being called crazy because it won’t stop and it simply means your life will never be normal (and boring!). I take crazy as a compliment. Congrats to all you crazy people making it happen!

  8. Emily March 28, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    This is great! We are looking at building on 1.5ac so we’ll have more space for things like this. We will need a well and septic – any advice on that? If you have well water, do you use a certain treatment system? Thanks!

    • The Paleo Mama March 29, 2014 at 11:00 am #

      I wish I had more advice on it…I’m sure I will in a few months when we are looking to buy or build. We have well water right now.

    • Deanna May 10, 2014 at 11:25 am #

      Make sure your well and septic system are AT LEAST 100 feet apart. In most places, you don’t need any kind of treatment system for your well water…you may want to occasionally test your well water with a simple water test (have them at Home Depot or Amazon) to make sure it hasn’t become contaminated. We tested ours shortly after we moved in…and then again 2-3 years later. You do need to set up a pressure tank or else you’ll have no water pressure in the house. We also have a sediment filter in our well house so that it doesn’t taste like dirt.

  9. Pam G March 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    It is my dream to do this before I’m too old….thanks for the glimpse into heaven!

  10. Dena Walley March 28, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    I love this! We’d like to be there too one day— yes, one day! πŸ™‚ Our goal would be to stay put for 2 more years to let our littlest one get a little older and our biggest one old enough to watch the rest of them so we can get out without them sometime. Then, we’re going to hopefully do a travel nurse position in England for 6 months then move to the Charlotte area. We don’t want a farm but do want a bit more land to spread out on and to live closer to the mountains! Thanks for sharing your thoughts… good stuff!

  11. Michael S. Doran March 28, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

    My wife and I often talk about getting out of Phoenix and moving to some place more rural. You are an inspiration. Thank you!

  12. Luke March 28, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    Great article! I’m actually going through this transition now so it’s helpful to see how others fare in moving from urban to rural life. I’ll be migrating from Boston, MA to Asheville hopefully by Summer. Any areas you’d suggest over others? Marshall, Weaverville and Waynesville seem to grab my attention the most due to the prices and amount of land on the properties.

    • The Paleo Mama March 29, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      It kind of depends on what you are looking for. Rural areas are Barnardsville, Rutherforton, Hickory, Lenoir but they are still close to Asheville or Hendersonville which are larger cities and have all you need!

      • Heather May 2, 2014 at 6:07 am #

        First, let me congratulate you on going for your dream! Second, I would like to suggest that you might look for a farm just over the state line (ok, it’s an hour from Asheville!) in East Tennessee. We are in Greene County, TN and it is beautiful! We sold our 15 acre farm in NC and bought 31 acres here FOR 1/2 THE PRICE! Also, TN has no state income tax!
        Greeneville, TN is a beautiful little town, with everything we need and lots of kindred spirits in the organic/sustainability mindset.

        • Vanessa August 1, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

          Thanks for this response! We are looking at moving to the Asheville area and will look at TN now that I read this! Not sure if my husband wants to be that far from Asheville but it’s worth a shot especially since we are moving from FL with no state tax as well. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  13. Christine March 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    My fear has always been that it will be too lonely or my kids won’t have neighbors to play with. What have you found?

    • The Paleo Mama March 29, 2014 at 10:57 am #

      I’m too busy to be lonely and the kids have friends at church that they play with. They love hanging out with the animals too and we have become a stronger family because we spend more time together and don’t have to divide our time among “everybody else”.

      • Lynn S April 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

        Just a comment on your kids question. We raised ours very rurally when they were little. They had each other, us, the outdoors, an occasional playmate. They spent most of their time outdoors with our dog and their imaginations. They both admit, but our son especially, that they had the best childhoods. I think it also contributed to how healthy they are/were.

  14. Laura at March 29, 2014 at 1:34 am #

    Yes, we dream of it often! We have 0.28 of an acre here in the city and we can at least garden and have fruit trees, but chickens are against city by laws. πŸ™ my question for you is, do you find it hard to keep up with the workload since your DH goes to work in the city? Does it all end up falling on you?

    • The Paleo Mama March 29, 2014 at 10:56 am #

      No, my husband can usually help me before he leaves for work. So we do morning chores together which takes 15-20 minutes. Then in the afternoon me and the kids go out and take care of things and hang out with the animals. I enjoy the work that goes with it though…it’s my hobby so I don’t mind doing it all if I have to. It is hard at times with the kids, but I drag them along and it’s getting easier as they get older and help out more and more.

  15. Ashley March 29, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    Nice Jackie! We too did the same thing….grew up in Atlanta. Moved to a Montana city 13 years ago and then 2 years ago moved out to a 20 acre farm in the country where we homestead and raise our own food. Its awesome! And a wonderful place to raise kids! Join us at on our homestead blog @

    Love your blog Jackie! You are an inspiration to so many!

  16. Ramona March 31, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    Love your site! We hope to have a larger place farther away from the city in Wyoming by 2016. We have been thinking about raising rabbits as that is the only meat animal we could raise at our house for now. What are you feeding your rabbits and have you figured out how much each rabbit costs you to raise? Are your rabbits New Zealands?

    • The Paleo Mama April 1, 2014 at 11:06 am #

      We feed our rabbits some grain pellets, alfalfa hay,and lots of leafy vegetables. I haven’t figured out how much it costs to keep them. Not much! I could estimate….we have 7 rabbits that are on grain and alfalfa and we go through about 2-3 bags of feed a month ($15 a bag). They only eat around 1/4-1/2 cup a day. They eat mostly alfalfa hay, grass and leafy greens.

  17. Stacey April 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Hi Jackie! I love reading your blog and following not only Paleo Mama but also the essential oil Facebook page. My husband and I are both from the mountains of NC, me from Boone and him from Murphey, and we want to get back ASAP. We have thought about meat rabbits too, so I have a question for you on that point. Do you sell the meat, the rabbit, or just use for yourselves? If you sell, how do you go about doing that? Thank you and please keeping sharing!

    • The Paleo Mama April 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      We haven’t sold any yet. We are mostly raising them for our consumption. I would sell to a friend if they were interested in starting meat rabbits! We found our rabbits from a few people on Craigslist though.

  18. Dom De Bellis April 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    I feel like this article is written directly to me! I have lived in Chicago most of my life and in 5 days I’m moving to rural Michigan to start an organic farm with my friends up there. I’m so excited. I’ll have 19 chicks brooding by the time of my arrival as well as some ducklings. Soon I want to get goats. I want to grow food year round in walipini greenhouses, keep meat rabbits, do aquaponics, and slow down my life and live more simply, close to the land. I just can’t wait!

  19. Holly Montgomery May 1, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Love your blog! I grew up in a more rural area of Kentucky, but moved to the “big cities” after high school (Los Angeles, DC). However, I was not at all made for city life. I dream every day about living in the country and would like to have chickens and goats and grow my own food. For years now, I have perused websites and Craigslist ads for acreage. Alas, I play music for a living and wouldn’t be viable if I lived too far from cities. I feel it will be a great regret if I never live in the country again though. Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. Sandi Rust May 4, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    We moved from th the city and retired from the Army already planning to live in the country and (me) start a farm. I’ve had a rough go at it – first becoming very ill and fighting an infection that took part of my heel and two of my toes, losing an eye, and diabetes. Then the need for finances and “s** happens” situations. I find myself needing help to get started. I’m essentially working this by myself (hubby is a trooper, but it born and bred city-folk, he’ll mow and do a lot of chores, but helping me garden is limited to digging up the rocky soil with a pickax. I have managed to get a rosebush and rosemary to grow and We have a smattering of Jerusalem artichokes springing up again this year, and joy! My bay laurel survived it’s near-killing by this last winter storms – New growth!

  21. Lisa May 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    This is so inspiring! This is what we dream of doing ourselves. I was born and raised in the city. We now live in the suburbs and I feel like it is so crowded. Our boys can’t even throw a football. And the taxes are skyrocketing. We are limited, though, because of my husband’s job. He has been with them 15 years, so it would be difficult to start over. He works 2 minutes from where we live right now. He said he would be willing to drive an hour or so to work, but that still limits us. We want acres and chickens and a huge garden. Maybe someday….

  22. Carolyn May 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    I am so happy for you, you are truly living my dream. I think of ways to make this happen for my family every single day. I have 3 boys and truly believe that they need to be out of the suburbs of Chicago and running around in the country where they are free to be themselves without harsh looks from the neighbors. I grew up on a sugar cane plantation in the south and miss the country every single day. You are inspiring me to push to make this happen for us as well. Thank you and enjoy your new happy life.

  23. Amanda May 10, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    This sounds very similar to our journey. We were living in a busy metro area. Slowly we began raising chickens and rabbits in a tiny back yard and we kept talking about “someday” when we have a farm. Finally after spending an entire afternoon with my family talking about how nice it would be to have land I turned to my husband and said “what is stopping us?”. The only thing holding us back was the fact that we owned a house so the next day we called a Realtor and placed our house on the market. It was sold within 3 months and now we are in an apartment temporarily while we are waiting for our land purchase to finalize! Very exciting. I plan to follow basically the rest of the steps you have listed here to fulfill the rest of our dream πŸ™‚

  24. Marquita Martin May 10, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    You make it sound so doable! I want to move to East Texas where my family is from, right now I’m in the Ft. Worth area. I’ve been trying to find a job down there for two years at least, nothing so far. I’m a social worker so there really isn’t too much there for that, but maybe eventually I’ll find something. I’m older and single, but still want to try!

  25. Molly Blonde May 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    I really like your story. I also lived on a farm for 10 yrs. Had to start from scratch. Was quite an adventure. Can identify with you. We have a very close knit family as our 3 girls were always with us. We were able to impact their lives without too much worldly influence and that helped to impart Godly values into their lives. Now we have 3 lovely young ladies. We can only praise God for this opportunity ! πŸ™‚

  26. Josh Merriam May 13, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Thanks for sharing your story! My wife and I have been feeling this tug too to get out of the ‘burbs and be more self-sufficient. There’s something to be said for getting back to the basics and raising your children in this environment. I’ve been working a website for a group of lady homesteaders that’s going up soon that you might be interested in called the Ladies Homestead Gathering. Right now there’s a Facebook page up at Cheers!

  27. Claire May 13, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    This story is very similar to mine! I was born in Chicago and raised in upper middle class suburbs around the Midwest all my life. In college, I met a guy who grew up in a town with fewer people than went to my high school and had an agriculture background. We fell in love and got married. Now, I live on 80 acres(… which seems like a ton!), raise chickens, grow a huge garden, and cook the meat my husband hunts. Greenhouses, goats and grass fed cows are on the radar. My friends from home and parents sometimes think it’s a little crazy. And, yeah, maybe it is. But, I love it.

    Congrats on making the big move! I will be in Asheville later this month… any good local food recs? πŸ™‚

  28. Lesley June 4, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! I am currently hoping my husband will come around to my Los Angeles to Farm dreams! So glad it’s working for you.

  29. kristi June 15, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    I love your blog. We are in the process of paying our debt off so we can purchase a home with acreage. We rather have zero debt before we die in this adventure. We have been watching the market and trying to figure out where to settle. It was great to read your story and your process in choosing where to go. I will be sharing with my hubby.

  30. Brandy June 23, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    I dream of a simple life like this…Good for you for making it a reality!

  31. Kristi June 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    DREAM!!! Such a big dream. And being that I am 30 and single with 3 children due to a divorce that I NEVER thought would happen, I feel hopeless and wonder if my dream will ever come true. πŸ™

  32. Miranda Holman July 10, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Love this post! We leave in Rural Arkansas but in town. We are in the process of selling our home and moving to the country where we will have chickens and goats! The property has 2 large garden spots, a well and an old barn. I am so excited to get moved and get my homesteading on!

  33. Tina July 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    “The city was scaring me more-and-more and the thought of raising my kids there just kept me up at night.” — and that is exactly why we moved out of the city. We found a perfect home on a large corner lot in a tiny town. Not exactly space for goats, but we have a huge garden and lots of learning opportunities for the kids (ahem, the children, not the goats..)

  34. Laureen August 11, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    I love your site! I love reading about your progress. It’s nice to see a blog where the people grew up in the city. You know the challenges we face. I grew up in Boston all my life and now live outside of Dallas. I’m a single mom raising my boy on one income only. It’s hard as hell!! But early last year I started doing little things. Homemade cleaners, homemade laundry soap, farmers markets, canning, growing herbs, doing things to reduce electricity and water, I make all my dairy by hand. etc.

    Do you have any other recommendations or things that you did in your city home that you can offer? I have a patio that is quite large but the Texas sun kills anything on it. I’d love to start a garden even indoors. I wish I had the means to do what you do. I work near the city, so buying a home far enough away to have a small farm would keep my boy home alone alot. So feel very stuck. I’m unhappy with city life and my boy is severe ADHD who MUST keep busy. He LOVES gardening and making soap! Seeing him grow one little tomato last year and the pride in his face…..was priceless. Anything I can do to make our lil apartment home more hands on and simple I’d appreciate!

  35. Brianna Baker August 18, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

    I absolutely loved this blog! My boyfriend and I are currently planning to move out of the city and start a of our own. We love the idea of living off the land and animals that we have. Learning to be completely self sufficient. I love the idea of meat rabbits, I never knew they produced so much meat! I definitely think that’s going to be part of our plan now! πŸ™‚

  36. Wendy September 20, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi Jackie,

    Oh yes do I think about starting a homestead life! It’s a dream well dreamed for I don’t know how long. It’s so good to read you too actually did it! We are still in the “looking around” and “thinking seriously about it” mode. So the first part of your story made me laugh, that’s so us!

    Wishing you a happy day,

  37. nuggethead September 23, 2014 at 3:45 am #

    I am so inspired right now to start a self-sufficient property. That is one of my dreams right now. I have only just started looking at properties etc. So its still pretty far fetched at the moment but I think I am going to start heading towards it. It’s a pretty big step to take, so I am finding it quite daunting process.

  38. Suzi H September 23, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    I could’ve written your opening paragraph myself! I grew up in Orlando myself and thought that was the only way of life. I ended up marrying a country boy originally from Arkansas and we eventually moved to another county west of Orlando on five wooded acres out in the country. He talked me into getting chickens and that was the beginning of our desire to have a hobby farm and being self sufficient one day. We ended up selling that place and we are currently traveling from job to job and saving every penny we can to buy a farm in Kentucky which we are hoping will happen in about two years. Meanwhile, it’s been tough not having chickens or a garden but we are trying to stay focused on our future and as along as there are jobs for Hubby on the road then we will keep traveling (we are wanting to pay cash for the farm so that we have zero debt).

    What an awesome life you are living and giving to your children! Orlando is getting pretty scary now from what I hear from family back in Florida and it’s good you made the bold choice to move on. Best of wishes to y’all.

  39. Charini October 22, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    Your story = My story. Seriously.
    We just had to move half hour away from Fayetteville, AR (we were living in an apartment, I know thats the worse nightmare) and now we are in a house with 3 acres of land, chickens, dogs and cats. Loving our life right now. We only pay half of what we payed rent in the apartment. Gonna get goats next year, and do a lot, I mean a LOT of gardening! We downsized too, because the house was small, and we are sleeping on a mattress on pallets now. It looks like a nice set up though. Pinterest definitely gave me that idea.
    Both are families had nothing good to say about our beautiful property, nothing. But we didn’t give up! =)

  40. Kayleigh October 28, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    I just stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for paleo pumpkin cookies and I am so happy I did! You have an incredible story and wonderful message. My husband and I got into eating paleo about a year ago to just be healthier and from there it has steamrolled into so many things.I have be doing the no poo hair and beauty regime now successfully for 5 months and and am starting to bring it into our household with cleaning products and medicine. I saw that you posted you were from Orlando, we live in the Tampa area and love when we get to go out more into the county and my husband has talked about us having chickens and goats etc in the future. We don’t have nay kids yet but I do not want to raise my children in the city or school system as well. I just feel that our youth and creativity is robbed from us and I applaud in all that you are doing to raise a happy, healthy family. Very inspiring to see that this far away dream could be a reality down the road. Thank you for sharing your story.

  41. Amanda November 7, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    I am DYING to do just this and have begun to think that I am crazy!!!!! I’m obsessed with research about how to start and daydreaming of how life COULD be if we were to just take the plunge!

  42. Kim December 19, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    OMGosh this is so funny I would find this article! We are doing the EXACT thing on 12/30/14!!!! We are moving to Jefferson, NC, renting while we look for a house to purchase, we’ve sold or given away 1/2 of our 4 bedroom house and everything else you’ve mentioned. It’s our eventual desire to do exactly what you describe here! LOL. We are so excited and scared. It’s just myself & my husband both 51, our daughter is grown & married and so we are starting this new life is a little over a week!!!!!!!

  43. Johnny Breaux January 3, 2015 at 8:35 am #

    This is my unfulfilled passion (wife isn’t buying it…. at least for now).

  44. Perry January 4, 2015 at 3:22 am #

    Instead of doing it all yourself, maybe find a guy who is already an established farmer? I imagine the online dating sites have search criteria that could help narrow the pool down like that. And your profile could include what you really want from your dream too, so that any guy reading it knows if it aligns to his own dream right away too. Personally, I’ve read hundreds of women’s online profiles and they all talk about the past and present, but few talk about the future dreams. You’d stand out more and would probably even turn the right guy on by actually having a dream (otherwise called “passion”!) Just some thoughts. Hope it helps.

  45. Perry January 4, 2015 at 3:25 am #

    (Clarification: My comment was in reply to the post by “Kristi” the single mom. But, not sure why my comment is now showing up at the bottom of the entire blog though.)

  46. Sharon February 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    You are inspiring. We live in the city (suburbs) and own a former dairy farm in upstate NY. Hubby and I love it and definitely feel that itch but I keep thinking I’m “crazy” or that I only feel that itch because every time I’m there, I feel like I’m on vacation. So needless to say, I’m too scared to make the move. Also have 4 kids – 2 are 17 & 19 and the other 2 are 8 & 9. I would be dragging my older ones and they don’t even like going there now, let alone even discuss moving. The little ones are perfect age – a few more years though and they will feel dragged too. I feel so torn πŸ™

  47. debbie March 6, 2015 at 12:58 am #

    Your dream has been my dream since I was a young girl. I had a little taste of farm life when Grandma took me to visit a relative (don’t remember the name or relationship-just the experience) who had what I thought was a farm and some chickens. That has been more than 55 years ago. Is it too late to live my dream if I get the opportunity? All I really want is several acres where my 11 grandkids and I can play and ride ATVs and experience nature and raise some chickens and grow a large garden. Am I a crazy 60+ year old who needs to let her dream go? or should I pursue it til it happens or die trying!?!

  48. Ashley March 7, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    This is EXACTLY what my family and I are trying to do. Right now we live in Connecticut and are trying to save up enough to move to Asheville, NC. My brother and a few cousins live in Asheville so we wont be completely alone although we will be leaving my kids grandparent behind πŸ™ We’ve already started selling a lot of our belongings so we wont have to get a big moving truck. I’m just having trouble finding a house to rent with enough land that is within our price range.We have 4 children 3 boys and 1 girl so I would need at least a 3br. I just want to make this big move while they’re all still young (my oldest will be 10 in oct) I was beginning to get discouraged but you have given me new hope. Thank you

    • The Paleo Mama March 10, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

      So glad you found it helpful…just do it! You will love it.

  49. lena Sprowl March 18, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    We are fixing to do what you have did. We are debt free but our home. We desire to start a healing farm for special needs children. Plus others to come too. To get healed p, delivered and set free. We have a 15 year old daughter. Who is being healed of Autism. We have been praying about this for over 12 years. The Lord said the time is now. So we started packing our entire house last week. We don’t know where yet. Tn or NC. Would love to connect with you. Blessing. We live in Murfreesboro, Tn at the present moment. Blessings Lena

  50. Jasmin March 25, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    I love your story! We would love to do a tiny house and begin our own little family farm. We live in Iowa but want to move somewhere a bit warmer. How’s the weather in North Carolina? I’ve heard from so many it’s beautiful there! How long did it take you to go from deciding to move to moving day? I’d love to do this even this summer. I hate the 9-5 mentality and I’m eager for us to begin a new adventure where we reap the benefits instead of hearing my boss tell me how much money he makes…. -.- How long have you been doing this? Any tips for us?? Thanks!!

  51. erica kyp April 14, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    This is perfect, I’m so excited I found your blog. My family of 5 are about to the do the same thing this summer, we are leaving San Francisco, CA moving to Bellivelle, WI — the straight country — where we have loads of family. My hub lost his job and we have decided to make our “someday/ what if” come to life before our kids become to “city”. We were both raised in the busy Bay Area and don’t like what its becoming. We just can’t wait until school is out so we can start our new life. Meanwhile I’m selling everything we can live without and reading everything I can about this transition. Thank you for sharing your story with strangers, it has made me even more excited about our change.
    Erica Kyp

    • The Paleo Mama April 15, 2015 at 8:56 am #

      So glad to hear you are about to start on the new adventure. You will love it.

    • The Paleo Mama April 15, 2015 at 8:58 am #

      so glad to hear you are starting on this new adventure soon. You will love it.

  52. Angelo N Velez April 16, 2015 at 7:43 am #

    Good day mam,
    I would just like to say that your story is truly inspiring. My wife and I are in the same position right now. We have lived in San Diego and moved back home to NYC after I got out of the Marine Corps. We realized very quickly we couldn’t handle the lifestyle we left here in NYC. We are in the process of moving soon. (Texas here we come!)we want our own land where we can thrive and be more independent. We don’t want the fast paced city life. We want to raise our kids in a similar environment as you have decided to raise your children. I want to thank you for sharing your story as it has given me some great ideas for when we get there. It has also reinforced my decision and gives me great excitement for what’s ahead for my family.My website is brand new(one week old:/ ) so It doesn’t have any content, yet. Take care.

  53. cee tee April 24, 2015 at 11:21 pm #

    this is my ultimate goal. to live an honest, earthly cycle of life. greed free, family and love full. its a great starter article and perfect first step to living and independent lifestyle. id really like to end dependence on the grid and build a strong family. im sorry i havent read your blog, do you have a water source? and supplemental energy input?

    • The Paleo Mama April 27, 2015 at 9:10 am #

      We are in the process of moving to a 10-acre farm which does have its own well. It does not yet have a supplemental energy source, so we will be considering that.

  54. kristin @ petal and thorn May 3, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    i know you wrote this a long time ago, but i just have to thank you for sharing your story. my husband and i are in that daydreaming stage. we live in OC, Cali and are really desiring a more natural, slower paced environment (preferably, one where water shortages aren’t a big issue!) we do have a lot of family ties here, and it’s hard for me to imagine living anywhere but socal, but i have a vision of my kids climbing trees and catching tadpoles, and i just can’t shake it. i’m forwarding this to my husband- i think it might light the fire under our butts to make this dream a reality.

    • The Paleo Mama May 4, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

      So glad to hear you are considering farming. If you follow my blog you will know that we have just now finally found our “forever farm,” and are so excited to be seeing our dream take root! Keep dreaming!

  55. lydia larae May 5, 2015 at 1:40 am #

    I know this is an older post, but I have to say that I’m glad you shared your story here. It’s very inspiring.

  56. Manon May 26, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    This is exactly what I want for my life! We are already in a small town but feel this incredible need to… go! Now looking for a large property to start this new life near where my husband works and finish our house to sell, maybe even in the next year!

  57. Aaron May 26, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    You all are living my dream! I have 5 more years until I retire with the military and we are doing the same as you. Buying some land and raising the kids in a country environment. We are both from the country and we cannot wait to get back to our roots and the laid back lifestyle. The city is NOT the place I want my son to grow up these days!

  58. Laura C. May 27, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    I loved your article I read it through Organic Gardening’s FB page. My name is Saren Dipity on FB if you will please allow me to join your FB group. I’m not allowed to have an e-mail account in my name for work.
    I recently moved to rural MO and I love it. I admire your ability to butcher rabbits. I have a small hobby farm with chickens but I can’t kill anything to eat it. Aside from that you and I have a lot of the same goals.

  59. Alicia May 28, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    You’re living my dream! My husband and I, after may years of “what ifs” just made a 5 year plan (that includes paying off debt). Then we’re land hunting. I’m excited, but a little worried. We are the only ones around to take care of my dad and his mom. Any thoughts on moving far from the parents we should be taking care of if their aging doesn’t end up as great as it is right now? We be moving far (several states away) when we get to our goal.

    • Jackie Ritz May 29, 2015 at 8:42 am #

      Just a couple thoughts. First, think through all of the ramifications and know you have come up with the best plan. Then also, distance is no longer the huge factor it used to be. If you are not totally needing to be caregivers, then you can communicate via Skype as often as you want, and you can travel great distances in a short period of time. Last, trust God to help you make the right decision in every step, both as you start and as time goes by.

  60. Heather Bell June 18, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    This has given me so much inspiration. This is my dream! I’m starting the count down to make it happen.
    A friend has offered us some land to put a house on. The count down begins to when I will make this happen. Our current lease is up 7/16
    This is how I have always dreamed of living. The idea of possibly having a couple acres to do with as I will! Gah

  61. TIFFANY RYAN June 23, 2015 at 7:32 pm #


  62. Ava June 27, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    Thank you for writing this piece. We live in Philadelphia currently but are in that “dreaming of somewhere else” stage. Reading other people’s stories about how they have the guts to make BIG changes in their lives helps me feel like I can do it too. When you are young nothing seems impossible but selling your house and leaving your job can feel like a tremendous challenge now. I go to work now and all I think about is how I would rather be gardening and raising animals. We planted a HUGE garden this year and planted three apple trees in our yard but I dream of big open sky’s and mountains and streams. I hope we will find our ‘dream’ location. Maybe someday soon.

  63. Vanessa August 1, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story! We live on a 5 acre homestead in North Central FL and are looking to relocate to WNC too! I’m curious (since you moved from FL too!) how would you say the gardening situation is in your area? I hear the soil is super fertile up there. What’s been your experience? Also, what area do you live in? We are headed up in September and would like to check out some surrounding towns that aren’t too far from Asheville. Thanks!

    • Jackie Ritz August 2, 2015 at 7:31 am #

      The soil in WNC is great…much less sandy and dry than Florida. Gardening is a real treat here compared to the heat and insects to deal with in Florida. We live in the Asheville area.

  64. Erynn W August 5, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

    Loved your article! At this point we are still so, so new to homesteading way of life but we have BIG plans to take what we learn here and do it on a larger scale eventually! Articles like this keep us motivated and optimistic we will get there one day too! Cheers from Canada.

  65. Martin September 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    Like your article very much, came across it through Pinterest!! Your Story is very similar to the transition we just went through! My wife and I had been trying to Move out of the Gold Mining City of Timmins Ontario Canada ever since our son was born in 2012. We had lived in the area our whole lives and all our family is in that area too. But our house was on a 40×90 corner lot on a busy street and couldn’t even let our dog out loose let alone our son to play in the front yard. We had looked at rural properties in the area to start a homestead but none seemed to fit our needs and most were having prices driven up by a recent migration of Mennonites to the area who where paying top Dollar for acreage! After 2 years of looking and giving up hopes of country life, a new position at my company came available in northwestern Manitoba in a small town called The Pas, we did some research and found some nice homesteads within 15 mins from town in our price range. I applied and got the position and we have been now living here for 10 months on a nice 5 acre property. The Pas is right on the most northeastern part of the prairies. The growing season here is amazing with full sun for over 18 hours and beautiful soil conditions! This summer we have only started a small garden in half of the existing 60′ x 120′ garden and have 15 chickens. Now that we are settled in we have a plan for the coming spring to try and fill that garden and get about 40 chickens and 2-3 pigs. if that is a success we are then planing on a Dexter cow and possibly a full acre of Garlic for the spring after that! A long Term plan is needed for successful homesteading. A good book for new homesteaders is Joel Satalin’s “You Can Farm”. But my best advice to New Homesteaders is talk up as many local farmers/ gardeners and most will be glad to share their wisdom of your area and lend a hand and or even equipment! We have been lucky enough to have a neighbor who is a 2nd generation farmer on the neighboring 2500 acres and has offered so much info and help and has even lent his tractor and equipment for us to use when ever we need. The Rural Community is a close and friendly place to live and raise a family. It was tough at first being away from all our family but we quickly adapted and have made some amazing friends. We have defiantly made the right choice for our little Family and our Future. We could never go back to city slicking again.

  66. Julia September 8, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

    Hi! I love your post! I myself am actually from Orlando too but It it my dream to own and operate a farm. My husband grew up half in Orlando and half in GA. We have 5 children and would love to give them this lifestyle and experience. I have so many questions and would love to chat if you have time? I would appreciate it so very much. Very impressed by the way, takes a lot of courage to just up and leave and take on an unknown lifestyle. Blessings to you and your family.
    Thank you!
    is there a way to give you my email?

  67. Jenny October 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

    I am a single mom and have been waiting for the “perfect” time to do this. When is that exactly? I do not have any debt, love Dave Ramsey. I guess I am just scared?

    • Jackie Ritz October 17, 2015 at 9:40 am #

      The perfect time is when you believe in your heart it is the perfect time…and can make the commitment to follow through on it. I wish you great success and know you will be so happier once you have done it.

  68. Adrian December 13, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    “My Farmer” and I are moving to this large farm about an hour away and even though it’s only an hour I won’t be near my family and won’t see them nearly as much and I’ve been so nervous about what I’d do, if I’d be a mess, and how we’d make it. But this seriously has given me the courage I needed to go out and be a good farm wife. Thanks for the ideas! BTW: never heard of the rabbit meat idea, but that is genius! We usually use our deer meat as much as we can, we have even been making deer jerky out of it which is pretty popular (especially with me!)

  69. Pam Ahlvers December 27, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    I admire you two following your dream. we would like to do the same but are much older and somewhat afraid.

  70. Angela January 17, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

    We are in the process of finding property in WNC. We currently live in Winston Salem and are looking to homestead. We have a huge garden here and were vetoed on chickens by our neighbors. Not the lifestyle we desire. We are seeking at least 3 acres and room to thrive!! Enjoyed your post and look forward to seeing how our journey progresses!

  71. Sydney February 4, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story! My Mister and I have been trying to move to the country for a very long time. We have had the land but no house or job within commuting distance. The land hasn’t been worked or lived on for 50+ years so the only evidence of structures are fallen tin roofs and a few burned out stone walls. Hopefully that will be changing soon, the job may be happening (eek!) the house we live in is paid off (eek x2!) so we may be able to move forward with building a small house out there to get us going. We will be deep in cattle ranch country (N Texas) but I think we should shake it up a bit and do something different! I enjoyed reading your story and I hope that one day soon we will be in the same boat.

  72. Lisa @ Real Kids Real Life February 24, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

    Hi Jackie, I’m just stumbling across your blog but wanted to comment on this post even though it was written 2 years ago! This is so inspiring and I hope to convince my husband someday to leave our area (SF Bay Area) and move to a slower, more wholesome and rural setting, possibly in areas of Texas. I love how you guys found a job for your husband, what a great idea. That is one of our challenges too. This is my first year of homeschooling our four kids, so your homeschool curriculum post was helpful too. Thanks again!

    • Jackie Ritz February 26, 2016 at 7:52 am #

      Thank you for your comments. Just keep dreaming and planning and you will get to your goal!

  73. Jonathan Preston February 26, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

    I live in Chicago for 3 more weeks! About 3 years ago my partner and me had the same (itch). We both have successfull careers and traveled the world yet somethings missing. We have researched everything homesteading and bought 12 acres in SW MO. Our big move is 3/18/2016 and I finally feel like I’m living!

  74. Dina May 4, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    We have found our dream. A tiny ranch in NM with a 150 year old house, stream. Everything We ever wanted. But how to leave good jobs and a house we own and put it all on the line? If we sell everything we can buy the ranch outright but then we only have about a year of living income. Not sure jobs translate to the area. Very rural. Any tips for making the financial leap?

  75. Jenny Coe May 30, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    Do you have an update on this post? πŸ™‚

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