The adventure first started in that little yellow house at the end of the cul-de-sac.
This was where I had my midnight revelation about homeschooling, and where I finally started to live MY truth.
You remember how my upbringing had simultaneously made me a social chameleon and gave me a prejudice against homeschooling? All those years of adapting and making connections had left me with no real identity of my own. I was able to fit in and sit at whatever table I wanted, but if I had no idea what a table of my very own would look like.
As I started to homeschool, I found that I was learning just as much as my girls.
I was stepping into who I was, setting my own table and finding my tribe to fill the seats.
I wasn't the soccer mom or the ballet mom. We didn't do co-op's, bible studies or matching Mommy and Me dresses. My girls and I were fine taking road trips and adventures on our own. Listening to Johnny Cash, The Red Hot Chili Peppers or Ozzy as we explored back roads, antique shops and state parks.
I had finally found my own, offbeat song. Embracing nature and the natural rhythms of life, and along with that came our gateway into homesteading, chickens.
One rainy, cold day in March, we picked up our very first batch of chicks. I had grown up going to my Great-Aunt's farm, and hatching chicks for her, so this was semi-familiar territory. Karen set out to build them the best coop and enclosed run, he would care for these little fluff balls just as wholeheartedly as he did our girls.
As the year ticked on we added more chickens, we hatched our own, we even let one of our hens sit on a clutch and hatch them. We were level 1,000 on the crazy chicken lady scale. But it didn't stop there, having chickens and fresh eggs had awoken some deep, ancestral spirit that thrived on providing sustainable food for our family. Karen and I both dove, head first, into this new lifestyle.
Within 2 years we had added over 100 chickens, some for eggs and some for meat. The girls would help me with everything, from collecting eggs and feeding, to butchering and processing. We had also added rabbits and goats, that is where my soap line was born. We started a straw bale garden that was thriving, we were growing just as fast as the tomatoes in the summer heat.
The only problem was, just like a new seedling, we were quickly out growing our current location. Our little cul-de-sac lot was back by itself, no neighbors within sight, but at just 4 acres, we were starting to wonder if this wasn't the best place to continue our dream of sustainable living.
We had committed to this life, and we were better for it. Our family unit was strong, our children were learning and growing in leaps and bounds, but the area and the state we were in wasn't a place that I could see us thriving. We homeschooled, however the state mandated that my children be tested yearly. And for 2 years, they cried through the whole process. We didn't qualify for the religious exemption that would get us out of testing, and if I'm being totally honest, how can a state tell me what to do with 2 humans that I created? I hadn't noticed this, but being homeschooled for my whole life had grown a deep rooted sense of freedom. Live and let live, Don't tread on me, THE BOSTON TEA PARTY!
I'm not even sure how the conversation started between Karen and I. One day we were looking at jobs on a national level, ruling out states that were not in line with what we wanted for our family, and making a list of potentials. Eventually we had it down to two states, with two different places that were currently offering relocation for Karen's career, Texas and Florida.
Being the over-planner, I gathered every possible layer of information, crime stats, taxes, housing options, farming options, weather patterns and most importantly homeschool laws.
Karen was very hesitant to consider Florida because of the hurricanes, and I wasn't thrilled at their homeschool stances. After making a pro's and con's list, Texas was the clear winner.
No income tax, zero reporting for homeschooling, 2a friendly, a robust economy, it's own power grid, very farm friendly and a variety of smaller towns to consider outside of various metros.
We flew out at the end of June, and by the end of July we had packed up everything, put our little yellow house on the market and moved to Texas. The move was an adventure in it's self, I'll save that chapter for another time.
We were living outside of the DFW metroplex, and taking road trips every chance we could get. Exploring our great new state and the surrounding ones as well. But as time went on, we knew that North Texas wasn't the best fit for us. We loved Texas, and we knew this was the right state, but the big flashy scene of Dallas, big hair and bling, just wasn't us.
On Labor day we took a trip to Hill Country, I can, without hesitation, say it was love at first sight, by December we had relocated to Central Texas.
This wouldn't be the final stop on our Texas tour, but we were zeroing in on our landing spot. Just like Goldilocks, we had almost found the place that was just right.