We met back in 2007 or so in Bend, OR. Fast forward a year and we are at a ‘pivotal’ point in our relationship. You see, John decided long before he met Emily that he was going to ride a bicycle around the world for 5 years. Likewise, Emily decided long before she met John that she was going to have a family. These don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but we were in our 30s and time was ticking. John likes to keep maps on the wall and we were staring at a world map; so John says to Emily “How about we ride bikes from New Zealand to Nepal for 2 years. If we don’t kill each other on that trip, we’ll get married and have a baby.” And we did (not kill each other).
We spent 2 years on our bikes and 15 months riding through various Asian countries. Places like Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, India, Nepal, Indonesia, and more. They were all very different, but there were also a lot of similarities. Some of these similarities are lack of money, resourcefulness, friendly people, growing their own food, family, laughter, and spirituality. On that trip we decided that we wanted to be sort of self sufficient when we get back home, we wanted to be creative with less money, we wanted a focus on family, and we wanted to keep having fun.
We’re back and we now live in Montrose, CO. Emily grew up outside of town in a passive solar house surrounded by farmland. John grew up in a small farm town in northern Illinois but spent most of his adult life in Oregon working in a brewery. He always wanted to be a farmer. We moved here after our bicycle journey to be closer to Emily’s family.
Our place isn’t big as far as ranches go, 8 acres total, but it’s big enough for now. We moved in to the house in March 2013. The property was vacant for about 5 years before we bought it. The pasture would get cattle for a few months every year and irrigated in the summer, but in general it was pretty neglected. The house was vintage 1960s. Carpet in the kitchen and bathrooms, turquoise counters, pink kitchen sink, pink siding. Slowly we are making this property our own. In the summer we focus on outside things and in the winter we do projects in the house.
We are an organic-ish ranch. We raise meat chickens, beef cattle, pigs, dairy goats, egg laying hens, guinea fowl, and soon to be sheep. Plus vegetables and our new little girl Jemma. That’s getting to be quite a list! Everything is raised on pasture. We focus on holistic farm practices; everything moves in cycles, our job is to read those cycles and work with them. Everything goes better when we work with nature, and a lot of times it cheaper, easier and healthier too.
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