I grew up in a cute planned neighborhood where each home sat on about a 1/4 acre. My first home was in a desert subdivision where my living room windows looked directly into my neighbor’s living room barely more than an arm’s length away. My current home is in yet another cookie-cutter neighborhood, albeit with more yard than I’ve had before.
My husband Jeff and I have been happy here in our subdivision surrounded by farms. We’ve learned to grow vegetables, fruits, and this year successfully harvested our first hazelnuts. We certainly haven’t mastered the gardening thing. I’m a little unreliable about watering, we don’t fertilize, and the critters and creatures reap more than we do.
So why did we recently purchase a 76-acre farm an hour away? That’s a fair question. You see, we have this dream.
A year ago Jeff and I started to evaluate what we wanted for our future. Did we want to stay where we were? How did we want to spend our time? With our teenager graduating from high school next year and our toddler not yet in kindergarten, it was a good time to consider whether a change was in order.
We set out in search of a little land. We were hoping for 10 acres- space enough for a proper garden, plenty of room to play, stretch, wander, and breathe, and enough to warrant a tractor (my husband has been asking for one for years).
The more we searched, the more discouraged we became. Many lots were heavily wooded, oddly shaped, or had power lines or gas lines running through them.
And the more we searched, the more our idea grew. What started as simply finding a new place turned into discussions of renting garden plots, offering organic CSA shares (community-supported agriculture), or pick-your-own orchards, berry patches, vegetables, pumpkins, Christmas trees, … the ideas flowed endlessly. We talked about bringing Jeff’s parents and their horse with us. Suddenly 10 acres didn’t look like quite enough.
We began looking for 15-20 acres instead. The land we found interesting got bigger and bigger until ultimately what we purchased was 76 acres of mostly open land- a former tree nursery. Some of it is open fields, some is rows of trees, and some is naturally wooded. It’s a wonderland for us.
Now we are starting the long, hard work of building our house, adding the necessary barns and sheds, and figuring out exactly where we want to take our farm business. And we have to do this all from an hour away while we continue to work, raise our children, and prepare our current house for sale.
Most of the people who know Jeff and I have said they can see this as the right fit for us. A few have questioned whether we know what we’re getting into. Hell, we’ve wondered what we’ve gotten ourselves into. But when we visit our farm (mostly on Saturdays) we feel an overwhelming sense of peace and awe. That’s how I know it’s the next right step.
So begins my journey from suburbanite to farm girl. Wish us luck!
SHERRI MARTIN-HUTCHINS is a writer and soon-to-be farmer perpetually seeking the magic, mystery, and humor in everyday life. You can follow her journey in these places.
SONIA MARSH SAYS: Reading your story reminded me of when my husband and I moved to Belize, our dream location. I think people thought we were crazy, but I know it was the best decision we ever made for our family. I now you will succeed, as both of you are passionate about your next phase in life.
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Sign up NOW on Eventbrite to reserve your seat for a FUN and ENTERTAINING EVENT
to launch our 2nd “My Gutsy Story®” Anthology.
My Gutsy Story® Anthology: Taking Chances and Changing Your Life
What: Author Sonia Marsh launches the second publication in her My Gutsy Story® Anthology book series by hosting an evening of inspirational stories moderated by former PBS SoCal anchor Ann Pulice. Marsh, the award winning author and founder of My Gutsy Story® series, will also announce her next gutsy adventure, signing up for the Peace Corps. The event is open to the public and all attendees will receive a copy of the newest My Gutsy Story® Anthology.
When: Saturday, November 1
4:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Zovs Restaurant in Tustin
17440 E. 17th St., Tustin, CA 92780, (MAP)
ph (714) 838.8855
Who: Moderator Ann Pulice is an award-winning journalists and was co-host on PBS SoCal’s Real Orange for 17 years.
- Sonia Marsh: Award-winning author of Freeways to Flip-flops and founder of the My Gutsy Story®
- Julia Capizzi: Orange County Peace Corps representative and Bilingual Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who has lived abroad in El Salvador & Bolivia.
- Colleen Hannegan: Author and professional speaker, certified business advisor, personal life coach for women in transition.
- Mariana Williams: Author and founder of the “Long Beach Searches for Greatest Storyteller,” married to Oscar-winning singer/songwriter Paul Williams.
- Jonathan Yanez: Went from renting cars, to following his dream of becoming an author. His three-book series publishing contract has now been optioned for film.
Cost: $40 (includes book, wine and appetizers) before October 20th and $45 after that date.
More: Marsh hopes the My Gutsy Story® Anthology series and events will create a global community to help one another take risks in life. Her first publication,Freeways to Flip Flops, a chronology of her family’s one-year adventure in Belize, recently won the Reader’s Favorite, 2014 Gold Medal book award.