How did our little family of four go from a suburban lot in a rapidly growing Upper Midwestern city to wooded acreage in the winding hills of North Georgia’s mountains? Some great stories about momentous change begin small. A fleeting thought… a vague feeling. A nebulous “what if?” dismissed quickly at first, starts to gnaw at daily living. That is how our story of change began. While our story has really just started, I know that it will be a great one. This is the story of Fluster Farm!
We have never really been a typical family, but we did what we thought a typical family was supposed to do. Both Mr. Fluster and I worked hard to continue our education and advance our careers, completing college degrees while juggling work and raising children. With our heads down, we plodded along the worn circular paths of our lives. The rewards for our work are always just around the bend. If we could just work harder, make more money, save more money, spend less money; buy this or remodel that … our lives would get easier, and more enjoyable, and become more rewarding. However, try as we might, our weariness and thirst for something greater than ourselves and our vapid manner of living had not been quenched by the proverbial Kool-Aid. There had to be more to living than working just so we could buy stuff and have the occasional PTO day.
Every once in a while, we would stumble across something in our path that made us question the status quo. An insightful article about the realities of homesteading life or a documentary about off-grid living in Alaska would spark lively discussion in our household about the excitement of being masters of our own destiny. We laughed off these ideas as nothing more than romantic notions at first. Yet, the sweet aroma of freedom lingered and beckoned.
Slowly we began to detach and stray from that beat-down path. First to go was cable television and all its advertising and useless programming. Then we started becoming more aware of our consumption and the materialistic manner of modern living. We became Frugal with a capital F and we were on a five year plan to being completely debt free with a paid-off house. Mr. Fluster’s truck got a face-lift instead of being traded in at the dealership. My little car, which the family has long outgrown, is still in daily use. I started trying my hand at making my own cleaning and personal care products. Instead of buying new, Mr. Fluster fixed our used appliances. I picked up skills like gardening and canning, and cooking and baking from scratch. We started foraging for edibles in the woods behind our house as a family. Mr. Fluster started bow hunting, learning how to preserve hides, and chopping wood in our suburban backyard for bonfires (in case you’re wondering, yes, our neighbors thought we were crazy).
Despite these meanderings, we remained firmly entrenched. Buying raw land and building it up is expensive, even more so in an area that is in a commutable distance to jobs, and we were determined to avoid going into debt for our dream. We entertained owning a cabin, but the thought of buying property that was hours away, only to be used a few times a year, didn’t sound appealing. We didn’t want to have an occasional vacation from the rat race – we wanted a completely different lifestyle! As our fate of being stuck in suburban purgatory seemed inevitable, a chance visit from family in the South led to Mr. Fluster coming home from work one day and announcing those five fateful words:
“We are moving to Georgia.”
If you guessed “WHAT THE —-” came out of my mouth immediately after, you would be correct! We always discussed going more north or to the mountains, to rural areas with breathtaking vistas. Moving to Georgia, especially so soon, was not part of the five year plan! My tidy spreadsheet simply wouldn’t allow it. My carefully laid out strategy was safe; it was sensible; and unfortunately, it was never going to be enough to realize the dream. Mr. Fluster knew we had to do something drastic to get the ball rolling!
So what did we do? In a span of two months, Mr. Fluster landed a new job in Georgia, we put finishing touches on our house in the city (huge thanks to Mr. Fluster’s brother for the massive amount of help in making that happen), and sold it within 36 hours, and Mr. Fluster moved south to start working. I, Mrs. Fluster, and the two kids joined him two months later once we secured a property that fulfilled most of our wishes. In a span of four months – four very long, stressful, whirlwind months – we were officially Georgia homeowners – and homesteaders!
So that’s how it all started. Our real story is just beginning. Join us as we learn, stumble, fall, laugh, and grow, all on Fluster Farm!