This is often the first question folks ask when they find out that we moved from the suburbs to the rural country. Why? Why would you leave the comfort of the city, and put yourselves all the way out here? My husband jokes, “we don’t live in the middle of nowhere; but we can see it from our porch.” The time was right, our children are grown and we began to think about various reasons we wanted to move to the country.
Its not a gentle place, the plains of southeastern Colorado; the winds can wail at hurricane force for days, the heat in summer and the bitter cold in winter, to anyone who has not lived out here, it may look downright scary. In fact, this is what some of our friends and loved ones have said.
When we decided to look for a place to settle, to build our future and look forward to our autumn years, we knew we wanted out of the city, and out of the suburbs. We had no desire to buy another property in a cluster of cookie-cutter structures governed by a Homeowner’s Association. We wanted to be out of the bustle of traffic and rushing about that marks the existence of most urban or suburban dwellers. After a couple of months of considering areas in Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, Utah, Tennessee and remote parts of Idaho we checked these off of the list for various reasons. Colorado made sense from my husband’s work standpoint; he traveled 46 weeks out of the year at that time and we needed to be near a major airport and have road access all year round. Denver International is two hours away, with Colorado Springs International a closer, more expensive option.
We traveled to Colorado in July 2015 for a few days, where we looked at several properties but found nothing we really wanted to pursue. Disappointed, we returned home. The night we got back, I found the place we ultimately decided we wanted, on Zillow. It was perfect for our needs, outbuildings, corral and acreage. Since it was a direct sale, no agents involved, we were packed, closed and moved in by September of the same year. All the pieces began to fall into place. Our former home sold within two months of closing on the ranch and suddenly this was our new life.
The first February brought a three day blizzard with it, causing a power outage. I lit a fire in the fireplace, and thats when I learned that a bird had nested (and apparently perished) in the chimney, which resulted in a house full of smoke and me huddled with the dog, Alex and two cats, in the garage, waiting for the smoke to clear. Clearly, I had a lot to learn. In July, we added a beautiful Shiloh Shepard puppy Thandi, to our family. She is a real character, enormous and loving. Courtesy of her breeding, she “talks” like the Giant Malamute and barks like a German Shepard. She loves the cold weather, and her little buddy Alex. The two are inseparable, and as of a month ago, both have impressive bills of health (according to Dr Johnston).
My husband was out of town for most of the week, for most of that year (and my eyesight was affected by advanced cataracts) and I also spent a week in the summer being afraid of a “snake” that turned out to be a small pile of composting material in the backyard. Fortunately thats all behind us now, and our plans are moving right along.
When Spring 2017 rolled around, we planned our first major project. We invested in a kit, a sturdy, rated for our type of terrain and weather condition, greenhouse. We ordered an 8′ x 24′ Grandio model. Let me be clear, we LOVE this kit, its easy to assemble and the company we dealt with was great.
But, we were missing a piece that would allow us to go no further, on the day we raised the greenhouse with the help of our amazing friends Tana and Brian.
It stood for a few days, braving the winds and showing itself to be steady; until the wind devil came through. It took all of two seconds to collapse, and sadly the parts we’d waited for came that very day. But, would it have been better to have the wind take it down when it had living beings under its roof? Would it have happened anyway, even if it had been completed before the wind devil tore through?
That is when we looked into a seminar on geothermal greenhouse design and construction. It was in Denver, and due to the animals one of us had to stay, so my husband spent the weekend learning about this subject, and came home inspired. We now plan to break ground within the next two years, for a 12′ x 48′ greenhouse, bells and whistles included. We learned that the restrictions in our area for irrigation are something we can work within if we develop and follow a strategy. This is the next step, and we are looking forward to learning and sharing more as we go along. The point of this blog is not so much to explain why we are doing this, but to document the process. We find there are few resources for people like us, new to this whole country living thing; resources like blog and vlog sites are few, so we decided to add our voice, to hopefully help others who have similar questions. Perhaps our experiences can ease the experiences of other people in the same boat, as it were.
We are here to build our legacy, and a place where we can pursue a vocation that is layered and complex, yet it makes sense to us. It is all tied in with what Amber Phoenix Enterprises does – work with the subconscious. It is our belief that nature holds many cures on many levels, that simply being around nature’s bounty can and does have remarkable healing and calming effects. Ultimately we want to encourage others to grow food, learn about aquaponic farming and the benefits of working with and living on naturally grown produce. Long term plans include programs that will be developed to help children learn about growing food, and part time work for veterans during harvest-time.
We will grow produce to share, donate and sell, eventually “branching out” (argh) into growing plants for essential oils. Roses grow really well out here, and a source of local rose absolut doesn’t exist at this time. Orgonyx, readings and hypnotherapy will continue to be as will the other items we are working on for our partner stores; with this extension of the business we hope to impact the local community and mom and pop establishments by supplying locally grown produce, and a source of essential oils that are grown and processed on site.
Our plan is to grow aquaponically, which uses much less water than conventional agriculture. We will not apply for expensive organic labels, but will keep produce a low key item that is a staple and overage will be donated to local food banks and pantry organizations. This area is mostly graze land and we are thus only permitted to water one acre per 35 acres, per well. We plan to keep it small and local, as far as the farming aspect goes. Essential oils will eventually be more widely available, and likely incorporated into Amber Phoenix’ latest product line of Gem Essences. More on that later…
Thanks for reading,
Till next time!