Folk & Flora Farmstead | Blog
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Adventure // San Diego Zoo

We have moved out of California twice. Each time to Idaho. The first time around it was because we were newlywed and wanted a standing chance at ever affording a home. It lasted about 9 months. The cold was rough and we missed the familiarity of home. So we moved back.

8 years later the farm itch struck and we decided we would try Idaho again since we now had three boys and what’s more important than providing them a life with adventure and land to roam.

We stayed a year. Turned out I still hated the cold and honestly we didn’t feel like there was enough to do. We felt like the focus was on building houses for those moving vs things to do with the family. Don’t get me wrong, if your an outdoors person you will be in heaven and it’s a beautiful state just not right for us.

So we ended up buying a farmhouse in Northwest Arkansas — Walmart country. It is amazing. People are actually friendly. If you like deep history you will enjoy all of the cute restored homes in Bentonville and the first ever Walmart (Waltons) in the Bentonville square. If you like food you will fit right in — modern, delicious, health conscious restaurants and food trucks are everywhere. Like art? Check out @crystalbridgesmuseum which is free! Kiddos will also LOVE @theamazeum.

But that “ugh I miss just going to the —- (enter familiar California place in this space) ” would hit me and I would think about what I was missing vs exploring and appreciating what Arkansas had to offer.

In my defense, we haven’t had the easiest go of it.

So now that we are in California (while Ericson fixes our farmhouse) I have tried to take advantage of everything available to us.

Last weekend I took the boys to the San Diego zoo and Carter said something that just struck me.

1. Cause it’s exactly Carters personality and

2. Because it’s true
He said – why do people go to different zoos? What’s the difference? You see all the same animals and they do the same things. 😂

We actually saw an elephants ear cause he was eating, a tigers head — cause he was sleeping and a hippos butt. The only thing the boys really enjoyed was the snakes (cause they know I hate them 😂) and the skyfari. We ended up leaving after 4 hours.

But what he said has made me really stop and think about my attitude. I tend to want to go back to my safe zone when there is a struggle (home = california) instead of stopping and appreciating things that aren’t like home.

NWA has a zoo. It’s not the San Diego Zoo but I bet my boys would enjoy the experience. You get in your car and drive through it while the animals are literally roaming and sticking their head inside your car!

Perspective and a change of attitude is everything. I’m ready to explore, to see, to do and enjoy things that aren’t like home because it’s my new home.

Click HERE to see a video I made of our first month or so in NW Arkansas.

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Farm // Beauty From Ashes

When people heard what happened to our house, we had a lot of people proclaim Isaiah 61 over us. I had people I had NEVER seen in my life tell me that this was a ‘ beauty from ashes’ story.

When I finally sat down and re-read the verse I was shocked on the words used in the verse.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy 
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations.

We had many reasons to move away from busy California. We didn’t just want time with our children, we wanted QUALITY time with our children. Time that was uninterrupted by emergency calls that my husband had to answer (he worked for Servpro) and the craziness of what the neighbor kids recently bought and now my kids ‘needed’. Or the hours of homework that always ended with frustrations and tears. The hours spent in traffic to go anywhere.

We wanted to be self-reliant.Wanted to grow and butcher out own food and not have to rely on a store to do it for us.

We wanted our kids to learn by doing instead of reading it in a textbook.

We wanted more. I mean, after all — isn’t life more than wake up, go to work, pay your bills, sleep and repeat? We all get stuck in this cycle but it’s time to break it.
We wanted to open up the farm to the community and families that needed a little pick me up. We envisioned movie nights outside on colorful blankets, farm dinners under the big trees and tiny homes we modernize and convert to little camping houses.
This verse gets me. Get’s what we want to do and all the amazing “farm” lingo in it is just so perfect!

 

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Why Our Dream Is Not Broken

farm

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It would be SO easy to just give up. Throw our hands up, pack up the little bit of belongs we have and scream WE ARE DONE. I mean, I’ve thought about it a couple times. But deep down, in my core….giving up has never been how I roll.

I still very much have a dream in my heart and walking away from it wouldn’t get me any closer to achieving it.

It’s been hard….yes it has…. but still I get glimpses throughout the day of things I’m incredibly thankful for.

Right now, we are all currently cramped inside a RV. It’s small and not luxurious but it does have the basics, a small shower, a toilet that tends to leak (thanks JAYCO, you might want to look into that) and a small refrigerator that I have to buy things for every other day.

The boys have their own bunk bed, Cruz sleeps on the (not super comfortable) sofa and Ericson and I are in the queen bed. There are so many things I could write about that I wish Jayco could change but let’s talk about the positive for a minute.

Cruz (who just turned three — what!!) likes to lay down every night and tell us goodnight about six times. He goes through every single one of us. “Goodnight Daddy”…..”Good night mama.” It may be the cutest thing EVER.

I realize that these are the things I’m going to remember when all this nightmare is ov-ahhh. The moments where the boys are getting along, discovering artifacts in the rocks the hit open, them giggling over the duck that got loose and can’t catch and watching the deer come at dusk to nibble on the grass.

So listen, I do have bad days. I have days where I have to put life in perspective and not feel bad for myself. I have to whisper things like “We can get through this” all the time…. because this dream is worth fighting for. Isn’t any dream?

You may not have a dream of having a farm or moving to the country…but your dream could easily be one that a lot of people battle with. Is it a marriage that needs help and feels to far gone to get back? I’ve been through that too and let me tell you…. it’s worth fighting for.

Have someone sick in the family that you just are having a super hard time keeping your head up for? Life is hard! But guess what? They are worth fighting for.

Don’t give up because someone said it was impossible to achieve or the diagnosis was too horrible to even imagine a good outcome….or you bought a moldy home that is in crazy need of major work.

We can do it! I believe in you and I need to believe in me too. In this dream, in everything we fought so hard for up to this point….

Because quitting would mean that I didn’t believe in the dream enough to make it happen.

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Our Move

It wasn’t easy and it took us 4 (FOUR – yes I said four)  days of driving to NW Arkansas to get here. We had a tire blow out (that was extremely scary for me) in Kansas and it was hotter than anything I ever felt before. We were exhausted but excited. Excited to finally get our own land and excited to start working on our home.

After we arrived in Arkansas we were told we weren’t going to be able to close on time (well of course!) So we had to hang out in a RV park. We thought it would be for a couple days and ended up being over a week – not complaining …but we were over being in any sort of vehicle with wheels.

We finally got the call that we were closing and we were so relieved! Until we saw what the ex homeowners had done.

They hid mold, painted over mold, put sheetrock over old molded, put plywood all around cupboards and then added molding so it looked new. Every single person we had look at the house (including us) would have never been able to see these things and would have never guessed.

Now we have a home that literally is unlivable and sadly it seems like all our dreams of creating a community-centered farm is flying out the window.

Except, I’m not ready to give up yet. There has to be a way to figure this out. I don’t have an extra 150k to be able to redo this house, winter is coming and living with all these kids is crazy in such a small space!

But even though I can’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel I get glimpses in my day of the reason we did move out here. The land itself is beautiful and as we try and figure out the house situation, I am trying to stay strong (through a lot of tears) and trusting that God will take care of us.

You can learn more about our struggle here: https://www.gofundme.com/folkflorabarnraise

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Folk and Flora Barn Raising

Folk and Flora // Barn Raising - Helping a Community , Helping a Family, Helping Each Other

Folk and Flora // Barn Raising - Helping a Community , Helping a Family, Helping Each Other

Folk and Flora // Barn Raising - Helping a Community , Helping a Family, Helping Each Other

For about 5 years now, my family and I have had the dream of owning our own land, planting a beautiful garden, taking care of our own animals and giving back to our community.

After having our own backyard chickens and a small suburban garden we knew that in order to make our dream a reality we had to give up the words “someday,” “maybe” and “after we retire.” We knew we were in charge of our destiny and the only way to make anything happen was by getting up and doing it.

So we sold our home in Southern California, moved to Arkansas (a state we knew nothing about) and found an adorable 1920’s farmhouse.

The ambiance was intense and such a dream location for a our future farm. Nestled on 2.5 acres with original hardwood floors, dreamlike wrap around porch and nestled in a park-like setting, surrounded by trees and singing birds and ten acres available for purchase right next door!

An adorable historical house and 12.5 acres equalled everything we wanted in our future home. Perfect for our garden, our animals and for the community.

We envisioned movie nights under the twinkly summer night stars, abundant fruit and ideegetables that we could give out to families in need and extra rooms in our home we could open up for families that need help.

Folk and Flora // Barn Raising - Helping a Community , Helping a Family, Helping Each Other

Folk and Flora // Barn Raising - Helping a Community , Helping a Family, Helping Each Other

Folk and Flora // Barn Raising - Helping a Community , Helping a Family, Helping Each Other

Folk and Flora // Barn Raising - Helping a Community , Helping a Family, Helping Each Other

But this dream came to a halt after we closed on the house and discovered that the past homeowners hid major water damage, mold and structural damage from potential buyers, inspectors, and appraisers. There is so much damage that it has been recommended to us to tear the house down completely and rebuild. After weeks of seeking legal advice, prayer, tears, and midnight talks we have concluded that this is just too much of a burden for our family to take on alone.

We had tried to do everything in our power to choose a home that we could update and make our own but were never expecting such a devastating amount of damage hidden underneath a few layers of new paint.

Since we cannot move in we are living in a small RV on the property with our three children. Space is tight and every single thing is now harder to do than we could ever imagine. Meals, laundry, working, schooling has been made 100 x harder. Winter is coming which brings so many unknown and scary circumstances our way and we need help. This move has been hard on us physically, mentally and emotionally and we are just trying to get by as we pursue legal action.

In the meantime, we are asking for the community of Northwest Arkansas to come together and help us get through this time.

We need time, labor and materials donated to help rebuild this home. We need time and labor donated to help build a barn so we can store our belongings. We need YOU, the community to help make this a successful community-centered farm. If you can’t donate your time or material and feel like a monetary contribution would be best we appreciate that too.

We appreciate you, your prayers and any help! You can find a GO FUND ME page HERE if you would like to learn more on ways to help. We will also be updating our Facebook , Instagram and blog here.

We are overwhelmed but not broken, and we believe that through this we will become stronger people, a stronger family, and a stronger community!

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This Old Farmhouse : Starling Meadows

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This weekend we checked out an adorable farmhouse built in the 1900’s in Caldwell, Idaho. It was great to meet another family that wanted to do the samething we are wanting to do. Homesteading and restoring history! I asked the owner, Rachel a few questions about her plans.

What made you want to buy a farmhouse and restore it?
I was born and raised in Wisconsin and seeing so many different farmhouses around, I always envisioned owning one one day and making it my home. I like old vs. new. When we came across this farmhouse, we knew we had to snatch it up quick!

What is the scariest part of renovating an old home?
The scariest part about renovating a home is staying on a budget. I always worry renovating this old of a home that we’ll run into a lot of unexpected problems. honestly the pressure we put on ourselves. We have a vision and want everything done at once.
What is the best part of renovating an old home?
The best part about renovating a home is that there’s a huge sense of accomplishment because a lot of it, we have to do ourselves. I also love the idea that we can keep the “old bones” of the house and still incorporate our personal touches making it exactly how we want it to be.

You have a toddler in the home. What are your suggestion for a family trying to tackle a renovation with small children?
I suggest hiring a full time babysitter if you want to get anything done! LOL!!!! My inlaw’s have been so helpful watching Greyson while we work on the house.

What are a few of your favorite places to shop?
I’m mostly a sucker for TjMaxx and Homegoods! I also love Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware- they match my taste the best!

You can follow Rachel and her sweet farmhouse on instagram here

 

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Stylepiration : Farmhouse Bathroom

Even though we haven’t closed on our farmhouse yet , I am still very much thinking, planning and dreaming about all the projects the house needs. The kitchen, the bathrooms and a couple room additions are what we will start with and I am having such a fun time pinning all the things I would love to see in our home.

The bathroom is a place I want to make a bold statement. I haven’t decided if that will mean a dark black accent wall, fun tile or wallpaper but here are some of my favorite bathroom inspirations on Pinterest right now. If your interested you can follow my Folk & Flora board here.

Folk & Flora : Farmhouse Bathroom Inspiration

Designed by Kirsten Marie Inc

Everything about this is perfect! I love the fun floor tile, gold accents and round mirror.

Folk & Flora : Farmhouse Bathroom Inspiration

Photo : Montse Garriga Grau

The beautiful bright wallpaper and the penny tile (insert all the heart eyes here)!

Folk & Flora : Farmhouse Bathroom Inspiration :Photo by Amy Bartlam

Photo  Amy Bartlam | Article Homepolish | Home Rosa Beltran

I never would have imagined I would want a black floor but this has me oohing and aahing all day long. I may even get a little crazy and use gold grout!

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