Why did we move off the grid, and how’s it going so far? Read on to find out.
We may have been crazy for moving to the farm – and I’ll be the first to admit it.
But here I find myself on an 80-acre ranch in the mountains of Northern California. A thirty-five-minute drive to the nearest city can feel like an eternity on a winding road with a steep drop-off into rocks and redwood needles. And a twenty-minute drive to overpriced coffee at the nearest dinner doesn’t seem worth the trip. But the unending wildlife that surrounds us has, so far, has made me feel far from alone.
Truthfully, my priorities changed when Eira was born. My days of cycling around Boston, teaching back-to-back yoga classes, and resting in coffee shops no longer has the same appeal to me if I can’t bring Eira along for the ride. These days, I’d rather work from home and spend my spare time baking with Snowpea or teaching her how to garden.
Similarly, Daniel has been itching for a return to nature ever since he began buying me houseplants – nearly 6 years ago on our second date to a cranberry bog on the outskirts of Boston. He grew up with chickens in Mexico, and since quarantine hit, he has been reminiscing about having space to create his own coop.
So, when Daniel saw a Zillow listing for a cabin-esque house rental on a farm, we jumped at the offer. The price was unbeatable. But was there a catch? Yes, and it was this: We would be responsible for animal care on the weekends.
As a girl, I always wanted horses. But 27 cows and a flock of rowdy chickens? That’s an entirely different matter. Nonetheless, I was willing to stretch my imagination to include all the animals if it also meant I would have space to grow flowers – and maybe even wine grapes! I was willing to get my hands dirty for this. So, we signed on the offer.
Signing was one thing. But moving in was an entirely different, more terrifying matter.
As we drove up the winding mountain road at sunset, a blanket of fog blocked the view of the horizon, and nervous jitters set in.
I recalled the headline in the San Francisco Chronicle that morning – “Family’s Death on Trail Still a Mystery”. A family of three and their dog left for the woods and were found dead with no apparent cause. Was I sure I wanted to try living off the grid?
Cell service stops when you reach our property – a menacing metal gate guarded by cattle skulls. There would be no Wi-Fi on our first night, and to say I was spooked was an understatement.
The house was silent but inviting when we arrived at dusk. The empty space flooded with bright light and potential. Still awaiting our U-Haul shipment with the bulk of our possessions, there were no chairs to eat dinner on but a $3 bottle of wine for toasting.
No bed to sleep on but a punctured air mattress, a baby blanket, and two new towels to roll into pillows.
No nightlight to mask the vast black darkness of the unimpeded forest sky but our hearts full of hope for we were soon to create in this little home.
“But you do know CPR right? Suturing? Basic surgery? How to start a fire? And how to wrestle a coyote or a bear?” I murmured to Daniel as I drifted off to a dream-filled sleep on the hardwood floor made soft a honeymoon feeling of starting our new life.