Sometimes, it takes a little miracle to make things happen. Like two simple red balloons.

A few weeks back, we held an open house on Sunday afternoon for the sale of our little farm in Ohio. With a job move to the south, we had decided it would be hard to keep the farm, and still continue to do what we love most – creating projects, speaking, writing, and of course, finding time for travelling in our spare time.

amazing journey
A view of the farm from the garden

Our goal was to keep on writing and speaking about gardening, DIY and the recipes we love, and re-create a version of our farm in the south. And yes, still travel a bit on the weekends too.

We have always been up for any adventure life brings, and we plowed ahead to start the next chapter.

Without a doubt, we loved our little Licking County, Ohio farm and everything it represented. But we just felt as though selling it was the best option.

But on that fateful Open House day – something special happened. From the beginning the day felt surreal to say the least.

The turnout was more than we ever expected. To boot, nearly every visitor we met, in one version or another, had the same thing to say. It started with :”It is so pretty out here” And ended with : “It must be really hard to sell and give up” That constant theme kept playing out to both of us , over and over.

An Amazing Story Of Two Balloons

Before the event, we had placed two red balloons on the mailbox at the driveway to mark the entrance. At the end of the day, when everyone had left, we took a little walk down to untie them. As we walked back to the house, and we’re still not sure why, we suddenly had the urge to tie a little note to the balloons and let them fly away.

amazing journey
Who knew how far a balloon could travel!

We each took a balloon, and asked that whoever found them, to please let us know how far they had traveled. To finish, we signed them from our farm, and let them go.

We watched them slowly rise late in the afternoon sun, and head ever-so-slowly to the northeast with the gentle breeze. I remember joking that my balloon, which seemed a bit sluggish compared to Mary’s, might not even make it to the neighbors!

Within a few minutes, they both faded out of site, and that was that! We then talked about the farm, and what to do. We had three fair and serious offers, but couldn’t quite figure out what to do.

About 7 o’clock that night, as we were strolling through the garden, a funny thing happened. We received an email from a farmer in Millersburg, Ohio. A city about an hour or so northeast of our little farm. It also happens to be smack dab in the middle of Amish farm country. I chuckled and told Mary that it had to be her balloon if it went that far, since my balloon seemed destined for failure.

amazing journey
As we strolled through the garden, the first email came in.

The email was short and sweet. It said, “I found your balloon while walking in my cornfields tonight – just wanted you to know it made it all the way to a Millersburg farm”. We thought at the time how ironic that it ended up at another farm. And coincidentally, so close to our friends at Weaver Barns, the folks that built our farm house.

A few days passed, and as we continued to discuss our farm sale options, another funny thing happened. By this point, we had long forgotten about the balloon project. And as I sat at my desk at work, an email came across the bottom of my screen in French. I recognized the language immediately. Although I had struggled through 4 years of French in high school, I had obviously learned enough to roughly translate that it was about our balloon. It read:

Bonjour nous avons trouvés votre ballon aujourd’hui 3 juillet 2018. Nous habitons à Métis au Québec. Un long voyage pour votre ballon. Les enfants étais bien content de le trouver.

Bonne journée, Jennifer

The miracle of Google translation helped us with the rest:

Hello we found your balloon today July 3rd 2018. We live in Métis, Quebec. A long trip for your balloon. The children were happy to find him. Have a good day, Jennifer

Amazing Journey
Our balloon found its way to a cattle farm, far far away.

It was accompanied by the most incredible picture of Jennifer’s two children holding our balloon with the note. A second email followed, explaining how they had a farm as well, with 80 head of cattle, and how incredible it was to get a balloon from a farm so far away.

It was crazy to think that our other balloon had found yet another farm to call home – over 1100 miles away in Metis, Quebec!

It made us realize something for sure. Since we first started OWG, our little farm has always seemed to have a connection with folks and farms from all over.

We never imagined 8 years ago when we first started writing about gardening, DIY, recipes and of course our little farm, that the blog would grow to where it is today.

The websites and social media channels now top out  at just over 47 million views a year, from a little over 230 countries the world over.

It certainly has a connection with many people, and one that we realize we just don’t want to lose.

And so we are keeping the farm. For good.

amazing journey
We can still host a few farm to table dinners each year at the farm!

For now, we have rented out the small apartment to a full-time resident. The chickens are staying happy in their coop and have been adopted by some wonderful neighbors. And we still plan on coming back a few times a year to host some wonderful Saturday evening Farm to Table Dinners. They are simply too much fun!

As for the gardens, the little orchard and our tiny vineyard, we are in the process of looking for local garden clubs or folks who might want a place to plant and grow for next few years. We see it as a chance to share even more of the farm with everyone. Best of all, it will still be there to serve as an ongoing inspiration for us to write about for many years to come.

And someday when retirement comes, or whenever we come back from whatever crazy journey we might decide to take – it will be there for us to return to full-time.

Who knew the power of two red balloons. There were thousands of places they could have fallen, and yet, they found two farms, and sent a message back to us in the process.

Thank you to all who have followed our journey, and here is to many more years of great stories from the farm – and from wherever we might be. I guess in the end, no matter how far we travel, it will always be our Home.  Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary



93 thoughts on “An Update On The Farm Sale – The Story Of An Amazing Journey!

  • August 1, 2018 at 11:30 pm
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    What an inspiring story! Having a small farm ourselves we have made some of your projects. The most fun were the potato beds. Not ever having much luck with potatoes the last 2 years have been abundant. Blessings on your new adventures!

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    • August 2, 2018 at 3:31 pm
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      Thank you so much Susan and we are so happy that your potato crates are working well for you!

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  • July 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm
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    My husband and I have always envied you living so close to your farm (before you made it your permanent home). We are an hour and 45 min. from ours and are able to get out here every other weekend. We are so curious how you are going to handle having the farm while away b/c it’s something we’ve considered as well, esp. after we retire which is coming up very soon. I’d love to hear you talk about options for getting help/caretaking etc. It’s just hard to know how to do that and who you can trust with your “baby.”

    So yes, hearty congratulations on keeping your farm! Did you sell everything that you aren’t taking with you? I’ll be so interested to see how you work this out. Please share all the juicy details with us all here!

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    • July 28, 2018 at 6:51 pm
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      Finding the right person to manage the property while we are gone is the tricky part. We have wonderful neighbors who are taking care of the chickens and strolling through garden to look for any signs of disease or damage. As for the house, we are still in the process of determining the best use of the space so we have’t sold anything yet. We will be sure to keep you all updated on this crazy journey 🙂

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  • July 26, 2018 at 9:51 pm
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    What a story! So happy for you that you decided to “keep” the farm! I was saddened to hear about your decision to sell after all the hard work and love you put into it. Congrats!

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    • July 28, 2018 at 6:48 pm
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      Thank you so much!

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  • July 26, 2018 at 1:27 am
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    Funny as I read you article about selling your farm a picture started to paint itself that y’all are going South looking for or to start exactly what you currently have at you current farm Why? If you love it that much why move? Why not just improve on what you have ImI sure there tons of good projects left to do! Signed Confused

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    • July 28, 2018 at 6:47 pm
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      Hi James. The move was due to a job change that we just couldn’t pass up. We love the farm and the process of building it. We always find the best in every situation and we are happy now to have decided to keep it and use it in various ways.

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  • July 24, 2018 at 10:33 pm
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    Yay! I have followed you both for years at the same time we were establishing our little Homestead in north Georgia’s blueridge mountains. I could never sell and leave our farm either. I think you made the right decision.

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    • July 28, 2018 at 6:45 pm
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      Thank you Betty!

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  • July 24, 2018 at 7:33 am
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    I am also happy that you are able to keep the farm since that is your home state there in Ohio. However, I eagerly await news from Tennessee, since that is closer to my home here in Mississippi. Welcome to the South, y’all!

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    • July 24, 2018 at 7:48 am
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      Thank you Charlotte! We are excited as well. We are enjoying middle TN and love the South as well!

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  • July 23, 2018 at 10:12 am
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    This is quite a surprise but yet again not surprising. I couldn’t figure out how you could ever leave that beautiful farm behind in the first place. Now we both know… you couldn’t. Kudos to you for making the right choice. Best of luck in your new adventures. We’ll be waiting to hear all about them.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:34 pm
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      Thank you Gene…we are excited to see what the future brings! Thank you so much for following our journey now and in the future!

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  • July 23, 2018 at 10:08 am
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    Such a happy ending, I was a little sad when I read that you were selling.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:34 pm
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      Thank you Faith — you weren’t the only one that was a little sad. We can’t wait to see what we get into next!

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  • July 23, 2018 at 9:41 am
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    Wow! Another teary eyed reader here!! I, too, have followed your blog for many years, and was very sad when I read your article on selling the farm. It felt like “family” was moving away.
    About two years ago, I looked at a map and noticed Dillon State Park was near your farm, so we decided to camp there for a weekend. Like a “star struck” teeny bopper, (who was 57 at the time!) I asked my husband to drive by the farm. Jim happened to be outside, so I pleaded with Joe to please stop. He thought I was crazy to stop in at a stranger’s home…..but I explained: “They aren’t strangers to me!” He conceded, and we introduced ourselves and were so warmly welcomed by Jim! (Told ya so, Joe!). 😊. Mary was out mowing, and stopped the tractor and came to talk to us as well. They gave us a full tour of their little “heaven on earth” farm! We were even invited into their home, which they were still in the process of building. I was able to purchase their first book, “growing simple”…..and yes, I DID ask for their autographs! 😁.
    Our son and his family live in Spring Hill, TN. It’s a beautiful area, and we enjoy visiting….but….once a “Buckeye”…..Ohio will always be “home”!!
    Thank you, Lord, for navigating those two red 🎈 🎈!!! I now have another chance to win an invite to a “Farm to Table dinner”!! 😉
    Jim & Mary…..you mean SO much to all your followers! We ARE family!!
    Margi & Joe Habegger, Bluffton, Ohio

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:36 pm
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      We remember that day well! It was a pleasure to meet both of you that day and we appreciate that you continue to follow along on our journey. We love our extended Family!

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  • July 23, 2018 at 8:59 am
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    A few years ago we we took a sentimental journey to visit two of our previous homes. It was amazing to see how the trees had grown. Both had been added on to, and one had been painted a different color. I could happily return to either one. I know wherever you go in Tennessee, you will make something beautiful and special. I’m glad, though, that you decided to keep the farm too.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:37 pm
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      Oh yes, we do the drive by the old homestead as well. Such great memories that go through your mind during those trips. We can’t wait to see what happens next in both TN and at the farm.

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  • July 23, 2018 at 8:06 am
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    What an amazing story! I am happy to hear you have decided to keep the farm. Thank you for all the inspirational articles you share with all your readers. And thank you for taking the time to respond to one readers questions and giving the help needed. Wishing you many blessings & much success with your future plans.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:38 pm
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      Thank you Sherry! We appreciate all of our readers and hope that everyone continues to follow along in our adventures.

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  • July 23, 2018 at 7:39 am
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    Never expected that decision, but I can totally understand your hesitation in leaving it behind. TN isn’t that far away, so hopefully you can visit often.
    Praying that God joins you to the perfect caretakers.
    Be Blissed!

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:39 pm
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      Thank you Daisy!

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  • July 23, 2018 at 12:06 am
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    I was so amazed to hear that you were selling the farm. With all that you had put into it I couldn’t imagine that you could leave it. So glad to hear that you are keeping it.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:39 pm
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      We are glad that we are keeping it too! Now just to figure out how to take care of both 🙂

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    • July 24, 2018 at 4:08 pm
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      Thank you!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 9:33 pm
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    This makes my heart so happy. I was so sad when reading you were selling the farm. It wouldn’t be the same without y’all there. I will tell all my coworkers that you have decided to stay as I told them
    All about the sale if they farm.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:40 pm
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      Thank you for spreading the word! Both then and now 🙂

      Reply
  • July 22, 2018 at 8:51 pm
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    How amazing! My smile became bigger and bigger as I read about the journey of each balloon. Enjoy your farm and enjoy the chapters of your next journey! Looking forward to reading your future blog posts. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm
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      I am glad you enjoyed the story of the balloons. It was truly amazing where they landed. And thank you so much for continuing to follow along with our journey!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 8:26 pm
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    So glad you are keeping your farm,I so loved reading about it and enjoy your recipes!!! Good luck in your next adventure!!

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm
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      Thank you Barbara! We will continue to write about everything that we are doing (which should be a lot!)

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  • July 22, 2018 at 5:24 pm
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    My husband and I long to be back on a farm.
    Six years ago, circumstances caused us to have to move to town but your post about your farm fed my town “farmin” and our hope of returning to green acres and fresh air one day. I was sad to read that you were selling yours….today I’m beyond THRILLED to read your keeping it. Thank you, in an odd way of keeping my hope of ours alive! Looking forward to your new adventures as well.
    Sincerely, Merrit in MO

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:43 pm
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      Thank you so much Merrit. We are happy to share our story and are glad that you can find them inspirational. We will keep them coming!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 5:05 pm
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    So glad to hear you are keeping the farm. Tennessee is a beautiful state but nothing is better than Ohio. I don’t know what it is about Ohio but the hubs and I couldn’t leave it for Tennessee, we decided to retire right here at home. Good luck in your future endeavors, Ohio will be here to welcome you home when you are ready.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:45 pm
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      Ohio is a beautiful state, that is for sure! Thank you for the best wishes! We will be back to the Buckeye state quite often.

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  • July 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm
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    What a wonderful story. I’m so pleased, your farm is obviously Home.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:45 pm
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      It’s like the old saying….Home is where the heart is!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 2:56 pm
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    Aww… I loved the 2- Balloon stories. ! What an interesting Trifecta ; the perfect triangulation of your creative impulse, (Releasing balloons with notes), the quick and interested/ interesting response/ connection by other humans/ strangers ( initially, at least…), and that powerful, still quiet Voice in a Whirlwind- that provided/ guided these and other connections . I feel as though I received a second-hand discharge of energy of some sort, just reading about this. I can only imagine how you all are feeling.(Beyond merely tingly, I bet…)

    I am so very pleased you have decided to keep the farm. Best wishes in your further adventures !

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:46 pm
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      It was truly amazing how it all played out. We will keep you posted on what we end up doing next – stay tuned!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2018 at 2:50 pm
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    Tears came to my eyes. I am such a sentimental person I hate to see people leave something they love. If you have someone who can caretake for you, you can rent out as a holiday retreat for the times of the year when you won’t be there. That way the taxes and upkeep will be paid. So happy to hear you’re not selling the farm.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:47 pm
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      Thank you Alison….we are trying to figure out all of the details of finding a caretaker and renting it when we will not be there. I am sure we will figure out something soon!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 1:43 pm
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    Excellent decision!! If we lived nearby, we’d love to be renters or “land-holders” of this fabulous property, til you undoubtedly return someday. But keeping it is a decision you’ll never regret. Good luck in TN!!

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:48 pm
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      We wish you were closer! Thank you for your kind words.

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  • July 22, 2018 at 1:43 pm
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    Yeah!!! So happy you kept the farm! I’ve followed you since we started our own little home garden a few years ago and we are so grateful for all your tips and knowledge of gardening, thank you so much. This made my day!!! Many blessings to you both on your new journey and for keeping your old journey alive and well!

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:49 pm
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      Thank you Sheila! I hope your garden is going well this year!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm
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    How interesting and so well written. God works in mysterious ways for sure. The journey is always exciting- it’s not the destination but the journey. By south, do you mean southern Ohio or Deep South as in Georgia?

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:50 pm
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      We have always said ‘love the journey’! We will be in middle Tennessee for a job relocation. But at least we can get back to Ohio often.

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  • July 22, 2018 at 1:25 pm
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    Oh I loved the ” kismet-ness” of this post….. I got major goose bumps.
    I have always gardened but you and your raised beds have changed the way I garden, first in Vermont, and now in S Dakota…. your decision made me happy.
    Thank you for everything!

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:51 pm
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      You are so welcome! It has been our pleasure and we hope that you will continue to find our information useful!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2018 at 12:08 pm
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    Amazing! A reinforcement to keep your feet planted where you’ve found much happiness. You Can go back Home <3

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:52 pm
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      You never know what kind of ‘signs’ that you will get!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 12:06 pm
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    I am so happy to hear you are not leaving us. I love hearing your stories. They are so inspirational. I am privileged to know you and Mary and hope that I get to attend another one of your Farm to Table dinners.
    God Bless you both
    Sandy Hart

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:52 pm
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      Thank you so much Sandy!

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:52 pm
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      Thank you!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 11:31 am
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    I ,too, was teary eyed. Your blog was my inspiration for our own Weaver Barn “cedar brook” weekend home at our farm. I also have a garden and have used many of your tips. Wishing you happiness and health in your next endeavors. Janet Dillsboro IN

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    • July 24, 2018 at 3:57 pm
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      Thank you so much – We are so happy that you have found material on our website that is useful!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 10:26 am
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    That’s wonderful! It seems that now MORE people can benefit from your efforts because they get to care and nurture this land you so lovingly created. Sure wish I lived close to plant a wee bit of your garden. Blessings on your journey and decisions! From a backyard gardener in Utah.

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    • July 24, 2018 at 4:10 pm
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      I would love it if someone like you would be there to take care and love the garden as much as we do. Maybe one day our journey will take us to Utah!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2018 at 10:19 am
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    You never know which direction life will take you especially if you are open and aware. Thank you for sharing your journey–what a wonderful story. Many blessings to you!

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:27 am
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      Thank you Beth, you are so right, you never really know. But you just take each day, have fun, and make the best of it you can.

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  • July 22, 2018 at 10:17 am
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    Karma is an amazing thing – we are all given choices throughout our lives and sometimes have to decide which path is the best one – not an easy task ! but then something happens which makes the decision really easy 🙂
    So glad you made this choice – it really is the right one

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    • July 24, 2018 at 4:11 pm
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      We think so too!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2018 at 10:15 am
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    Funny, I was just wondering yesterday how things had worked out, and now I know! Thanks for telling the story! Now you’d better get cracking as you will be so busy…

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:24 am
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      LOL, exactly Edith, no resting now! 🙂

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  • July 22, 2018 at 9:53 am
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    I’m happy for the decision you made. I will miss all the recipes you shared, and the tips on gardening.

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:08 am
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      Thank you Pauline – but no worries, we will keep on posting all of our recipes and gardening articles! That is one of the reasons we decided to keep it to keep up the inspiration for the writing. Thank you so much for following!

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:08 am
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      Thank you Barb! 🙂

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  • July 22, 2018 at 9:44 am
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    The Universe works in such amazing ways and your story says it all!! Blessing to you and your family. You are right where you are susposed to be 🙂

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:09 am
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      Thank you Peggy so very much for the kinds words! Sometimes you have to go through the journey to find out all of the answers.

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  • July 22, 2018 at 9:44 am
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    So happy for your decision to keep the farm. Hope you can return to it for a vacation every year. Have enjoyed all of your post. Keep up with them specially the recipes.

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:10 am
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      Thank you Ken, we will certainly enjoy it as much as possible and will keep on writing all about it!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 9:29 am
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    WOW!!!!! Amazing story!!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 9:22 am
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    Wow. That’s a great journey in and of itself. Your farm is a piece of your being as much as your arms or legs. Glad to see y’all will be intact. We’re in the early stages building ours and your our inspiration and textbook. Thanks.

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:14 am
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      Thank you so much Jack – and so glad the farm and story have helped you with the plan to build yours!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2018 at 9:18 am
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    Why am I teary eyed after reading this good news? I’m happy you are keeping your farm and sharing it with your community and with your readers. Best wishes to you in all your endeavors.

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:15 am
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      Thank you so very much Marlene!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 9:17 am
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    I agree! Sooo happy you’re keeping the farm and safe travels. Look forward to your next post!! 🙂

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:15 am
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      Thank you Peggy!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 8:57 am
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    I am glad to hear that you are keeping the farm. Best of luck to the new annex- the southern branch.

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:17 am
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      Thank you so much!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 8:50 am
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    That is amazing . I have enjoyed following each step of your journey. Thank you for sharing it.

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:20 am
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      Thank you Wendy, it was simply the thing in the end we knew we had to do.

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  • July 22, 2018 at 8:47 am
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    This makes me so happy for you!

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:22 am
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      Thank you Susan!

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  • July 22, 2018 at 8:43 am
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    I am so happy for you

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:22 am
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      Thank you Ron!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2018 at 8:40 am
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    Such an amazing story of something just “meant to be” … Best of luck with all the planning!1

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    • July 22, 2018 at 10:22 am
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      It really is Irena, and thank you so much!

      Reply

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