About Five Green Acres

In November of 2007, we set out on a journey. Leaving our city-sized starter home and our city-sized yard and our city-sized neighborhood behind, we packed up and moved to the country. Yep. These City Mice decided that it was time to put on our Country Mouse hats and blaze a new trail for ourselves. We decided, rather suddenly in fact, that we needed SPACE. To grow our family, to grow food, to grow our minds. Our New Home Search derailed very abruptly from the “biggest-city-yard-we-could-afford” to a very different track entirely, one called “The Farmette”.

And somehow, the home of our dreams found us: a spacious, well-loved Victorian home nestled in five acres of rolling hills. There’s a pristine trout stream in our back yard which pretty much sealed the deal for my husband; the chickens (Lovely Ladies, as we call them) sealed the deal for me – 15 beautiful laying hens that were the icing on this delicious cake. All this, and we’re still within spitting distance from our beloved city of Madison, WI.

So here we are, beginning our transformation. From this very spot, we hope to grow our own food, (that’s veggies, herbs, and some meat too) produce our own energy, make by hand as much as we can, and hopefully instill in our growing family the skills, values, and little nuggets of wisdom that we’re able to pick up along the way. And laugh – we are absolutely nothing without our sense of humor.

To be fair, we acknowledge that we’re certainly not the first to undertake such a journey. Scores of folks before us have made this pilgrimage back to the earth and undoubtedly scores after us will do the same. Regardless, this journey is our own and we bring to it our unique perspectives. We’re a young family: Andrew and I (Mary Jo) are both breaking in our thirties and Isadora is 2 1/2 growing by the minute.  Newest to the Acres is our son Errol, who joined the adventure in April 2009. I bring to the table a degree in Fine Art, some training as an herbalist, finely-honed thrifting prowess, and an insatiable hunger for knowledge.  Andrew, besides being the Breadwinner and Financier, is a rather skilled Handyman, and brings what is perhaps the most valuable to the creative table: Patience. He acts as the grounding rod which allows our visions to take root. And we’ve not strayed too far from our roots: both Andrew and I grew up in the country, with strong foundations of family, hard work, and home-cooked meals.  Ah, yes, food:  we care pretty deeply about what we eat and how, where it comes from, how it was processed. (or not)  I’d be lying to you if I said that reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver when we were shopping for that house in the city didn’t have a sizable impact on us.  (I’m pretty sure my exact words were ‘Oh no.  We are in such big trouble.’)  All this and we like music a whole lot too, taking up instruments of our own for the first time.

Have I hooked you yet? It’s a sort of Crafty Blog-meets Mommy Blog-meets Eco Blog which fits me just perfectly. Join us – the journey promises to be honest, colorful, delicious, and no doubt humorous as we forge this new path for our family.

11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    chris said,

    Glad I found your blog – looking forward to reading about your adventures!

  2. 2

    marianne said,

    I stumbled on your blog and I could swear I was reading my future dream plans with my husband. I look forward to reading you and perhaps pick up some tips?

  3. 3

    Kris said,

    Hi Mary Jo. I found this blog by accident. Are you the woman who had the Renew It store in Madison? I brought in the pistachio nut hat to sell.
    Anyway, just wanted to say “congratulations on your new home”. It looks (and sounds) wonderful. We are in the country also, on 2.5 acres, and it is an adventure. Happy holidays! Kris

  4. 4

    donna said,

    Awesome house, and story.
    We are in Kenosha.
    Glad to know that Wisconsin still offers some beautiful places to live.
    Am actually from Green Bay area.
    Enjoy your blog.

  5. 5

    Gina said,

    Hi Mary Jo,
    One of my penpals suggested your blog and I’m so glad she did! I live in Nova Scotia, Canada and I have a 4 year old girl and a 1 year old boy too! I have always dreamed of doing what you did, packing up and moving to the country. My husband however, is yet to be convinced. He’s a city boy through and through. So, until I’m able to convince him otherwise, I’ll enjoy reading about your adventures. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. 6

    Joe Hatch said,

    I love this. Sounds like where we want to be within the next 2-3 years.

    I found you on a blogroll as I was link clicking starting from the Dane County Timebank that I am new to. My wife and I just moved to New Glarus from Michigan back in Septemebr we’ve got 2 girls (3yrs. & 6mos.). I am the stay-at-home-artist-dad and as we are in transition (renting in town), our next step perhaps this summer is a Hobby Farm/farmette. Love your pics of the sheep & images in general. Good to know I am not the only early 30 something artsy-fart who’s moved to the rural life in search of whole living.

    Cheers to you.

    ~ Joe

  7. 7

    j. jun said,

    thank you for the information about the art book!
    (sew liberated) And I am also glad I found your site too.

  8. 8

    Anita Amyotte said,

    Found your blog through a crafty website link….

    We just moved to a homequarter (160 acres), and are getting back to growing our own food, and crafting a handmade life.

    I have 2 kids, new husband and hope to add a baby in the next year or so.

    I look forward to reading about your adventure. 🙂

  9. 9

    Kate said,

    Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog and have a feeling that we are looking for a home around you and could end up in a similar locale though there are a lot of trout streams in the vicinity. Would you be up for some email questions, I couldn’t find an email link but would love to ask you more about the area and your families transition. I have a 4 and 2 year old, we currently live in town and are looking to relocate in August.
    Thanks, Kate

  10. 10

    Hi, just found your blog. Looking forward to checking out more.

    Carrie, in Milwaukee

  11. 11

    downsizingjames said,

    This is the story of where my wife and I would like to be within five years. I am very excited to follow your blog and hopefully get some good ideas for our future. 🙂

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