Our Story

In the beginning of 2011, Darran and I sat down and took a hard look at our lives. I can't remember what caused such intense reflection, but it was the beginning of great change. Instead of just letting life bump us along, we decided we wanted to live more deliberately. On purpose. 

What we decided was that we wanted to live our lives differently. We truly wanted our family to be the center of our priorities. 

Darran had been working very long hours at a job that would not provide any long-term financial security for us. While he was away at said job our boys were growing up. He deeply wanted to be more present, more involved. We missed him. 

We wanted to not just make a living, but to make a life.

Around the same time we began devouring Joel Salatin's books. We watched Food Inc together and I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. These things called to us, brought back memories of childhood, and stirred something deep inside. People talk about feeling a "calling" and I would have to say this is the closest I've come to knowing what that means in my life. We began having a strong urge to make different food choices. Choices so different that they would change our lifestyle, not just our grocery shopping. Again, it's more about the lifestyle overall, not just the food.

At that point I scoured the library and internet for material on sustainable living, homesteading, gardening, simple living, and the like. 

We both grew up in rural areas. In farming and ranching communities. Our long term plan has always been to have land and return to that lifestyle with our children. But we pondered, why not start now? With what we have? Why not live our lives the way we want?

We decided to LIVE our dreams.

We made a plan to begin our adventure in March of 2012. What is the saying? How do you make God laugh....tell him your plans. In November of 2011 the situation at Darran's job changed in such a way that it became clear he could no longer work there much longer. 

We changed our plan.

Darran left his job December of 2011. While I'd hoped to have 6 months expenses saved up before we began, I had roughly 3. It was a bit rough on me. I'm a huge planner. Huge. Having to adjust my plan was tough, but I quickly overcame that and became downright excited. 

Sometimes you just have to jump!

Financially our plan was for Darran to pick up side jobs as a mechanic, and that coupled with my blogging endeavors kept the bills paid. We lived simpler, we learned to live on less. It was an amazing time.

We will always fondly remember our adventures on 4 Acres.

We realized that to reach our goal of self-sufficiency we needed more than just 4 acres at 7000 feet in Colorado... 

Back then I was blogging on 4acresfarm.blogspot.com. That was an amazing time for our family. We learned, we grew together, we honed our vision. We added a new addition to the family, baby #4, a girl! 

We thought for a while we'd build a place on family land in Colorado. Then, we looked around at other places in Colorado, California, and even Oregon. We went through some really rough, what seemed like dream crushing times here, but again it served to hone our vision. 

We realized Darran would have to get a full time job away from home to get a mortgage. Our goal was still self-sufficiency and Darran not working off the place eventually, but to buy a suitable place this became a long-term goal again. 

Baby steps.

We searched. We believed there must be a plan for us. We visited California and hubby applied for a job. We prayed for the right doors to open. Boy, did they.

We were leaning towards Northern California. We were house and job hunting in the Redding area. I really loved it there. The jobs all fell through though. Then, somehow we were house and job hunting in Oregon. Around Baker City. There was a for sale by owner online that we fell in love with. It was perfect. Everything we were looking for. House, outbuildings, fruit and nut trees, about 50 acres, water, huge garden...perfect.

In February Darran got an interview for a mechanic position in Baker City. His parents were headed to California on a sort of meandering vacation, so they agreed to take him to his interview and then back to Boise to fly home. We were full of hope. I had already started to fall in love with the idea of Oregon.

On the way to the interview they stopped by the homestead we'd been looking at online. It's quite amazing what people can do with pictures. It was NOTHING like we'd hoped. He said it was in fact, quite a dump. 

Le sigh.

Next, he went to the job interview. He had been talking to these people for a couple months before he took the leap to go all the way out there for an interview. The interview went OK, but he didn't feel like things were quite right. He got a job offer, but didn't want to take it.

Before he'd left our middle son had said, "Please get this job so we can finally move, Dad." I think that was tugging at his heart. Pretty sure come hell or high water Darran was not coming home without a job. He just couldn't shake the feeling that the Baker City job wasn't right though.

He and his parents explored Baker City a little. Looked at a couple other places for sale. Looked at some rentals. Things still didn't feel right to him.

They headed towards Boise a little early because Darran was just over Baker City. On the way they stopped at an ag equipment dealer near the Oregon/Idaho border. Darran just went in and asked if they were hiring. He talked to the guy there for a while and he then sent Darran's info to the main boss (who was in the Boise area).

Off they went towards the airport, not expecting to hear back. It had been pretty random. Darran was to fly out the next morning, so they thought they'd explore Boise a bit. Then, before they even got to Boise, Darran got a call. They wanted an interview ASAP. Before Darran flew out!

The interview went amazingly well. Darran felt like THIS was the right company for him. The main boss told him that he would let him know in a couple days. He asked Darran if he had a preference which store he worked out of (they have stores all over Idaho and even in Oregon and Washington), Darran said he didn't. It may sound crazy, but if he got the job we prepared to go wherever they sent us.

Darran flew home.

Long story long, I suppose, Darran got the job and was placed in the Idaho Falls store.

Whoa. FINALLY! We were moving. To Idaho Falls? Here, I should let you know that I'd never even been to the state of Idaho at this point. We felt like this was the right move though. We trusted and again we jumped.

I love the falls. One of our favorite things to do is walk the river.

We madly began packing. We browsed houses online and pondered what to do about our current house. Darran and I took a trip out to Idaho Falls to look at houses and let me at least SEE where we'd be moving. Though I was already all in; he loved it, I would to. Things just felt right to both of us.

Then, we got word that they wanted Darran in Idaho sooner than was first discussed. He wound up throwing his tools in our truck and leaving me to finish things with the Colorado house.

THAT was more than I bargained for. I had gone through most of OUR stuff, but that wasn't even the tip of the iceberg. You see, we were living in a house that his great grandfather built. Then it was his grandfathers, then his fathers, then his. NO one ever cleaned all their crap out of that place. Every attic, basement, shed, crook, and cranny was filled with 5 generations of Olkjer stuff.

Pretty much this. The whole time. 

My family really stepped up and helped me go through everything. I will forever be grateful to them for all their help. It was pretty nuts. Oh the treasures we found (I can't find the pics I took. I'll post them if I find them.). Oh the trash we found. It was kind of fun, but more so a lot of work.

The plan was I'd stay until the house sold. But...I couldn't stand being away from Darran. I made it 3 weeks (including spending Easter and Darran's birthday apart) and then I loaded the kids up and bolted.

I left the house before even getting it listed. You see, with all the family history of that place, we had always hoped someone in Darran's family would buy it. Well, I found out that Darran's parents really wanted to. We decided to give them some time to work things out.

The trip for the kids and I out to Idaho was horrible. Let's just say Wyoming is no longer my friend. There was a horrible storm, accidents, scariest drive of my life. Then, we got to Idaho. It all melted away and we were home!

My new kitchen the first day we moved in. Our rental house was small, but really nice.

I cannot express to you how amazing things were since the move. Yes, we wound up in a little rental waiting for the house situation to resolve, but I was me. I was home. It felt as if the entire slate of my life has been wiped clean and I could write on it whatever I wanted.

So, from there we wound up being in a little rental for about 9 months. Darran's parents bought our Colorado house. Which was amazing because we'd always hoped it would stay in the family. We found the perfect for us place north of Idaho Falls and after much craziness (the banker told us repeatedly our mortgage was not going to be approved, but it was without a hitch) we bought it. It and 8.3 acres with water. It's so perfect for us. There's also 26 acres next door that we really hope to buy and expand our little farm.

The huge apple tree that overlooks the canal running along our drive way.

We have had some hiccups with Darran changing jobs a couple times and it being harder than I realized doing much of the farm work on my own while trying to blog and homeschool the kids. After Darran's last job loss (June of 2018) we have decided sink or swim we're all in for our dreams. We want Darran here. Not working off the place. That's always been the plan. We're not sure how we'll work it out, but we have hope.

And so begins A Promising Place...

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