By Brandi Faulk
Living on a farm has been a dream of mine since I was a girl. Ask anyone who knew me. They’ll tell you I always said, “When I grow up, I’m going to get married and have my own farm.”
My answer was a little different from the other children. Most said they wanted to be doctors, cops, fashion designers, etc., but I always knew the path I would take.
My desire for this oldfashioned lifestyle began with summers at my dad’s and his family. Long days running barefoot in the dirt at my uncle’s, shucking corn at the farmers market with my dad, bottle feeding calves, petting goats and chasing chickens at my granny’s—this was my paradise.
I met my husband, Ryan, when I was 18. Two old souls clicked instantly that day, and we married two years later. During that time, we raised chickens, ducks and rabbits, but between him working out of town most days as a CSX train conductor and the births of our four children, we couldn’t keep up with our mini-farm. Little did I know that by my 30th birthday we would embark on the wildest adventure of our lives!
In 2018, we jumped at the chance to buy an 1895 fixer-upper farmhouse on 5 acres a few miles down the road. The realtor tried to talk me out of it, as did friends. But my heart was set. It was easy to focus on the crumbling plaster walls, the peeling paint, rotten floorboards, no heat or air, faulty electrical work—the list goes on. But all I could see was the wrap-around porch, the 12-foot ceilings, the yard large enough to grow and raise our own food. This was more than just a house to me. It was a dream come true.
When Dollar General and Family Dollar both knocked on our door to offer us three times our purchase price, I declined. They wanted our lot right off the main road. However, locals informed me our home served as a small railroad hotel in the early 1900s. We discovered the original black-and-white photo displayed in a museum down the block and also in a local history book. I could not let a house so vital to this tiny town’s history be demolished for yet another convenience store.
Once again, friends and family said I was crazy for turning down the money, but there are some things money can’t buy.
Fast forward two years filled with love, laughter, blood, sweat and tears. We’re now focusing on our backyard farm. What started with six Rhode Island chickens quickly jumped to 50 chickens, guineas, peacocks and a small herd of Nigerian dwarf goats. We have grown our own food, including peppers, squash, tomatoes, melons, blueberries, even pumpkins.
Plans for this spring are even bigger. They include planting a field of crops and fencing in a second pasture to raise our own meat. It’s important to me that our children be connected with the land, that they experience firsthand where food comes from.
Most importantly, I hope they remember gathering eggs and eating blueberries fresh off the bush as fondly as I do. Watching the joy light up their faces after snuggling a baby goat, or the pride beam in their eyes as the seeds they planted have sprouted has been such a life changer for me. Now I know how my granny felt as she showed me around the garden she worked so hard on. I hope she noticed the wonder on my 6-year-old face, or that she realized how much of an impact those summers had on my soul.
Brandi Faulk and her family are excited to share their homesteading journey with Marlboro Electric members. The home, built in 1895, is a former railway hotel and farmhouse. See more photos of their experience on Instagram @faulkfamilyfarm