Back in the Homestead Saddle: Starting from Scratch amid Health Crisis


Fenced In Raised Bed Garden

Seven years ago, we moved back to the U.S. after 10 years in Australia. We started blogging about our plans to build a homestead on the 5 acres we had acquired outside San Antonio, Texas. Most of the blogs were about what we were learning in Australia about cheese making, wine making, beekeeping plus our plans to build a “barndominium” (read that earlier Australia to Texas series here).

We started building the barndominium while still in Australia, working intensely during periods when we returned to the United States. Finally, I returned while my wife, Julie, finished up working. I completed the barndominium, and we set to work on the property and building large gardens and cultivating crops that would make us somewhat food independent. We developed some large raised beds, worked with neighbors and family on livestock and built much of our planned homestead.

Then, life happened. Both my knees became very painful and that made maintaining the property and gardens increasingly difficult. Julie was still working and was traveling a lot, so she could not pick up the slack for me. Our daughter and family relocated 100 miles away, north of Austin.

Much of the joy of our life back in Texas evaporated and we had only been back less than four years. We needed to make a change, even if it meant downsizing our dreams.

Downsizing a Farm-Life Dream (and with Great Ambition)

We spent much of our adult working lives in suburbia and in various locations around the world. We didn’t want to go back to that type of life. We like the water and in Australia had always lived on or near the water, as many Aussies do. On the Northwest side of Austin, Lake Travis made a good target.

Gail Howe
10/31/2020 10:00:34 PM

Love that you built a barndominium! Not many around Aussie, many more in Central TX. I run, would love if you checked out the site and let me know what you think. Gail

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