So I was thinking about my readers the other day and realized just how little you actually know about me! Not that I want to spew everything online, but I decided it was time for you to meet the real Autumn. Today, I’d like to give you the inside story!
A BIT ABOUT MY CHILDHOOD
Though I’ve been a northern dweller for about half of my life, I actually grew up in the States. It was in the small corner of north west Oregon that I took my first breath.
Actually, my first breath was that of farmhouse air. You see, I was born in the bedroom just off of the old farmhouse kitchen! And unbeknownst to me, I was going to grow up with an unusual lifestyle, a lifestyle that belonged to the generation before me.
As a child, I had very little exposure to the screen. In fact, neither cell reception nor internet were available in our valley until I was almost a teenager. Our landline was still on a party line with two other neighbors until the late 90’s. But what did I know about such stuff at the time?
Meet the real Autumn!
I was too busy being a happy, dirty, animal loving farm kid! Need I mention I’m number 6 in a family of twelve children? Combine that many kids with an 180 acre farm full of animals and you’ll discover there is no such thing as a dull moment!
We played hard. Summer days were filled with swimming, fishing and floating in the creek that meandered through the property. The front yard was the playground for our running games. Even the woods held forts of many styles and types!
Once the winter rains settled in, we turned the hay barn into a playground, complete with our full size trampoline, forts, tunnels and wild games of tag.
While we played hard, we also worked hard. In the summer there were daily chores, gardens to tend, the sweltering, 3 week haying season to be endured (picture above). Particular days were filled with preparing and preserving corn, peaches, tomatoes and apples.
Every fall brought on berry picking, hunting, butchering and of course, splitting firewood to heat the farmhouse through the winter.
My parents raised us with old fashioned principles and real faith in God. For this, I am grateful!
LEAVING IT ALL BEHIND
Like many girls who love the farm life, I left it behind after graduating high school. While horses and music had been my love in life, I was struggling (like many teenagers) in my faith life.
Meet the real Autumn!
I had questions, so many questions about life and God. While I was aware of the ‘right’ answers, they weren’t resonating with my soul.
It was time to either find soul changing answers or throw in the towel. Recognizing I was at a pivotal point in life, I chose to enroll myself in a little, disciple-making Bible college located in northern Alberta. A career could wait while I tried to find my ‘spiritual’ feet! And if I couldn’t?
Well, let’s just say I’m grateful I found them!
A NEW PASSION OUTSIDE OF FARM LIFE
I missed the farm and my younger siblings so much that first year! After growing up in the mountains, the snow-covered northern prairies were bleak, cold and empty. But as I returned for a second and third year of training, a new passion took over.
Instead of being caught up in the farm life I so loved, I had a strong desire to help other girls who had been in my situation, knowing the truth but without experiencing it in a life changing way.
Instead of returning to the farm or pursuing a career, I joined the staff team at the Bible college. Yes, the mountain girl took the northern prairies! So long as I was involved with counseling and helping people grow in their confidence of God’s goodness, I could be happy anywhere.
SICKNESS STRUCK HARD
An unusual tiredness combined with weakness had been slowly settling over me. In 2011 a strange sickness took over my body. My brain stopped working well. My skin turned yellow. Hands and arms were lazy, sometimes didn’t move like they were supposed to. I was so tired, I could sleep all day and all night.
My doctor tested, tested and tested some more until he finally gave up, telling me it was likely in my head. I was devastated and due to a rapidly depleting body, began to wrestle with the fear that I was dying. It seemed that no one had answers for me.
Over and over, I clung to the words of Psalms 62!
My soul, wait in silence for God only; for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Long story short, I discovered that Lyme disease and several co-infections were wreaking havoc in my body. Because my liver function was so low, I chose to forfeit anti-biotics and instead, pursued the natural route.
And I found real help not only with my health, but also in a real good man that I met and married during that time!
RETURNING TO THE LAND
As I look back, I am intrigued to see how my past enable my future! The farm girl who thought she had left it all behind was suddenly thrust back into the world of traditional living.
I have always loved the farm but in the past 3-4 years I have been especially grateful for my old fashioned upbringing!
My man and I began to recognize my need for highly nutritious, spray free food. I did so much better on home grown food! The longer I could be on it, the stronger my body was. Gardening, keeping birds for eggs and butchering became part of life once again.
Suddenly, we realized living in a northern climate that yielded nothing but snow for 6-7 months of the year wasn’t helping my health or our natural food situation.
We made a drastic move to the southern part of the country and rented a house in a low income, agricultural focused valley. After trying it for a year, we decided to put roots down and claim it as home!
OUR CURRENT SITUATION
I suspect that many of you envision our home in the country. After all, the butchering chickens, hunting deer, raising a large garden every year and preserving food couldn’t take place in town, could it?
You’re right! We are still renting the same home 20 yards outside the city limits!
Folks, we don’t have a front yard. In fact, what we do have is a black top covered parking lot connected to a local greenhouse business. Charming, no? There’s a very busy road about 15 feet from the back of our home and we can hear traffic all day and all night.
Did I mention the back yard is a narrow strip of grass about 15 ft wide? I’m not complaining! Just giving a realistic picture into our current situation!
However, down below the greenhouses our landlord graciously agreed to let us raise a large garden. He even tills it for us! And it’s there that we also raise our heritage turkeys. We are so grateful!
There are many things I love about this home: the outdoor canning kitchen, the cold room in the basement, living on the outskirts of town where one can walk and get away from town noise. But in spite of all this goodness, we are itching for a place to call our own.
Which is why we’ve been saving, saving and saving. One day, hopefully some day soon, we’ll have a small acreage of our own. The farm girl is in me and has to come out.
We want a place where we can raise a few small animals, poultry and good food in good soil! It’s not just for us; it would be something we could develop and share with friends and neighbors. And children! We want a place where we can raise children with the same skill sets and faith we were raised by.
Perhaps it is true, that those who are raised in the country will always return to the country. At least in my situation, it has certainly been the case!