A crazy dream

In the spring of 2016 my life (and along with it, my dreams) radically changed. I was forced to reevaluate a lot of things I had taken for granted and say goodbye to a life I had built for myself and my husband in my mind. In some ways, it is best to stay grounded in the moment since when life takes a sharp right turn you aren't as crushed, but at the same time, it is important to keep your eyes on the horizon.

My new horizon is hydrology and agriculture. I grew up in southern Oregon, a part of the country that was never meant to have been farmed, being a high desert, and has, consequently been racked with water disputes and drought. So when I moved to Missouri I was staggered by the greenery and overwhelmed by the vast abundance of water- and even more baffled with a few years later I heard, once again, the term drought being used. Missouri in a drought?! But I hadn't watered my garden and it was still raining! But none-the-less farmers were selling off valuable livestock by the droves, unable to afford hay for them and when the drought was over the countries loss was in irretrievable heritage livestock and the farmers who once tended them.  The cost of drought is, ultimately, farmers. Unable to make a profit, having to sell off their breeding stock at sub-prime prices, too many lost their farms completely. 

When the chips fell in 2016 and I decided I wanted to help prevent that from happening again. I lacked the understanding of what career that was, but I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to help farmers prevent and survive droughts. I am still struggling to find a major that fits my education goals exactly, as what I want to do doesn't really *have* a major. And that comes with some interesting hurdles. The closest I can come is a double major in hydrology and agriculture with some minors or specializations (focusing on soil science, range management, wildlife biology, restoration ecology and forests) and finding a school that offers that diverse range of topics and that would allow me to do all that is, well, interesting. Not least because I already have a farm. A teen might have no problem packing up a bag and heading off to school, but a 30-something gal with a farm is far from able to do the same.

Currently, I am attending my local community college in the engineering tract. Hydrology programs usually fall in the Civil and Environmental Engineering sphere, so to cover my bases I am sticking with this tract. The biggest complication is I have NO idea where I will be transferring. While my grades (right now, one semester in) are excellent, what will hold me back is money. I simply cannot afford to go into debt. The school I will attend will be the one that offers me the best financial aid package, that along with outside scholarships will allow me a full ride. This does mean that I will likely be attending a school that does not fit my goals 100%, or one that *does* but that is not in commuting distance.  (My dream St. Louis school, Washington University, is very unlikely to work out since there are several years they don't accept transfer students at all and they don't offer much financial aid to transfer students, certainly not enough to cover the $50,000 a year tab) cue THE CRAZY DREAM.

The crazy dream is this: Plan to have to move. (I would prefer not to, as I love St. Louis and I have a farm, but it's better to be prepared!) So how could a 30-ish farmer gal be able to move in just a couple months after selecting a school? A tiny house! Not just a tiny house, but a tiny farm! A farm on the go! My idea is to take two 40 foot storage containers (semi truck boxes) and convert them into a farm on the go. One will be my abode and one will be a barn/coop/animal mover. Both would be on semi trailers so that I could simply hire someone to drive them to their new location. I don't really need something that will be moved often, as that is not feasible with animals, but instead, something that can last me the time it will take me to finish my education. The idea is that with portable electric fencing and my farm on the go, I could buy an acre or two of land close to any school that will have me and load everyone up and go. Then when school is over, I can repeat the process and come back to St. Louis. Living in this way would also allow me to declutter and save up money for a real farm (100 acres, house, etc) It would be easy to grow a garden on the roof and use my new Homebiogas for cooking gas! (And heck, a space that small, even use it for heat!) 

Of course, there is a hiccup here: Money. Yup, the same hiccup that my education has. So here is the plan: I will create the blueprints and a list of supplies and then try to raise the money via crowdfunding. It is a long short (A VERY long shot) but what you never try, you can never succeed at. Maybe, just maybe, this could work. And when, by some miracle, a school that has a hydrology and agriculture program offers me a full ride I can load up the dogs, cats, geese, ducks, chickens, pigeons, pheasant, and rabbit and hit the open road toward my new life.


A crazy wonderful dream

I'd love to hear an update on your dream. I just discovered your page from HomeBiogas. I am a single woman, approaching my seventy-th birthday, interested in self-sufficient sustainable off-grid living. Though unable to offer financial help directly, there may be other ways I could offer support; I find your dream compelling. Thank you for writing it down.

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