The Story Of A Farm

Today I’d like to tell you the story of our farm. As I’ve been pondering this blog post, I keep thinking I need to leave out the beginning of the story, as it is very personal, but it’s a big part of how we came to the place of buying our farm so I can’t really leave it out.

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The entrance to our farm

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But FIRST!  I’m sure you’re waiting for the winner of the Milk Cow Kitchen book.  I chose the winner the old fashioned way – wrote all the entrants names on paper, threw them in a jar, and pulled out a name!  And the winner is….

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Jill 

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Congratulations Jill!  I will be contacting you for your mailing address and the book will be on its way.  Thank you to all our amazing readers that commented!

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Our farm story starts like this: before my husband and I ever got married (33 years ago) he told me he wanted to buy a cattle ranch or farm someday. So, during our first 20 plus years of marriage when he had a good job as a Mechanical Engineer and we were raising our two children, we would talk often of retiring early and buying a farm. In January 2005, when we were just a few years from acting on that dream, the unplannable happened: I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was 42 years old. Our daughter had just married, our son was in his first year of college.

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Our driveway through the woods

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I remember clearly the first words that came out of my mouth when the Breast Surgeon gave me the news. I said, “My husband and I were going to buy a farm. I’m afraid that now this will change everything in our lives and we won’t be able to buy our farm.” I’m sure he wondered about this crazy woman, but he was kind and said, “Lets just take it one step at a time”.

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The first glimpse of our house as you come through the woods

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Fast forward a year over the surgeries and the chemotherapy to my last check-up with the Breast Surgeon and his words to me, “Dori, it’s time for you and your husband to buy your farm.” I had actually forgotten my words to him and it tells you what an amazing man he was that he had remembered.

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Our pond and the main source of water for our cattle

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So… the hunt was on! We had always dreamed of moving to the Southeast and with a daughter and son-in-law in Alabama we decided Tennessee would be the place to start looking.

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Our beautiful flower garden at the bottom of the hill

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Long story short, it was Thanksgiving 2005 that we followed a sign on the highway that said “Farm For Sale” and we drove across a pasture, through the woods, meandered up a hill, slowly climbed another hill to the hilltop.

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Our first glimpse of the hilltop – notice my husband’s smile

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Our daughter and her husband, and our son were with us and we got out of the car and stood there with our mouths hanging open. We looked at each other and said, “this is it”. And 4 months later, it was!

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Thanksgiving 2005 – our family

(My hair just growing back from chemo!)

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It was six long years, in 2011, before we were actually able to retire and move to our farm, where the work really began!  My husband and I built our home on the hilltop, all by ourselves.  And I do mean All.By.Ourselves.  (Someday I’ll tell you that story too!)

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The view north from our house

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During those six years before we were able to move, our daughter and her husband drove out to the farm from their home across the border in Alabama, to hike around and check on things. It was on one of those trips that the farmhouse they had always admired just down the road, was for sale! Long story short – they bought it and moved a few years before we did! We cannot see their house from our farm, but we can see the the red rooftop of their neighbors house!

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The view east of our house, towards our daughter’s house

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Maybe you can understand why this farm means so much to us. It was a lifelong dream for my husband, a miracle for me, an incredible and amazing bonus to have our grand-babies just down the road, and it felt like we belonged from the first time we stepped foot on it.

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The view west from our house

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We love that we have an ever changing view (in every direction) from our house. We love that we have a taste of the smoky mountains by the “smoke” that rises from the hollows. We love that we see our cows every day. We love the friends we’ve met that, in just three short years, feel like family to us now. We love living so close to our grown children. We love everything about being here on our farm…. listening to the birds during the day, the sounds in the woods at night, and how everything grows! We even love to mow (and mow and mow)!

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The view south from our house

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Thank you for visiting our farm and listening to my farm story.  I would love to hear yours!

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Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.

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Dori

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P.S.  Did you notice that all my pictures are summer pictures?  Think I might be just a little bit anxious for summer?  Smile! 

Leave a comment 72 Comments

  1. Nancy says:

    Beautiful! Hubby and I moved from CA to Tennessee almost 10 years ago and still love it. We aren’t on a farm but our little half acre feels like it compared to what we had back home!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Nancy, I think one of the biggest differences to me after moving from out West is what you can do with so little land here in the South. A half acre here is just fabulous! The yard, garden, etc… that you can have that where we came from in Utah it just wouldn’t have gone very far. I think the same is somewhat true for California also. Thanks for writing! – Dori –

  2. Beautiful story Dori, I loved your story and I wish you and your family the best. Yes I live in Virginia and I have 2/3 acre and I love every inch of it. I live in a town now, where the rules are different. When Charlie and I got married, I moved to his house and I love being with my Husband. I didn’t sell my little house in the country and maybe we can go back someday this is my dream anyway. That is my story in short form, much more to it, but that can wait. Hugs from your farm sister Juanita Massey

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Juanita, I think it is wonderful that you still have your little house in the country… kind of a like a retreat place! :-) And definitely a dream to look to – we all need one, don’t we? I want to hear more of your story! – Dori –

  3. Sandy says:

    I love your story. Thanks for sharing it

  4. Cindy says:

    Such a heartwarming story! Our dream too was to have a farm someday! We bought our 26acre farm 10 years ago outside of Boise ,Idaho ! We stayed in Ren ,Nevada area for the10 year period raising our grandson since birth! We had to stay in the Sparks area do to my husbands job and our Grandsons Dad! Well ! A year and a half ago our grandson graduated from high school! Yeeeehaaaw! We built that farmhouse! Front country porch and all! And are living the dream! My husband also semi retired! Able to do his health ins business out of the house and now we are getting ready to plant alphalfa ! We planted our first garden last year! Planted a fruit orchard! Got some goats! An adopted cat and already had 4 dogs! My lifelong dream of having a horse and a big red barn are in the process this year! Oh thanks to God for all these blessings! Who knew we could be farmers! Ha! Love it! The shabby country cute chicken coop is also in process! Whoooohooo! Boy patience and perserverience ! Right! So glad you are doing well! Love your site!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Cindy, oh I just love your story. I love to think of you raising your grandson, with a dream in the future. And now you’ve go it… and he’ll have a special place to come home to right? :-) And WOW, you have accomplished a lot in a year and a half! We have moved a little slower! :-) Isn’t gardening just the greatest? And planting alphafa… and an orchard… and animals! Well, I guess just farm-life in general is the best! Thanks for writing! – Dori –

      P.S. I want to see a picture of your shabby country cute chicken coop! Email it to me when you’re finished!

  5. Becky West says:

    Loved the story. Thanks for sharing.

  6. susan says:

    Ours will be a family farm that we will inherit and my dream is to build a house with a big front porch, a place we can look out on the pasture at the cows, horses and goats with our chickens clucking and the rooster crowing. Just a few more years, I hope. Better be, life is clicking on by.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Susan, Life certainly has a way of clicking by. Sadly. The best thing about our house is our front porch, so I agree with you… porches on a farm are the best! We laugh because all spring, summer, fall when the weather is perfect for porch sitting our cows come up to the hilltop every evening and we watch them and talk to them. In the winter when it is too cold for porch sitting, the cows never come up. It’s like they know! (In reality, it is cold on the hilltop so they prefer to stay down below in the winter time!) Thanks for reading. – Dori –

  7. Judy says:

    Beautiful, inspirational story! Congratulations on all accounts!

  8. Debbie says:

    Hi Dori!
    I love the story of your farm. It is wrapped in miracles and dreams come true and hard work too! May you all enjoy many more blessed years together on your farm! I love hearing about every bit of it! Love and hugs, Deb~ the beach farmgirl

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Deb, Oh I love how true that is… our farm being wrapped in miracles and dreams come true. And yes, hard work!! :-) Hugs back to you dear friend. – Dori –

  9. Mandi says:

    What a wonder story and beautiful place!

  10. Dori, Praise the Lord for your healing and your health, so glad you are living your dream, what an inspiration for others who may be going through or facing the same or other trials in their lives, the message here, don’t give up trust in the Lord and they too will someday buy the farm of their dreams. Be Blessed. Neta (and I am anxiously awaiting spring and summer as well) :)

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Vivian, I think a lesson I learned in it all is how wonderful it IS to have a dream! And yes, don’t give up the fight! And one other lesson I learned… to laugh A LOT! :-) Happy (almost) Spring… I saw my daffodils shooting up in the woods yesterday! YAY! – Dori –

  11. My side of the family has been farming for over 160 years in Illinois. For four years my immediate family lived on a 160 acre farm owned by myself and other family members. Unfortunately, we had to move when my husband and I lost our jobs. We moved to Nebraska where we hope to begin hobby farming again. We miss having geese, ducks, and goats –which we had to sell when we moved– but we know that when we buy our next place it will be *ours* and hopefully our last move as well.
    In the meantime we keep looking for property and dreaming of our future home.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Gretchen, I think looking at property and dreaming is one of the best things to do – it helps to keep the eyes forward doesn’t it? I’m wanting ducks… I think we will get some when we finally get our chicken house built. I recently had duck eggs and they were so good. Did you eat the eggs from your ducks? I thought they had a very sweet flavor. I hear they are great for baking with too. Happy property looking!!! :-) – Dori –

  12. kim says:

    Dori – what a beautiful story – kinda made me well up a bit. I love it when all the pieces fall into place. My husband and I have lived in our cottage farmhouse for over 20 years and we are just now getting around to putting the farm back into the place – in just a tiny way. Starting with chickens, and then who knows what. Congrats to Jill, lucky lady! Best, Kim

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Kim, It is kind of a miracle when you look back at life experiences and see how the pieces were there all along… they just had to fall into place! I will be excited to hear your journey of bringing the farm back into place. Chickens is a great place to start! – Dori –

  13. Cyndie Gray says:

    my dear Dori: I loved hearing your farm story and truly I cannot “picture” you two anywhere but there. So thankful our paths have crossed. So thankful for your way with words, my friend

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Cyndie, dear friend… thank you for always reading and always having the kindest words. Love you hugely. – Dori –

  14. diana henretty says:

    Blessed, blessed, blessed, thats what you are.
    All so lovely with such simplicity!
    Hugs to you, Diana, Noel Mo

  15. bonnie b says:

    Isn’t it funny how you just know when things are right? And it sounds like you didn’t have to look at lots of properties. Was it really the first? Amazing, too, how “good things come to those who wait”. I’m so happy that you and your family are realizing your dreams. You surely deserve it. Continued blessings and happiness to you and yours.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Bonnie, I think listening to our heart is so important because it definitely knows when things are right. We only looked at one piece of property before finding our farm… (if you can even call it that as all we did was walk the pasture) and said, “Nope, this isn’t it”. Even though we didn’t really know what “it” was! The thing I didn’t tell in the story is that we made an offer on our farm and it was refused; the man didn’t even negotiate and the price was too high for us to buy it for the asking price. Even though we were so devastated. So… we just decided the time wasn’t right. Two months later the man called and asked if our offer still stood!!! So we got it for the original offer! So, yes you are right… “good things come to those who wait”! – Dori –

      P.S. The farm we sort of looked at first is just down the road from us and the people that bought it have made it a lovely home, but every time I drive by I’m just thankful we are where we are!

      • bonnie b says:

        Dori, The fact that your offer was not accepted resonates close to home. There have been a couple times in my life when things have just fallen into place and have just felt right. About 25 years ago, we were in a devestating situation. We had to move and needed a place to heal. We found a small cabin on a quiet lake that provided several years of peace and happiness. More recently, my mother-in-law was not able to live alone but not wanting to go to assisted living, so we were looking for a place that would provide both her and my husband and me our own space, but be connected. We found a great fit, but it needed work. We thought about it just long enough for someone else to make an offer which was accepted. :(. We kept looking, but found nothing, only to be called by the realtor a month later. The offer had fallen through! So we got what we needed and worked 3 months on it before moving in. Mom lived there with us for 2 1/2 years in comfort and safety. I truly believe the Lord provides what we need.

        • Dori Troutman says:

          Dear Bonnie, this story makes my heart so happy it’s singing. What a beautiful thing for your mother-in-law and memories that you will cherish. We have so much to be thankful for, don’t we? Hugs to you – Dori –

  16. Reba says:

    Congratulations on being a 10 year cancer survivor AND having your dream come true!! It is also a blessing of how your family moved so close to you! It seems that just as your dream seemed “over” God gave you a whole lot more to be thankful for!! Your place is gorgeous, on all sides/views. TN is a beautiful place… We just sold our home in the city and looking for our dream farm with a log home.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Reba, Thank you – ten years cancer free is such a wonderful feeling! :-) Yes, having our kids near us is almost a miracle to me sometimes. Keep me posted on your dream farm. Having a log home would be lovely. What state are you looking? I’d love to know more! – Dori –

  17. Mary peyer says:

    Dori;
    What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing. I am happy you are cancer free and so happy that you got your farm.
    I always thought one day I would live on a farm. Not so sure anymore, but I won’t give up on hoping and praying for it.
    Stay well and blessed
    Mary

  18. Dede Blakeney says:

    I agree. An Arizona transplant to Mississippi 15 years ago. And it is so beautiful. So many things to do, and we love it so. Started with chickens, now we are hoping for goats. We have the material to fence, but we haven’t been able to build yet. Don’t think I could ever go back to city living.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dede, where in Arizona did you live and where in Mississippi did you move? I’ve seen a little bit of Mississippi and I love it! I think once you live in the country and love it, moving to the city would be pretty tough! I sure couldn’t do it. – Dori –

  19. Jinx says:

    Loved hearing your happy ending story. Thank you for sharing your lovely family and personal bits.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dear Jinx, Sometimes sharing personal things is so hard to do… but the kindness from genuinely kind readers like yourself make it worth it! Thank you for reading and commenting. – Dori –

  20. Geri Young says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! God bless you and your family. How wonderful you get to live your dream! :)

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Geri, thank you so much for reading and for commenting. Sometimes we do stand on our hilltop and say, “Are we really here”? :-) – Dori –

  21. Jill says:

    Oh Dori,

    What an inspiring journey. Your home and farm must be all the sweeter, just knowing what you have gone through to be where you are today. Your story gives me hope to keep dreaming of my “someday” farm!! In the meantime, there is no reason why I can’t “farmgirl it up” on the little plot of land I have right now. Thank you for sharing your story. And THANK YOU for the MILK COW KITCHEN book!!!!! I will be watching for the mailman everyday now!!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Jill, I’m glad you are excited about the book. You will LOVE it! And then you can pass it to your daughter to read! It’s on its way! And yes, keep dreaming… your someday farm will mean all the more to you when you get there. – Dori –

  22. Karen(old cowgirl) Montoya says:

    Dori,
    I want to add to the many wishes you have received for being cancer free. I love hearing stories like yours. So heart felt. By building your dream house you know every inch of it by heart. You can touch a wall and know that you put it there. It must be an amazing feeling. No matter the weather you have all you need and you can bundle up and set on your porch and see something every day that you have never seen before. I wish you and your family all the blessings of being in his light. You are the greatest women and do not ever forget it.
    Love to you and blessing to many to mention now.
    Kay

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Kay, Thank you so much for your kind words. You are SO RIGHT on that feeling of building your own house – you really appreciate the work. When we were completely finished and began the process of moving in and hanging pictures, etc… I didn’t even want to hammer a nail as I knew the work that went into the walls! :-) It was awhile before I was ready to do that! I have felt so much the need to live simpler and partly why we chose the house plan we did – (more on that in another blog post! Smile!) but the porches were a definite plus! Thank you again for your Farmgirl friendship. – Dori –

  23. Melinda says:

    Congratulations and God Bless on being Cancer Free! Your farm is beautiful! Love the views from your house as I’m sure you do too. I have lived on a farm for over 30 years and there nothing like it that you can compare it to. Keep up the wonderful blogging! Hugs Melinda!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Melinda, Thank you. The cancer free years are racking up now and it is such a comfort! You cannot compare that country living to anything can you? Hugs back, – Dori –

  24. Angela says:

    Beautiful in pictures and in reality! Can’t wait until we can visit again. Our story starts out almost just the opposite – we bought a ready made farm – house, fences, barns, etc. I am jealous of your garden. I want to learn to grow cut flowers!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Angela, starting with a ready made farm sounds just about perfect! There is SO much work starting from scratch. But that has its benefits too. :-) Anxious to see you again too. – Dori –

  25. Beverly says:

    Oh Dori…I was so moved by your beautiful post. At times I become discouraged because I want to retire to the country but I don’t think I’ll be able to so. Then I read your beautiful post… your courage and faith during your medical struggles and how you never lost faith that your dreams would come true and it gives me such hope. Bless you and your family always

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dear Beverly, I didn’t write about the discouragements along the way… no one wants to read about those!!! :-) We all certainly get discouraged when we see the impossibilities – and there always seem to be so many. Looking forward has been something that comes naturally to me though and I recognize it has seen me through many a discouragement. Don’t ever give up. Ever. Hugs to you – Dori –

  26. Alexandra Wilson says:

    Loved this post, Dori–What a wonderful journey and fulfillment of a huge life goal! I often day dream about that perfect farm in the foothills somewhere, and your story gives me lots of hope and eagerness for when and what that will be for us. And building your own home! You must feel so connected to every corner, stud and detail in your lovely home. Evan and I do build well together…We have dreams of converting a barn to a home one day. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dear Alex, Thank you! Life is such a journey isn’t it? Building our home was the hardest thing we have ever done together… the rewards were tremendous and our marriage survived it! (Smile!) Actually I’m so thankful for the experience as I think we appreciate our home more than imaginable and we also appreciate each other’s strengths more too. I always knew my husband could do anything, but to see him action was very amazing. AND I learned to do things that I never thought I could do! I think you and Evan would be incredible building a home together… and converting a barn to a home? THE BEST DREAM EVER. I can’t wait to see it happen! Hugs to you, Farmgirl friend! – Dori –

  27. Katie Pence says:

    Thank you for sharing your story I know it inspires others. Have you tried to make the farm a profitable industry, at least paying taxes ?
    We bought forty acres nine years ago on the southern Mendocino coast of Ca. My husband and I both thought it was wonderful for it had a lot of flat land . We had just married a few years before and this was us creating our own space. After we made the offer I realized I was pregnant, I thought at first it was just menopause…We still moved forward and blessings came from everywhere to allow it all to be built into a permaculture farm. My husband cut the trees we milled into our wood to build our buildings. It’s a little much for us now, we are very tired and more needs to be done. But it’s slowed to a more comfortable pace. We have 110 fruit trees, 25 olives, two acres of vegetable and flower gardens. We market flowers, eggs, vegetables and bread to supplement our income. We have to still work outside to support further development of the property.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Katie, your farm sounds absolutely lovely. I bet your weather is amazing!! :-) We have cattle that we raise to supplement our retirement income and “pay for the farm”! My grown daughter and I also grow and sell cut flowers and that is a great help too. My husband has also been able to do some Engineering Consulting at his old job, and he enjoys that! Thanks for writing and for your suggestions. – Dori –

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi again, Katie. I got on your website and looked around. I love your bread baked in the wood oven. And your home! It’s just gorgeous. – Dori –

  28. Debra says:

    What a beautiful testimony to family and faith in healing. Your journey is an inspiration to anyone that believes they are facing the impossible. And the pictures of your family and farm are awesome! My husband and I live on a 70 acre farm in north Louisiana. We have cattle, chickens, cats, a goat named Thelma and a dog named Jim Tom. The best part of our lives is having our 3 children and their families within 3 miles of us in their own homes. I can’t imagine any other life and am so thankful for the one we have. Best wishes from our farm to yours!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Debra, I’ve never been to Louisiana. I would love to see it. And I do agree – the best part if having our children and their families nearby also! I honestly can’t imagine life without them right down the country road! And yes, I also am so very thankful for the life we get to live here in the country. Thanks for your sweet comment. – Dori –

  29. Bonnie Ellis says:

    Wow, I’ve got tears in my eyes. Congratulations on the 10 year anniversary. Your place is indeed beautiful. No wonder you knew it was just right. I spent my childhood on a farm in Southern Iowa and it is just my best memory. My husband and I don’t live on a farm now and are in our retirement but thank you for sharing your wonderful story. God is awesome. Bonnie

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Bonnie, It’s a happy story huh? :-) My childhood memories of ranching are the best memories a kid could have. I’m so thankful for those. I’m also very thankful to be here and to be able to live close enough to our grand-girls so they will have some amazing farm memories too. Thank you for writing. – Dori –

  30. Colleen says:

    Dori,
    I really liked reading your story. I guess I knew bits and pieces of it but reading it from you was great. You have a knack for capturing a reader. :) I look forward to reading your posts here and your blog. Take care.
    Colleen

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Colleen, I have written some of this story on my personal blog too! We miss all of you Utahn’s. Wish you could come see us! :-) Thanks for writing and keeping in touch. Hugs – Dori –

  31. terri says:

    what a beautiful story. Thank you for being an inspiration. How wonderful it is to have your family so close.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Terri, thank you for you kind words… I don’t feel like an inspiration! But thank you! And yes, living near our kids and grand-girls is the best feeling ever! – Dori –

  32. natalie says:

    Thank you for telling your story. Dreams do come true and I am so glad that you and your family are living yours. Blessings for you and everyone on your farm.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Natalie, I think dreams do come true… but I also think we have to work hard to stay focused on those dreams. And even be willing for sacrifice to make them happen sometimes too. Thanks for writing! – Dori –

  33. Denise Ross says:

    Beautiful story Dori. I’m glad you are better and living your dream :)

  34. Thank you for sharing that wonderful story of how you got to your farm. It has always been my dream too and as we come up on our 30th anniversary I know it is time. I too was diagnosed with cancer, last year, and had such a scary month of wondering if I wouldn’t ever get to my land. Now, I feel we shouldn’t wait but move on with this dream. So happy for you that you found your perfect place and you are so lucky to have family so close by too.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dear Shelly,

      Thank you for writing. I’m so sorry about your cancer diagnosis – yes, the waiting for the results are harder than actually going through the treatment isn’t it? I hope you get to move forward with your farm dream soon. It is the best thing we’ve ever done.

      Hugs to you – another cancer survivor!

      – Dori –

      • Thank you Dori!
        I try to fill my thoughts with the positive and a small farm future and not dwell on small chances and fear of a re- occurrence. There will always be a tiny shadow at the back of my mind, but I choose to just let it be a reminder to live life and really start working towards my goal wholeheartedly. I’ll be checking back on you. Hugs back fellow survivor. Shelly

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