#4 I can remember walking in to Home Hardware to find something I needed to change out our flooring from carpet to cork. I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember the feeling I had. Right away I thought, “I’ve got about three minutes in here before I can’t breathe.” My chest was tight and I started to get sweaty. This was different than anxiety, and asthma had been ruled out by our lengthy set of tests compliments of the pulminologist we had seen. I had become so sensitive to whatever chemicals/gasses etc were released from all these building supplies that my body couldn’t even stand to be in there for a matter of minutes. I had the same sensation walking in to a showhome down the road a few weeks later. And it took a good couple of days to recover. It started to dawn on us that we couldn’t stay in the life we were living much longer. We needed a change. We needed to heal . Simultaneous to our illness, another force was driving a desire for change. We had moved away from our small town about 10 years before, and had been happy enough to expand our horizons and our understandings and our experiences, but had, over the last few years, begun having an itch to move back towards home. This came in part, due to having kids and wanting to be closer to family. It came in part, due to a dream that had taken hold of us, to own land, to be disciples of Joel Salatin, and to start growing food.  We probably first noticed how strong this pull back to the land was when we started listening to country music again. There were several times when the kids were dancing to Blake Shelton or Johnny Cash or Dean Brody and Dani looked at me and we just shrugged. “How did we get here?” we’d ask. We still ask that question a lot. Any time we went home for a visit, one of us wanted to stay, to move out of the city, and the other wanted to go back to the status quo and “plant a bigger garden next year.”  We were also spending a great deal of time thinking about a bigger picture. We had this crazy vision of combining a small farm with some kind of treatment center. I was working with mentally ill teenagers, and we were imagining the value of putting hurting, broken people in nature. Immersing them in it. Surrounding them with animals and plants. Showing them the value of using their hands to make and care for something (not just play video games and punch walls). We were researching Nature Deficit Syndrome, Green Therapy, work done atthe University of Essex, and Care Farming. We were finding that our desire to combine these two things (farming and caring for people) was being done by others, and that it had some great results.

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