Living the Dream: Building our Farm in Colorado
posted by: Mile High Mamas
Our Colorado Dream Farm
We fantasized and dreamed of having a small plot of land, a small farmhouse and some animals for the kids to raise and care for. We dreamed of a small barn and a chicken coop for fresh eggs. A garden for seasonal and canning vegetables, possibly a couple of rows of popping corn. Our little herd of goats would provide plenty of milk for soap making and cooking. I could have a small space for sewing and crafting while my husband had a space to brew beer and we could sit on a patio looking up at a clear sky while the kids played around.
By no means are we looking to get off the grid, we appreciate our high-speed internet and modern toys just as much as anyone in the city but the idea of being able to also lead a quieter life full of the outdoors, in a rural setting while still enjoying all the modern amenities has been the ideal vision.
We also recently announced that we are having our second child! We are so excited to be making our little family larger but if there is one thing that the pandemic has shown us, it is that we love being together, we love creating, learning new skills and trying new things together.
2020 brought so much hardship to our communities, we were not affected as much as most but my husband did lose his job along with so many others. We were worried but we made the decision early on that we would not go into the future in fear, we would not make decisions out of fear and we would continue to make choices that served our family, our hearts and each other. That mindset is what made me realize that we should take advantage of all the amazing things we did have going for us and to see if we could make our late-night dreaming a reality.
Where Our Farm Will Be
Alright, alright, I know you probably want to hear all the details about the property we found and the little homestead we plan on building. First I want to address that we are not farmers, we are not homesteaders and we didn’t grow up in the country. Both my husband and I had extremely privileged childhoods in middle-class suburban neighborhoods with every amenity at our fingertips. We didn’t have a 4H group at our schools, we didn’t drive by farms on the way to anywhere really and we definitely didn’t grow up in homes that made homebrewed beer or canned their produce much less grew their own produce. We are not farmers and we are not homesteaders, I use these terms to describe a lifestyle that we attain, not the state of our skillset as it is today. We have so much to learn and that is what I plan on sharing, a first-generation family changing the way they want to live life and raise their kids, learning along the way. It is possible, it won’t be easy but it is possible and I am hoping to share that hope with anyone else with a passion and a dream.
We live in northern Colorado, just south of Fort Collins, the craft brew capital of the US and home to Colorado State University, a land grant university. We both work full-time remotely and have been remotely coming up for a year now since the pandemic really hit. We don’t know what our work situation will be in the future so we knew we needed to choose a location that was still within driving distance of the office as well as in an area with reasonably located schools, daycares and amenities. As I said, we are not trying to live off the grid and become 100% self-sufficient, we still love having a daycare for the kids since we both work full time and a Costco to buy all the things we definitely don’t need most of the time. Lucky for us, northern Colorado is split into two halves separated by the main artery, I-25. To the West, you will find all the heavily populated cities but to the East you can see cornfields as far as the eye can see butting right up to the interstate. This allows us to stay close to the city but far from the crowds.
We found a 4.25-acre lot 30 minutes from Fort Collins in the town of Peirce, population 834, soon to be 838. The most amazing part of finding this property was that it allowed us opportunities we didn’t think we would ever have. I had no clue that developers invested the same way on land/home lots as they would in the suburbs. This allows you to find a plot of land and build a brand new home the same way you would a new build in the city. We didn’t have to buy the land and pay it off in full before we could then put far more money down on a custom-built home than you would one in a development. We could not afford to pay cash for a lot and a custom home, I don’t think many millennials would. Having an amazing realtor who really did the research for us and searched out the right developers was the driving force in finding this amazing opportunity. If there is one thing that I hope people take away from our experience, it is that you don’t have to have 500K in cash to make this dream and lifestyle a reality. You just have to have the desire and really great realtor by your side.
The Details of our Farm
So! If you haven’t guessed it already, we are building from the ground up, the house, the barns, the office, the chicken coops, the fencing, the garden beds, the beehives (hopefully), the water and eventually bringing in all the animals. We have to learn what kinds of fencing to put in, what kinds of barns to put in, how to get water which is much more difficult than one might think in northern Colorado. These are all the things I am going to share as we enter this journey but the first step was choosing a house and designing the pole barn which will serve as our shop and garage.
A lot of people were surprised to find out we are not getting a larger house, that was something we had to choose when making this decision, do we want land or do we want a big fancy house? We chose the land obviously. We decided on a 3-bed 2-bath ranch with 100 sqare feet less finished space than what we currently have. We did, however, add a Cape Cod-style attic that we are finishing to double as a second family room, playroom, office and guest space when needed. We are also planning on putting a Tuff shed behind the pole barn that we will finish and utilize as an office and craft space. Like I said, we have been working remotely for a year now and all indications point towards that not changing to any significant degree. If we don’t need the space for an office it is going to be a pretty sweet guest house and craft room.
This is as far as we have gotten but the next step is going out and plotting the lot, which direction the house faces and where to situate it and the pole barn. That will be an exciting day that I will be sure to share with all of you.
Oh and to make it more interesting, baby #2 is due within one week of closing….. Wish us luck and don’t forget to follow along to see if we are on the farm when this little one arrives or if we are couch surfing with a newborn till our little Bolton Farm becomes a reality.
Christen is a Colorado native, a mom, and a veteran’s wife with a full-time career and what feels like full-time hobbies. She began her blogging journey at Frankly Flourish after her daughter was born to ensure she kept a place in her life just for her. Be sure to follow their farming adventures on Instagram.