From Corporate Work Life in the Midwest to Florida Living on a Homestead

cold day at the beachEmbarking on a new chapter in life, we started our Florida Living adventure as empty-nester transplants from the Midwest. Wanting a change from the cold and snow we found our new home in the sunny state of Florida. Our journey has been one of both excitement and challenges. Filled with memorable outings around the state and the rewarding but demanding endeavor of starting TnF Farms as new homesteading farmers.

Moving from the Midwest to Florida brought about a significant change in our lives. Leaving behind familiar landscapes and the bustling pace of city life. We were drawn to Florida’s warm climate and the promise of new adventures. Being empty-nesters meant we had more time to explore the wonders of our new state.

We’ve embarked on countless outings to discover the beauty and culture of Florida. From its pristine beaches and lush nature reserves to vibrant cities and charming small towns. These experiences have allowed us to forge a deeper connection with our adopted state and create cherished memories along the way.

TnF Farms, established 2022

However, our journey didn’t stop at exploration and leisure. We embarked on the challenging path of starting TnF Farms. Our dream of becoming homesteading farmers. This endeavor has been a labor of love. Marked by a steep learning curve as we grappled with the demands of tending to livestock, cultivating a large garden, and managing a sustainable farm.

The challenges have been many, including the hurricanes, understanding the nuances of animal care and mastering the art of sustainable farming practices. Each day has been a lesson in resilience, adaptability, and the rewards of hard work.

Join us on our journey as we navigate the joys and challenges living the homesteader life. Explore the diverse landscapes of Florida, and building up TnF Farms on a plot in the rural woods of Havana, Florida. We look forward to sharing our experiences, the knowledge we gain, and the fulfillment that comes from embracing a life of adventure and sustainable farming in the Sunshine State. Together, let’s celebrate the beauty of change and the endless possibilities that come with each new chapter in life.

Ranching in the Sunshine State

Ranching in the state of Florida holds a unique and enduring place in the history and culture of the Sunshine State. Florida’s ranches have a rich heritage dating back centuries and continue to play a vital role in the state’s agricultural and economic landscape. Let’s look into the fascinating world of Florida ranching, from its historical roots to its modern practices, while also exploring its economic significance, cultural impact, and the challenges it faces.

Porterhouse Meat Market

Walking into a small-town business like Porterhouse is always an experience. The door’s entrance bell dings when we walk in. A moment later, Fawzi stepped out from the back and with a sincere smile greeted us like friends. You just don’t get that in some random grocery store or even the specialty stores in bigger cities. We catch up from the last visit and make small talk for a while. Eventually, I made my way to the back of the store to check out his fresh cuts.

Growing lemons in Florida

When we bought the property that is now TnF Farms, we saw that there were some mature fruit trees on the property. We thought they may have been pears. No, they were lemons. The first late fall harvest, we were pretty excited. The lemons were big and bright yellow. We cut into one and it was full of seeds. We tried a couple of others and they were very seedy. Then we tasted one and discovered it wasn’t pleasantly tart, but punishingly bitter. No amount of sugar added to this fruit would make lemonade, lemon curd, or lemon bars.

Building our Goat Tote

It’s soon 2024. Perhaps you’ve been living under a rock. Let me prep you before you emerge from ignorant bliss. Everything costs more. Too much more. For some items the pricing is ridiculous. I have been on the lookout for a livestock trailer. For months, I have cruised Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and have concluded there are 2 kinds of used livestock trailers available in the open market right now:

Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch State Park is a Florida state park located on Amelia Island, in the northeastern part of the state. The park is known for its well-preserved 19th-century fort, Fort Clinch, and its beautiful natural surroundings. It’s a journey from TnF Farms but with great investment, comes great reward.

Piglets born at TnF Farms

To our surprise, early this morning, she released her hostages. “Minnie” is a very stout female named for very short legs and when she’s not being instinctually protective of her babies, she is a sweetheart. Her past piglets have been very healthy and grow into muscular linebackers that integrate well into our herd. If you are interested in getting registered or unregistered piglets to start your own pig farm or to grow out, piglets should be ready for purchase as soon as mid-January of 2024. Please contact us to start the conversation of how you want your pig(s).

You need one of everything

Then the farm bug bit my wife and really sunk its teeth in. One of our neighbors really inspired her to farm way more than I ever imagined. All that existing farm stuff now needed to be repaired and modified to work with the new plan. Then we were off and going. Almost daily trips to Tractor Supply, Home Depot and Lowes, not to mention all the things being bought on Amazon. My dad and his brothers grew up on a farm. When one of my uncles came to visit and see our progress, he chuckled and said “You’re new farmers. You’re going to need one of everything.”

Firewood as a low cost heat source

Last year we tried using our farmhouse fireplace to heat our entire home with our thermostat set in the 50s. With the exception of really cold nights, we made it without the use of our home’s electric heat. With our fireplace getting started in the morning and burning into the night, we consumed a lot of firewood. I really wasn’t prepared for how much we would use. This year, I’m way more prepared!

Non-GMO Free-Range Eggs

TnF Farms is located just outside the idyllic town of Havana, Florida. Local residents and visitors are embracing a healthier and more sustainable way of life by seeking out non-GMO, free-range farm-fresh eggs. In this post, we’ll explore the quest for these premium eggs, highlighting the benefits of non-GMO and free-range practices, and where you can find these exceptional gems in Havana.

Florida gets cold too

When Faith and I decided to relocate to Jacksonville, Florida, we donated most of our winter gear instead of packing it. We both figured most days we’d be in shorts and soaking up the sun at the beach. The first year we were in Florida, it was a pretty mild winter and there were a few jeans and light jacket days. Then we acclimated and understood our second Florida winter, why we saw people in quilted coats. But we still spent Thanksgiving at Key West and Christmas on the beach.