Everything Happens for a Reason, by Leep

In 2006, I left my job of 20+ years as a maintenance mechanic and construction designer, my wife left her job of 10+ years in real estate, and we cashed in a pension and a 401(k), to buy a small farm. At the time we were deemed crazy. We thought so too and to this day can’t really put a finger on the exact reasoning.

This farm was one of the last small agriculturally-zoned properties in the area. The rest is sub-division. It was only five acres, but had a large 8-stall horse barn with a large loft & a half-acre pond. We fenced extensively to utilize all the property and over the next three years we got by with giving tours to schools, groups and individuals, and selling various farm related items. Over the past four years we have had virtually every animal known to a farm. Hereford bull, Angus heifers, goats, pigs, sheep, quarter horses, a pony, rabbits, turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, quail, doves, pigeons. Also, ferrets, chinchillas, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, gerbils, a hedgehog, a dozen dogs and even more cats.

We had to buy hay 12 months of the year, but we were able to make arrangements with three beer micro-breweries to pick up their spent grain after brewing and also with a few produce stores that would load up 32-gallon cans (which we dropped off daily) with their waste fruit, vegetables and greens. No charge for anything, but we had to supply the cans. They didn’t fill up their dumpsters and everyone saved money.

Everything was going smooth until the end-of-summer, 2008. We had that noticed things weren’t quite right in our previous lives (my wife was in real estate), and this was verified in early fall, when we had a visit from someone who had a unique (for us) idea. This person was an owner of an investment firm and had scheduled a tour with his family to “see” the farm. What really was being “seen” was us. Later, we were asked if we would like to join/form a co-op of sorts where a few people with an initial investment and monthly fees could have a supply of fresh meat and eggs and in the case of an “emergency” would have a retreat.

I got the co-op part but the retreat part? Retreat from what? Growing up, I was a big-fan of end-of-the-world movies and books. Movies like “On The Beach”, “The Day The World Ended” (watch it first, then comment) and “The Last Man On Earth” with Vincent Price. “The Last Ship ” was a favorite book later, too. Then we were told about what was going to happen in the beginning of 2009. He told us unless the Fed stepped in somehow, we would have just one of the big three automakers left, if that, banks will fail and inflation and shortages would come. This was in late September of 2008.  My vision of a TEOTWAWKI situation was more nuclear war or even monsters, before the real one, a financial “Rome’s about to be surrounded!”

We thought about this a few days and agreed. Though this co-op set-up only lasted a few months, people lost interest in it to make it not worth our while, we were now permanently “Preppers” and had a tremendous head-start. We started our own personal storage program for food and supplies, but given our location in the suburbs of a very major Midwest city, this was futile at best. Too many people! Too many had the knowledge of what we had and where we had it. My head about imploded after I read “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” by Mr. Rawles. (I’ve since read “Patriots“, which if I had read it earlier, would have really gotten me freaked!)

These major eye-opener(s), coupled with Glenn Beck and the endless doom and gloom on the History Channel and others (ABC even had one) we had been watching throughout ‘09, we knew we had to Get Out Of Dodge sooner, rather than later. This process was to be expedited by others. We had our own web site for the tours we had been giving, and still had some information on what we may had going on, though nothing saying we were prepping. At the time we had some links to other useful sites, etc., but then I added Glenn Beck’s and one for a non-hybrid survival seed company we really liked. wrong move! This definitely must have sent up red flags somewhere, somehow. A few weeks later our world was suddenly invaded with anonymous threatening letters and notes saying they’re going tell our suppliers of beer-grain and produce that our animals were being treated poorly, complaints to the police, township, county (Health, Zoning, Building), and state department of agriculture. All of a sudden everything we were doing was deemed “wrong“!

Pop-in visits asking for a look around became common. Picture taking from the other sides of the gates, also. Now, we were located on a corner property on a well-traveled 2-lane road with a 30-mph limit. Joggers, walkers and bicyclists were common. Never a complaint! They would stop at one of our gates to chat. We gave tours and had an open gate policy at first and kept the place cleaner then the typical acceptable conditions of a farm in the area. Anyway, all the, “You didn’t get a permit for this,” “You can’t do that,” and, “Someone said you did this,” were new to us. We had checked on what we could and couldn’t do on the property before we purchased it. You read the list of animals we had or had at one time or another. Some of these “officials” had even been at the farm earlier in friendly times and used to say “Keep up the good work,” and, “Wish more people were like this,” and came back with their kids on the weekends!

Was it a coincidence that things changed when the web site stuff was added? We don’t think so. Our not believing in coincidences in the first place had nothing to do with reaching this conclusion. Were we paranoid? Read on. This continued and escalated. We had an excellent relationship with our local County Sheriff (we were in an unincorporated semi-affluent, McMansion area which was converted from farms over the years, with few holdouts. Ours were probably the first cows you would see driving out of the major city nearby). He told us things behind the scenes he was aware of and things we should do to protect ourselves. Trust me, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what he said. We had been finding broken glass, bottles, shards of metal and such in our pastures and walkways. For instance, based upon what was said, on Easter Sunday, my wife and I installed 99 eight-foot solid fence panels on our roadside perimeter existing fencing. Just the start. Next were infra-red security cameras, motion-activated lighting and alarms. Firearms were a non-issue. But that is a subject for another time.

In April, 2010 we started looking for a new farm west of the Mississippi. My wife was originally from South Dakota, but we settled on SW Minnesota. I hate flies and mosquitoes, so cold and snow half the time is wonderful to me. I have issues with sustainability in a lot of South Dakota, but they’d probably say the same about me.

The day in June, moving the animals was the epitome of the Schumer we were in. Just blocking only half the street on an early Saturday morning, loading a dozen cattle and two dozen goats in a really residential neighborhood. The things that were said to us and our transporters showed how Godless the area was becoming. Idolatry and hypocrisy rule. We moved our whole operation 500 miles away. We took a major monetary hit on the “city” farm (just to get it sold and done with), but sold it in six months, paid off all major debts, and bought the new farm outright. The new farm is four times the size of our old one, and is self-sustainable for both our family of five, our ten dogs and the farm animals. We had a lot of help from a God-send of neighbors to get us going.

After all the harassment we put up with, not one civil or criminal complaint was ever filed, so motivation and individuals personally involved is unknown. We believe everything is done for a reason. Our lives are being steered in a certain direction, but let no man tell you which direction you must go. Only God knows which direction you must go. We never pray to God to ask Him for anything. We pray to God to thank Him for everything. Remember, God helps those that help themselves (and others). Not those that “help” themselves (and not others). Get it? Here’s a quote I like from the recent movie, “Legion”: “Maybe God’s just tired of all the bull**t.”

Get Your Schumer Together. Sell your junk, buy tangibles, pay off your debt, make peace with your maker. Pass it on. Do it now. Maybe it’s not too late to get it right.

Right before graduating a rough four years of high school (full of mischief, mostly harmless), sitting with my Dad at the kitchen table weighing my options: go full-time at the car dealership I was working at, do the ol’ work your way through college or the military. A World War II Vet, he said to me, “Son, it has and always will be better to know a little about a lot, rather than a lot about a little.” Within a week I joined the Marine Corps. Four years later I met my wife of 24 years. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Everything happens for a reason. Semper Fi.