"Dreams can't come true without first dreaming...there is no harvest without first sowing seed"
James J Steele

Back to the Land

heading - Back to the land

The Mother Earth NewsHaving a passion for growing herbs and vegetables, the inspiration to create a homestead started with reading the 1970 Special Issue of Mother Earth News‘ Back to the Land ‘. After reading through this magazine, cover to cover, I knew I wanted to create a homestead. and consequently gave up a suburban lifestyle in south Florida to pursue a homestead in the country…the journey began!

Working as a land surveyor at the time I often traveled throughout North Florida working on different surveying projects.  During these trips, I got my first real glimpse of rural life.  I, therefore, decided to buy land just outside of High Springs, Florida near the Santa Fe River.  Consequently, I sold the southern Florida home, loaded up my belongings, Blue Tick hounds, and headed up the country.  It was on this 5-acre tract of land at Rum Island Estates where I got my feet wet and hands dirty growing fruits, and vegetables, raising worms and chickens.


The Homestead Transformation…

Approaching Rum Island from the Santa Fe River
Approaching Rum Island from the Santa Fe River

With a freezer, dehydrator, and canning equipment I preserved much of the food grown at the Rum Island acreage and bartered the excess for fresh milk and smoked mullet. I learned my organic gardening skills on this initial homestead. This led to teaching organic gardening through the Santa Fe College Community Education System.  During this time,  my attention focused on Herbs. After selling the first homestead I moved to the small rural town of Melrose, Fl. There, I transformed a 1.25-acre cow pasture, into a beautiful and successful herb nursery…The Herb Garden.

Now retired, my partner Donna, and I presently live on a 1.4-acre homestead that we call Tranquilla Cove Homestead, working toward a sustainable lifestyle growing herbs, fruits, and vegetables and raising chickens…always a work in progress. Read an interview with Gainesville Observed, on this transition from 2013!