Hi, we’re Hayden and Taylor, and we’d like to invite you into our home and our little world.
We own and operate a small cut flower and grain farm nestled up against a big ol’ limestone bluff (hence, “Bluff Bottom Homestead”). Throw in some chickens, a tiny herd of cows, three kids, big dreams, and a little house and you’re starting to get the picture.
Our goals are to live a life centered around family, live with intention and purpose, be good stewards of all the resources we’ve been blessed with, and to serve others.
We chose the word “homestead” because it mostly encompasses topics we’d like to talk about. But there’s really more to it than cooking from scratch and butchering our own chickens. We are “normal” people that enjoy a nice adult beverage in the evening, yell too much when the kids get rowdy, laugh too hard at inappropriate jokes, and we also face sadness, grief, and temptations like anyone else.
We want Bluff Bottom Homestead to be a place you can come to find out how to produce a bountiful garden, experience homestead or farm projects in action, enrich your family and faith life, and cultivate old fashioned skills to live a life with new purpose.
We hope you will find our shenanigans interesting and of value. Hayden and I feel like we have stumbled across something that our culture desperately needs and we feel called not to keep it to ourselves. We strive to be open minded and free thinkers and don’t really like being put in a “box”. So, if you are not interested in our latest recipe or chicken saga, that’s okay. Please feel welcome to come back again sometime. You might just enjoy a story about our youngest waking up at 2:30 a.m. and randomly deciding it would be a good idea to open mommy’s laptop and season it with salt and pepper (true story and many more like it).
Additionally, if you’re a wholehearted believer in a modern/progressive/consumer world and are dead set in your ways, you might not agree with what we have to say. All we ask is that you give what we have to say a chance.
Moral of the story, no matter who you are, what you believe, how you vote, you’re still invited.
You’re invited. That’s how I felt the first time I met Hayden’s whole family. And when I mean whole family, I mean whole family. Imagine being a date to a Catholic wedding when you’ve never been to a Catholic Mass in your entire life. Imagine this family has seemingly 5 billion people in it and “everyone’s a cousin”. Picture hailing from a relatively quiet (sometimes surly) family and being thrust into a boisterous “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” situation.
It was exhilarating and sort of mind-blowing.
I guess you could say it was a pivotal moment.
When you think about it, our life is full of these pivotal, contemplative moments. Where something happens and we’re forced to truly think about our life and how we’ve been living it.
That was a big moment for me because through Hayden’s family I have found who I wanted to be, but there’s also been little moments that have refined me into what I am today. And these little moments have added up into the idea to start this blog.
There are dozens of comments I can think of that have led us to where we are now, but two distinct ones for me (Taylor) were these:
- When my father-in-law got sick with cancer, I remember a friend of ours talking with us and saying, “Man, and he believes in God and stuff.” As if a person that believes in God doesn’t know hardship. As if any person that appears to have a “good” life doesn’t know pain.
- “I don’t know how you do it” is a response I get a lot from people when they see I’m running our flower farm and raising our three little kids (who, at the time of me writing this, are 4, 3, and 2). It’s a well-meaning statement that gives me some unattainable superhero status that I clearly do not have.
Ultimately, we want to say that as humans we all face hardships (whether you believe in the Almighty God or not). Sadly, in our modern world, many of us think we know true hardship and we don’t (think about the Great Depression and losing everything or being sold into slavery, for example).
But that doesn’t make what we feel right here and now any less valid. It just means that today we have more strength and more tools to draw from. Hayden and I want you to realize that and to cultivate that strength. And we want to show you some tools we have acquired in our own toolbox that we think you might benefit from.
Secondly, we want you to see that there is always opportunity and possibility. Again, you may need to acquire some tools and give it some hard work, but you’ll get there. Research, ask questions, try and fail. You’ll get there.
Finally, sometimes the world shouts–no, screams–at us that “there is only one way”. Follow this ABC method and you’ll have XYZ success. You can only live this way because it’s safe. It’s right. It’s how everyone is doing it.
But sometimes, my friends, just because the gate is wide, doesn’t mean you have to go through it, too. My favorite (small) example is when someone once said something along the lines of, “Well, I told him to buy a new truck because, you know, you’ll always have a car payment.” That’s simply not true. And there’s more than one “fact” out there like this that simply isn’t true.
Think of some stories you may have heard about Black Friday sales at your local department store or Walmart. People will literally trample others to get to what they want. And at the end of the sale, when you’re finally home with your hoard, what was it really for? A toy your kid will play with for 2 months? The latest iPhone they’ll use to drown you out when you’re looking to connect with them before they leave for college? A sweatshirt for your husband when he’s already got ten stacked up in the closet that he hardly wears?
Now–I don’t care if you want to Black Friday shop (I have family members that love it because they shop with their family), but my focus is on the fact that people will literally trample, smack, claw at others to gain something they only want because others want it.
Rather than allow yourself to be herded through the wide, open gate, look over to the narrow gate off to the side. Sometimes what lies behind the narrow gate holds more development, love, and fulfillment than any amount of pushing and shoving through the herd ever will.
Sometimes walking the quiet, less-crowded path lets you hear the voice that is your purpose.
So, welcome. We’re glad you’re here. Let’s cultivate fulfillment together.
Drop a comment below if you’re as excited as we are!