Interview with Sarah Wood from our Fall 2020 Issue
Tell us about your family (names, location, etc)
My name is Sarah and my husband is Joseph or Joe. We have 4 children ranging in age from 13 years old to 21 years old. We have Lundyn Drey, our oldest, she is 21. She is our little Gypsy soul and is currently wandering around the country worrying her mother to death. Just traveling and seeing all there is to see while I stay home and check the missing persons websites every night!
She is such an adventurer and incredibly sensitive and creative!! She is a deep and caring soul and is so smart and talented! Then there is Ashton Lauren, she is 18. Ashton is Ashton. We always say she dances to the beat of her own drum!! She is also mini Joe Wood. She is incredibly stubborn and determined and blunt and everyone loves her for it! She is going to Broadview University to become a vet tech right now! She loves animals and is brave, funny and loyal! She is as tough as they come but still cuddles up to her mom like a little kid! I love it!! Then there is Hazen, he’s 14 and our only boy, and the apple of my eye!!
With all the girls and all their hormones in the house, he is my sanity! He is incredibly laid-back, chill, and hilarious! His spirit animal is a sloth. He has the best sense of humor and always loves his mama! He is super confident, lovable, and sarcastic, and we love him for it! Then there is our blue-eyed baby, Desmond Grey she is 12! She is the most independent person I have ever known! She is incredibly sarcastic and funny and has a creative streak a mile wide! She is amazing at ANYTHING artistic!! She is the only one that got her Daddy’s blue eyes and she is the spitting image of him! She has so much talent and passion! She is strong-willed and feisty, but is just as kind and loving. So now you know our family! I truly believe that God put us on this wild ride together for a reason, they are my whole world!
How did Wildwood farm come to be? How long have you been there, what was it like when you moved there, did you live on a farm before Wildwood?
Joe and I got married at 19 years old, he worked in construction and I worked at the gas station, we literally had nothing but dreams. Our first little place was a little duplex with red shag carpet that we lovingly called “the stinky duplex”, we were so happy to have our own place that we didn’t even care that it smelled a little musty… We didn’t really have any furniture except what we brought from our bedrooms, so no couch…but that left us more room in the living room to dance around on that red shag carpet to Marvin Gay and Bob Marley!! I will never forget those days, we had so little but were so happy!!!!
We worked very hard over the next 17 years and made a lot of sacrifices. We knew when we sold our little pioneer house that we had lived in with the six of us for 10 years, we wanted some space! Badly! Our little house was stuffed between two apartment buildings in town. Our view across the street was a storage unit. We were boarding our horses at a pasture a few miles away that had no water except a running creek so the kids and I had to go twice a day and fill buckets from the creek to fill the troughs! Our little goat buckwheat was escaping the backyard and headbutting kids at the school bus stop in the mornings…it was time for us to get out to the country!
We were both raised in the country and hated how quickly the city we were in was growing!! We drove all over Utah and when we drove into this valley and saw this little 8 acre farm with the sun setting behind it, we knew instantly it was where we wanted to be! It took a little finagling, but we got it and we have been working hard to make it our own ever since. There may be bigger farms and there may be better farms, but this is OUR farm and our dream coming true and we couldn’t love it more!
Tell us what brings you joy in raising your kids on a farm?
Nothing makes my heart happier than knowing that my kids got to grow up in the dirt, with their animals, and the freedom to be kids! They know what mud feels like squishing between their toes, what it’s like to see newborn piglets take their first breath, the excitement of going out with flashlights in the middle of the night to check on mama sheep about to lamb, the heartbreak of the little ones that don’t make it and the joy of nursing one back to health! They have ridden bareback and barefoot through the fields, climbed trees, bottle-fed babies, eaten food that they’ve helped grow, and watched the sun set from their porch swing on lazy summer nights. Even though it’s a lot of hard work, I wouldn’t want it any other way!!!
I grew up barefoot, and I wanted my kids to have that same experience! There’s nothing better than walking through the dew covered grass in the morning feeling the cool little droplets of water on your toes! My kids take that to a whole other level though! They can run across fields of thistle and cockleburs and all sorts of other pokies and not even notice!!! Even though I don’t recommend that part, the fact that they have the freedom to do it brings me so much happiness! Do they sometimes step in chicken poop or come in with filthy feet? Absolutely!!!!
I believe in kids getting dirty and running around with no shoes and shirts! I believe in building their immunities with puppy licks, dirt, and horse poop! I believe in them driving a truck for the first time through an empty field next to mom and dad feeling so proud when they’re eight years old! To me those are the kinds of experiences that shape and mold these kids into tough, resilient, happy, and amazing people! So we let our kids cuddle their chickens and catch frogs and water snakes, and drink out of the garden hose! We let them run through the sprinklers barefoot and swim in the irrigation ditch!! Dig in the dirt and eat the carrots and strawberries they grow straight from the ground without washing them! Swing out on the rope swing over the lake! Sleep under the stars and explore the mountains! Have fun and FEEL life! Of course I teach my kids about safety as well, but I really do feel like safety is overrated experiences are where it’s at! Life is short and I want my kids to live it to the fullest!! You can’t learn and grow and experience this world without falling down and skinning your knees every once in a while!!! Living on a farm gives them those opportunities and brings us so much joy!
Making a place a home can be hard sometimes, what have you done at Wildwood farms that makes it feel like home to you?
When we bought our home we knew we wanted to update it and make it more our own. So we have been remodeling room by room for the past six years! We are so close to having the whole house the way we envisioned it when we bought it. We still have a few more projects to go but the one thing that made it feel like home to me is the day I hung a big sign over the threshold that said Wildwood Farm. I bought the sign before we had even begun our goal of being self sufficient as a family. We are still far from it, but much closer than we were last year and the year before. I’m a big believer in calling yourself what you want to be. So we named our farm, bought a sign, slapped it on the wall, and we are working on the rest. We think you should never be afraid to believe in yourself first and then put in the work that it takes to get there!
Favorite thing about your home?
This is a hard one! I love the open skies and the pretty sunrises and sunsets everyday. I love the porch swing and our big willow tree that makes a massive mess everyday! I love the pumpkin patch and the garden, but most of all I just love what this place represents to us. We were married 17 years before we finally bought our little farm. There was a lot of hard work and sacrifice throughout those years to slowly but surely get where we wanted to go… because of the patience (I have NONE) that it took, The sacrifices that had to be made, and the hard work that we put in, I have a deep love and appreciation for our property. The harder you work for something the more value it has, and when you decide to get married at 19 years old and neither of you have any idea what you’re doing, when you finally figure it out, it means something to you. To us, this little farm represents everything that our family is about. It represents all the years that we struggled and dreamed. It represents the love that Joe and I share for each other that has kept us going forward together despite the hard times. It represents all the lessons we’ve learned through trial and error and failing over and over. Most of all it represents our beautiful slow and steady journey to the life that we love.
What is one of your favorite DIY projects?
So to be perfectly honest, Joe does most of the DIY around here! I just dream up ideas and then boss him around and drive him crazy with dumb questions!! My favorite DIY that HE has done would definitely be the projects that he has built on “Mothers Day Corner”! Every Mother’s Day Joe asks me what I want for Mothers Day and then cries when I tell him because it’s not jewelry….It always involves lots of work for him ! One year he built the greenhouse for me out of the old windows I had collected. Another year I got a few loads of gravel that he had to spread. Another year he built the garden boxes on the sides, another year he built the henhouse behind it. This year he built me my pumpkin patch! That corner is quickly becoming a shrine to my motherhood, and I deserve it!! He gave me FOUR mini Joe Woods to deal with If you know Joe, you know I deserve it! last Mothers day when I told him I wanted a pumpkin patch he said, “Dammit woman, can’t it ever just be a necklace?!”
Favorite thing about farm life?
One of the best things about living on a farm is that it forces you to be outside early in the morning and late in the evening and you never miss the pretty sunrises and sunsets! It’s one of my very favorite things about living out here! You wouldn’t believe the things you’re missing every morning and every night if you aren’t outside!!! I truly feel like God gifted us early mornings as a way to start off our day with beauty and late evenings as a way to calm us from the long busy days! except for in the winter, then it’s just to torture us and make us cry because it’s cold dark misery!!!
What is the hardest part of farm living?
Everyone calls farm living “slow living” which I guess in some ways is true but it NEVER EVER stops. You don’t get a day off from feeding animals. Your chickens will hate you with a vengeance if you let them out one minute later than 6 AM, even on Sunday. You don’t get to skip watering and weeding or take a break from cleaning up poop. When we are bottlefeeding babies every four hours around the clock and you are tired, you don’t get to skip a feeding! In the winter if you are too cold, tired, or lazy to go out several times a day and break the ice off the water troughs, even and especially, when it’s negative temperatures out, then your animals will not have water to drink! There are a lot of things that depend on you at ALL times and it can be exhausting!!! It is a lot of hard work and you don’t get days off but I believe it’s always worth it!
What is one thing that you want on your farm that you don’t have yet?
A tractor! We put the cart before the horse like we always do and bought a farm without any large equipment!! We need it desperately for lots of different projects and everyday chores, moving hay, digging, lifting things, working the ground. When the money tree we planted starts growing, it is first on the list! But for now we either get creative with our truck and some hay string, do it by hand, or rent large equipment when we have to!
What advice would you give someone that is wanting to move to the country?
Do it! It’s the best decision we ever made! Just make sure you are ok with going to bed worn out (in a good way) with sore muscles and dirty fingernails! And be prepared to fall in love with all the beauty God created in the country… pretty skies lit up by a million stars, the breeze blowing in your open windows in the evening, the sound of a rooster as an alarm clock, dirt roads stretching into the sunset, porch swings, and the first seeds of spring pushing up through the dirt! In my humble opinion it’s the best kind of life you could ever ask for.
All pictures provided by Wild Wood Farms. Content owned by Retro Rodeo Publishing LLC and Front Porch Life Magazine.
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