Chances are you're reading this because you are curious about how we came to the big decision to sell our Cadillac house, buy a farm in Petoskey and move our entire life 2 hours north.
It's crazy isn't it? Matt and I have agreed to be very very transparent about this life change, the past 4 months of keeping this secret from most people has been tough, and so much of what the farm will become is community based. Plus, I'm never one to leave out any details, or tell a half version of any story, so if you've poured yourself a hot cup of coffee or a you're swirling something delicious in a wine glass, then sit down and read on.
A year ago Matt and I had casually discussed how much we love the Petoskey area and how if the opportunity presented itself one day we would happily move North. But thats the thing I've learned most in this process, opportunities don't 'present themselves' you MAKE THEM HAPPEN. you want a raise at work? You start working harder and get noticed. You want to find a partner? You search out people who you can be romantically connected to. Sure, things happen, but after this incredible and crazy process I've learned that we are 1000% totally in control of our lives. We made a conscious decision, as a family, that we were going to live our dream.
As the year went on, we started the flower business, it was a crazy whirlwind that took off way faster than we expected but we saw it as an opportunity to have fun and be creative. The Petoskey seed had been planted in our minds, but its really easy to push things back, "we'll have a farm when we are more established" I remember saying one day at the table. We also had lots of discussions about how 'we can't move, we just bought this house.' Wakeup call: you can do whatever the hell you want people.
In June, I half-jokingly half-seriously asked Matt if he wanted to buy a well established farm operation in Boyne City that came with a gift shop and a house on the property. He shrugged it off, but when we visited one day, we talked about how we would change things and the seed started to sprout. Months went by, writing business plans, applying for commercial loans, researching and finding out what life would be like in Boyne City. And then we didn't get it. We were outbid by a family and the farm was sold.
I cried for about 3 minutes. I actually think it may have been more like 90 seconds. Because in that span of time I somehow realized that our dream wasn't to inherit what had been someone else's dream, we needed to build our farm operation, our business, our legacy from the ground up.
Cue: searching for Petoskey farms. We looked at a gazillion different listings online and narrowed it down to a list we wanted to see. And when we saw it. We both knew.
The old farmhouse, with a guest cottage, old barn, apple orchard and 10 rolling acres felt like home. So we put in an offer. And Monday November 30 we closed on the Cadillac, and on Friday December 4 we closed on the farm. At the Cadillac closing table tears I felt weird, for days on end while packing I was convinced I would cry, but I didn't, because leaving something isn't as sad when you're going somewhere that you've dreamt about forever. I love this house. So much. I asked the sweet couple who bought it to please 'take care of it and love it like we have.' They nodded and smiled. At the farm closing I was emotional again. Dreams becoming real, my best friend and life partner alongside me, smiling as big as I was.
The process in between those two actions is not for the faint of heart. We were SO lucky that our house in Cadillac moved quickly. We accepted an offer on it 30 hours after the sign was staked in the yard. We are beyond lucky that the station has been amazing and given me a transfer to our Petoskey office. And then it all became real. We were most likely, if all inspections and appraisals, this and thats passed- we were going to do it, we were going to move to Petoskey.
But what will become of this farm? What will it be used for? We knew the answer all along before we even found the property. Sweetwater Lavender Farm. The farm will be a commercial grower of lavender, with a gift shop on site, community farm events, will grow our Stems & Sprigs flower garden and eventually will host weddings in the barn. This will all take years, with the first step being- putting 4,000 plants in the ground this June, and planting a flower garden in the spring.
About a 1/2 mile from our new driveway is Little Traverse Bay. The water I grew up dipping my toes in no matter the month, and hunting for Petoskey stones with my siblings. The water where I took a boy I liked on a summer picnic on the beach once, on that same beach years later he proposed to me and every summer, for nearly ever weekend, we return to the fresh 'sweet'water of Little Traverse Bay, and the "Walloon Blue" water inland. I read once that way back when, people first found our Freshwater, they called it the "sweet water" because it wasn't salty. And so, Sweetwater Lavender Farm was born.
But this means we left Cadillac. We have come to love this community over the years, and have made some incredible friends. We are both so grateful for this time we've had to create our first "home" together in such a beautiful place. There are so many people and places we will miss. Cheers to you Caddy.
Where do we go from here? We go north. You, well you friend might want to head over to the Farm's Website and sign up for our mailing list. You'll be the first to know updates, major announcements, and be able to follow along on our journey. I plan to blog tons about what's happening as we work on the house this winter, and then the land this spring / summer / fall. Once you've signed up for that list, head over to Facebook to 'Like' our page, and follow us on Instagram @SweetwaterLavenderFarm.
While you're still reading, why not Save The Date for the Sweetwater Lavender Farm Planting Party 2016. It's happening Saturday June 11 (rain date: Sunday June 12). It'll be a huge open house party with good music, good pizza & beer and your opportunity to come see the farm & help us put our lavender in the fields, many hands make light work my friends- stay 10 minutes or stay all day! I'm weirdly obsessed with reading about how old farms worked 'back in the day' and it was community people, community. Friends, family, neighbors, Facebook friends, coming together to do things, and eat drink and be merry afterward. We. Love. Lavender.
We are so excited to become active members of the Petoskey community. If y'all know me, nothing I love more than a good committee or organization to be a part of. If you know of someone, something, or somewhere we should be involved with. Give us a shout. Also- if you're feeling generous, please share our little project on your social media accounts. Because, we all know that 'its all about who you know.'
Oh my goodness, are you STILL reading? Alright, time to wrap this up. We could not have made this big leap without some mad love and support from our families and closest friends. To those of you who listened to business plans, and searched farms on Google Maps, and poured another glass while we researched Lavender varieties, who rushed to get us paperwork at the last second, and who kept the lights on late for us to sign things, and who told us across a meeting table way back in June 'this will never happen', and who hugged us and told us you believe in us, thanks a million.
Building, creating and living your dream is tough work. We have millions of hours of work ahead of us to build this empire, to create a meaningful life for our legacy and for our (one day) family. One thing is for sure, we're stoked. And we're happy to have you along for the ride. If you are EVER in Petoskey, even those of you who are stranger internet people, stop by the farm and say hello.
Sending you lots of love & lavender,
Kalin, Matt & Maple.
P.S. These images are snaps from around the farm taken by our good friend Megan from Weber Photography. Enjoy. :)