Optimal Living

Chicken harvest, (Alec)

Have you ever considered the quality of your life? I’m the kind of woman who’s always looking for the next feel good moment. To me,  life is all about what makes us feel good. Over the years I’ve been constantly redefining my interpretation of how I want to live. I’m not interested in quantum leaps so much anymore as I am in consistency  in feeling aligned in life. Alignment gives life a certain priceless quality like you’re part of stream of wellness.

Michael and I realized not too long ago that without too much conscious awareness, we always seem to end up living in beautiful places. The last 20 years our environment has included an aesthetic quality that has been undeniable. Mountains and water have become a priority. I appreciate horizons.

Don, Cathy, MIchael processing day

Now the question is how does this line up with managing a farm? Polyface decided to rent Buxton Farm five years ago. It’s a farm that’s off the beaten path. That aspect is both a delicious blessing and and a curse.( If you believe in curses!) It takes a certain spirit to feel at home in the hills of rural Virginia. It was just what we wanted. A superb setting with nature constantly taunting our view, animals, quiet setting, gardening, outdoor work, and physical stamina. (What were we thinking?) Work that makes you strong without needing a gym! And of course a visceral connection to raising  poultry and beef.

only visible neighbor

What’s wonderful about this farm is that we have privacy and we’re undisturbed by chemical companies or confinement growers. How nice. Recently I’ve been introduced  to frustrated farmers who are trying to raise food and animals pesticide free only to be surrounded by large chemical corporations growing and spraying monoculture crops adjacent to all their good intentions.  I would wither in that kind of environment. Fortunately, Buxton is surrounded by National Forest. As our neighbors say, “it’s pretty pure out here”! Now that is optimal living. Fresh air is abundant.

Cabin Field

I went through a period in my life when my immune system was compromised. Surviving that challenging time created an intense drive to live well. That’s why I started eating grass fed protein and cultivating a kitchen  garden. It’s taken sometime to get downstream with my diet! I used to have so many restrictions. Now I eat what I love and I love what I eat. Why should we have it any other way?

Are you in resonance with what makes you feel good? It’s not always so easy so define. I bet you will find little things you didn’t even realize, can lift your spirits. These days I’m becoming intimately aware of how  our emotions can make or break us.  A harmonious day means everything to me.

Living on land is calling forth internal qualities that have been dormant like the ability to be comfortable with so few distractions. We’re off the beaten path so everyday distractions hardly exist. Sometimes it can  feel like a sense of freedom. We like that!

Old Silo near the barn


Michael, Darren Doherty and Wyatt Clark

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About Grace

Grace and her husband Michael manage Buxton a Polyface satellite farm. Her first passion is to align with radiant health. She knows intimately that when you have your health you can do anything. Next, her passion for vibrant healthy food and beautiful landscapes along with her interest in permaculture influenced Grace's decision to align with the Polyface farming model. With 20 years of experience in the healing arts, she feels growing food and pasture raising animals is one of the greatest healers and a true source of personal empowerment. It's been said, "if you're not living on the edge your taking up too much space." Grace lives joyfully on the "leading edge" surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the appalachian mountains where her and Michael steward 1000 acres with profound appreciation."

15 Responses to Optimal Living

  1. We have rented a duplex for the past seven years and have had to put up with neighbors and landlords fertilizing their grass, which surrounded our “organic” garden. Now with our move to five acres that won’t be an issue but there are monoculture fields surrounding us and a conventional dairy down the road. We will do the best with what we have for now and hopefully in the future be able to have a situation more like yours. But I am looking forward to leaving suburban life and embracing homestead life and the beauty of our few small acres of stewardship.

    • Grace says:

      I know what you’re talking about. One thing I learned is to make peace with where every you are. Congrats on your new place. What an accomplishment!

  2. LPJohnson says:

    My husband and I are trying to keep our family as self-sufficient as possible. Our home is on a double city lot that we garden intensivly and keep 6-8 hens on. I’m a “food Nazi” which causes us to find & interview farmers to supply our food that we can not. Body care and home care are simple & natural (vinegar, baking soda, coconut oil, etc.) and I take pride in keeping my family’s biome healthy with a balance of probiotics just like our garden soil.
    My husband and I also both work in healthcare. He came home very dissatisfied with life yesterday because he felt overwhelmed by the corporate greed of the hospital, the waste and negligence of our local government, the lack of ethics in pharmaceuticals and the FDA, and the over-all miseducation of medical staff and the public in general.
    How do you decide if you should keep fighting when your surrounded by people that think you are nuts and a fanatic or if it is time to remove yourself from the situation for the sake of sanity?

    • Grace says:

      Really really amazing life you’re living. Now that’s diversity. I know you’re struggle for certain. Here’s what works for me. First, it doesn’t matter what other people think about me, what’s more important is how I feel about them. The other piece of life experience I know is that “wherever you go, there you are.” I may be removed from things that once disturbed me living on the farm, but other things have taken there place. It’s part of life. I always try to focus on what I want not what I don’t want. I don’t think of myself as a fighter of anymore. But I once fought against everything. Everything I want in my life today is downstream. When I’m aligned, I’m invincible. Thanks so much sharing your reality. Be well!

  3. Nita says:

    Lovely post, I have been fortunate to grow up on a farm such as Buxton – and to bring Joel’s enthusiasm to our land. I love reading about others doing the same, and healing themselves in the process.

  4. Leilani says:

    Hmm… perfect timing. Even though we are way out in the country there is still a “mosquito” truck that comes down the road spraying on Wednesday nights. The mosquitos could care less and we fear what this garbage does to us.

    Being in tune and at peace are a priceless state of being. The only robber of peace at this point is of my own doing, I try to do too many things all at the same time. We are putting in the foundation of so many facets of self-sufficiency right now that there just never seem to be enough hours. By fall we should be in a routine and not always have another pen or raised bed to build. Our farm was a blank slate, it is hard not to try to fill it all at the same time.

  5. Brie Aronson says:

    Please, please write a book, Grace! 🙂

  6. Two thoughts…well three, great post.

    We recently saw a woman in shorts and a tank top, no mask, no protection of any sort standing in a cloud of something-icide she was spraying around her barn. No idea what she was spraying but I am sure it wasn’t water. These are the people in my neighborhood. They’re the people that you meet, as you’re walking down the street, they’re the people that you meet each day. (Oh, and they think I’m insane because I walk or bicycle and don’t even own a truck.)

    We are thrilled to live on the family farm. Every day brings challenges, excitement and joy. The higs are high. But the lows are pretty low too. It breaks my heart to find a half-eaten pullet as happened this morning. I work to minimize that happening but sometimes it just goes bad. It is easy to feel discouraged. I can’t seem to catch the critter that is tearing up my garden at night. Goat kids escape confinement and find mama leaving little or no milk for morning. These little things, and they are little things, seem to eat at me and I forget to enjoy the goat kids playing in the pasture. I forget to take a breath, to look at the bats flying in the evening sky, to participate in bicycle races with my kids and to remember how truly blessed I am to even have chickens, let alone raise several thousand and lose one to an opossum. My kids are healthy, we have more than enough food to eat, the roof only leaks a little bit…we are blessed.

  7. Mrs H says:

    I am so excited that, as I’ve learned more and more about whole, sustainable living, many friends and family have gotten caught up in the process, too! I post about it on my Facebook or blog all the time, and I’ve been receiving more and more questions – “I want to start eating organic … I want more produce … How can I find a local farm? What is a CSA?” I am always excited and honored to share what I have learned! For this reason, I am careful to never pass judgment on people who live differently than I … I’ve heard people called “food fools,” “idiots,” “pigs” and worse, because they shop at Costco or spray their garden … but I don’t agree with that attitude! People don’t know what they don’t know, and they’ll just shy away from those “organic freaks” if we treat them with such rudeness! I trust that as they see how attractive and wonderful a whole living lifestyle can be, they will be interested and willing to learn (but nobody wants to learn from somebody who mocks them!).

    • Leilani says:

      Very well put!

    • Grace Hernandez says:

      I’m with you in sharing your excitement about eating healthy. I feel we’re in a paradigm shift regarding eating local food. Simply because they taste so much more so much better.

      It’s wise to recognize that “we are where we are.” Nobody’ right, nobody’s wrong. We’re just moving closer and closer in the direction of the things we want in our lives. Things that make us feel good!

  8. daisyglitter says:

    How beautiful. The view you have makes my insides melt! Very thought provoking.