Introduction - Beth-Marie Gardner

When there are two forks in the road I take neither and find the deer trail. I’m comfortable with discomfort. What I am motivated by is the good life. Connection, freedom and bad assery are my core values.

I’m living the cowgirl dream. I have an off-grid, homemade house, farm , gardens, cattle, sheep, hogs, birds and eight horses. My man has been my best friend for 15 years. He is my anchor, my refuge, my pain in the ass. My family grows, raises and processes much of our food. Teaching our kids how to work with their hands and the value of good food and where it comes from has been central to our life. We raise our meat from birth through death and process it here on the farm. I remember when my oldest started preschool she asked if she could have a turkey sandwich and potato chips for lunch even though she does love bear rutabaga stew.

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I have ridden horses and loved animals my entire life. I can spend weeks without leaving the farm. I absolutely love my handmade home, although I occasionally need to go out dancing with my girlfriends.

For the last decade I have committed myself to becoming the best horsewoman I can be in this life. Whether I'm riding in the woods, pulling logs, starting a colt, silently perfecting precise maneuvers - I’m most at ease with my horses. I'm committed to becoming the dream human for my horses. I have trained and ridden through three pregnancies and the rearing of those babes. I have bartended on and off for 17 years so I can commit my days to my farm, my kids, on and off homeschooling, my horsemanship, and working with some of the finest horseman in the nation.

My youngest child will be 5 in March, middle is 7 and oldest is 10. I’m changing.. we are changing. For the last decade much of my life force has gone directly into my family and homestead. I’m really tired. I have too many kids, too many farm animals and too many unfinished projects. Farming is hard, there are a lot of sad stories I could tell but I will save that for another day. I recently found a poem I wrote when I was ten. It describes what I want when I grow up.... horses, sheep, cows, dogs, piggies, kids, a nice little house, a delicious husband. I have reached all those dreams. I’m ready to loosen my grip on my ideals and find a slower, more graceful way. I want to step out of survival mode. I have nothing left to prove. I'm already enough. I’m ready to walk the middle path, find ease, listen to the soft quiet voice, focus on joy, love more thoroughly and buy more cookies from Trader Joe’s. Although I'm not quite ready to give up on home raised cheese, pickles and prosciutto.

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