Brooke & Sam Sycamore:
The Story of Us
It's a little embarrassing for both of us to admit, but we met online in 2014.
I was struggling as a freelance music journalist and local musician in Louisville, KY, and washing dishes at a BBQ restaurant for cash to make ends meet.
I was disillusioned with the (lack of) career opportunities available to me after completing a B.S. in Biology, and even more disillusioned with the dream I'd had since I was a teenager of making a living as a performing musician.
Brooke had just left the college town of Bowling Green, KY, and returned to a city that didn't seem to have anything to offer her.
She was questioning whether to go back to school for graduate work in anthropology and archaeology, and struggling to come to terms with the debt she'd acquired as an undergrad. Each low-paying, soul-sucking job that came her way only seemed to reinforce the shackles of that debt.
In short, both of our lives were in need of a major overhaul, but neither of us was sure what to do next.
So obviously, we both signed up for an online dating site at about the same time, miraculously, and connected shortly thereafter.
We both had dreams of a different kind of lifestyle, but we weren't exactly sure how to get there.
Brooke had grown up on rural acreage in a masterfully hand-built home designed by her father. She yearned to replicate her parents’ lifestyle for herself, but found that the financial opportunities that made it possible for them to pull it off in the ‘80s just weren’t available to her today.
I grew up as a typically cynical suburbanite, but somehow stumbled upon the quintessential back-to-the-land writings of Scott Nearing in college, and was immediately hooked by the romantic idea of homesteading.
I spent a summer volunteering on small organic farms in northern Canada and Alaska, where I got my first gritty taste of living off the land and fending for myself.
I dreamed of returning to this way of life in the years that followed, but assumed it was something I could only ever pull off much later in life, maybe in my imaginary “retired years” after a long and painfully boring career.
Brooke and I fell for each other at first sight, and have been together pretty much every day since then.
Not long after we met, we began sharing our far-away dreams of homesteading, living off the land, and providing for our own needs without a “job.”
The more we talked, and the more we reflected on our current realities, the more we asked ourselves:
“If not now... when?”
She found an apartment near mine in the city, and eventually I moved into that apartment, too. Then we moved into a house together in the southwestern corner of Louisville (off of the dreaded Dixie Highway, for those in the know), where our homesteading journey began in earnest.
I left the restaurant, quit the band, and set off on a year-long crash course in the skilled trades by taking a series of entry-level jobs I found on Craigslist.
I worked as a cabinetmaker’s apprentice, a glazier helper, a mill carpenter, a landscaper, an auto tech, and a home remodeler, before finally connecting with the manager of the farm where I currently work (and intend to stick around for awhile).
Brooke found part-time jobs at a daycare and a local park, but eventually decided to join me out on the farm, where we now work together every day.
In that year, we built a garden in the backyard. Then we got some baby chicks and built a coop adjacent to the garden. We learned how to can and preserve the produce that we bought at the farmer’s market. We got to know the farmers we bought from. We learned how to brew our own kombucha and mead, and how to ferment our own kimchi. We learned how to propagate perennial plants. We learned about permaculture design principles and small-scale farming concepts. We’re always learning.
Today we live in a rural corner of Simpsonville, KY, to the east of Louisville, in a home we rent on the edge of a much larger farm.
We share our homestead with our three adult cats, a dozen or so bantam chickens, and one heart-melting Great Pyrenees puppy named Homer.
We live modestly on a very small income, but enjoy a wealth of abundance in our daily lives thanks to the way we’ve intentionally designed our lifestyle.
This blog is where we share the knowledge that we’ve acquired and will continue to acquire, as well as the spiritual and existential understanding that we gain as we transition away from the status quo and towards a more natural, self-reliant way of life.
It’s a journey, and a process, but it’s immensely satisfying every step of the way. I hope you’ll join us.