This all started as a dream. Brad and Ruth wanted to provide high quality fresh food for their family, friends and community. Here is their story.
Living in Midland was… well, it was living in a thriving city… and everything that goes with that. Constant noise and chaos, always in a hurry, there was never time to slow down and enjoy life. That’s why we started spending a couple weekends a month at the lake house outside of Robert Lee.
Quickly this place became a refuge for us. We made some friends in the area, but more than anything we were able to disconnect from the chaos. Life out here moved at a different pace and we loved it.
Brad came up with the idea of having a large greenhouse out here to help support the community that we had fallen in love with. Tons and tons of research was done looking for a way to make that happen. We decided on an aquaponic system that would also provide fish and began dreaming of what that could look like.
February 25, 2017 we said our I Do’s which started the most amazing and challenging 6 years of my life. We spent our honeymoon at the lake with family. As chance would have it we met the owners of a piece of property that had been abandoned for 20+ years and began the process of purchasing our forever home.
Times were tough those first few years. Financially we struggled to feed our family and pay our bills. In spite of that we fell more in love with each other. I still don’t know how we made ends meet, but by the Grace of God we made it. We continued to dream of having an aquaponic system even though it felt like a pipe dream.
In our first year of marriage I convinced Brad to let me get some chickens so we would have “free” eggs. For those of you who don’t have chickens yet nothing is free. I fell in love with my birds and the next year we got more. With 30+ chickens running around the property we decided it was time they started paying for themselves. Of course that meant we had to get more birds (I’ll never truly understand chicken math).
We started looking into how to make money with what we had and decided to sell chicks. Things began growing from there. We added on to our chicken coop, then added turkey and quail.
Things were finally starting to look up for us and I thought the farm may be able to provide enough money that Brad didn’t have to drive to San Angelo every day to work.
Then tragedy struck. October 1, 2021 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. I wasn’t supposed be in the chicken coop, and honestly I didn’t feel like doing anything other than sleep. We downsized our farm to just a couple dozen birds while I went through my treatments.
I didn’t know if I would survive my cancer and was ready to close the business, but Brad convinced me to keep it going. Not much was done with the business other than selling some eggs here and there.
Life was not what I expected, but through my hardship we met some amazing people who have become dear friends.
Tragedy hit a second time when I was halfway through my chemo treatments. Brad was killed instantly when he was hit head on by a truck driver who wasn’t paying attention. My whole world came crashing down on me that day. Family and friends alike surrounded me and held me up through the unthinkable. Honestly if it wasn’t for my parents, Brad’s kids, my kids, and our friends I would have died from a broken heart.
As I continued with my chemo treatments I started looking for a new purpose in my life. For the previous five years my purpose was to support Brad, all I wanted was to make him happy (which he was). When that was taken from me I was totally lost.
Many hours of thought and prayer brought me back to the farm. I wanted to make our dreams a reality, something to keep Brad alive.
I finished my chemo treatments and went through surgery, where they got all the cancer, all the while dreaming and planning. In April of 2022 things began to take off. Building started going up for the new poultry coops and I started working with a company to design an aquaponic system.
January 10, 2023 concrete was poured for the greenhouse that will house the aquaponic system. The night before we poured the concrete I dedicated the greenhouse to Brad by spreading some of his ashes where the slab would be and toasting him and his dream with a shot of Garrison Brothers Bourbon (his favorite). I also put his boot prints in the concrete at the entrance of the greenhouse.
Today, January 17, 2023, the greenhouse started to go up. Standing there looking at it coming together has been a flood of emotions. After all these years the dreams that Brad and I had are coming to fruition. While I miss him with all my heart, I know he would be proud.
I have to give credit where credit is due here…. I have had a lot of help getting to where I am. My family and friends have supported me and cheered me on. There are also my employees that have become like family to me, and without them this wouldn’t be possible.
A special thanks also goes to Kevin with Parks Trailers. Not only was Kevin one of Brad’s best friends, but he has also spent months out here working on these building and making our dreams come true.