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A New Chapter

Houston and I are always encouraged when people connect with our vision, but never more so than when those closest to us - our kids - see and appreciate what we’re doing, and even join us. We’ve had the amazing opportunity of having each of our four children and their spouses lend a hand on our farm in some way.

Our youngest Emilie worked with us full-time for two years, managing the hydroponic towers and dirt garden. She also played a big role in our transition to having livestock on the farm, helping Houston choose our first Kunekune pigs. She sometimes pitched in to help me prep our first glamping tent for overnight guests. Her fiancé Aldo has given us invaluable landscaping advice and photographed one of our farm to table dinners.

Basden, the youngest of our three sons, worked with us last spring helping take care of our livestock and the land. He was instrumental in getting the two new safari style tents up and running and starting the finishing out process of the bathhouse.

His wife Molly designed our logo over four years ago. Even before that, she came up with the name Purdon Groves based on the unincorporated town in which the property sits and the many groves of trees scattered throughout the 21 acres.

Second born Chadwick and his wife Katie have visited and helped out with daily chores. Even though they live in Lake Tahoe, California, they’ve been great sounding boards when we’re thinking through upcoming projects and decisions. Chadwick was also here last fall to ride in our first gravel bike race.

And now, our oldest child McClendon and his wife Yessika are moving to Texas. But they’re not just moving nearby; they’re actually going to live on the farm. The two of them are flying Houston and me out to San Diego on Sunday to help them drive their skoolie - the school bus they converted to their home - to Purdon Groves. They’ll be helping us run the farm. To say this is a godsend to two almost 60 year olds on the brink of burnout is an understatement.

For the past 15 years McClendon has worked as a lead tech in the audio / video / lighting industry, doing installs around the country. As a creative, Yessika curates and sells unique vintage home decor and fashions. Together, along with a tight knit community of friends, they built a cob hut that has served as her studio. And they’re passionate about building a similar structure on our farm to be used by glampers.

McClendon (Mac) and Yessika will also be taking the first step in realizing their dream of homesteading. Yessika says, “We’re so excited to learn how to steward and connect with the land and deeply understand where our food comes from. There’s a lot to be said about how broken our food system is, which is a huge component of why we’ve decided to move to Texas.”

Houston and I are excited to see everything this new chapter brings to our lives and the life of our farm. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing the progress the four of us make as we continue to handcraft experiences for our guests that inspire them to connect, retreat, celebrate and create.

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the March 12, 2022 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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