Right next door to Nature

We are Kathie and Mike Boyce, in 2014 we decided to start a plan to retire from the status quo and planted the seeds that we would be our next adventure in life. From this seed we have sprouted our new business, https://kmb-farms.com/ . This blog is, to continue the metaphor, one of the first true leafs of our seedling. We hope you will continue to follow us here and join in our adventure.

As we continue with this blog, we will broadly cover the following topics, and in doing so share our story, our successes, our failures, and our adventure. Some blogs will be “how to” (or how not to in some cases) , we will cover tips on soap making , farming, sustainable living, and other “Right Next Door To Nature” topics that we have tried and learned. We will share some “did you know” stories, sharing various facts we have learned about many topics dealing with living a more sustainable life style. We will share our philosophy with you on sustainable living and modern homesteading, and why we have chosen to work towards this goal. Finally the fourth category we will dive into is our story! We will share updates on how we are progressing toward our goals, what successes we have achieved, and what has not worked so well for us.

We chose “Right Next Door To Nature” as the tag line for our business and it perfectly reflects our goals. We strive to live ” “Right Next Door To Nature” in our farming practices, in crafting our soaps, and in simply living. Our wish is not to harness nature or control, change, or conquer it. We want to be good neighbors and, to us, that means working in harmony with nature, whether that means practicing sustainable agriculture methods, using ethically harvested natural ingredients in our products, or being mindful of our packaging, insuring to the best we can that it is reusable, biodegradable or, at very least, recyclable.

In daily living being “Right Next Door To Nature” includes making our own cleaning products from safer and simpler ingredients, growing our own food or purchasing it from local farmers that share our values. It means setting aside some of our land for a wildlife habitat and protecting the micro-ecosystems that reside there. We pay special attention to the soil micro-biome and do what we can to encourage healthy flora and fauna in the soils.

By living and working “Right Next Door To Nature”, we get to experience God’s creative masterpiece right outside our front door, which is so much more rewarding to us than commuting to and from an unfulfilling job with four walls and a computer screen for a canvas!

So how did this start? How did we find ourselves on this path? Kathie and I have always had interests in natural methods, be it herbal remedies, or essential oils and growing gardens, even before we met in Tulsa in 1999. If I had to pick the moment that this started I would say it was 12 years ago, when we read an article about Swiffer cleaner being dangerous for dogs. We have rescued many dogs since we have met, seems we always have 3 or more furry friends in our house, and the thought of us inadvertently poisoning them didn’t set well with us. Our solution was to figure out how to make our own cleaners that where simple, natural and safe. This ah ha moment enlightened us to a couple things, one, most of the stuff we had been buying had not so good stuff in it, and there is a natural option. The second is that it is much cheaper to make your own! This grew into making laundry soap, shampoo, and hand soaps. At about the same time I started picking a “lost” skill to learn. I would pick one skill each year, invest a small amount of money into learning it. Some of these skills I discovered I liked doing, where useful around the house and saved money, and some I found I am not so good at. Some of these skills included wine making, raising goats and making cheese, making maple syrup, bee keeping, raising chickens, growing herbs and spices such as garlic and a few bush craft skills. Kathie continued to learn about oils and herbs and making everyday products we use around the house. From there we continued to where we are now.

In 2014 we decided we wanted to purchase some land in the country and start a farm business and homestead. We visited small towns in VA, WV, PA and ended up deciding on Charlottesville VA. We found some land in Scottsville VA, about 20 miles south of Charlottesville and started our plan. For the past 5 years we have been running a hobby farm, making soaps, test growing crops and honing our skills selling at a farmers market. Now here we are, we have launched our website, and now transitioning from the hobby to a business. Our little seedling continues to grow!

We do hope you continue to join us on this adventure! Please feel free to leave a comment, visit our website and visit us on FB. Until next time, be a good neighbor.