This story originally appeared in the July 21 issue of the Community Voice. For your subscription, call 270-384-9454.
Barbara Williams seemed to always have a feeling something needed to change. She was working as an operating room nurse in the Riverside, California area. She got up every morning at 5 a.m. and worked in the surgical wing of the hospital, where she said it was always freezing.
After 30 years of doing that day after day, Williams said she had enough and wanted out. She and her husband Rick started looking around the country for a new place to live, trying to find a great piece of property, and that feeling where you “just know” you’re home.
They found it in Adair County.
“Everywhere I worked, I was in charge,” Barbara said. “I loved my career, but it was a stressful job, and always being in charge just added another layer. After 30 years, I decided I just wanted to grow and sell vegetables. You can’t semi-retire and exist in southern California. The taxes and the gas alone will eat you up. You just can’t do it.”
The Williamses, who lived just between Los Angeles and San Diego, are a blended family with three children each. Barbara still works as a nurse through telehealth and Rick is trying to begin a bird dog business for hunters. They found 35 acres just off Hwy. 80 near the Adair-Russell County line.
“We were going to look at Texas, Utah. We went to Tennessee first and heard about this proper- ty that was just a couple hours from Nashville,” Barbara said. “So, we came up here to looked at it and when I drove up the driveway, I knew we were done. I had never seen green before, I had never seen colors, I had never experienced the different seasons. I can sit outside and hear crickets, frogs. I see the fireflies. This is heaven, and I am never leaving.”
Barbara said she is not sure where she got her dream of living on a farm. She just knows she would come home exhausted from work every day in California. She said her children would come home from school and then they were on their phones all day. She said she didn’t want that anymore. She wanted to be outside and have space.
Now, she has chickens, horses, and a donkey named Russ. They own several dogs and some barn cats. Barbara is even thinking about creating a space on the farm to rescue animals.
“Rick wants all of these same things, too,” Barbara said. “He has all the same dreams I do. He snuck the horse and the chickens in on me behind my back. We got a really good deal on the donkey. However, my focus, really, is on the garden. I wanted that up and running as quick as possible.”
And she hopes that becomes a little bit of a side business for her. Once she gets a good feel of what the community wants in produce, she wants to create a business where customers can call her with an order, she will harvest it, and then customers can come on their lunch hour after work or over the weekend to pick it up.
“My love is with the crops. The goal is to pro- duce as much as I can comfortably sell, and that is a learning process,” Barbara said. “I want to be that person that people message and say, ‘I want 20 bell pep- pers and 20 cucumbers,’ and I will harvest them and then they can come by and get them any time. The farmers’ market is only open a certain time; I am always here.”
Barbara said the decision to move to Kentucky was a good one, and she is now living a life she had only once dreamed about.
“It has been every- thing I could have hoped for,” she said. “Every morning I wake up and look out the window, and I just smile. I really can’t believe this. I want to pinch myself to make sure all of this is true.”
Since making the move almost a year ago, Barbara said so many people have told her they wished they had followed their dreams, they wish they had taken a big leap of faith in their lives.
“I never want to regret not doing something I wanted to do,” Barbara said. “If people have a dream, I think they should just do it. You can make anything happen if you want it bad enough. Remember, there are seven days of the week and none of them are named ‘someday.’”
Williams can be reached at 951-443-9290 or through the Russell Creek Farm Facebook page.