Published by Voyage Dallas JUNE 14, 2021
Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Giles.
Hi Laura, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself. I grew up here in Texas and own a farm here with my husband. I’ve always liked trying to figure things out for myself as well as have always had an entrepreneurial side at a very young age. Gardens have followed me wherever I’ve lived and I’ve turned whatever I had into planters.
Starting a homestead has always been a dream of mine and some point in our lives we need to stop dreaming and start doing. So that’s what we did. I currently work for Zoom running operations for our ISV side of the business. Occasionally, I’ll bring a baby goat or chick on my video calls. When I’m not solving enterprise problems, I’m on our own farm prepping for the next season, helping to run our local Lucas Farmers Market, working with other local farms to help increase their sales, promoting local agriculture and doing the typical mom stuff – chaperoning where I can, when I can.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way? Homesteading has been fairly easy because my husband and I work really well together and we’re both big dreamers but also just as much makers & tinkerers each with our own specialties. Neither one of us like to sit around and watch TV for days on end unless it’s a how-to video. That’s not to say we haven’t had our fair share of struggles. We’re a blended family with four beautiful daughters, all with their own take on life and we moved into an old house that flooded every time it rained. The ‘our house’ house. All the doors had see-through cracks, the windows had broken glass, the roof leaked & the flooding was so bad I bought a fake alligator to float in the swelled moat around our house every time it rained.
We moved from a perfectly manicured HOA neighborhood to a muddy swamp with overgrazed pastures. Naturally, we got chickens and built the chicken coop first. And then got sheep, goats, and only then started working on the actual house. From there we restored a couple of pastures, bought more chickens and goats, established a garden, planted a fruit orchard, and learned to process wool from shearing all the way to spinning and knitting finished products. The two younger girls have their own gardens they maintain, their own livestock (one owns & cares for all the chickens and the other is responsible for all the sheep, including vaccinations) as well as have their own products they sell through our farm such as wool dryer balls, eggs, produce, jams, and more. It’s really been a great journey that I believe has helped draw our family closer together. A joyful labor of love.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do? Proverbs 22:6 says ‘Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.’ Right now, I’m most proud of our girls and their confidence in their own abilities and willingness to try new things, as well as appreciate the labor & skill that goes into food & products they enjoy. They’re constantly breaking age and gender barriers and I love watching them grow as the next generation. Watching the transformation of our homestead is another proud moment. We turned a dismal piece of property into something really beautiful and operational and have been able to use it as an educational example of what is possible with just a couple of acres.
What were you like growing up? Growing up, I was the Anne of Green Gables child, the inquisitive troublemaker with a sponge-absorbing brain. Hahaha! Sitting in timeout having to read an encyclopedia was treasured. My mom would tell us to not go down in the creek and that’s where I ended up spending most of my childhood – catching fish, walking tunnels, building forts & running from cows. Any given day I was building, selling or taking apart something, be it our house phone, VCR, my car or building a secret hideouts. I’ve always been fascinated with how things work and that’s why I think I’m where I am today. I remember my mom yelling at me in the garage one night telling me I better have my car put back together before morning so I could drive to school. I always loved the outdoors, livestock, food forests, preservation, and creating & using my own things from scratch. The farm life has always drawn me in. It was time I owned one.