This family of six gladly gave up their city life at the beginning of 2020. Owning a farm is pretty new for Justin and Kara but they have a lot of experience to bring with them.
Justin grew up in North Georgia where his family still lives. He spent his childhood outside paying with his brothers and sister, working for his dad's construction company, and hunting. After high school, Justin joined the Navy where he was an E4 Aviation Support Equipment Technician at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia and aboard the USS George H. W. Bush out of Norfolk, Virginia. In 2013 he honorably finished his enlistment, moved to Colorado and worked several different engineering jobs before he became a youth pastor.
Justin pastored youth, men and families for five years before the move from Colorado to Minnesota. He continues to pastor his family while building a farm and he waits for the next opportunity.
Kara grew up in Northern Colorado playing, gardening, fishing and boating at her grandparent's lake. - They even raised ducks several times! After high school she worked in payroll and accounting departments at the local school district until she finished some college. Then she worked as a Surgical Tech and an EMT. in 2008 she joined the navy where she was an E3 Air Traffic Controller at Tactical Air Control Squadron 22 in Norfolk, Virginia and at the airfield on Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After her honorable discharge, they moved to Colorado where she worked a few medical jobs before a short employment with an ambulance/rescue helicopter company. Ultimately they decided it was best for her to stay home with the children. She finished her degrees in both medical assisting and hospital management and administration. She worked for several churches doin web design, graphic design, programming, women's ministry, and still works remotely for a children's ministry in Colorado. She loves to lead women and mothers. She also homeschools the children while running the farmhouse.
Meet The Fam
Auggie is a joy! He just loves to go along with everyone and is always trying to make us laugh. As he learns more words, he surprises us by using them sarcastically or jokingly to tease us
Mason is calm and creative. He can figure out how to fix and make just about anything out of whatever he can find. He is kind and loving and a good example for his little brothers. He would rather think than talk and he is always willing to help.
Levi is quite the character! He loves cars, trucks and tractors and usually has scraped knees and elbows. He is always true to himself and never thinks twice about what someone else might think of his outfit choices. He is usually following one of his older siblings around and almost always is singing a song without caring who can hear
Jessi is fearless and usually is exploring our land for new creatures. When she isn't outside she can be found crafting or reading. She goes through more books than the rest of us combined! She loves to be an encourager and we all receive notes from her meant to share her love
Kara is creative! She loves to write and design. Until moving to the farm, she would have considered herself and inside person who preferred coffee, art and books over anything outside. Since the move, though she has found that she has a passion for her animals and for being outside. It is exciting to find new ways to feed the animals and the family. Even though they have only been in Minnesota a short time, she has already done some commissioned work! Check out Kara's instagram page to view her work
As a disabled veteran, Justin is able to devote his time to family and loving his neighbor. He gives of his time and talent selflessly and makes fast friends. It didn't take long before he knew a ton of people in the area and can often be found helping fix tractors and doing odd jobs for people who don't know how. He even uses his talents in mechanics and construction to trade for things they need around the farm, like a tractor, a shed and even a pig!
You can read more about how handy Justin has been around the farm in this blog post:
In order to be a Scottish Laird, you have to have a few things. Firstly you have to own land on Scottish ground. Next is a picture, you can see the plot of land that Justin owns outside of Dunas Castle. The cost of the land has been applied to the rebuilding of the castle, and we are able to visit the renovated Castle turned hotel any time for free. You also need a Deed of Entitlement to give you the official title. You can see Justin's Deed of Entitlement to use the title of Laird here as well.
The Nicholson clan lived on the Isle of Skye on the western side of Scotland. We can clearly trace the areas that our Nicholson ancestors lived and so we can find areas that our immigrant ancestors are from. We have incorporated the Nicholson clan tartan (the fabric worn by official clan members) into our Farmstead sign and other places in our home.
interested in Kara's Heritage?
There are some days I struggle. Some days it feels like I am failing. Homeschooling is not always having cake and eating it too. Learning is not always easy. It’s not always fun, but there are days that are epic. I mean, I am amazed at how smart children are.
I was always the mom who looked forward to school starting and sending them off and having my days to work or get done what was needed. But quickly we found out that it just isn't the way it is supposed to be. You have about 936 weeks with your children before they go off to college or to work or whatever adult life holds for them. and really you have much much less with them totally dependent on you.
Suddenly I realized I was missing it. I was spending a few hurried hours with them each day usually during a stressful or busy part of the day. I didn't know them like I should. And one day we realized two things: we didn't like what they were being taught; and we didn't like where they were in their learning.
The first day I started researching and praying about homeschooling was when my daughter told me about some things they were learning about that were directly contradicting what the Bible says and how other children at school were making her question her clothing choices or where we live.
I am dumbfounded at how kids soak up information like a sponge soaking in water… Especially my oldest boy, the same boy that the school system tested and then ignored, claiming he would catch up. Well he didn't catch up. After a lot of time with him myself in our first year of homeschooling, we realized that we have a very dyslexic boy who even at third grade could barely read. And the school was just going to keep passing him along. Suddenly he couldn't do math when they were doing word problems. He couldn't pass a test on paper. But he is smart. He can do such amazing things and talk about what he knows, as long as he doesn't have to read or write it down. Letting him take the time he needs without the pressure to hurry up at school allowed him to thrive at home. And I was able to find a program that could teach this boy to read.
The kid who could not finish the homework that was sent home in six hours. Six hours of homework every night with this guy, mostly because he did not comprehend the work, because it was shown to him for 15 minutes on that day. Then, the next day would be new skills to “learn”. INSANE! Our reasons to homeschool fall mostly on the fact the public school system will fail some children, like mine and they are much better off at home.
I know some of you are going through this very thing. I feel for you, I do. I fought with the school for three years. I wanted to know why they kept passing him to the next grade, when he had all F’s on his report card and the teacher had nothing but complaints about his anxiety. After three years, you know what their last words were to me were? He’s fine, he’s in THE GREEN.
You know what they were talking about, THE GREEN? The DATA… They constantly made him take tests. It was a daily thing, everything he did was followed by testing.
He was tested more than he was being taught. Believe it or not, he failed those tests, but the DATA, the data said he was in the green and did not have any problems at all. Uhhh, yeah. He doesn’t have problems, the system of education has problems.
If teachers could have more freedom to teach, more space and more supplies to get creative with, they might just be successful. This structured system of putting people in a box, is failing so many. The whole data rape of children is one of the biggest reasons to homeschool my children. Even my daughter was passing tests, but not actually learning.
When I compared what they actually knew and could do on that first year of homeschooling to my own education: I had a third and fourth grader who were first graders or less. They couldn't tell time. They couldn't multiply or divide. They couldn't write a paper or tell you the parts of a sentence. They had learned how to pass a test.
When we we moved to the farm, it was thousands of miles from our last home. I considered letting them go to school. To have friends and see what this system could do for them. But I remembered the amount of time I have left with them. They are mine. They are my responsibility and I actually love being with them. Sure there are hard days. But for the most part, it is amazing and way less work than you might think!
If you are in a similar situation and you are thinking about homeschooling, I am here for you. If you need a friend, reach out to me using the contact page. I have been there. I hope that this post will help you also.