Brian and I met in 2006 at a fundraiser for a non-profit organization he was involved with, Rebuilding Together, and the event was appropriately called "Dreams Happen." I was volunteering on the late shift as a bartender and wondering what I was doing at a playhouse auction on a Saturday night as a single 26 year old - when the crowds parted and there he was. I knew as soon as we started talking I would marry him! Since he kept coming back for more wine... his memory was a little fuzzy but claims he knew as soon as I walked in the door of the Sundance Steakhouse on our first date.
We were engaged within 6 months, married 7 months later and lived in a little house in Menlo Park we fixed up (he'd done most of the heavy fixing before I met him!) and got pregnant with Francie 4 months later. Brian had been working as a lawyer at a big firm, but left to start his own real estate law practice when we were pregnant. He opened a boutique firm in the office space above my tutoring center, Academic Trainers, in downtown Menlo Park and we saw each other all day and got to have lunch dates most days too!
Francie and Maisie were born in our first house and we lived just a short walk from my parents' house. When Maisie was 18 months old we moved 2 towns over to Los Altos and I opened a few more family-based small businesses, one of which was a restaurant called Bumble, as well as a throwback arcade called Area 151, a craft DIY shop called The Makery, a floral design and vintage goods shop called The Botanist, a hobby shop, an indoor playspace for kids called PLAY, an art gallery pop-up with the Novogratz called Outerspace, and a second restaurant called Forest on First. We were busy and Janie and Tessa were both born in the midst of all of this!
In December 2013 we bought a ranch in way Northern California (6 hours north of the SF Bay Area) and planned to raise our own high-quality, barley-finished, dry aged beef for our restaurants. After coming up here on the weekends for 8 out of 9 weekends, we quickly realized this was where we wanted to raise our children and live full time. We found a fantastic community of people in Fort Jones, with a wonderful little school just down the road and a life of hard-work and ranching on our own land was calling us.
In May 2014 we sold most of our businesses (I kept Academic Trainers) and we moved up to the ranch full time to be ranchers. We had a passion for getting our premium quality, ethically raised, fantastic meats directly to our customers and worked hard on a business model to sell and ship our meats from the ranch to doorsteps anywhere in the US.
We moved from our beautiful historic home to our tiny 780 sq foot cabin on the ranch where the girls share a bedroom and the only heat source is our woodstove and the firewood we cut ourselves off our mountain. To say it is a change of lifestyle would be an understatement! But the fullness and satisfaction we've gained working and living here is vastly greater than anything I've ever experienced.
After 2 years of operations, our working cattle ranch is in full swing, along with pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, horses and dogs. Our children help out on a daily basis and Brian and I do most of the work ourselves, along with a single ranch hand. The girls are thriving, usually barefoot and always dirty - but we crowd around our tiny dinner table every night with tired bodies and full hearts.
To support our ranch and enjoy our delicious products... www.shopfivemarys.com
Thanks for reading!