EPHRAIM—“I am Sarah, and my husband is Joe, and we are the chaos coordinators of WildWood Farm and we suck at our job. Our chaos is definitely not coordinated,” Sarah Wood stated in her introduction to her WildWood Farms Instagram page.
Sara Wood’s page and other social media posts, which describe everyday life on her farm between Manti and Ephraim, and include artistic and sometimes whimsical photographs, have captured a following of thousands.
Woven through her posts is her appreciation of nature and family, and her philosophy of accepting whatever life dishes out.
Sarah said she grew up barefoot and she wanted her kids to have the same experiences. “Walking through the dew-covered grass in the early morning and feeling the cool droplets of water on your toes compares to nothing,” she said.
She was born in a small cabin built by her dad alongside the Kenai River in Alaska. Her parents
wanted an adventure, she said, so they packed up their 3-month-old baby, their 90-pound dog and a pet raccoon and headed up the Alcan to Alaska.
Her dad cleared the trees on a 5-acre piece of land and used them to build their home. The home had no running water and was heated by a wood stove. Sarah and both her brothers were born in that home. Their dad delivered them.
“I definitely had the best childhood you could have,” said said. “We were raised in nature. We roamed the woods; collected mushrooms, leaves and flowers; grew up with wildlife all around us. Never a thought of what we had or didn’t have—just lots of love, adventure, and freedom!”
Joe and Sarah married at 19; he worked in construction and she worked at a gas station. “We literally had nothing,” she said.
The two of them worked very hard for the next 17 years and made a lot of sacrifices. They knew when they sold their little pioneer house in an urban part of Utah where their family of six had lived in for 10 years that they were ready for space.
“We needed space badly,” Sarah said. “Our horses were a few miles away, and the kids and I had to go twice a day to bucket water from a nearby creek to fill their troughs. Out little goat was escaping the backyard and head butting kids at the school bus stop in the mornings. It was time for us to get out to the country.”
They drove all over Utah looking for just the right place to settle down. When they drove into Sanpete County and saw an 8-acre farm in Ephraim, they knew instantly it was where they wanted to be.
“It took a little finagling, but we got it and we have been working hard to make it our home ever since, because there may be bigger farms and better farms, but this is our farm and we love it,” she said.
The family’s pig, Corn Dog, could care less what cultivating means, but it means a lot to the family. When they moved to their farm, every inch of the property was hard thick clay with lots of rocks. Over the past six years they have added good soil, and planted and cared for more than 100 trees, plants and bushes.
“As we have cultivated the soil and land, we have seen things start to grow where only weeds could before,” Sarah said. “It’s the same with anything; as we add good things and work hard to care for something, we start to see it develop into something better right before our eyes.”
While most of the stories and photographs Sarah shares on Instagram are beautiful and calming, there are also photos of farming and animals.
Of course, it’s nice to have a pretty photo, but she if you only look at the pretty photos, you miss out on the fun stuff that isn’t quite as pretty, she said. Like wrestling angry alpacas to give them bad haircuts and having them spit in your hair; or teenage boys racing their dirt bikes across the fields; or Joe making the kids laugh with inappropriate jokes; or Joe making fun of Sarah’s braces; or really anything that Joe does.
“The good stuff in life isn’t always the pretty stuff! Sometimes it’s the crazy, out-of-control messy stuff and all! Embrace the chaos and let go of the unrealistic expectations,” Sarah said.
Sarah and Joe have four children, 81 animals and as many plants as she can keep alive. They have been married for 23 years. Sarah works as a photographer, and Joe works in the oil field as a mud engineer.
Most of the time, he lives on a 24-hour service rig for two weeks and then comes home for two weeks. Sarah said that their farm doesn’t make them any money; it just takes all of their money.
The Woods are big believers in being human and rolling with the punches. In their home, they embrace try to practice unconditional love, forgiveness, laugher and patience. She said they also fight, lose their tempers, swear too much and drive each other crazy.
Sarah stated that they use their Instagram page, Wild Wood Farm, to keep things real and encourage people to embrace real life and all that comes with it, good and bad. They also want to help normalize mental illness and some of the struggles people don’t want to talk about. They try not to gloss things over as a family.
“We want our page to help people feel inspired and encouraged. So we talk about our problems as well as our dreams and aspirations,” she said. “It’s very important to us to realistically and honestly represent happiness but also the hardships of having a farm, lots of animals, and kids and a marriage. All of those things are very hard but very rewarding.”