Grit Blogs > The Funny Farm

Our Move to the Country: Part I

ShawnWe have all lived here in Connecticut our whole lives. My wife Tami and I were raising our two kids (children, not goats) in a nice home in the town of Stratford with a population of approximately 50 thousand people. It is a suburb of Bridgeport, one of the largest cities in the state. We had a nice three bedroom house on a quarter acre lot, and it was one of the biggest properties in the neighborhood. Tami was raised there in town, and I had been there for 20 years or so.

My mother was living at my grandmother’s home in Norwalk some 20 minutes away from us with my sister Kimberly and her daughter Siri. They had moved there about two years before my grandmother passed away, to help take care of her and to keep her company.

Tami and I both had good jobs, but I had longed for a country life for as far back as I could remember, and Tami wanted more space and more calm. The kids were growing up and becoming young adults. They were both done with school, and we were taking less active roles in the community. The area was getting too busy and too populated. It was time to go.

We felt we had four priorities to address once we decided to move to the country. One was getting as close to the country as we could without risking our careers. We didn’t want to jeopardize Tami’s teaching career or my job as a title searcher. We figured if we stayed in Connecticut Tami could keep her teaching certificate and I could stay at my job. I covered the entire state, so it wasn’t like my “commute” was going to be any different.

The next was keeping us all together. We did everything together as a family (me and Tami, the kids, my mother, my sister and our niece). My sister Kimberly is only a year older than our daughter Amanda, and our son Michael is two years younger than her. They grew up going to the same schools, the same church, scouts, everything.

The third priority was to have a place for my mother to call her own. She too had a wish to be in the country, and Tami and I wanted to make sure she was taken care of. Not that she needs taking care of, but to make it easier on her and keep us all together.

The last priority we had was to give them all a better start than we had. We didn’t have much when the three kids were coming up, and we don’t have any great fortune for them now, so we figured by keeping us all together and giving each of them a fresh start in a quieter area with elbow room and good schools for my sister’s kids, we would be on the right track.

We knew we had our work cut out for us. We needed such a unique place. Definitely a multi-family. We all love each other and enjoy each others’ company very much, and we needed to keep it that way! No way were we putting four grown women (who all love to cook, who all have strong personalities, and who all take care of their children with the same values and morals but with different techniques) under the same roof. Did I mention a multi-family?

I also wanted a place for my veggie garden and greenhouse, maybe some animals, and we absolutely needed woods. O.K., I needed woods. I love to hunt deer and turkey. Everyone else was hoping for woods.

Tami and I sometimes felt like we would never find that perfect place we needed for all of us. The right number of bedrooms, a large enough yard, good schools, jobs for the kids, etc. It also had to be a multi-family. Oh, that’s right, I already mentioned that. Not to mention the cost factor. We had to find a place we could afford and we had to sell the place we owned.

Well after a year and a half of searching (and what seemed like a half a million miles of weekend traveling and open houses), we found our place in the country. Well, what we consider the country. It actually happens to be a nice area with a mix of country, and some suburbia thrown in here and there. We have settled in the town of Canton, Connecticut, and we have been here a little over four years now. It’s about an hour and a half north of where we were in Stratford. That’s actually one of the nice things about Connecticut. Nothing is ever more than two hours away from anything else here. It’s such a small state. I have been bass fishing in the hills of northwestern CT in the early morning, pheasant hunting on the east side of the state right after lunch time and reeling in flats or blues by twilight on Long Island Sound all in one day!

Front of homestead

Back of homestead

[To be continued…]