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…]

pam blasko
5/19/2011 10:05:05 PM

Wow! You were telling our story about moving! We too lived in Stratford CT and longed for the country and wanted to raise livestock. We landed in Oxford. Living on our Dream Come True Farm. Like you we lived on wha was considered a large lot on a dead end in Stratfrod. My daughter was going to Bunnell when we moved. She commuted a year and a half and swore shed be out of Oxford ASAP. Well she did move...........right next door with her hubby and son! Our parents are the next town over, Monroe, brother in Snelton. So we all remained close. We raise wool producing animals, I spin their wool, we have a farm shop and love all that we do. Hubby does wood working for the sh and we do goats mik soap from our goats, maple syrup from our trees and a lot more. And here I am now writing a blog for Grit. This world is sure small. Glad to have found you here. Sorry for such a long note but I was so excited, felt as though I knew you!!!!visit my blog sometime. I'll be watching yours!! Pam from Dream Ome True Fiber Farm. Happy farming, I love your place.

2/16/2010 7:36:55 PM

Welcome to the world of GRIT Shawn. I can't wait to hear more about your compound, er, I, house (hahahahaah) and what is has offered y'all that a more suburban area did not or could not. What a great adventure. Too cool.

oz girl
2/11/2010 1:39:38 PM

Dang typos and a too quick hit of the "enter" key.... I meant Hi ShawN. Sorry!

oz girl
2/11/2010 1:38:43 PM

Hi Shaw, welcome to the online Grit community and I love your "new" place, it's absolutely beautiful! Can't wait to hear the rest of your adventures.

kc compton_2
2/11/2010 11:03:34 AM

Whoops. Our funky double-posting issue rides again. My bad ... But I really, really meant it. :=] And yes, welcome to our GRIT community! --KC

kc compton_2
2/11/2010 10:46:33 AM

Hi Shawn, It looks heavenly and perfect for what your family needed and wanted -- lots of roofs! :=] We'll look forward to hearing more of your adventures! Cheers, K.C. Compton

2/11/2010 10:08:30 AM

Shawn, Welcome to the GRIT community. I'm happy for you that you've found, as MountainWoman so eloquently put it, "your piece of paradise." I look forward to hearing more about your transition, and it's always good to have another hunter and fisherman on board. Looking forward to it. - Caleb

kc compton_2
2/11/2010 9:39:35 AM

Hi Shawn, It looks heavenly and perfect for what your family needed and wanted -- lots of roofs! :=] We'll look forward to hearing more of your adventures! Cheers, K.C. Compton

nebraska dave
2/10/2010 7:38:46 PM

Shawn, It sounds as though you have found the best of both worlds which is country living with city access. Your property makes me just a little envious. It looks as if there were two houses at one time that have been connected together into one huge house. I’ve always been a push over for porches which I see you have plenty. There’s just something about sitting on the porch in a creaking old rocking chair watching the animals fritter about. We all could learn a thing or two from the animals and birds that always seem to have enough time to stop and play. Life should always be about family. So many times family can be scattered all over the country. All my grand kids are hundreds of miles away. I have one in Texas, two in Wyoming, and three in Las Vegas. Sometimes it can be challenging to live close to family but it’s still better than the alternative. I look forward to hearing more about how country life is working out for you.

mountain woman
2/10/2010 4:32:05 PM

Hi almost neighbor. We're from Vermont. Your home is lovely and what a gorgeous setting as well. I'm glad you found your piece of paradise.