My name is Julie Perry, and I have been an English teacher for 20 years. For the last 7 years I have been a teacher/ mama. The time has come for a change in my life; I am not satisfied with the status quo. Here’s the short version of how this change came about.
Our dear friends sold their house and bought some farm land. My husband, Paul, locked himself out of the house one evening and subsequently had a moment of deep contemplation while staring at their for sale sign …and then clarity- we were country people and should embrace it. Thoughts of true country life and career change possibilities for me tumbled through our minds and conversations for months. We sold our house, bought some of the property from our friends, and started planning our home and farm on Covered Bridge Road (que romantic daydreams of pastoral life).
There are many reasons for this shift in my life:
- I am tired of rushing and running. As a working mom, life never gets easier. There’s so much self inflicted pressure to be on top of things at work and at home. We’re running late for school again, I need to remember those treats for Friday, and dang it, I forgot to bring a change of clothes for Justin’s cubby again. I feel like this lifestyle is robbing me and my family from enough quality time just being.
- My students and colleagues make me happy, but being an educator today makes me sad. I don’t have the passion for teaching anymore to persevere through curriculum changes and new ideas- nor do I have the patience for apathetic young people who have more interest in being cool than being educated (not that this is a new phenomena). I miss the days of shop class and home economics. It saddens me to see kids so stressed out about a million college applications with their inane essays. I want the best for the kids, but I am afraid that education today isn’t even close to doing what’s best for them.
- I need to rediscover my passions through my gift of creativity and my love of food. Cooking, growing, writing, crafting- these are the things I love to do. I need to be challenged. I need to grow. I need to work hard, get dirty, and sweat…a lot. Dreams, big dreams await. If I don’t do it now, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.
- My children need this life. They need to grow up outside, not in front of a screen. They need me to be present- emotionally and physically. They need to learn how to be responsible, value what they have, and know where it comes from. They need to have a place where they can learn from experience, be proud of what we’ve built, and grow in love of nature and each other.
So here’s my plan: I will mold and shape our land into a farm which will produce products for me to sell, as well as host events for people to learn, grow, and celebrate life. It’s a tall order for sure, but one that I am beyond excited about pursuing. Obviously we have to start with the house, because my family has been living with my parents while that part is completed. We’re at about a month left until we can start moving in! Next will be the basic things that need to be completed such as a garage, composting area, fencing, and a chicken coop. Oh…and the tree house for the kids- my dad has that covered from watching the Treehouse Masters on TV. I’ll start planting in the spring, thanks to the new Burpee seed catalog I just got in the mail- *SQUEAL*!!! Then once school is out I can devote all my time to the farm; the only thing slowing me down will be cash. Hopefully I can start applying for some small farm grants and loans to help me get some things going. Picture it- rows of blueberry bushes bursting with fruit while honey bees buzz happily around. Manicured pathways lead to a pavilion overlooking the green pastures with horses, goats, and a donkey grazing in the afternoon sun. Children shouting and laughing as they chase chickens around in circles for the fun of it. Nighttime bonfires surrounded by friends and family complete with s’mores, country music, and twinkling stars. This is my dream. This is our dream. This is the American Dream.
To close this first post, I would like to ask you all to be part of this journey with me by reading my blog posts. I love to share what I learn with others, and I love to write- so I need you to share the good times and hard times with me as I embark on this new adventure in my life. Thank you truly from the bottom of my heart.
Peace, love, and happiness,Julie