Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fleeing the suburbs for the farm saved this writer's marriage

Schmitt and her husband Jason on their New York farm.
(Photo by Bennett Schmitt)
When Kristen Schmitt and her husband bought an old house in the Detroit suburbs, they planned to stay forever. But restoring the house depleted their savings and strained their marriage and so they decided to move to rural Vermont, barely scraping by for four years as they tried to rebuild their finances.

It was hard going at first, especially in the winter, but they loved it. "While the house was small, it sat on eight acres, and the land was both exciting and overwhelming," Schmitt writes for Salon. "There were mature blackberry and blueberry bushes — some wild and some planted — and fresh bear tracks along the dirt path through the woods that made me nervous. An 11-acre pond, which we shared with a seasonal neighbor, was filled with wood ducks, mallards and Canada geese. The forest cadence was loud without any automotive traffic; coyote howls rippling through the night air seemed both close by and far away at the same time."

Making the move brought Scmitt and her husband closer together, and with a lower cost of living, she was able to stay home with their young daughter and work on her freelance writing career. They eventually swapped their Vermont farm for one in northern New York, and still love farm life.

"Whenever someone asks me if I miss the city or the suburbs, I think about the experiences we’ve gathered over the course of only a few short years," Schmitt writes. "We’ve learned how to heat our own house with wood chopped, split and stacked by hand. We’ve learned the beauty of planting seeds and harvesting food from our land. We’ve watched fluffy chicks blossom into laying hens that peck cracked corn from our hands. We’ve also reclaimed our lives for ourselves and each other, focusing on our own priorities and values rather than those we were told were important."
Read more here.

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