This idea began (for me) about 2.5 years ago when Jonathan and I purchased 30 acres of family farm land. But really, I guess, it began long before...
This land was the pride of my late grandfather and it is the land where I was raised. My parents did not farm but my childhood home faced the rolling fields of hay that smelled of fresh manure every summer. The air would be filled with this scent--something I grew to love. This home was nestled in a patch of tress that provided endless hours of exploration (and endless hours of leaf clean-up in the fall). This home was outside of town limits and when my childhood friends would come over to play, I would laugh when they had never made a mud pie or played in a creek. These friends would almost never return home in the clothes they arrived in.
As I moved away to college, some of these memories faded. But each time I came home for a visit and brought a new friend with me, I was like a kid all over again. I would show them the beautiful farm where I lived and I would burst with pride. I don't think I ever dreamed of living on this same land after earning my degree.
My husband's story begins in the same home town. His childhood was similar to mine yet very different. His grandfather, too, owned a farm. This was an actual working farm where they raised cattle and tobacco for a period of time. Jonathan spent a lot of time helping his grandfather but spent little time truly appreciating the work. It was at that time in his life that he decided he would NEVER be a farmer. Well--fast forward a few years. Jonathan's grandfather fell ill and passed away. It was then that he began to truly appreciate what he learned from his grandfather growing up on the farm. This would be the part of our story that would inspire a new life for Jonathan.
Let's back up a few years. Upon graduating high school, Jonathan decided to follow me to Asheville where I was attending The University of North Carolina at Asheville getting my Bachelor's degree in Psychology. He was unsure of what he would study at the community college there but he was trying to please his family by getting a college degree. My husband is NOT studious. He realized quickly that going to classes that he wasn't interested in did not fulfill him. This was not his path. Because of this, he felt called to a higher purpose and decided to join the U.S. Navy. I supported his decision, reluctantly, and we jumped in to this new life. In July of 2009, Jonathan left for boot camp. Before he left, he proposed in our tiny (and I mean TINY) apartment in Asheville.
So, there I was, in Asheville finishing up my degree while Jonathan was in Illinois at the Recruit Training Command. At this time in our lives neither of us knew what the future would hold. We knew there was potential to go anywhere. After boot camp, he was sent to another training school in Groton, Connecticut. This training was for those men (and women, now) who agreed to join the elite silent service. SUBMARINES! How he was talked into this I will never know. His job after completing this training would be a sonar technician on a submarine and he would be stationed at one of the several submarine ports around the world.
During his time in CT, we decided to get married. We were very young and it was not how we planned. And never in a million years did I think my marriage license would say Connecticut! But it was a perfect April day with only the most special family and friends in attendance. At this point, I put my life on hold. I finished my undergraduate degree and then we played the waiting game. Education was always important to me so I decided to pursue my Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology. But not knowing where we would be stationed put those dreams on hold for a short time. Soon after his completion of the training in CT, we found out we would be stationed in Norfolk, VA on the fast attack nuclear submarine, the U.S.S. Newport News. We were excited but scared shitless. We knew it would be a rough road ahead. We were both at the young age of 20.
To make a long story a little bit shorter, Jonathan got to his command and started learning what it meant to be a submariner. They were in port long enough for us to get settled into military housing (NOT recommended). And shortly after the new year in 2011, they were deployed for 7.5 months. It was a long time but it was a time when we learned our strength. I met some of the best friends I have ever had and if they are reading this, I hope they know who they are and how much they mean to me.
Jonathan returned home and was never deployed again. In 2014, when his 5 year enlistment was coming to an end, we decided that this was not the life we wanted and we said 'goodbye' to this chapter and 'hello' to a new one--and a new baby on the way! Oh, and I forgot to mention that I DID earn my Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Old Dominion University.
So back home we went. Back to the home I grew up in. Jonathan decided to use the GI Bill and go back to school. This time he had renewed focus and renewed passion. He began classes at Appalachian State University in the Sustainable Development department with a focus in Agroecology. And from here, our dreams and attitudes changed dramatically. From here, our entire worldview and outlook would be different. It sparked a new passion.
We purchased a piece of the family farm from my grandmother and built a house. Oh, and we brought a beautiful baby girl named Sallie into the world.
As I began writing this, I did not intend on sharing our whole life story. But it was necessary to lay out the path that led us to this point. A point in time when we can see how our actions directly affect our earth, and when we can see how our actions from this time going forward can help to mend it. We can see how our current food production system in the United States is doing more harm than good. We have decided to say enough is enough and begin our journey of living our life as sustainably as possible.
Our family and friends may think we are foolish or crazy, probably both. But we think it is a dream that can become a reality. A life that will yield so many benefits outside of monetary values and material possessions. A life that will allow us to take care of ourselves without relying on someone else. Thus the beginning of Blue Feather Creek Farm. Our adventure has already started so stay tuned for more.
Thank you for reading--