For the past twenty-five years, people have told me I should write a book about my life. I’d laugh and dismiss their requests thinking they were a bit crazy. Who wants to hear about my life? Turns out, people like crazy, and apparently, I’m the wack-a-doodle whose life they want to hear about.
I’ve lived fully and freely for forty-eight years, married and divorced a few times, owned my own business, performed dance all over the USA, traveled the world, disregarded fear, and welcomed risk. I’ve done what I wanted, had few regrets, and most of the time I was wild. As I get closer to approaching fifty, I look back on my life and can’t believe I am still alive. Someday I will write more in depth about it, but for now, I’m choosing to blog about my recent “City to Country” experience, a very hot and fashionable topic these days. Many people are choosing to quit their jobs, sell their houses, pack their families, and leave the hustle and bustle of city living to become closer to Mother Nature. I want to advise you, doing it isn’t as overwhelming as pondering the idea of doing it. All one needs is courage, self-confidence, and faith. A little money and organizational skills don’t hurt either.
As you age and acquire more experience, life tends to kick the crap out of you. Attitudes and perceptions change, you get a little wiser, less tolerant, and perhaps more cynical. I noticed these changes when I entered my 40s. I began visualizing secluded places I’d like to retire and dreamt of becoming a recluse. I fantasized about spending the rest of my life away from humans, surrounded by animals; somewhere with fresh air, beautiful scenery and wildlife outside my door. I wanted peace, quiet, freedom, anonymity, and to just be left alone by everyone. Sounds a little jaded? I am. Marilyn Monroe once said, “Dogs never bite me, just humans.” She was a hip lady, way ahead of her time.
Wyoming always appealed to me, a perfect place to disappear, but after a lifetime of grueling Buffalo winters, I decided the south was probably a better choice. I always wanted to visit Tennessee. I had heard it was beautifully green, mountainous, and free. I liked that it wasn’t too far from home, should I need to get back for a family emergency, and it wasn’t too deep south for a northerner to blend in.
In 2015 I booked a gig dancing at Sun Studios Rockabilly Festival honoring Elvis Week. Although I loved exploring Graceland and Beale Street, Memphis wasn’t for me. In 2016 I was chosen to perform in a Smoky Mountain dance festival and was excited to sight-see in Gatlinburg, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, but ended up canceling my trip two weeks prior due to an emergency hysterectomy. In 2017, I finally made it to the Smokies. I fell so in love with East Tennessee that I spent most of my vacation looking at properties instead of sightseeing. On my last day of property hunting, on a whim, I answered a Craig’s List ad for 8.45 acres of land for sale in Mooresburg. Nestled in the breathtaking Clinch Mountain Range, the land was a gorgeous, unrestricted, private property with both wooded and rolling farmland…a perfect place for me to surround myself with nature, farm animals, get away from humans, and live freely. I purchased the property and began brainstorming Country Honk Farm ideas.
As soon as I got back to Buffalo, I planned like never before. I sold my business of thirteen years and my home of seventeen years. I hired an architect to implement my design ideas for a new home build and found a southern builder to construct my dream home. I bought a Toyota Tundra to tow the 36’ camper I purchased as living quarters during construction. Prior to my final departure, I snookered my beau into several trips down south, driving moving vans and pulling trailers and campers full of my household possessions. On the final trip, I said goodbye to my mother, loaded my fur family in the pickup and drove all night to Tennessee.
My intention is to build a home, a barn, install fencing, get 501-C3 certified, and then open my farm to special needs animals, as well as work in conjunction with local animal rescue organizations who are in desperate need of temporary foster homes until animals can get placed into forever homes. Once the farm is established, the second part of my plan involves using my New York State Master’s in Education degree and former teaching experience to incorporate humane education at the farm with an after-school work program for high school students for extra credit. I have also toyed with the idea of using my reading concentration degree and experience as a remedial reading teacher to develop an after-school reading and writing enrichment program for elementary school students.
So here I am in Tennessee, living in a camper with my Pitbull Brian, my cat Stewie, my Great Pyrenees Marilyn, my two German Shepherds Angie and Brigadier, my sweetheart JD, and two English Angora bunnies Bing and Bianca. The construction has begun and will wrap in the spring. While trapped in this camper during one of the rainiest years Tennessee has ever seen, I am blogging about Country Honk Farm, the new build process, the Rolling Stones, and rescuing animals. I hope you enjoy!
“But if you try sometime, you find, you get what you need”