top of page

Our Story

Where to begin...

Well...let's start with me! My name is Julie Vavrek Fletcher and I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.  I lived with my parents in Glendale Heights, Illinois and started working after high school as an Executive Assistant. Although all my family was in Illinois, it never felt like I was living in the right place. I have always been an outgoing person, who loves the outdoors, photography, adventures, sports, animals and hobbies that challenge me. In 2005, I decided I had enough of Chicago winters and set my destination to a warmer climate. I accepted a position with an electrical contractor as a project manager assistant in Las Vegas, Nevada.

IMG_5377.jpeg
IMG_7344.jpeg
62259023530__B66A515A-787F-402D-B7D7-E8ADD40D60E6.JPG

Cory on the other hand grew up very differently. He grew up in the small town of Granbury, Texas. After high school, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cory's grandfather owned 80 acres in Hico, Texas where he raised goats and cattle. Cory's grandfather and Uncle taught him everything there is to know about life on the farm. 

IMG_3420.jpeg
68987845758__1CF8CF7E-9445-48F8-8F2B-5AE58CA707CA_edited.jpg
IMG_7651.jpeg

Our story begins when Cory and I met in 2008 while we were living in Las Vegas. We dated for two years and got married in 2010. Our 8 minute ceremony at the Little Church of the West was the best day of my life...I married my best friend.

 

We spent most of our spare time or weekends on our boat at Lake Meade, wakeboarding and in the winter we would be snowboarding or hiking in the mountains. There were not many days that we ever just sat around! We are always doing something.

LCW_1747.JPG
DSC_0387_edited-1.jpg
l_6c42f6c9d5db929673e81ade9cfdaf1d20.jpg
IMG_0634.JPG
Our first date in 2008
IMG_2139.JPG
IMG_1796.JPG
IMG_1928.JPG
_DSC2255.JPG
100_7449.JPG
IMG_0610.JPG

With a love for animals, I started volunteering with a local animal rescue group in Las Vegas. So many animals are neglected and I wanted to help change that somehow. I worked with the Churchill Foundation and met some amazing people along the way.  They taught me that you can’t save every animal but the ones you do save you change their fate and give them a chance to live.

 

The Churchill Foundation rescues specific dogs that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance such as terminally ill or behavior cases. The work they are doing is making a change and helping dogs stay with their families and out of the shelters. Check out their complete story.

 

https://www.thechurchillfoundation.org

Churchill Foundation.jpeg
IMG_3665.JPG
IMG_9837.JPG
IMG_3664.JPG

Life takes you in so many directions and you never truly know why things happen the way they do. In 2014, Cory accepted a new work position and we moved to Paducah, Kentucky. Not knowing how life in Kentucky was going to work out we rented a house for a year. Much to our surprise we enjoyed living in the small town and bought 16 acres of trees with an adorable 1400 square foot house with the goal of one day clearing the land for farming. We enjoyed being in nature and watching all of mother natures creatures. I volunteered with an organization that rehabbed injured or abandoned wildlife. When the animals were big enough to be released and be on their own we offered to let them live in the woods behind our house. These animals included raccoons, squirrels, opossum and a spoiled groundhog.

 

Cory and I got the most joy watching these animals grow up around us. 

IMG_3970.JPG
Leaving Las Vegas
IMG_3437.JPG
Our Rental house in Kentucky
IMG_7541.JPG
IMG_2126.JPG
Our home we purchased on 16 acres in Grand Rivers, KY.
IMG_0837.JPG
thumb_IMG_2760_1024.jpg
We also helped rescue two bald eagles that fell from a nest during a bad storm. The eagles were taken to a Federal rehab facility and were released back into the wild once they were big enough to be on their own.
thumb_IMG_2494_1024.jpg
These are some of the many animals we helped rescue over the years living in Grand Rivers, KY.

We were able to give them a place to live and enjoy life.
thumb_IMG_3120_1024.jpg
thumb_IMG_2802_1024.jpg
thumb_IMG_2856_1024.jpg
thumb_IMG_3485_1024.jpg
This was Beezer, he was the spoiled groundhog!
He hung around our wood pile when we released him and after a month or so he ventured into the woods to live his life.

On occasion, we would see him wondering around but he was now an independent groundhog.
IMG_4111.jpeg
thumb_IMG_2982_1024.jpg
IMG_0784.jpeg
Cory built squirrel houses and we placed the boxes around the property so the baby squirrels we released would have a place to live. 
_DSC1066.JPG
_DSC1171.jpg
IMG_0786.jpeg
IMG_0763.jpeg
thumb_IMG_3015_1024.jpg
IMG_0818.jpeg
IMG_0482.jpeg
IMG_0494.JPG
IMG_0842.jpeg
thumb_IMG_2013_1024.jpg
IMG_0211.jpeg
IMG_0478.jpeg
IMG_0473.jpeg
IMG_0851.jpeg
IMG_0488.jpeg

In 2020, when plans changed again we sold the property because Cory accepted a new job in New Mexico. I was going to be staying in Kentucky to continue working until we could sell the property. Much to our surprise the house sold before it hit the market. We talked about living tiny for a long time and decided to take the leap! Housing in New Mexico wasn't what we were expecting it would be so we purchased a Black Series HQ19 camper and transitioned to tiny living. Cory headed to New Mexico with the new camper to start his job and I packed the house! Being apart was difficult but we did what we needed to do to get where we wanted to be for a short few months.

Living tiny was an experience all in itself! 20’ camper with two large dogs and two adults was definitely challenging! You don't think about the creature comforts you have in a house like a closet, storage, washer, dryer or dishwasher. This leads to thinking of creative meals that don't involve a ton of dishes and creative ways to organize a small space. Then there was the aspect of downsizing...deciding on what we actually needed verses things we wanted. We sold most of our belongings and the things we didn't sell were donated to a local charity in Paducah, KY. Everything else was packed up and we moved it into storage when we arrived in New Mexico.  

OH! And there was going to the laundromat...that was a fun experience for me every week!

Living with less “things" sounds like a good idea but definitely wasn’t for us.

IMG_3331.jpeg
IMG_5228.jpeg
IMG_3337.jpeg

My closet space!!! 

IMG_5230.jpeg
IMG_3334.jpeg
IMG_3338.jpeg
IMG_3339.jpeg
62074986755__CC26143F-EC1E-447F-9ECD-48898768F86A.JPG
IMG_5214.jpeg
IMG_5757.jpeg
IMG_6502.jpeg
IMG_5843.jpeg
IMG_6505.jpeg
IMG_6060.jpeg
IMG_6460.jpeg

When my mom passed away suddenly in September of 2020, we needed to have more space because we were trying to talk my dad into leaving Chicago to come live with us. My parents were high school sweethearts and my dad didn't need to be living alone.

 

In February 2021 we decided to buy another house. New Mexico was a beautiful place but we had our sites set with our destination to one day live in Cory's home state of Texas. We started looking for properties in the Amarillo area because that wasn't too far from New Mexico and Cory would have an opportunity to transfer to Amarillo if he wanted.

IMG_6258.JPG
IMG_5345.JPG
IMG_5352.JPG

We both fell in love with a new construction house, in a subdivision, in Amarillo with a layout that would be perfect for my dad to come live with us. I started looking for a job right away because this was the house we wanted. The job market was really good and for the first time...it was me accepting a job offer and moving first. We moved the camper to Amarillo that I stayed in for a month with the dogs until we could close on the new house. It was a difficult situation again because Cory wouldn’t be able to transfer to Amarillo for a few months. Cory stayed working in New Mexico and I was in Amarillo. Again, we were in a long distance relationship. He drove to Amarillo on the weekends but it was definitely not the way we thought things would be.

IMG_6743.jpeg
IMG_6865.jpeg
IMG_6769.jpeg
IMG_6811.jpeg
Ext Front Sunset.jpg
IMG_6898.JPEG
Family 1.jpg
Master 1.jpg
IMG_6864.jpeg

After getting settled into the new house we got a devastating call from my cousin. At the beginning of April 2021, my dad passed away. I am an only child so I drove back to Chicago with our dogs to take care of my parents estate which included cleaning out my childhood home as I had no intention of moving back to Chicago. At the same time Cory was leaving for a training class and was going to be gone for two months. Again, we were living apart.

After spending two months in Illinois with friends and family, I finally got the house packed, painted and ready to be put on the market. Cory finished his training class and flew to Chicago so we could pack a U-Haul truck to take the furniture and memorabilia from the house I grew up in.


 

IMG_8181.jpeg

After getting back from Chicago, Cory finally was able to transfer to Amarillo in September 2021. We were both relieved that we would both be under the same roof again. Traveling every weekend for almost a year was getting exhausting for Cory. We were excited to be living in Texas but living in a subdivision again with neighbors all around us wasn't what we really wanted.

 

While sitting at the closing table in Kentucky when we sold our land, I had a feeling that we shouldn’t be selling and always questioned if we did the right thing? Although I didn’t say anything to Cory, a later conversation revealed that he had been having the same thoughts and questions as me at that table - everything happens for a reason. 

I’ve learned that life is too short to not live your dreams and follow your passions. We took a good look around at the life we were living. Yes...things were great but were we truly living, or just existing? Our lives were the same day in and day out.

 

After cleaning out my childhood home and reliving all the memories shared, Cory and I wanted to have more than a "just living" life experience. We missed having land, being in nature surrounded by animals, and always having our own space to work and create in. 

 

SOOO...We decided to follow our passion of being in the country again with land and began looking to purchase land around the Amarillo area.

Our first stop was the builder of our new house in Amarillo, they also were building just outside of town on 1-1/2 acre tracts. This seemed promising as they offered a “trade-in” program for your current home (if they built a new one for you).

 

Our house was a 2020 model bought before price increases so the numbers worked out good for the program. One thing on the must have list was a large garage for Cory and a big kitchen island for me as I love to cook.

To summarize, the dead-end with that first approach was two-fold: building codes for the garage (Cory had the builder price out an oversized four car garage versus building a shop) and overall price of the build for what we were getting was not going to be a good investment on our part. We mutually walked away from the program.

Sitting in the couch that evening we decided to text our Realtor that had helped us find the Amarillo house to find other options that might be available.

IMG_9297.jpeg

After a few brief texts with the Realtor she said she had a property that might be over our budget however the owners were primed to sell. 

 

The next text that came through was a link to a property that we had seen before but had passed looking at due to pricing and our budget (she wasn’t wrong lol). We text her back however, she reassured us that the sellers wanted to move the property and they would entertain a lower offer (much lower) that would put the property at the top, but within, our budget.

The property was everything we wanted! A big shop/garage, single story house with a mezzanine for storage on 43 acres of fenced property with a barn. Everything was set up perfectly like the house was just waiting for us. 

 

The sellers accepted our offer in December of 2021 but they asked if we wouldn't mind closing until February of 2022. Cory and I were excited to move to the property but accepted the closing date!

 

 

IMG_0103.jpeg
IMG_0072.jpeg
IMG_0198.jpeg
IMG_0058.jpeg
IMG_0064.jpeg
IMG_0067.jpeg
IMG_0066.jpeg
IMG_0097.jpeg
IMG_0080.jpeg
IMG_0076.jpeg
IMG_4652.jpeg

This is where our new journey starts as Fletcher Farms Amarillo.

We are excited for all the new things to come! 

Check out our YouTube channel to see our vlog that we started after closing on the property. We wanted everyone to be able to see and follow our journey of starting a new farm along with everything that has happened since we arrived!

bottom of page