Saturday, July 15, 2017

To Be Continued...

We were making a wild dash across the county, peering intently out the windshield, hoping against hope that we could beat the rain. But, afternoon thunderstorms were building ominously in our path. The kids were tucked in the backseat. The dog was most unhappily riding in the back of the truck, under the cover of the camper-top. Our most essential belongings were crammed into an open trailer as we made yet another trip over hill and dale, up and down the winding roads to Middlebrook. I’d lost track of the number of times we had traveled these roads. But, this time we were going to stay. This time we could call it HOME.

By the time we pulled in the driveway, success was certain. We beat the rain!

If Hollywood had scripted our arrival on the hill, we would have then seen the clouds part, a rainbow arching above us, birds would have begun singing as our children skipped along, picking flowers as we walked hand in hand to our new home. The music would soar, the credits would roll...another happy ending. Not only had we escaped the rain, we had beat the odds, weathered some serious personal storms, faced the demons and come out victorious. We were living the dream.

As it was, we were tired, so very tired, not to mention hot and sweaty from racing that thunderstorm across the county, the kids were hungry and the dog was grumpy.

But, we were here. We were finally home.

Our first meal in our long-awaited, hard-won new home should have been glorious. Instead, it was stone-cold something picked up at the Tasteefreeze along the way where the dog had barked ferociously the entire time we sat at the drive-thru window. In our attempt to beat the rain, we decided to drive first and eat later, which explains the less than optimal temperature of our first supper.  But, we were fed. Although, the dog’s mood didn’t improve as she found herself tied to the front porch railing while we hurried to get the bedding and boxes in before darkness fell.

We scrambled around to find all the things the children needed to get bathed and tucked in for the night. The coffeepot was located for easy morning access before we fell exhausted into deep slumber in this strange new place, wondering if this would ever feel like home…

Those dreams that had convinced to pull up roots and start over seemed distant memories and it was doubtful that our beaten, broken hearts would ever recover.

It was definitely not a Hollywood ending.

It wasn’t even an ending. That was simply the beginning...

That wild trip across the county was twenty years ago. 

TWENTY years ago. 


In some ways it seems like yesterday, and in others it seems a lifetime.

20 years.

That’s a long time to do something. Anything. But, it seems an especially long time to do something you never really intended to do in the first place.

Because this isn’t what either of us ever planned on doing. Not at all...

But, that's another story. One that I really thought I'd have completed by now. But, living the life I write about gets in the way of writing about said life. I’ll get to it…someday.

For weeks now, I’ve been thinking about this post. I’ve started countless times only to turn off the computer in frustration. You know, it was far more satisfying when we wrote with pen and ink...when you could crumple up that awful first draft and toss it in the trash! 

And, I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps I wrote the perfect anniversary post last year. Did you read this?  Click HERE.

Maybe I should just follow the Boss’ suggestion and just change the date and re-post.

But, our twentieth anniversary here on the hill deserves some sort of recognition. Because, quite honestly, at the risk of repetition, it is a big deal. Twenty years really is a long time to do anything. But, considering how this all began makes it remarkable. The fact that we took a bad situation (no, wait...a nightmarish, horrifying situation) Click here to read.  and made a success out of it is noteworthy.  And, it is a success by anyone's standards. Right? (seriously, am I right? …can we truly consider this a success? Sometimes I really do not know)

This was nothing but an empty sheep field when we started. Nothing. And, look at it now!

It’s a testament to the Boss’ ingenuity, creative problem-solving and hard work. There isn’t a structure on the hill that does not bear his handiwork.  My own efforts and influences are far more subtle.

Quite honestly, by now I thought we'd be resting on our laurels (although, I must say I'm not exactly sure what a laurel is...nor how one goes about resting on one...) I thought there would be some quantitative measure of our successes. Maybe subconsciously I was longing for that Hollywood ending that cannot come.

But, our life here on the hill speaks for itself. We loved and learned and laughed together...raising our daughters in a unique environment that sparked their creativity and gave them insights and problem-solving skills for use in their grownup lives as they raise families of their own. (and hopefully we didn’t screw up too badly and they remember it fondly) We built community and provided some delicious food while learning to become Market vendors.  And, we’ve managed to keep the wolf from the door all this time by the sweat of our brows and the fruits of our labors. (I think I just answered my own question from a few paragraphs back)

Definitely a success.

But, the world has changed a lot in the past twenty years. It’s a far more harsh and unkind place. Things we have taken for granted are far more uncertain than we ever imagined. And, in a very real way our grasp on health and well-being and therefore sustainability appears tenuous at best. So, any concrete plans for the future seem elusive.

I’ll admit, for a planner, someone who wants it all figured out, it’s hard to be enthusiastic and optimistic in the face of such uncertainties. But tell me, really, what are the options?

Even though it’s hard sometimes, we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing for the past twenty years. Get up, get a plan and get going. ...lather, rinse, repeat... It’s worked this long, surely it will work some more.

So, I don’t have a Hollywood ending for this post. Maybe that’s because it’s not the end. So, I guess I should just write... be continued...

And Happy Anniversary little homestead on the hill.


  1. And what a wonderful photograph to end with Barbara. I seem to remember reading about all your troubles before you settled where you are now. I am also one hundred percent certain that your life on the hill has been a wonderful success story - raising two daughters, transforming the landscape around you, supplying that fantastic market stand week after week and building up a good range of loyal customers - success by anyone's standards. Here's to the next twenty - may they be a success too.

    1. I do appreciate your kind words, Pat! You are always a source of encouragement and inspiration.

  2. Love, love, love you guys! Congratulations on 20 years!!!!!!!!!!! What a testament to hard work (something you see very little of these days) and dedication thrown in with a little (?) crazy? lolol. Here is to 20 more! (Maybe, lol?) You do good! xoxo

  3. Many great accomplishments in those twenty years - regardless of their negative beginning. What you do year after year provides you with no rest, no down time, yet you persevere. You and your husband should be incredibly proud of what you have created on your land. -Jenn