The old farmhouse where I grew up

Farmhouse and barn from the meadow

I have just returned from a trip to my childhood home and farm where I stayed with my 92-year-old Dad who still lives there.  I know that I am among the few 57-year-olds who can still make a statement like that.  I am very aware that each return is one of a finite number of remaining stays in the house of my childhood memories.  Two of my brothers now own the farm land and buildings, and the long-term plan is to eventually tear down the old farmhouse and build a new home on the property.

Sidewalk to the front door

View of the fields from the garden and crab apple tree

Birdhouse near the garden

View out the barn door

The old, square, wood-framed farmhouse is nothing special architecturally or design-wise.  You could definitely call it humble.  On this visit, I made sure to photograph some of its rooms, which have changed little over the decades.

“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”
— John Howard Payne

Living room

Living room window

Dining room (We actually eat in the kitchen -- the "dining" room is our T.V. room)

Farmhouse kitchen

Dad's first-floor bedroom


July 26, 2010

The Cascade Mountains from my airplane window

I returned home from my retreat yesterday.  I’m so glad I went.  The week away was a cherished gift to myself.  I can’t say that I’ve been transformed or changed into a new person.  But I do feel filled up with beautiful images, words, and bits of wisdom.  I now need to let all this input percolate and slowly incorporate these new insights and practices into my daily routines at home.

I’ll be posting more about my retreat experience in the next few days.  So stay tuned. . .

In the meantime, it’s good to be back home.

Deep Roots

May 8, 2009

Rustic birdhouse

Rustic birdhouse

I just returned from a trip to my childhood home in Minnesota, the family farm which was my universe for the first 18 years of my life.   

Seattle is my chosen home now.  My husband and I moved here over 30 years ago, drawn by the mountains, lakes and Puget Sound.  We live in a house that’s over 100 years old.  Until our daughter started college, this was the only home she had known.  So my home here is rooted in memories and meaning.

I will always have another place I can call home, my birth home in Minnesota.  My 90-year-old Dad still lives on the farm where I was raised.  It’s a “Century Farm,” one that has been in the same family for over 100 years.  Dad’s grandfather homesteaded the land after buying it in 1871 from the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad for $1,160.  The farm passed to his son, Dad’s uncle, who sold it to Dad’s mother and father in 1932 for $6,000.  My grandparents began renting the farm to my Mom and Dad in 1949.  When Grandma and Grandpa died in 1961, my parents purchased the farm.

I know that I am fortunate to be able to return to my childhood home, sleep in my old bedroom in the white frame farmhouse, and walk the land where I first played and worked together with my family.  And although I’ve lived in Seattle for more than 30 years, I will always feel “at home” in Minnesota, land of big skies, tall cumulus clouds, black soil, rolling hills, wind, and mosquitoes.  I am rooted in two special places, one urban and one rural, one in the conservative Midwest heartland and one in the liberal and diverse West Coast.  Somehow it feels natural to me to hold both homes in my heart.