The first day of the year dawned clear and sparking and brim full of possibility, and that’s the day we decided to buy a farm. A farm on the island where I grew up. We have been thinking all along that someday we’d build a little island cabin, perhaps on the lower half of my parents’ land, to have for summers. When we were up for Thanksgiving, my father pointed out that I talk about dreams like having horses again, and maybe even sheep, and a cabin in the woods wouldn’t really be a step in that direction. He mentioned, ever so casually—and with my deep file of a dad we may never know how artfully premeditated this off-hand remark was—that a particularly beautiful little farm had come on the market. It’s been in the same family since the 1960s and is a generally beloved spot. People from away wonder why you’d want island property that isn’t on the waterfront; real islanders hold this place up among the island’s finest. It has a quaint name and a carved gate post and a perfectly magical oak grove. It has barns and sheep and horses. It’s much, much more than a snug cabin under the firs. I dismissed the notion as totally impractical, but my husband called the realtor and arranged to go have a look.
It has a weaving studio.The front entry is a Dutch door painted peacock blue. The upstairs bedrooms have barn-style panels that slide back to open onto the high-ceilinged living room and let in the light. The bathroom has a window cut through so you can lob your laundry right down to the washing machine. There are children’s lofts up under the roof, accessible only by ladder. There are window seats along two sides of the sunny living room. Generations of dog toenails have scarred the wood floors. I was arse-over-teakettle in love from the moment we turned up the winding drive.
Inside the tack room in the barn, on a high shelf festooned with cobwebs, was a surprise that could only be A Sign.
That dilapidated brush box? I made it…more than twenty years ago. It was a birthday present for a little friend—I think she was turning six, and just starting to follow in her older sisters’ barnward footsteps. With my father’s tools I cut and measured and nailed the wood; with my mother’s acrylic paints I carefully added the girl’s name.
All through December I lay awake and dreamed of this farm. I argued all the reasons not to disturb our full and busy lives in Portland. I gazed out the windows dreamed some more. We weighed up what it would mean for our family to tend this place and let it nurture us in return. We made an offer. Today the deal is done and Oak Knoll Farm is ours.
The next chapter begins today. We can’t wait to find out what happens. Come visit.
This is so exciting. Congratulations on this decision and the purchase!
Oh my goodness how wonderful, what a beautiful place to raise children. You are wise not to wait to act upon your dreams, life has a way of rushing along, not pausing for the “right moment”. Congratulations, I’m sure you will all flourish at Oak Knoll Farm.
So exciting!! Congratulations! I was thinking today that it had been a while since I had read your blog and I was feeling a bit overdone by social media and wanted a taste of things that would speak some life again. You did not disappoint. All the best on your new set of adventures!
Endearing. Enveloping. Encompassing. I am so happy for you. Your dream lives.
It’s good to make such a decision when children are young, to young to have good friends that they will be sad to loose.
We are a lot to have such dreams, and you could make your own come true, it’s a good thing, and we are all happy for you !
Congratulations! Such a lovely place your family now owns. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your adventures and about the house and barn!
Oh wow. Congratulations to you! Please enjoy it for me, since I know I’ll never be that lucky. 🙂
Wow! I’ve been reading your blog for years and years, rarely commenting, but this wonderful news demands a de-lurking. Congratulations on your move — let the wild rumpus begin! (and the quiet contentment, of course, but you’ll have so much more room for Wild Things now, in all the best ways)
It looks amazing – a place to have a perfect childhood.
What an amazing place you’ve found! I love the ” arse-over-teakettle” remark, too… 🙂
To live the dream! What a wonderful new adventure.
Congratulations, Sarah (and family)! xoxo
Congratulations! I think the island is so lucky to have you and your family return home….I know your mother is over the moon:) I love your blog too!
How exciting! It sounds like a truly amazing place and I’m looking forward to reading along as you make it yours.
Such exciting news! Congratulations. What an amazing adventure. Best of luck as you settle into your new farm — sounds like it was meant to be.
Wow! Such a amazing place and opportunity for your family to grow up in and with your parents nearby. Gone will be the 3+ hours car ride and waiting for the ferry to visit your childhood home. The space, the beauty of the land and all the possibilities for your family. Thank you for sharing. Some dreams do and can come true. Congratulations!
Sounds perfect! A dad as a midwife to a dream and a husband who wanted to check it out with/for you. You have to be over the moon!
I’d gotten around to reading your blog a few weeks after we had a nice chance meeting at the SJ County Fair this summer, but not to comment to you…
Your writing flows like warm real maple syrup on home made pancakes [had to add some similies, as yours are superb!]. I am delighted to be your new neighbor of maybe 1 mile away and hope our families can connect…
Here’s another Oak Knoll Farm story for you…Linda and I used to take Fei to look at the sheep when Joan owned it. We have some photos I will attempt to dig out and show you…
Welcome to the island…again. You’all stop by sometime… [Ranchos to Oak Hill Drive; second to last house on the left (209)] We can all climb Little Mtn. and check out the view…
My best to all,