Indeed, that is one of the driving forces in the decision my husband and I made to sell our farm. Maintaining a 2700sf house; managing the upkeep of 17 acres, now 8 acres; keeping three extra buildings plus a horse barn in safe repair; and taking care of a variety of animals from cats to dogs to horses in ever-changing numbers, has filled our days and nights and emptied our wallets over the past 23 years.
It’s been great! It was a perfect home for our blended family of teenagers and for entertaining our friends who’ve enjoyed the pastoral atmosphere and the house that reminded them of going to visit grandma – in the best sense of that scenario.
Whisperwind Farm has given us purpose and stability. It has offered ongoing opportunities for raising vegetables, growing flowers, harvesting hay, and mindless mowing for hours. Our commitment to make this place a loving home has made both of us appreciate the security of this safe haven. After growing up in our childhood homes wreaked with domestic violence and daily uncertainty or being in relationships that were psychologically devastating, we have treasured the peace we have created in this place.
Our children are blessed with fond memories and can tell so many fun stories about their antics with each other and with friends on holidays or summers when they were home from college. Our grandchildren have deep, deep ties to this place they have known since they were just infants. In addition to the visits at holidays and other free weekends when their parents could get away, Emily and Boden have always looked forward to that week in July when we hosted Camp Namaw/PawPaw. It was a full week of just “being.” Amazingly, even into their teens they have looked forward to being out in the boonies with us and in recent years they each have brought along a friend who also felt a special connection to the farm. I am certain this home will stay alive in their fond memories for their lifetimes.
There are some bittersweet memories in this place, too — Alex’s last days and the missed opportunities for imagining a hopeful future before he took his life. We will be leaving behind Alex’s garden, which I hope the new owner will continue to maintain. (I learned recently that her son died in the Iraq war; perhaps she will add his name to that special place).
My mother and her close friends especially loved this farm and spent many joyful hours sunning on the deck or rocking on the porch. Even when Mother’s friend Helen went blind, she loved coming out to visit because she could see in her mind’s eye what she remembered and loved from before.
And then there are the holiday dinners – mostly Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we hosted as many as thirty family members to share a meal, tell great stories, and build more memories.
It has truly been a great life in a great home. But the time for downsizing and simplifying our daily lives is here. We want to move to a new phase of our lives, especially while we are still in good health and can travel to see family or go on day trips at the drop of a hat.
“But I told my life I would like some time, I would like to try seeing others.” I’m looking forward to a small house, a bit of land, no more than one animal, and a full tank of gas!