Monday, February 19, 2007

Farm Suite Start

Technically speaking:

(Posted in January, can't figure out how to connect with my blog now that Google's in charge. So it's funny that I named it technically speaking, as proud as I was that I figured out how to sign up for a blog. Less than a month later, I am slayed by the dragon of internet unawareness. Pride goes before what?)

I am sort of amazed our phone lines are working long enough to sign in. In a long slow way we've left big-city, high-tech, the-firm-owns-me life until finally finding our home on a farmette in the Napa of the North otherwise known as Lorane, Oregon. Lorane is unincorporated as a town but has its own dot-com, thanks to some high-tech transplants no doubt.While I grew up near here on 10 gentleman farming acres and my husband grew up in similarly rural-suburban digs near Eureka, California, our first daughter was born in Portland, Oregon. The hospital has more employees than the entire Lorane Valley has residents. Ryan worked in the "big pink," I think the tallest skyscraper in the city of a million or so people. I worked in a sunny corner of a vintage building, editing market research reports on the masses' tolerance for technical change. I worried about the bleeding edge. Our 1924 Crafstman bungalow in Northeast had a lovely view of 24 apartment windows on one side and of Mount Hood's snowy peaks if you stood on tiptoes on the front porch. Our daughter would not be able to ride trikes here; the next-door neighbor had her concealed weapon stolen a couple of times. She dealt antiques. Nobody stole those.So Ryan's engineering career demanded a lot of hours and we were expecting our second baby and we noticed that Eugene's traffic was much less likely to kill you. We noticed that housing was slightly more affordable. We noticed that my parents lived in Eugene. We moved. We moved and moved and moved. We didn't move like people who are in touch with what they want, with their goals firmly in place. We didn't rent -- we bought. We bought four houses, each with its interesting points and leaky roof and power stations next door and bad neighbors on cute cul de sacs. We even bought a house we loved in Cottage Grove. A 1910 Dutch Colonial on a quarter acre with four bedrooms and a covered back porch. We had our third daughter.And you can't keep a pony on a quarter acre. You can keep chickens in town (no roosters) and you can keep rabbits, but you cannot keep ponies nor 4-H calves. And you can't keep moving. We told everyone we'd settled. Ryan with his nice municipal engineering job and me with my real estate career and this lovely home with Southern exposure in the tiny hamlet of Cottage Grove. Twice selected an All American City. A Tree City USA. Truly a great town. But of course it is a town.I am glad to report that it is Ryan's doing that we moved this last time. He was sneaking around taking the long way home from work, is what it was. I tried of course to not move. What would our family say? How could we leave our beautiful home? Move our girls from school? He pointed out the 1887-built 4-bedroom, 2-bath cottage that was once a church. Oh, did I mention? We sleep in the choir loft. We cook in the pulpit. We can look at our stone foundation and recognize those same stones in the history book pictures.Our girls walk to the Lorane Elementary school. Our view out our front windows encompasses the grange, the school, the Rebecca Lodge and the church we walk to on Sunday mornings. Our back windows capture a view of distant Lorane Mountain and of our tiny barn and the girls' tiny pony. Our rabbit -- the sole survivor of the in-town rabbitry -- luxuriates in a three-bay hutch and waits for a wife. We plan an orchard and a greenhouse. We plan a large organic garden a more deer fencing. Another horse. We don't plan on it, but everyone stops in. Our country getaway has become grand central. Before school, after school, weekends and more our new friends pull in for a cup of tea, to lend a hand, to ask for help. We are blessed in ways I can't describe, and we've only lived here six months.Ryan uses the shop that a local hero, Lloyd Counts, did all of his metalwork in. Lloyd stopped by to tell us about property lines and community politics and the hundreds of pairs of spurs he made in that shop. He and his wife raised their children in this house and there's nothing he couldn't tell us about the history of the community. Lloyd still lives in Lorane, on a family ranch. We hope we can inherit with the house some of the community's respect for Lloyd and his much-loved late wife Estelle. More than one longtime Loranian has let us know how special she was to them. She baked cookies for generations of schoolchildren to pick up on their way home. She had daffodils there... and tulips there... and here's where her kitchen table was. I wish we had met her.So we've lost high-speed traffic, high-speed internet and high-speed life. What we've gained I hope to chronicle here. If you are hobby farming, I'd love to hear from you.

No comments: