A Family Builds a Homestead in the Rain

Our Corner of the Earth

This was the first time since beginning this transition that returning to California felt like leaving home. Maybe it’s because this time we moved all of our treasured and most frequently used books: cookbooks, field guides, reference books on animal husbandry and gardening. Maybe it’s because the crisp, piney mountain air had begun to do its work on our lungs. Or perhaps the work we did at the property this trip began to truly make it our own.

The little house is arranged with enough furniture to fulfill most of our basic needs; enough so that we are questioning what we may simply leave behind. I still need my desk. We have yet to convert the range to propane, so we were still cooking on the induction burner and smoker. But the essentials, we found, more than supported us. The bare property, I think, with its spectacular scenery and rich potential, could keep us happy with little else.

The weather was temperate all week, with a few downpours of quenching rain. With my daughter on my back or playing in the grass, my husband and I raked more than a dozen trailer-loads of leaf mulch from under the white oak, Norway maple and sycamore trees and hauled the piles to the area we selected for our garden: a spread of field between the sheep pasture, the cluster of outbuildings, and where the house will be built.

As we sweated in the chilly air, we both felt incredulous that this is where we would toil and grow. The beauty was overwhelming.

My husband used the chainsaw to cut a fallen tree into five-foot lengths and hauled them down the mountain while I dragged and rolled down what I could. The work was hard, and only a glimpse at what we can anticipate. We left the property feeling satisfied that we’d accomplished much from our list, but we have a long, challenging journey ahead of us. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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  1. Dan Dan
    February 4, 2015    


  2. asonomagarden asonomagarden
    February 4, 2015    

    Oh Kelly, your new property is beautiful! How lucky you are…not only for the property, but for the rain too!

    • February 4, 2015    

      Thank you! I have been so lost without the rain and I am so excited and grateful to return to it! I know how blessed we are. You’re supposed to be getting some for the next few days, I hear!

  3. bobbi dougherty bobbi dougherty
    February 4, 2015    

    I am so excited for you guys. It is beautiful! Can’t wait to see it as it progresses. 🙂

    • February 4, 2015    

      Thank you, Bobbi! I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll share more about the trip and projects throughout the week. Thanks for following along!

  4. Jessica Jessica
    February 4, 2015    

    Where abouts did you move? I thought I read Oregon? We are in the San Francisco bay area and planning to move either to western Idaho or oregon this summer.

    • February 4, 2015    

      Yes, Jessica, we’re moving back to Oregon from the Central Valley of California where we’ve been for a few years. I grew up in North Bay Area in Sonoma County, also. Very excited! Good luck with your plans and move!

  5. Rosemarie Wallack Rosemarie Wallack
    February 4, 2015    

    Hi dear Kelly – I just LOVE your beautifully written, interesting and FUN blog!!
    What a wonderful environment for you and your dear family to be a part of.

    • February 4, 2015    

      Thank you Rosemarie! We are so thrilled– thank you for following along! <3

  6. February 4, 2015    

    Thank you for taking me along to see such a slice of heaven. I feel hopeful when I see there is so much natural beauty yet in the world. I know you’ll be kind to “momma” as you make your new homestead.

    • February 4, 2015    

      Absolutely– that is such an important element of all this to us. We are so incredibly blessed. As I explain in my post “Why We Pursue Homesteading,” cherishing and preserving the immense natural beauty surrounding us is a large part of why we want our daughter to grow up here, and obviously a joy for us to enjoy on a daily basis! Thank you for following along! <3

      • February 4, 2015    

        Your little family are among the pioneers of today only in a way closer in how you homestead to Native peoples – living with Mother Nature, not conquering her. I’ve really enjoyed your posts and look forward to seeing more as you progress!

      • February 4, 2015    

        Thank you for your kind words.

  7. February 4, 2015    

    stunning. what a beautiful piece of the world. Happy Birthday too.

    • February 4, 2015    

      Thank you Lizzie! I know how incredibly lucky we are!

  8. Angi @ SchneiderPeeps Angi @ SchneiderPeeps
    February 4, 2015    

    oh my, your place is just lovely!

    • February 5, 2015    

      Thank you Angi!

  9. Nancy Lazark Nancy Lazark
    February 4, 2015    

    Oh Kelly, what a beautiful place to call home. I am so happy for you and your family.

    • February 5, 2015    

      Thank you Nancy! <3

  10. August 28, 2015    

    The place looks beautiful. Although I have to confess, the first thing I noticed when I first scrolled through your pictures was your dog. She’s gorgeous! and was slightly disappointed that you didn’t include anything about her. But then I reminded myself that the post wasn’t about her, it was about your fabulous property. The place looks great, can’t wait to see how it all comes together (and more lovely photos of the dog 😉 at some point you’ll have to tell me her name).

    • August 29, 2015    

      Thanks for asking! Her name is Hannah and she’s a middle-of-the-road rescue, and my toddler’s very best friend. They are too funny together. Perhaps soon I will do a post introducing some of our animals. Hannah certainly can provide lots of content. 😉 More on her to come!

  11. August 29, 2015    

    Beautiful, Kelly. The property looks gorgeous, and I bet it will be a fulfilling journey to live there. It’s inspiring to me!!

    • August 29, 2015    

      Thank you Abigail! It is already a fulfilling journey indeed, and I look forward to the future. I love following your journey as well! The sense of inspiration is mutual. 🙂


I'm Kelly. Writer, crafter, forager, country winemaker, cook. Mama of an awesome toddler and married to my best friend. We recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we're setting out to grow, make, and learn as much as we can as the future unfolds.

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