You know my grandma’s red brick house in town that we have been living in for just under two years? The house where our daughter was born, and where I have a great view of the hardware’s red clog sign? That house. We bought it. My grandmother’s house has become our house, if it wasn’t already. How many years we will live here, I can nary say. The dream of land and farm is hardly gone, but for now our dreams are right here in town. I sense the farm dream is more realistic for buying this house, not less. If you have been following along for a few years (bless you), you know Mark’s and my desire to tend land and livestock. You know that we used to farm together in Vermont, and that we tried and valiantly failed at buying a farm of our own last autumn. So to write with sincere enthusiasm that we bought a house that opens its door onto Main Street and boasts a mere 1/4 acre backyard might seem funny. It is. Life is funny.
On Rosemary’s first birthday in January, Mark was playing with her on the upstairs landing while I sat on the steps below, looking around and reflecting on the hours of her birth. I can recall the exact Aha! moment that I looked up the stairwell and said, “Maybe we should buy this house.” I said ‘maybe’ but had pretty conclusively determined that it was Just Exactly What We Should Do.
The process was smooth and timely, very unlike the fevered rush to buy that farm. (Let me just put out into the universe right here that I think we still might buy that farm, someday, some way.) I want to share everything with you — how affordable this is for us; how excited we are to have the white fence installed (don’t worry, it’s low) and to plant our garden beds; how we are stripping wallpaper and painting rooms to look like spring lilac and golden yellow sunbeams; how two apple trees are soon to set roots in this soil; how we want to grill you dinner and invite you into this small, abundant home that has nurtured us deeply.
We store our wooden spoons in a crock that my grandma painted when she was practicing painting clear cylinders. It’s sturdy and aging with a delicate motif—just like her, just like this house. A blog post hardly does justice to what is a rich storied house that we are delighted to be adding our family’s imprint to. The first property title that we have record of is Martha Haney in 1889. After Martha, every title belonged to one of our family members. We are the fourth generation to own it — surely there will be more to unpack and share on this space. Over time, slowly and without concern for When and If and How the future will look, we’re giving this red brick house a go.
But about the donuts . . .
Mark and I met in Columbus, Ohio during our second year of college. We fell hopelessly in love rather quickly, just a week before school ended for the year and I moved north for a summer internship. A very vivid flavor of those earliest summer love days is the fried cake donut from a landmark shop near campus, Buckeye Donuts. Nostalgia makes anything taste better, but theirs are objectively very good donuts. Having not had them since graduating school, Mark brought home a dozen from his quick work jaunt to the city. Having these around feels an apropos celebration of where we’ve been and where we’re at. And if you are asking yourself, “can they really polish off a dozen donuts before they go stale?” Absolutely we can.