I can't overstate how profound the journey has been driving 3,500 miles in eight days and visiting 16 states. Seeing parts of America I have only read about or seen images of has really opened my eyes to just how diverse this country is. In many ways, it felt very divided but when we joined the protests in Washington, DC, it felt wonderfully united. I'm humbled by the change that's happening and excited to keep finding ways to contribute. We've now arrived at our farmhouse in Upstate New York. While I was becoming quite attached to our tiny home on wheels, it's nice to be in a big open space for a bit. Over the weekend we had a couple of guests over (more on that later...) and this week Jeffrey and I have been multitasking between working remotely and getting some long overdue house projects done.
We haven't been back to the house since February because of lockdown and had left our bathroom pretty deconstructed. But one of the first projects has been clearing months of plant and tree overgrowth. When we arrive after spring, it always looks like a jungle, so we get to work with the help of a couple of goats we borrow from a friend who loves knowing they have a job and lots to eat. The goats help clear poison ivy and other weeds around the house. Plus, they are the best snuggle buddies.
We've also been tidying up the perennials outside our house, like pruning and shaping the lilac trees and caring for the peonies, which are currently in full bloom. After starting over this winter and cutting this climbing rose bush way back, we got a burst of yellow blooms for the first time in awhile. I would call myself a novice gardener but grew up watching and helping my parents work on their gardens. While we were quarantined, Jeffrey and I started binge watching episodes of Gardeners World with Monty Don. It's a show I used to find boring as a child, but now I hang on every word Monty's saying. The gardening style and plants and trees in NY are similar to those in Britain, so it's particularly useful.
Some of my gardening essentials here and in Santa Barbara are my favorite lightweight and full coverage Gardener Lattice Hat and the Heirloom Garden Gloves – the extra long cuffs help protect my arms from insect bites, ticks, and scratches. I like to use my Tajika Large Scissors for cutting flower stems and the DIANI Living Apron gives my clothes protection from sticky sap and dirt.
My most recent gardening project has been repotting the urns on either side of our front door with Ruby Slipper Hydrangeas. Then, in the late fall before the frost, I'll pull them out and plant them in the ground. I've started a hydrangea garden of sorts, so the recycling ritual continues and nothing goes to waste.
On our cross country road trip, the meals we cooked were nothing fancy, so it's been exciting to get busy in the kitchen and make some big salads and grill fish. While this farmhouse kitchen is very basic, the vintage oven is surprisingly powerful.
A year ago we began remodeling our guest bathroom (see here) and we've been chipping away at improvements each time we visit. This week we were on the hunt for old barn wood to use as paneling on the walls. We found a batch on Craigslist from a guy who bought an 1800s barn in Chester, NY and stripped it to turn into a warehouse. We paid a tiny sum of $180 for a ton of gorgeous panels.
After some serious labor, we're mostly done paneling the walls. We also poured the base for the new toilet to sit on (essential since the floorboards aren't level), sheet rock and electrical work comes next week, including installing some mid century wall sconces I found last year. We're excited to finally see those up and then can envision the kind of wallpaper to go above the paneling.
The weather has been pretty perfect here this week... warm with the occasional thunderstorm and slightly cooler evenings. After spending all day multitasking between DIANI projects and house reno, we like to wind down by taking evening walks with Nala across the field. I'm dreaming of ways I can share this slice of heaven we've found. We've been given the opportunity to steward this farm through to the next owners when we're long gone and it feels like this place has lots of stories to tell and we're hoping to bring them to life. I would love to hear your ideas for how we can share this place. And you can see more of the farm on Instagram @hudsonvalleyfarm. Join us!
Wow the house looks stunning. And that evening light in the fields! Can’t wait to come and visit again. x
All the photos! Love.
Bath is looking great, too! …Sweet house details I’ve never noticed before – 1.date and initials above the front door, and 2.the contrasting colored brick diamonds on either side of the chimney. The house was loved as it was built. It still is.
What a beautiful house! I can’t believe you have time for all the house building, design, and managing your stores! Do you ever rest??? Where is it exactly?
Amazing and so inspiring. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this amazing life you are living!