Take time.

(( breath in, pause, breath out ))

We’ve spent nearly 4 years in a little hilltop home, “The Grain House,” situated on Old Town Farm, 160+ acres in Southern NH. Eric and I got married there, grew our garden, befriended neighbors, raised a variety of animals, found community, and quickly learned that having a homestead is not for the faint of heart.

While we absolutely loved our small red farm house, we knew that more years of farm work on a rental property was not the direction we wanted to continue in. Our vast majority of conversations started with, “ Well, when we have a place of our own, we can do …” Sometimes these chats were fruitful, leading us to knew ideas, other times they were frustrating, ending in a heated debate or dispute. After checking out nearly 10 homes, our frustration grew, as we were in a bit of a hurry to get out of our house by early winter. Reason being, as avid homesteaders, it is the only bit of downtime in the year we have, and, let’s be real, the 100-year-old Grain House was COLD. I personally didn’t want another winter on the cold, windy, hill top, with no insulation in the floors and skittering mice in the walls. We were moving past the romantic idea of this farm and ready to think more seriously about our long term goals.

Eric came across a small brown house on 14.5 acres, with a brook and large barn, and was intrigued. He went out to see the house while I was at work, and was beaming with excitement once I returned home. I was 99% ready to put down a down payment, but thought it’d probably be wise to actually see the place myself. I went the next day.

And here we are. Now moved into another hilltop home, this time a homestead of our very own. The reality of this has been both exciting and slightly overwhelming. All the dreaming we’ve pondered for 8 years, is now something that we have an opportunity to act on. Truthfully, it’s been almost a constant thought of, “Where the hell do we begin?!” The move has left a slight void, as all our projects are brand new. We have no established garden beds, no comfortable community, no idea of the wild plants that will pop up in the spring, or the security of reliable perennials. The transition has been a massive pause.

Pause. Be patient. Go slow. These are constant affirmations I’m reminded of in a society that is constantly telling us the opposite. So we’re taking time, navigating new ground. And it’s this navigation that may be the most difficult part of all this.

For in the pause, questions arise, doubts.

Have we found the right place?

What is it exactly we want to do?

Is there a community here we will fit in?

Is this really what we have wanted?

And also in the pause, I hear the answer… a resounding, You are just where You need to be.

So I’m spending my Sunday afternoon on the other side of the Connecticut River, in a tiny coffee shop. Taking time. Reconnecting with my love for writing and sharing the beginning of our new story.

Nicole Zablowsky