Where This Is Going

“He’s grown,” says our son-in-law, the Alaska fisherman, as he sits on the couch and the puppy nibbles his sunburned neck and ears.  He, along with our oldest daughter, who is at work in Seattle this morning, and his family were in Hawaii for a week.  Roger stayed with us, and now the Captain has come to get him.  “His legs are longer.”


Arly, our own puppy, whimpers with jealously and excitement from the other end of the couch where he sits with the Bearded One.  I’m in my rocker.  We are talking about big, important stuff, and the dogs make the conversation difficult in their barking, wrestling, puppy way.

New Year's Eve puppies 004

“I know it’s selfish,” says the Captain, “but I don’t want you to move.  It blew me away when I first heard.”  He’s the only NO in an otherwise unanimous sea of support for our latest notion, which is just days old now, but growing more real with time.

“Well, I’m as surprised at the notion as you are,” I say.  “Maybe more so.  I imagined building this farmlet and having all you Seattle kids and future grandkids drive an hour south to come see Grandma and Granddaddy and the goats and chickens on the farm.”

The Captain knows all about altered dreams.  His father died last month in a motorcycle accident after suffering a massive heart attack while speeding through the backroads of the Baja Peninsula.  It was out of the blue and shocked us all.  He
was 58, the same age as the Bearded One and one year older than me. The clan had planned all year to go to Hawaii. They never imagined their hearts would be so broken. He will be missed.

Arly yelps and lunges at Roger who yelps and lunges back.


“It’s been a year full of transition,” I say.  “And then your dad died.  Was it just three weeks ago?  Seems much longer — ”

“Three weeks?”  The Captain looks at me and is quiet.  Time is tripping with all of us.

Can it be just days since I asked the Bearded One, “Do you want to move to Hawaii?” and he instantly said, “Yes”.  He’s not one to travel or visit, and he’s never even been to Hawaii, but he loves the idea of living in a whole different place.  Living in Alaska for a couple of years in the mid-1990s, much of it in the bush, was one of the highlights of his life.  The other was an 8,000 mile motorcycle trip across the western USA in 1982.


The idea of moving to Hawaii came to me after a cold, gray misty walk by myself just a week ago, on December 30, New Year’s Eve Eve.  I thought about our daughter helping to scatter some of her father-in-law’s ashes in the middle of the brilliant Pacific Ocean.  And then I thought of Tom Coolidge.

Tom Coolidge was the first person to live on this road.  There was no road ’til he got here.  Just bears.  He designed and built the 1400 square foot pole house that is now the Farmlet House in 1990.


He lived here for sixteen years, watching the road grow longer and attract more farmlets.  Now we’ve lived here for exactly seven years —

Roof moss 022

— and Tom lives in Hawaii.  His girlfriend, a lovely woman with a Ph.D. in Linguistics named Deborah, came to our door 3-1/2 years ago.  She was in nearby Port Townsend for a retreat, she said, but she was usually in Hawaii with Tom.  He had told her about this house and said he could do the same in Hawaii for them….and she wanted to see this place for herself, would we mind?  It was our 13th anniversary, May 2, 2010.  Come on in! we said.

So when I got home from my cold and wet but thoughtful walk, I found Deborah and her blog on Facebook. And, oh oh oh!  A photo of the “Sherbet Shed” — a smaller version of the Farmlet House painted glorious rainbow colors on an acre of tropical forest in Puna, Hawaii.  The wet side of the Big Island.


Since that moment, we’ve stepped into a bit of a rip current, whisking us through the week of Roger and Arly, energized by the vision of that beautiful little sunny house.  I’m tickled by all the positive feedback we’ve gotten — neighbors, the UPS guy, and most especially, the kids.

All the kids except the Captain, that is.  Who before our eyes, as we talk, becomes so bone-tired that we send him into the den for a nap before he drives back to Seattle with Roger.  We put the dogs outside.  The Bearded One and I whisper in the kitchen.

Two hours later when he gets up, the Captain says, “You know, lots of Hawaiians and Samoans fish with us.  There are lots of flights between Hawaii and Anchorage.”

He tells us about how he grew up living the summers in Naknek, where his dad worked all year building the family fishing business.  He knew how to filet a salmon when he was 7.


“There’s a small house and three shipping containers on the property,” he says, “sort of a family compound.  My brothers and I talked a lot this week about how the future grandkids will be there all summer, but we’ll all be out fishing.  It’d be great if you came up and helped out.”

The Bearded One sits forward in his chair.  “Oh my yes…,” he says, and the Captain grins.

And then it hits me, and I leap up.  “Holy Moly.  The way all these farm animals tie us to this place, we’ll see more of our grandkids from Hawaii than we would from here!”

I like where this is going.


*   *   *

A TIMING NOTE:  After roughly 3 years of weekly blogs, I’m shifting for a time to “intermittent” – whenever-the-muse-hits-me.  Thanks for reading!

34 responses to “Where This Is Going

  1. Wow! What an exciting proposition! I’m excited for you! Living out my golden years in the sunshine sounds pretty danged good. I hope it all falls into place! Happy New Year, Christi!

    • Happy New Year to you, too, Becky! We’re pretty excited. The energy is flowing, which is a good sign. Good luck to you on your new heart path to the land of the healthy and lean. All good. 🙂

  2. I will look forward with bated breath to each new post. And one more thing, a home is not a house with mortar and brick. A home is not a house with windows and doors. A home is where the heart is.

  3. Aloha!

  4. I knew that something momentous must have happened late last year. You suddenly disappeared. Your withdrawal was sorely missed. I don’t know what to say. I found you via Farmlet. I came hunting for a home-made hoop house and what I found was a twin sister in Olalla. I guess what you guys just underwent was what hit me on January 6 2012 the day that mum died. I went from just wandering through my life to knowing with the keenest sharpest truth that life was precious and that it wasn’t a surety. I completely changed that day.

    As much as I love Farmlet I want you to both be happy in your lives. As someone living vicariously through your posts I would most selfishly like to follow your journey but it’s “your” journey, not mine. I don’t want to lose contact with you as you transition from cold climate chicky to hot Hawaiian honey (with suntan to match 😉 ) and hope that “Farmlet” can be translocated along with you.

    Life’s journeys take us all over the place. They meander and they veer and sometimes, like in this instance, they hurl you bodily into the ether and force you to make some serious choices. I love that both you and the B.O. made this decision unanimously :). Wherever you are in Hawaii you will only be a hop-step and a jump from Dog the Bounty Hunter so you will be O.K. ;). Hugs… TREMENDOUS hugs to you from Sunny Sidmouth and a slightly wistful narf7 waves bye-bye and hopes to catch you in the ether sometime soon…

    • Oh, dear Fran, I shall not leave you! In fact I’m hoping to move 2,800 miles closer to you! 🙂 It’s true I’ve been muted this past month. And I apologize for the abruptness. I just couldn’t seem to do it the same anymore and had to step away for a bit. The phrase “body of work” began to mean something completely new to me, but I had no idea what. My life as my art.

      You and I met just a few months after your mother died, so I’ve only known you as gung-ho and clear in your heart path. And our friendship is one of the main things that opened my eyes to the wider world, including the huge Pacific. I hope to continue the blog through the transition and on into whatever, allowing it to evolve, too. I love to write if I have something to say! Love to you and Steve. You haven’t heard the last from me. 🙂

      • So glad girl! I missed you like my left arm but I didn’t want to be rude and ask if everything was ok. I figured it was just winter SAD or something similar. I guess, if you move every 7 years, one day you will make it to Sidmouth and we will be neighbours in our dotage ;). Hugs and a sigh of relief from your twin in Sidmouth 🙂

  5. Excitement! I’m jealous. We will be anxiously awaiting the announcements. Blessings.

  6. I wrote you a lovely long response, hit ‘post’ and discovered my isp had gone down! 😦 So those ‘words of wisdom’ obviously weren’t!

    So instead I shall echo everything Fran has said, send you lots of love and care and wait along with all your other blog-world friends to see what transpires! Life is an adventure – the hard times help us let go of the old and be ready to embrace the new so we can fly freely into the next chapter …. Fluff up your wings!! 🙂

    • Pauline, I have to say that magically winning your blog raffle and the glorious orange girl who is clearly following her heart path has bewitched the entire Farmlet, but especially me. Isn’t she in Hawaii, for Heaven’s sake!? All that blue and green. And take note that we’re getting closer and closer to New Zealand. Your words about transition are so wise…endings first, a time off of some kind, and then the new whisperings…..Love you!

  7. Do you know it crossed my mind – exactly that thought – she would be happier somewhere warm rather than the cold, grey, misty skies of Olalla! Aha – a sign!! In my post that didn’t get to you I wrote about Ruby dying, and how so many times in my life and in the lives of my friends the death of a beloved pet has been a precursor of change. Sometimes the animal has been of a good age and sometimes not – and I can tell a hundred stories of lives that suddenly changed direction and ended somewhere else. Once for me it immediately preceded an unexpected and life changing invitation to teach in England for three years, My closest friends woke up four days after the inexplicable death of their four year old dog [their pseudo child] thinking about Russia – the thought had never crossed their minds before and they ended up staying there for 7 years. I just find it an intriguing thing to ponder …. I’ll tune up the ukulele……

    • I know what you mean about a long-time pet dying and other transitions soon following. It could be the 7-year-itch idea, or the 9-year numerology cycle, too. Ruby lived for 12 years, but her brother Jake just 9. Anyway, the whim continues to materialize, the whisper growing louder.

  8. I’m so sorry for the Captains and your loss Christi. What a horrendous way to lose a loved one. Even if he was doing what he loved and died very quickly, the family hurts the most in not saying final goodbyes or I love yous. I’m very excited for you and BO on your planning for a move and Hawaii sounds like paradise 🙂 . Can you still take Garfield and Arly with you? Ooh I think I’m going to love hearing from you and your exploits in Hawaii now too! Love and best wishes xoxoxox

    • Thanks, Cathy, and final goodbyes do help, I agree. The suddenness of accidents is hard. My youngest brother committed suicide, and that was the hardest of all. The Captain’s father died doing something he loved and doing a favor for a friend, which help a bit. I appreciate your enthusiasm for our “whim”, which is getting more and more real. Hawaii requires a quarantine for cats and dogs up to 120 days. And we plan to go and rent a month or so to see what’s what. We won’t be taking Garfield or Arly, but new homes are already in the works. Love to you, and your new kitchen remodel looks wonderful!

  9. Christine Widman

    I love all the posts of good will, blessings, the joyous YES!
    I especially love the photo of seeing the Farmlet from the trail…the cottage peeking at us through the sheltering trees.
    I’m going to send this to my sister. She wants a cottage in the country with flowers and fruits and chickens.
    I adore our dreams.

    • We are dreamers, aren’t we, Christine!? It would be lovely to sell the farmlet to someone who has dreamed of living this way. It’s all here! We’ll officially put it on the market in March, we think. Until then, it’s for sale by owner.

      And yes, the positive vibes and information just keep coming our way. Love you.

  10. Wow, after my mother’s recent death, we have talked about going to Hawaii for next Christmas… You’ve topped me! We lived there for 2 years in the 90s, separated by 3 years in Indonesia. We tried to make a go of it in year 2, but the timing wasn’t right. There are things to know about living there, going with eyes open, but it’s a lovely place to be in so many ways. Do it.

    • We are hungry for any insights you can give us! And thanks for the encouragement. I’ve wondered about all your interesting travels, Lisa. Your photos on FB always intrigue me. And I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother over the holiday. Christmas in Hawaii next year sounds just right.

      • Hi
        If you want input on moving to Hawaii do get in touch. I may be a bit biased but will strive for objectivity. So far the pros far outnumber the cons.
        Thank you for taking such wonderful care of a special spot in the woods.

      • Hi Tom! Yes, yes, yes, we’d love input and I’ll email you. Thank you for building this house. Maybe we’ll rig one just like it for there. 🙂

  11. Hawaii sounds like fun! I’m also looking forward to seeing how your future unfolds.

  12. Encountering loss shakes us open and much energy and spirit arrive to enhance our lives, often in the spirit of the ones we knew, loved and admired.

  13. Christi, it’s so good to see you back, even if intermittently . . . I second what everyone else has said; I couldn’t say it better. I will add what Julia Cameron says in “The Artist’s Way”: “jump . . . and the net will apperr!” This has proven true on several occasions in my own life and you sound as though you are well tuned up for a ‘jump’ . . . I wish you all the best in all your adventures. Hugs ~ Linne

  14. Hawaii — Yes! I love your wanderlust and sense of adventure and cheer you on. We’re having a surprisingly similar conversion here but it seems to be about North Carolina and will take more time. Maybe someday we will end up in the same time zone and meet. 🙂 Meanwhile please keep writing — even if it is only once in awhile. All the best to you and your wonderful family!!

  15. Me too — I will be sending my best telepathic happy thoughts of adventure your way as you do this 🙂 and look forward to hearing your new stories

  16. I too dropped off the blogosphere for a while. Imagine my astonishment when I dropped by the Farmlet today to read the news of your Hawaiian proposition!! How very exciting for you. I feel like I will miss you, Christi, but I realize that we will be as close as we have we have always been! I truly hope that you will continue to live simply and richly, no matter where that is.

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