Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I've not been at home this week, which has set me to thinking about home – and what it means to me, and how I think about it, and how I work to create it for my family and myself.

Growing up, my mother was in a homemakers' club (which my dad teasingly referred to as homewreckers' club). They met once a month. It was run through the state's extension service. I don't really know what went on there. I think they had a program that featured a home craft or a lecture of some sort, perhaps some service component. I think for my mom, it was mostly a time to get together with other like-minded women friends -- much like my book clubs are for me.

My mother definately considered herself a homemaker, having never worked outside the home. I guess that's what I am now too -- a homemaker, and proud of it. I suppose I considered myself a homemaker in my life before Farm Dover, although I did often feel split right in two -- trying to keep up my business and provide a welcoming home for my kids and husband.

But these days, I think much more about home and what it means. I think about how to create an environment that is comfortable and workable for Ed and me. It sometimes means figuring out how to make others feel welcome at Farm Dover – be they kids returning home, or friends venturing out for a day or night in the country.

I think about Jack too -- so far away in China. I miss him terribly. I wonder if he misses me as much, and if he misses "home." It was Robert Frost who observed home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. That's true, I'm sure. But home is also a state of mind: a place of unconditional love; a place where you feel at peace. At least that is what I feel and what I hope that Jack feels – and his sisters too. Oliver Wendell Homes claims: Where we love is home. Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. I like that. I also like that Winston Churchhill once said: We shape our dwellings, and afterwards, our dwellings shape us.

When we built our home three years ago that was certainly what was foremost in my mind. I wanted to create a space that would shape the people we would become. I wanted a home that would bond with and become inseparable from the land. I wanted a place of gratitude that turns what we have into enough, and more. A place of hospitality, where all would feel welcomed. A place filled with souvenirs of lives well lived. A place that enriches our lives at every turn.

All this is what Farm Dover had become for me. And not just the part where you walk in the purple front door -- but the entire 38-acres: the guest cottage, the garden, the bee hives, the pond, the upper and lower fields, the gravel drive, the entranceway. Every inch of every acre, every room and every time when we gather – it is place turned into a home.

And there's no place quite like it.


  1. Debbie, sounds like you and Ed would love Wendell Berry's writings. Maybe you've read him? A masterful writing with a passion
    for and loyalty to the land and to home.

  2. Yes, we know of, and love, Wendell Berry's writings. He lives just one county north of us. He very occasionally does readings or speaking engagements and we try to hear him whenever we can. His fiction, especially "Jayber Crow" and "Hannah Coulter", are among my favorite books ever. Daughter Mary gave Ed a signed copy of "The Mad Farmer" for Christmas this year. His is indeed a wise man and a commanding writer.

    Always nice to hear from you Kathleen. Hope all is well.