Auld lang syne

Times gone by…

It sure has been a while since I have added to this blog. I truly blame my oldest son who, years ago, urged me to join Facebook. Sadly, I guess, Facebook “became” my blogging outlet, leaving a huge gap of time here on WordPress. Be that as it may, I felt it would be fitting to add a closing entry to this Connecticut chapter of Morning Star Meadows’ existence.

Our life here for the past 20 plus years in Connecticut has been amazing! We arrived in 1996 with 2 children, a boy and a girl, living on less than an acre in an upscale development. We totally fit the mold for the American New England family!

However we soon began to diverge from the norm when we surpassed 3 children, and move with the 4th to nearly 3 acres. It was a bit more elbow room – a garden was started, and a wood stove added – but we were still missing something – still not countercultural enough! And for goodness sake – a dog and a cat just weren’t enough for us!

Roy continually told the kids, “If I win the lottery, we’ll buy a farm!” The lottery was never won, but the itch to farm and have sheep was desperately in need of scratching. A minimum of 3 acres was needed to have livestock in that town, and no one would sell us adjacent land. We started looking as numbers 5, 6 and 7 (the twins) and 8 arrived. If nothing else, we were running out of bedrooms!

This beautiful property was on our radar screen, but the price was originally too high. Miraculously, though, it eventually dropped into (the top of) our price range one day. We drove out to see it and fell in love with North Stonington and our beautiful street, Wyassup Rd. A lake within walking distance! A huge state forest in the back yard! And over 15 acres! When we first viewed the home, we truly believed it had been built for us.

Negotiations went on for a while, and we finally were able to sell our home and buy this glorious place! The hard work of clearing the land began. And finally, our first livestock arrived!

I absolutely LOVE looking back at photos of our earliest years of farming. I just can’t believe how young the kids were (the children, not the goats!) At the time we had no idea what this would all turn into, but we dreamed, and we dreamed big!

Fences went up – small barns were built – chickens arrived – and then it was time to build THE barn! While our old neighbors in the upper market development where we first lived were putting in in-ground pools for their 2 kids, we were spending the money building a genuine post and beam barn that we figured would outlive all 10 of us!

You know the rest of the story – we built up a wonderful hobby farm here in North Stonington, raising our own food, providing our own fuel for heat, and raising sheep for wool. Our idea of making this a business turned into just enjoying what we had and learning from it, not intending to earn a livelihood in the process – but instead invaluable life lessons were learned by us all – way more valuable than dollars and cents.

I wouldn’t trade a minute of our life here these past 8 plus years for any other family’s situation. We have truly been blessed.

However these past few years here have also shown me clearly that nothing stays the same. For instance my fairly regular blogging here really took a nose dive when my father became very ill. As an only child, as well as being a mother, wife, and hobby farmer, writing took a back seat. I was traveling quite a bit to and from my hometown in Pennsylvania to be with my parents. Our farming, and especially our shepherding, also had to be scaled back. I knew that lambing season would be too much for us with me doing all of this traveling (I was getting to know the Amtrak conductors and Red Caps way too well!) Slowly our flock was dispersing to new and wonderful homes.

After my father’s passing, and autumn was approaching, I was getting excited about breeding the sheep again, but Roy reminded me that things in his corporate world also were changing. Remember what I said – nothing stays the same. After 20 years in the company, dodging many bullets with restructuring, Roy felt that his job was more at risk than ever. More uncertainty – more reason to curtail our farming. We began to focus on the gardens, and I had more time to spin some yarn. We watched and waited.

In our free time we started to pull back on projects and dreams of our future here at our farm in Connecticut, realizing full well that our hopes of staying here into our golden years may not come to fruition. We now had an eagerness to head to Pennsylvania. Our oldest daughters were going there in the fall for nursing school, and we wanted to be close to my mother and them. We turned our efforts into erasing the wear and tear done by 8 years of farm living by a family of 10 in this beautiful farmhouse. After so many years of working hard to make this place “ours,” we found ourselves working hard to make it someone else’s. Nothing stays the same.

And so we come to 2017. Roy’s job has been eliminated in a global restructuring of the company, and he has decided to take this opportunity to move on with our family to the next chapter of our life.

In a little over a week, Morning Star Meadows will be for sale. I write that with some sadness, but a sadness that is filled with much hope for the future of our family. We will need a lot of prayer and trust in God to get us through this time, but I know full well that He has a plan for us (just wish He’d let me in on some of the details!) Ultimately our home will sell and we will settle somewhere wonderful in southwestern Pennsylvania. Mom may have a house full of lively Kerlins for a time until God finds our new farm (or she kicks us out!), but we trust that He will come through for us if we turn all to His glory!
Nothing stays the same…but the best is yet to come!