Don’t expect the drama of City-Girl-Falls-in-Love-with-Mountain-Man-and-Moves-to-Alaska. And don’t mistake Groundbreaking News for Housebreaking News — No New Puppies! This is a photo-journal of the construction of my home-to-be for a few friends who have asked to follow along through the process.

It was July 2019 when I decided to sell Blue Moon Stead and move into town. I had for years thought I would spend a lifetime stewarding that lovely farm and wildland, even after Gary’s passing, but things were changing. In 2018, my lovely Ella died at age 13, after doing her best to help me raise little Sundog. Later that year serendipity connected me with a veterinarian who is breeding the critically endangered Dales Ponies. I re-homed Bess and Duchess with her, reuniting them with their full sister as well as with Bess’s daughter. I knew they could be so much more than the pasture pets they’d become once I found myself alone without a mentor in things equestrian.

When my farmer-tenant left in 2019, I had to decide whether to make a long-term commitment to a new farm family. As much as I loved that place and miss it still, it was overwhelming. So much to do, so few do-it-yourself skills! As I made more friends through the years, I was spending a lot of time driving to and from town. I sold Blue Moon Stead just as the pandemic was hitting, finishing my move days before the movers were declared non-essential during lockdown. Dear friends rented me and Sunny a 1970’s double-wide just a couple of blocks from the main drag of our small town; then they sold me a lot adjacent to their home, just a few blocks away, on which to build a home of my own.

I took a big leap from San Francisco to the Alaskan bush. Gary and I made another leap to our 120-acre Blue Moon Stead, with dreams of farming with draft ponies together. My six years alone there, farming and taking on farming tenants, was an adventure of another sort. This last year was one of not-quite-settling-in to my new place. The adjustment to town has been easy enough — even Sunny took it in stride. But the long-delayed task of going through Gary’s possessions and the feeling of not yet being home has taken a toll. Designing (with a wonderful architect) and building a house just for me has been a good tonic for these feelings, and another big leap in its own right.

The process has not been without its harrowing moments — watching lumber prices skyrocket, among other things — but here we are, about to break ground. Wish me luck!