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The quest for the right spot to call home: for them, it's Michigan's upper peninsula.

For them, it's Michigan's Upper Peninsula

"I can't believe you're thinking of moving! You have a great place where you are! How could you even think of leaving your house - you put so much into it. And the workshop, and woodshed, and chicken coop. And your garden! Most folks would give their life for a garden like that. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. I just don't understand.

"That's okay, neither do we."

Well, maybe there is some inkling of understanding down in there but it's not easily put into words, or thoughts.

So why were we thinking of leaving behind our well established homestead, one that was finally to the comfortable living stage? Why are so many other folks out there doing the same thing? Do we all really think the "grass is greener" somewhere else? Maybe. But for us I don't think that was it.

We love where we are, and we have a very real, deep feeling for this spot of Earth we call home. These trees and old pastures; neighbors furry, feathered and not; a garden that claims by right a great part of "me" - the thought of leaving them all hurt, to say the least.

But we couldn't deny that feeling - the inner feeling that we should be moving on. We didn't know where. That made it even more difficult. We didn't know why. That didn't bother us as much. It was hard to explain a vague inner feeling. So we came up with words that would do, that folks could understand, at least a little.

So what to do? We for sure didn't want to just put our homestead on the market, to be sold to someone who could care less about the 15-year-old organic garden, or water pumped by the wind, and electricity made from the sun. Or trees that were loved, and animals that were friends. So an ad went into Countryside. That would narrow the odds of finding "our kind of folks" who might want to buy, and would appreciate, this piece of earth.

Then we went looking. We seem to always feel most comfortable going north. But since there isn't a whole lot of "north" between us and Canada, we headed west. That felt okay. South or East just didn't seem to be us. For the first time in the 14 years of our homesteading here we left for more than a long weekend. Three weeks, 6000 miles.

We looked, we explored, we felt. We found out what was in our blood, and talked to others about what they'd found. Mountains. Evergreens. A certain smell. The Big Sky. The forests. The prairies. The cold. The heat. Everyone's blood is a little different. Many people don't live where they feel the best. Some know why, others don't bother to figure it out. Then there are those who do understand, and have followed their inner feelings. They have found a way to live where it feels right for them to live. Even if it doesn't "make sense".

And us? We came home. To the forests, to the hardwoods. To the cool U.P. air. To water. We learned a lot. You can't understand another's life, another's part of the earth, another's problems and joys by just reading about them. It helps. But it doesn't get you a real gut understanding. Neither does a short trip through an area, even if it is on the back roads. But that helps, too. It all adds up. I have a better feeling for drought now. And water rights. And real mountains. And real mountain roads. Many things.

There were many places we could make a home. It was interesting to imagine how we would live here, or there. We know we could adapt. But I now also know there are some areas that draw me tight to them, and make me feel "at home". Others don't. It's not just one spot, there are many; more than I've met, I'm sure. But they have trees. Hardwoods, and some softwoods. And green. And moisture. And seasons.

It felt right to come back here. Just as it felt right to go. Maybe that's all it was. Ourselves telling ourselves to get out there and see more of our Earth. To understand better. We recommitted and dug in to living right here. We both know we could feel again some day that we should leave, maybe for good next time. That's okay. If it comes, we'll deal with it. Just as all the other folks moving here and there around the Earth deal with their changes.

It was hard, embarrassing, to tell the many folks who answered our Countryside ad that no, we're sorry, our homestead is no longer for sale. Next time we'll go looking first, then advertise. We apologized. We talked to so many nice people that we would have liked to have as neighbors. We wished we had a dozen homesteads to sell. And we hope they all find their "right" area, no matter where it is.
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Author:Robishaw, Sue
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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