Good bye Henrietta.

We did our last walk through with the tenants and our little, blue cottage, Henrietta, before we turn her over to new owners. Bali made sure to clip several stems from the old yellow rose that must have been there for decades. The rose bush had a strong and wonderful scent which is rare for roses these days and especially yellow roses.

Henrietta is 80 years old and was in a shambles when we found her. She had no history for her last 13 years except a long line of squatters that found ways to occupy her interiors. We heard the wild stories from the neighbors when we moved in.

We worked hard to paint and scrub her back to a charming home and we had gardens in the front and back yards. We planted fruit and nut trees and I was so happy to see that they are all large and producing.

Some of you will remember this back yard. It’s looking a big rough but the little sticks of almond trees are now very large. And the apples are finally producing! It took almost 4 years for them to produce so have heart if your young trees are taking their sweet time. They will produce when ready.

And for those of you that were with me in the beginnings of YouTubing my Coffee With Kate channel, I am giving us all a last glance at the house and front yard to say goodbye. This house will belong to a new family by the time this post. The family sounds like good people. The couple met on a mission in Ecuador and now have a child and want to own their first home. The husband is from Ecuador and he loved the house. With all the colors and bright blue stucco, the fruit trees everywhere, he said it reminded him of home. I get the feeling they will take good care of the place, replant the gardens and bring everything back to it’s vibrant self.

This is where I did all that baking and cooking, all the “grocery hauls”, lol. Ah, those were sweet days. I will watch one of my old videos when I want to feel nostalgic.

The dining room where I made a lot of the sit down and talks on YouTube. I’m saying goodbye to the last four years of creative work, our first home, our first attempts at homesteading with gardening and even chickens for a small period. We even had a lady live with us for six months that we called Granny. She taught me to really get into the homestead spirit and bake my breads, plant my kitchen gardens, and hang our laundry out. I wrote a lot of books in this dinning room. I wrote many blogs. Sammy was still in diapers when we moved here, still nursing. Arjan was such a little boy with his millions of dinosaurs. I decorated and redecorated this house a hundred times.

I thought that I could never detach from this house and so we enjoyed being landlords for a year. We had every intention of keeping the rental. Some time in the very end of April of this year, I woke up one day and knew that we needed to sell the house. When I talked to Bali about this, he surprisingly agreed and we had the house on the market over night and in escrow with in days. That is how it happens when everything is aligned. Bing bang boom. Show over.

So, that is it. The poor yard looks like it hasn’t been watered in ages. However, all the trees have grown so big. I hope the new family loves that house and gardens like crazy. Amen.

Thank you, Henrietta. We did her right and in the end she blessed us.

I feel somewhat sentimental. I suppose I could watch some old videos and cry in my evening tea. But the truth was this; that home was a wonderful learning house. I learned everything and tried everything I had ever read about being frugal or homesteading in town. I had my first successful year of being an almost perfect vegan! I started my first YouTube channel. I wrote some of my best homemaking books in that house. I loved the old house with it’s built in cupboards, old wood floors, and big windows. I miss that big kitchen window with the shelves.

But to be honest about the rest of the story, I was unhappy in the neighborhood. It was cleaned up and fixed up, all but the slum units across the street. They were a curse and filled with lost souls, piles of trash, and frequent police visits during the day and a swat team in the middle of the night every other week like clock work. The back street was even worse as it was almost the whole street. There were times I would be in the back garden and would have to run into the house to call 911 because I could hear drama, couldn’t see it but it was obvious that police interference was needed.

There was so much fear and anger on both streets, along with addictions and abuse. I tried to block it out, but my personality doesn’t do well with ignoring trouble. And so, I suffered greatly. I learned to make our home very cozy and safe and dove into being creative in hopes of saving enough to move to another town one day.

Because of our tiny mortgage and learning from my books on how to save and thrift, find deals, and make money from what I knew and was learning, our dream came true a year ago. We moved from Henrietta into our old Arthur. Arthur wasn’t as endearing as Henrietta at first. He was sober in his tans and weird green interior paint and industrial carpet. This quarter acre was bare except old figs, plums and pears on the edges of the property. But Arthur was in a town I fell in love with a few years back. I dreamt of this place but part of me didn’t know if it would ever be possible.

We did what we knew; paint everything different colors of the rainbow and garden like crazy. We now sit outside and feel such adoration. Our neighborhood is quiet and peaceful on all the streets and we are surrounded by lovely people. We all have our issues but there is no gun fire or police. Just run of the mill divorces and illnesses. Mostly we all just tend to our yards, read books and waive to one another or lean on the fence and get caught up.

When I talked about purging on all levels, I meant it. It has been a process but it went from purging furniture and décor to recreate from new taste. It meant letting go of people, places and things that aren’t working anymore and working through that.

The quarantine changed us all in personal ways. We moved up here the week everything was shut down. We have spent a year keeping to our neighborhood and working on our house. Each house brings something out in us. Some houses bring out our creativity or industriousness. Some houses never feel quite right. Some houses are truly like resting in the bosom of a good mother.

Henrietta, she was the first mother. I’m going to spend the rest of the evening celebrating her.

26 Comments

  1. Kate, you have really come back to your roots in your writing. What talent! I loved Henrietta too! She taught me so much about creating a life that I love. She will be missed. Change is good too, however! Arthur is so happy to have such a wonderful family within his walls; lovely aromas from the kitchen, the laughter of children, the barking of happy dogs…a new beginning. God Bless Kate. Keep up with your exceptional writing.

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  2. It must be a relief to not have to worry about two houses, although I can see how it was hard to let Henrietta go. I still have a lot of affection for our first house that we bought 25 years ago and brought back to life. Our children were born there and we would have paid off the mortgage if we had stayed.

    I am doing some major purging at the moment, but still have a lot more to get through. I’ve only just realised that I must let these things/people/thought patterns go before I can open up my life to a new house, a new town, a new adventure. Finally understanding how much the emotional and physical baggage has been holding me back has made the parting with it all much less painless.

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  3. It is so good to see her. The trees really grew. I did feel a wave of nostalgia over her. Those were wonderful days and wonderful videos. I hope the new homeowners love her like you did. Thank you for this.

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  4. I first found your channel when you lived in Henrietta and that kitchen and your warm vibe is what kept me coming back! I feel nostalgic for you to as that house had such charm.Life goes on and we grow and have to leave things behind to move forward.I’m excited to see what you do to the new house, the gardens, etc.

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  5. I feel sentimental about our old home sometimes because our children grew up there. Lots of good memories, but if I’m being honest with myself, there were several painful ones there as well. It was time to move on and celebrate fresh beginnings. All best to you and yours!

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  6. I have a lovely home and I’ve grown to love it but I understand fully what you mean about Henrietta. My most loved and favored house was never pretty but it was HOME and it sheltered me in a time of life that had little other solace. It was the mother home I needed at that time. This is a lovely post about your dear litlte cottage. I loved that house right along with you and I came to know it well enough that I could have stepped into your kitchen or pantry and picked up whatever you required, lol. I’m glad it’s found a good family to shelter once more.

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  7. What a sweet trip down memory lane. I believe their places we are met to be in for a time and people we are met to be with for a time.

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  8. Bye Henrietta! Have a nice life with your new owners. Kate, did your renters buy the house? It’s too bad that house couldn’t be picked up and moved to a different neighorhood. It’a a great little house/cottage. Well, you will still always have mostly happy memories with Henrietta. Arthur was calling!

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  9. Clear it out and you have all that space to call in the new!! I’ve had to let go of a lot lately. A little crying and sadness over here but it’s for the new that will be much better.

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  10. Henrietta was truly a good starter home. You started doing so many good things there. You did right by each other. xoxo

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  11. What a journey for you all, Henrietta included. As she was loved up and spruced up by your family another family will give her a happy future.

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  12. I’m going to miss the little blue house too. I really like your new house, though. By the way, thanks for mentioning Mother Moon Monastery in one of your videos. I have really been enjoying her channel.

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  13. I loved that little house through you. We left my favorite old house because of the neighborhood. We are in a much better town, but miss the old home still. I’m happy for you. Cate <

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  14. It’s always nice when you get the chance to say goodbye to an old friend on good terms and have such good memories to move forward with. I too started watching your videos when you were in that house and watched your boys grow up there. My favorite memories are of Sam’s Christmas poem and Arjan being so young, but yet calling out words to you from the other room that you couldn’t think of at the moment. That’s real life. But it doesn’t matter where you live because you will continue to nurture and create because that is who you are. Maybe you should consider getting a memory book made of your favorite pictures from Henrietta from a place like Shutterfly or Free Prints. They are very inexpensive and would be a good thing to have to pass down to your sons. Your trials and errors from that house and garden have allowed you to make your current house even better with less effort. I think all of you are more relaxed and free to happily live life without outside stress now. Henrietta now passes the baton to Arthur. Keep on doing what you’re doing. ~Sally

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