Halloween was our last full day in Kent and it started with getting a carwash. After a month of driving The Beast through several states and the twisting New England roads, she needed it. The nearest carwash was 30 minutes away, in New Milford, and it was trips like this that made me miss being 10 minutes away from everything (especially Trader Joe’s!). We waited outside, Eleanor and Lucy already wearing their costumes, along with a mom and her daughter. The two, too big vehicles, rolled out of the tunnel, and off we all went.
Eleanor and Lucy took horseback riding lessons twice a week. The stable was at the bottom of the hill that winded up to our house – past the endless rows of New England stone walls built when everything we could see was farmland.
Taylor, the kids’ riding teacher and daughter of the stable owner, invited us to their annual Halloween party. The horses and their owners dressed as Star Wars characters, farmers, and puppies, and when we arrived, a familiar little girl said, “Hey, I saw you at the car wash this morning! I’m Grace!” Grace told Eleanor and Lucy that she liked their costumes – a cat and Medusa (Brooke was teaching Greek Mythology around then). I told Grace that I liked her costume, too – she looked down at the football jersey she was wearing and said, “I’m not wearing a costume.”
Later that day, we went to a pizza place we liked, watched a parade of Halloween themed floats that were created by the local artists, and had the feeling that this is how community starts.
We hiked and went on day trips: New York City, Rhinebeck/Poughkeepsie, and New Haven. One day we went to a Flea Market. At the outset Lucy said she wanted to find a Littlest Pet Shop seller and sure enough, she found one.
The house was owned by friends of family, a couple from Brooklyn who bought a country house in January. They quit their day jobs and today make a living telling the future.
From the top of a hill, we watched fall flow through the mountains. We watched the fog roll through the hills as we drank our morning coffee.
At the bottom of the hill was Mountain View Farm, first established in the 1700’s and today is 3 acres and run by a small family. Twice a week we’d visit the shed/shop and buy eggs, pork, kale (lots of kale), garlic (garlic grows well here), and anything else that was in season.
Weigh the veggies, list what you bought, write your name and leave some money. That’s it.
And at the very bottom (the tippy bottom, as Lucy says) was a creek. We fished, unsuccessfully, and climbed rocks, successfully.
In the mornings I would run. The fog would lift just enough and sun would squeak over the hills just enough for me to jog up hills and sometimes through the trails. Turkey were awake, deer too. Several times I saw what I think was the same hawk, or a a large owl – it flew gently between the same trees. Once I could have sworn I saw a bobcat, or a large cat – it was being chased by crows.
We cooked hotdogs, ate s’mores and gazed up at the stars. This house, this town, this was a good place to be.
School and Work
When we left, our kids were still registered in their school district. This meant they could have been remote learners like the rest of their class. But, traveling gave us something new – school outside of 9 to 2, outside standard curriculum. Brooke, God bless my dear wife, could teach our kids using our location. She, they, could use days in new ways.
Working nomadically is nothing new for many at Automattic and this home made it an easy transition. The desk was large, the chair comfortable, and the wi-fi strong. As an added bonus, the room was heated – unlike the sunporch at home (old home? former home?) I packed a bag with my Macbook, a laptop stand, a Lume Cube light, wireless keyboard/mouse and some notebooks. When you really stop and think about it, it’s wild that you can earn a living with nothing more than the things you can fit into a backpack.
This was a very long post and I could continue further. Living in Kent, living in the hills, this was all new. It was fulfilling. We’re in Florida now but before I write that post, let me leave you with some more horses – Bentley and Chewy.