When I think about great outdoor experiences, my default is the place where I grew up. Our little corner of Washington state is called the Grand Prairie, though the landscape is also scattered with forests, farms, and small towns that form an abstract connect-the-dots drawing between Seattle and Portland.
I try to stay present in our current metro-Denver reality, but I still romanticize the 60-acres of fields and woods that defined my childhood. When I take the wide view, of where I’d like to be in the next five or ten years, it’s the Roth Farm, every time.
My dad and step-mom still live on the farm, creating pottery, maintaining the farm footprint, and raising a small herd of cattle. They’ve been able to take a wide view, as they’ve imagined how to create a sustainable space, that will remain a family and community resource for years to come. They’ve planted hundreds of new trees to maintain the forest on the south and west sides of the farm. My dad has repaired countless miles of barbed wire fence over the years, and we’ve all pulled our share of tansy and thistles from the fields.
Now they’ve embarked on their biggest project yet – with the help of a grant and many collaborative architects, builders, and carpenters, they’re restoring our barn that was built in 1917. You can see in the photo above that the red roof is newer and in great shape, but the rest of the building has seen a lot of wear and tear.
I’m still trying to figure out when and how my family will be able to return to the farm, to put in our share of sweat equity. In the meantime, I’m working from afar, to provide a little virtual support. You can follow the process of the barn restoration at Roth Heritage Barn, and you can keep up with the pottery side at Grand Prairie Designs Pottery. Both spots are works-in-progress, but I hope they can become avenues to share these magical outdoor spaces that are worth saving.
What outdoor spaces are important to you? Do you have a wide view, when you think about maintaining those spaces?