The Wide View



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? 


2 thoughts on “The Wide View

  1. Good for you in your support of the websites. Well done!
    I love that you hold on tight to your dream of Farm living. I hope it will happen and take the Farm to a new place in the coming years. Art and writing center? Conference and meeting center? Community gardens? Farm to Table dinners? What possibilities.

  2. Elise, what a beautiful space! I can see you there, working all sorts of magic.

    I love outdoor trails, forest/nature preserves, public gardens–These are the spaces I find the most calm and peace. As far as my own outdoor space, where I live, it is very small, and my wide view involves leaving it for another space! But this year, since we aren’t leaving, I have come up with some plans to enhance and enjoy the small space–Working on that in these next couple months, now that Spring seems to have made the decision to finally arrive ; ) Fingers crossed!

    Keep us posted on your wide view, and this beautiful space.

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