Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | May 4, 2013

I Had a Dream

I had a dream….and that was to live large and comfortably in a small house in the country as sustainably as possible and to grow my own healthy food. I wanted to work with my hands and live a more creative life.


The Small House in 2004 (before the flood.)

Once the decision had been made to leave our former home in the city, my husband and I began to formulate how we wanted to live in our later years. I had two dreams for my new “do over.”

One was to own land, keep chickens, and big dogs, to live as organically and close to the earth as possible. To run an art gallery and to use my hands to make art and to live in “right livelihood.” The second dream was to move to an “intentional community” somewhere and live with those of spirit. I think the latter seemed to overwhelming to me to find alone without a mentor to help smooth the way.


Our rural mailbox in foreground, the pole barn in the rear.

Somehow rural Allegan won out! It was like we were being led here and it just didn’t make any sense but I made the conscious decision that it was right and followed the lead, even though I couldn’t understand it intellectually…

We found our Pullman home on 5-acres when I was driving by to take my artwork to a nearby shop for consignment. This older mid-century modern home had land, a pole barn, a swimming pool, and best of all was located in The Blue Coast Artists territory, which I quickly realized was a marketing necessity for a rural art gallery.  We made an offer on the property based on our Kalamazoo home selling.


A perennial bed along side the brick planter (a country wind break) next to our driveway.

We put our Kalamazoo home on the market and on the 6th day, the first viewer’s made an offer based our being out in THREE WEEKS! What a whirlwind that was! We bought the Pullman home, moved and vacated a home we had lived in for over 27 years in just three weeks, three days. We were here in Pullman before I could even process how it all happened. It was like the Universe led us here and I just listened and followed.

The next year was full steam ahead… I unpacked/renovated/painted this home and built the White Oak Studio & Gallery, got into the Blue Coast Artists, opened up shop and began to make handmade papers and sold the work of 25 other artists…


A garden tour for gallery visitors.

Then came the big recession and everything began to change.I had worked every weekend from May through December and my husband had weekends off – just when I needed to work. We missed wedding funerals, family reunions many of which are held on weekends.  After eight years I was burnt pretty out from doing it all myself. I came to the realization the vendors were making their money, our artists were paid and we paid for our advertising and expenses, but there was little left over as income for me for all my hard work. We made the decision to close. Twelve years later I look back and still do not know if it was the right decision or not…


I’ve struggled with living in Allegan too, knowing how different I am from so many here. For a long time I was actually depressed about this. The I came into the realization, I am the outsider. I am the one that is different. It was time to take responsibility for the fact I, the interloper, can’t expect others to share my view of life, my values or my lifestyle.

I began to seriously search and finally I found people of like mind, Reiki and yoga and folks who ate local and organic and cared about cooking from scratch using whole foods.

It’s taken a while but it’s interesting to note that there is a growing spiritual community in this area; in near-by South Haven, Glen. Ganges. I hear that there is a large yoga community, intentional community that is forming at Mother’s Trust in Ganges. They have had some issues but apparently a leader has been found. So Spirit is growing here.

Who can say what the future holds? We have our one-story nearly barrier-free home to age in. We have our land to grow our organic vegetables and keep our chickens on. We live near open space in the Allegan Forest to hike, hunt and run a dog. We are mostly able to live in right livelihood here.

It isn’t perfect here but it is affordable in retirement. There are challenges certainly; the litter, the poverty, the pending fracking and most definitely the isolation. But after 12 years its home.

And there are horses galore here, the direction my Reiki is taking me. There is a saying, “Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have.” This life is enough!

Small House / Big Sky Donna



  1. It sounds like a lot is happening in your neck of the woods. The land and place look so lovely though it can be hard to find the perfect place within all the limits we sometimes have, are surrounded by, or give ourselves. It looks like a lovely location and a beautiful spot (within a growing spiritual community!).Hopefully you will be able to enjoy it for many moons to come!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Its taken a while but this is now home. I appreciate your visit!

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