The ladder sways slightly as I tug on the strip of kitschy wallpaper that has (for several decades) trimmed the dining room of our 1940s farmhouse. Mercifully, the paper peels away from the wall in one satisfying, intact piece as I lean as far as I dare from my rickety perch.
Like most of the extra objects bequeathed to the house the ladder is functional but worn: splotched with a dozen different colors of projects and held together with a shoelace.

Ozzie bursts into the house with two handfuls and a mouthful of unripe pears. Selah follows close behind brimming with descriptions of their foraging, her cheeks flushed with satisfaction.


Later in the evening the Hymas clan gathers for pizza on the back lawn. The evening light stretches long through the reaching canopy of fruit and nut trees, illuminating the carpet of ground cover plants. Roses, peonies, lillies and onion blossoms peep through tangles of ivy, mint, and dozens of other plants I have yet to identify (thank God for the iNauralist app!)
The kids push the silent lawnmower (shifted to neutral) across the lawn, a ride so labor intensive that Ivy falls forward as the sleeping equipment rolls free from a catch under one of the tires. She fizzes with laughter, springing up from the soft grass as the boys fight to be the next driver on the riding-mower’s throne.

This our first night in the farmhouse we call home.