Harmony in the Hills

The homesteads of Humboldt and the North Coast share the same lack of paint and that is about all. There is something so charming in their variations that you can’t help love them be they masterpiece or mess. A woman who grew up on one of these homesteads has begun a new blog and I’ve fallen in love again.  She meanders through moments from then to her homesteading city life now with equal grace.  She speaks about the homes of her childhood in her first post,

It was gray, like all the houses in the mountains.  No one bothered to paint the wood, so all the houses ended up the same weathered color.  But, that is where the similarities ended.  Every house up in the mountains is as unique as a finger print.  They go every which way, sprawling out in whatever direction the builder felt like adding a room onto.  Usually, the rooms followed a view, or a stream bed, or even a tree.

She speaks about her quiet life in her city homestead in her third post,

Such city dogs! It rains once in a blue moon here and they start up with peeing in the house, then slowly relearn that they need to pee outside but choose the deck rather than get their arses cold for too long by making their way all the way to the dirt.  I was better about peeing outside at 3 than they are!

There is something so charming about her writing as she alights on the past or moves to the present that she is sure to delight—especially those who love the simple joys of life.

 We made our way back home, down the mountainside, across the creek, and back up the other side to our little A-frame home.  The journey had taken over two hours and I was hungry! My mom poured my brother and I each a glass of milk, and we eagerly drank it.  It was the sweetest milk we’d ever had!  Then my mom took out the jar of cream showed us how to shake the jar back and forth, back and forth.  We each took turns, dancing around the small living room, shaking our bodies as much as we shook the jar.  Finally, after what felt like forever, the cream in the jar began to coagulate. Little white lumps began to form within the cream.  Not too long after that, the lumps formed one large lump and the butter milk separated from the butter.  My mom let us taste the butter milk, yucky! Then we tasted the butter. Yum! No salt, but so delicious! We had to wait for the bread to finish baking, which my mom had put into the little propane oven while my brother and I shook the cream.

To pass the time, she pulled out her guitar and we took turns strumming and making up songs. Before we knew it, the aroma of fresh baked bread wafted from the kitchen and filled the house.  We could barely wait! My mom carefully cut a slice for each of us and spread the soft butter onto the bread. She showed us how to blow on the bread to cool it and we watched the butter melt into the fluffy whole wheat golden slices.  Finally, we took a bite and it was the culmination of a journey I would never forget.

Homemade bread and handcrafted reminisces await you at Harmony in the Hills.


Photo from Harmony’s blog  Don’t you love the ubiquitous rubber boots.  Every little hippie kid had them and most of the Redneck kids, too.



  • Thanks for posting this Kym. It was a great read.

  • Try to read that blog and you’ll go blind.

    Memories are always so much better than the real thing.

    You can call it “counter-culture” if you want, but “that” turned out to be something far more insidious in the end.

    • Joe, I know this is probably asking too much from you but could you just stomp on my blog not on hers. She hasn’t even had time to see it bloom, let alone had a calm day sitting on the porch admiring her handiwork. Trust me, someone will come along and shake off her lovely feeling but could you at least let her alone for a day or two. I’m sure in your mind the counter culture is evil but for the sake of small fairies, childhood memories, and the fact that surely you suckled at a woman’s breast, too, could you please please pretty please with sugar on top not be as rough on her as you have been on me? Christmas is coming and surely there lurks some small affection for newly opening flowers so, just as a gift to the world, could you let her enjoy her creation for awhile? Pick any other post of mine and just shred it to pieces but for the sake of kindness just don’t harsh on her.

      • The “counter-culture” comment was directed at your gushing, Kym.

        Shame on you for trying to vilify poor little ol’ me. You must have read her blog with colored glasses on. My comment was trying to be CONSTRUCTIVE!

        My mind has nothing to do with what is “evil” or not. The products (people) of that “culture” speak for themselves. Not even you with all your dreams and fantasies can change that. You forget, I grew up in those SoHum hills too. I know full well what kind of “homestead” shacks people lived in.

        • Oh c’mon, Joe, stop flirting with me. You know how good I look in my colored glasses. (Sincerely, though, Joe, thank you.)

        • No worries, I take my colored lenses off from time to time, and have many a tale to tell in the darkness of reality. They’ll show up soon enough, but for now, it’s nice to remember the good times. I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned in order to feel I’m not totally delusional. 🙂

        • I liked it. A worthy endeavor, the writing style is uniquely thoughtful, pleasantly offering a rare slice of Humboldt pie with a tempo, subject, and form unto its own and nearly pitch perfect. It’s a fine work in progress that, by all indications, looks very good, glasses or not. Don’t change a thing. It’s a great addition and I look forward to future stories.

          “The whole earth is in jail and we’re plotting this incredible jailbreak. We’re all bozos on the bus, so might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.”
          ― Wavy Gravy

  • We each took turns, dancing around the small living room, shaking our bodies as much as we shook the jar

    Great sentence. -youre the real thing Harmony. Keep it coming.

  • And when I remember the beauty I was surrounded by every day of my early years, and the adventures I was able to go on in a world far from the fears of modern life, I’m pretty sure I was gifted with a fairy-like childhood. Indeed, that I myself was the fairy child that night.

    If only we could find that childhood again. We grew up; and in doing so became serious and different in this modern life. Finding it hard to return, we only visit on rare occaisions, with our own children.

  • Mmmm…. fresh butter. how delicious

  • I’ve been instantly transported to my own childhood! Except replace the A-frame with a geodesic dome…. that fresh butter was the best! Keep the stories coming. 🙂

  • G Dog (AKA occupy everything)

    Good prose. Wholesome mental images. Great picture. I like this very much, I really do. More please and thank you.

  • Acorns And Apples

    I remember living in a home like that…it wasn’t a ‘shack’, it was a thing of organic beauty, built with love for the environment of stunning sohum vistas, keeping out the awesome days and days of rain, providing a place to keep food, possessions and kids safe from the storms. I felt lucky to be in Humboldt, lucky to live close to nature, and lucky to have amazing fine people to commune with. Every time I left Humboldt I felt drawn back like a kite on a string…that string was my heart, that hand holding the string was my intellectually honed mind going…criminy, do not let this go….

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