A leap of faith...to Tahilla Farm

Photo by Joe Valentine of Notes from Juniper HIll

'I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, 
which, if we unconsciously yield to it, 
will direct us aright'

Henry David Thoreau

Leap of faith...

I recently followed the wise words of Henry David Thoreau
and made a decision..a leap of faith to be exact.
In October, I wrote that we were looking for a home in the USA..here
 I drove along the coast roads of Maine to the southwest corner 
of New Hampshire and found a house in each to ponder.
I took lots of photos and winged my way back to Vietnam
 to confer with Mr. H and to make a decision.

For lots of reason but mostly for that feeling 
you get when you just know...

 A gentlewoman's farm...

We chose an antique farmhouse in a small town 
in the Monadnock mountain region of New Hampshire.
I was told it is a gentleman's farm,
 one for pleasure rather than income.
For me it will always be a gentlewoman's farm, 
for that's what it was to the woman before me,
for many years. 

  Small towns...

This is a small town story that started with this blog.
In 2010, a lovely reader, Lisa, placed a comment 
for a surprise giveaway I was having on Collage of Life. 
To enter, readers had to answer a few questions about themselves.

Lisa wrote...

Coming to you from Vermont (home of the Trapp Family)
...Yes, the hills are alive!
I follow cashmerejeans, but also visit Collage of Life.
- My eyes are blue/green with flecks of brown.
- I love Fall.
- I rarely wear perfume.
- Last book was May Sarton- Plant Dreaming Deep 
and Jud Hale's Inside New England 
( I read two at a time, depending on the mood!)
- Last movie- The King's Speech
- Last CD- Nick Drake and another by Sam Bush

Our email trail into friendship began with this comment.
As luck would have it, she was one of the giveaway winners.
We wrote emails back and forth and along the way Lisa told me 
about a town in New Hampshire, where she once lived 
and longs to be again. She had me hooked from the start.

We corresponded the following year about small town life
 in New Hampshire and Vermont. She had a wealth of knowledge 
to draw upon for she has settled many people 
into new homes from her experience as a realtor. She has a genuine
desire to help people find the right fit and has a gift for it too.

The rewards are it's people... 

I grew up in a small town so I know all about it. 
It's a small world.
Lisa introduced me to Joe at Notes from Juniper Hill  
who happens to live close to Tahilla farm. 

Lisa wrote...

You would have to know Joe and his eye for detail and his 
humble ways, as his home and gardens are a true reflection of his soul.  
He would often stop by as I was in my garden and remark how beautiful it looked...

I wrote to Joe and he wrote back and another friendship was born.
The email trail into friendship continued.
 I also connected with his partner, Paula. 
For the past year we have all been writing back and forth, 
like the oldest of friends. I was thrilled when we were 
able to meet while I was house hunting. When I asked 
if they would mind having a second look at the house with me, 
they were happy to do so. As soon as we got to the property...
they felt what I felt.  I knew they would.

Team Tahilla..

When we decided to make an offer on the house, I asked for help.
 Paula recommended Jim, an attorney.
Jim recommended  Gary, a house inspector.  
Gary is now our property manager.
It was with the help of Lisa, 
her partner John, with Joe, Paula, Gary, Jim
and Jim's assistant, Tricia...that it evolved. 

My thanks...

With this come my thanks for the time and effort 
they all put into making our dream a reality. 
I had to put my faith in them for I could not be there. 
Lisa and John travelled three hours back and forth from Vermont, 
where they live, for every inspection, every appointment. 
Joe joined them on each occasion...along with Gary. 
Team Tahilla was in action, reporting to me on every front. 
Many of the photos were taken by Joe on his many trips to the house. 
He spotted the deer in the woods from the front of the house. 
Thoreau's subtle magnetism in nature at it's best.

Small town love...

Paula helped me to keep my sanity with her wit and charm 
and reports on activity in the region. Along the way I met Maude, 
who wrote to say that Joe had recommended Collage of Life to her
and she was pleased to know that I would be moving to town.
Hands and words stretching out across the sea..small town love.

To every story, there is a beginning...

This is our beginning for Tahilla Farm.
Down a dirt road...in the southwest corner of New Hampshire.
Where the birds sing, the trees reach to the sky...and silence is golden.
The first of many country chapters in the collage of life.


I want to thank you all for your words of encouragement
these past few months. When we moved to Vietnam in July, life was
full and it has continued to be ever since. My mind has been 
here there and everywhere with little time for blogging. 
I thank you kindly for your patience..I have been so remiss
in staying in touch. As much as I enjoyed 2012....I am ready for 2013. 

I will be back with more on Tahilla Farm.
There is lots more to share, stories to tell and most of all
I will need construction, decorating and gardening advice.
It will be a journey...
I am so glad you will be there with me! 

 A Christmas wish for a Christmas farm...

In case you are wondering what Tahilla stand for.
It is a place in County Kerry, Ireland.
I like to think it as two places, each one 
connecting at the end of a rainbow.
The pot of gold is sitting in New Hampshire.

Sending you blessed Irish wishes 
for a very Merry Christmas...

Jeanne xx

With thanks to Joe for many of the photos above.


  1. What a pleasure to read this news and actually see how many people have linked hands across the world, all stemming from your "Collage of Life". It will be so enjoyable watching you and your family progress through the adventures ahead with your new chapter on quaint and charming Tahilla Farm.

  2. Dear Jeanne,
    How wonderful and exciting this is for you. I know how difficult it is to negotiate to buy property from afar. It is such an emotional journey of the heart. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family in Vietnam. We miss you in London

  3. Hi, Jeanne. How very exciting and what an amazing place you're moving to. Have a very merry Christmas!
    best, nadia

  4. Wonderful choice for your home. New Hampshire is brimming with a sense of history and place, and it sounds like you are already developing community.

  5. So excited and happy for you Jeanne - what a blessing to have so many good people around - meant to be! Will be looking out for all the news and pics from your own gentlewoman's farm.
    Have a great Xmas with your family. xx

  6. I am so happy for you Jeanne. It is a beautiful place and I am sure you will be happy there.

  7. Dear Jeanne,
    ooh, how exciting for you and your family.. a new challenge.. with new dreams, hopes and much fun. I wish you all the best decisions makings there.. and have yourselves a Merry Christmas, filled with cà phê đá and Christmas pudding xx hugs from Brissy.. ps.. thanks for all your sterling posts during 2012.. I've loved my journey with you.

  8. Congratulations Jeanne for realizing a dream come true though hard work and perseverance. This is such an inspiring story. You also built your own community of people over there in New Hampshire. Merry Christmas to you and your family too.

  9. Jeanne, it was truly a privilege to help out in some small way. When I read your post today it brought a tear to my eye. I was so happy that things worked out for you. And, your announcing it to the world today through your wonderful blog, to all your blogging friends out there, made it feel final and official. Tahilla--the gentlewoman's farm--is yours. It's not often in our lives that we get to feel our own spirit move through some special connection to the land. Yet, when I first saw you look out across those fields toward the mountains, I immediately sensed that you resonated with this place, you felt at home, and here was ground where roots could grow. I'm hoping that Tahilla will be the gathering spot for you and your family for many years in the future! But, the best thing about all of this is WE get to be your neighbors! So let me be the first to say welcome home! And now, the fun begins! Let's see...there's decorating...garden making...oh, and more shelves for those books...and there's antique and furniture shopping, and...well, you get the point.

  10. Wow ... what a cool story of how you found your home, with the help of many on.line friends. So appropriate for you and your love of on.line friendships. I look forward to hearing more.

    Merry Christmas to your family, too. (Wish I remembered how to say it in Vietnamese.)


  11. Jeanne, I love this post and the story of all your wonderful friends met through your beautiful blog. What wonderful people to help you first aquired and then inspect, survey and be your caretakers! Theses lovely role are indeed special gems and how lucky to have them now as neighbors!

    I know Monadnock mountain! We have some great friends that named their business after it, and have been life long residents in the shadow that Magestic mountain.

    Merry Christmas Jeanne to you and your beautiful family!

    Looking forward to more of your adventures and to our onto nude friendship,


  12. OK mate re Tahilla Farm
    * How awesome you'll have Juniper Hill Joe as your neighbour - yep I'm jealous!
    * Looking forward to booking out the TF spare room for at least 2 months!
    * And MOTH still doesn't get why we blog - go figure!
    Millie xx

  13. Jeanne, looking forward to seeing you tackle Tahilla Farm and meet your family. The Monadnock region is brimming with talented, creative, one-of-a-kind people and I am sure you will enjoy meeting them all. Have a wonderful holiday with your family.... and most surely a happy new year. Best.... Paula

  14. All I know is that I am more than happy for you and wishing that I could be your neighbor! You are one lucky woman to have found a place like this and your neighbors are even more lucky to have you join them! I am envious and wish there was another farm nearby for more us to join you! What fun! It has always been a dream of mine to do this…and I only mean 10 minutes down the road and yet I wasn't willing to do the drive every day! Wow! And you are going between Vietnam and this…this oasis of solitude and peace! I can't wait to keep up with you on this very special journey! Merry Christmas, Jeanne!!

  15. This makes me happier than I can say.
    Save me a corner room. Edward and I are coming to visit!
    much love,

  16. Wonderful story with a wonderful ending. Your new home looks and sounds fabulous. What a dream to know you will be living in such beautiful surroundings. Happy Christmas.

  17. Be careful Jeanne... we all want to come and visit...:)

    This is the most wonderful start to this new chapter in your life... how amazing are the connections we make... To say that Tahilla farm looks beautiful... is an understatement... and once you sprinkle your magic... it will truly be your haven...

    Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the precious time together... much love, xxv

  18. Oh, it looks lovely. Congratulations. A Merry Christmas to you too, Jeanne. I hope my card and present will reach you in time.

  19. Dare to live your dreams. Dreams become reality. Your reality helps others to dream until it becomes their reality. I just 'knew' it was to be this farm. What a journey. Keep us posted. Jan 'downunder'

  20. A magical place for a magical lady...Merry Christmas Jeanne.

  21. bonjour jeanne! first of all..congrats! i am really looking forward to reading more about your adventures at tahilla farm! i may have mentioned before that we lived in Amherst NH for 5 years. we hiked pack monadnock frequently. i know your new area well. my good friend's parents own an auction house in peterborough. maybe you'll visit?
    it is a beautiful place..and you will not find a more friendlier people.
    best of luck to you!! xo
    and joyeux noel!!

    1. Pam...No doubt you're referring to Cobb's Auction in Peterborough. I've spent many Saturday afternoons there...with some treasures to prove it! Amherst is still a lovely town. Great garden club plant sale on the village common too.

    2. yes!and i have a few treasures of my own from there! lara, their daughter is my dear friend. and i used to live on foundry street right in the village. oh do i miss that house! our home was featured in the christmas house tour while we lived there.
      we live in paris now..and believe me, i'm not complaining..however, i do miss the new england autumns and winters.
      thank you for your comment! makes me feel at home. :)

  22. Oh horray! Oh Jeanne. I have tears in my eyes and for the first time since the Newton attacks, they are tears of joy. I think that we ALL needed this wonderful news this week. It is a wonderful gift.

    But Vicki is right, now I am afraid you will have many visitors knocking on your door. Just look what happened to Peter Mayle! ;) Actually, I was hoping that we would meet in Vietnam but now, who knows?

    I think that you know how I feel about your new farm. It really is the most perfect, welcoming place. These new photos only confirm that. I am beyond delighted for you--actually, the farm looks like you, or what I know of you. You will understand what I mean...It seems so clearly meant to be.

    Wishing you a very, very Merry Christmas!
    With all of my Best from Provence,

  23. What an amazing post Jeanne. A story filled with blessings. Congratulations on your new home and new beginning. I'm so happy for you.
    Leslie (Gwen Moss)

  24. Jeanne

    It looks absolutely suited to the gentlewoman we all know and love. I can't wait to hear about small town life, the garden, and other delights!

  25. Nice to know that when you leave Vietnam you will be going home .. and not to some strange place. Won't it be fun to spend the time in between dreaming and planning! Merry Christmas!

  26. Dear Jeanne...My following Collage of Life has brought me close to so many wonderful places, art, gardens, people, books to read, family stories...and now to see Tahilla blossom and grow as the preparations are planned from afar; and one day with the life of your family walking through the gardens, down the road and in the halls of the farmhouse. What a thrill and delight to share in this most wonderfully unfolding story of a family, their travels, and the finding of the place to settle in deeply to the land and community in New Hampshire.
    May your holiday with all the family together in Vietnam be a beautiful, warm and delicious time.
    Peace be with you,

  27. Oh Jeanne- it looks absolutely magical! I can't wait to follow along on this journey! I was recently visiting a friend in Vermont and fell in love with the area. I am envious that you will be making a home there and know you are going to absolutely love it.

  28. The perfect Christmas gift...a place where you can finding oneself and a new exciting
    part in your life will start with great enthusiasm. Sometimes it's so good to wait because things happen when they must happen. Dear Jeanne, my best wishes for this project

  29. A new exciting part in your life and just right at Christmas. It is a place for finding oneself, just nature. Sometimes it's necessary to wait for the right one. Things happen when they must happen. Dear Jeanne, I wish you all the best and a lot of enthusiasm for that wonderful project.

  30. Oh Jeanne, what a delightful happenstance. This was destined to be, with all your planets aligning. I look forward to following this next fragment of your collage of life. J x

  31. Oh Jeanne.....somehow I have lost track of you and your blog....I'm so glad I popped in today. What an adventure you have ahead of you....that spot looks divine. I can't wait to see what is in store.



  32. If this place makes your heart sing, then it is meant to be yours. Eleven years ago I had exactly that feeling standing on the porch overlooking Rockport Harbor. Though it seemed a hugely scary step to buy that property, it is one of the best things we've ever done. I hope the same will be true for you and your family. Here's wishing you and yours the best of holidays. I know you are happy to have your chicks with you.

  33. Sounds like the perfect home. To find your forever home is indeed a gift. I look forward to reading more.

  34. What an amazing journey. I am so thrilled for you and hope you will be very happy there, surrounded by lots of 'small town love'.
    - David.

  35. Hello dear Jeanne,

    Merry Christmas! I hope that you are enjoying all of your children and doing lots of fun things, like baking, watching movies, and relaxing!

    Thank you JEanne for your wonderful friendship and beautiful blog!

    Blessing and happiness to you in the new year!

    xo Elizabeth

  36. Congratulation, Jeanne, and what a wonderful story of events culminating in this terrific find! You helped me once by encouraging me to write and I have not lost track of your story...it goes right to my heart, as I have learned of ancestors who lived in County Kerry and love that you have found that connection and the stars have all aligned so that you will be returning to New England to such a beautiful place...Merry Christmas from the Pacific Northwest...my blog has evolved a bit from:
    downtheeyrieroad.blogspot.com to adwellingby thesea.blogspot.com

    In it's own way my move to an island has been a dream fulfilled this past summer for me, on a much smaller scale, however...oh, the possibilities ;)


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