While you were sleeping in Vietnam....Tahilla Farm

"Tahilla and all of her dreams are now passed along to you and
nothing makes me happier than to say "Welcome Home"! 
I'm a firm believer that you can only connect the dots 
when you look back in time, but one thing I can already "see" 
is that the stars were aligned and all for the good."  

excerpts from an email entitled 
"While you were sleeping"
from Lisa to Jeanne
December 12, 2012

The road to Tahilla Farm
It has been one year to the day, when I awoke in Saigon to read an email from my dear friend and realtor, Lisa...to say the deed was done. The closing had gone smoothly and Tahilla Farm in New Hampshire had offically passed hands to us. I saved the email and sent it to Lisa yesterday...it is a link between us that I know we will share for a lifetime.

I am often asked why we bought a home in New Hampshire and why in particular, Tahilla Farm. I have never been able to give a quick and easy answer. The one time I did, I simply said...because of my blog. I love the story and hope that those of you who know it well will not mind if I tell it again. It seems only right on this occasion.

Lisa and I met in 2010 through Collage of Life...we wrote back and forth often, sharing dreams of country living and gardens.  Lisa lives in Vermont by way of New Hampshire. When we first started writing to each other I lived in England. Lisa suggested that I would enjoy the blog of the creative and talented "Country Gardener Joe" @ Notes from Juniper Hill in New Hampshire. She was right. So much so that when I read about his idyllic life in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire I knew that this was an area I needed to explore.

It took two years for the stars to align but they finally did. The purpose of my trip was to start looking for  a home base in New England. Mr. H and I both grew up in New England and wanted to establish a family connection again. On this occasion, I travelled solo while Mr. H held down the fort in Vietnam. His only request was that I look along the coast of Maine. My only request was to travel to the Monadnock region of New Hampshire. I did both.

It was a lovely crisp autumn afternoon in New Hampshire when I met Joe and his partner Paula for the first time. We all  met in Joe's garden, talking like old friends, parting naturally, as if we had done so many times before.  Lisa and I left them to carry on looking at houses in the area. While I liked many, nothing sang out to me. I was nearly convinced that the coast of Maine was going to win over and then it happened. The very last house on our list was Tahilla Farm... as soon as we drove up the driveway (see photo above) ..I knew I had found what I was looking for...but not quite what Mr. H was looking for.

With only one day up my sleeve before heading back to Vietnam, I called Joe and Paula and asked if they would come around to look at the house with me. We all met at Tahilla the next morning, their excitement at the conclusion of the tour was all I needed. I flew off to Vietnam with a mission, to convince Mr. H, sight unseen, that Tahilla Farm was the place to buy and to convince him to forsake the sea for a mountain.

With his heart in Maine and mine in New Hampshire...I knew it would take time. For all the right reasons (proximity to family and friends, the property, cost and because I really, really loved it) we decided to proceed with Tahilla Farm. I first visited the house in September 2012,  we had an accepted offer by the end of October and closed in December. One year ago today, while I was sleeping, the news came that we officially owned Tahilla Farm.

I thank my lucky stars for that fortuitous moment when I first clicked onto Joe's blog...since then, a whole world has opened up to me, filled with many more friendships. Our architect, landscape designer, forester, property manager, lawyer, doctor....and the list goes on, all came by way of Joe and Paula. Some of my favourite memories from my time at Tahilla last summer were the evenings Joe, Paula, Lisa and I spent sitting under our big maple tree, beer in hand, looking out to Mt. Monadnock. There was no question in my mind that the stars had aligned on Tahilla Farm and these wonderful friends.

When I think of what we have accomplished in a year, the mind boggles. Our view to the mountain has opened up, fields have been created, Tahilla Farms place in history has been reestablished with the discovery of endless old stone walls from it's farming days and the final plans for our renovation are nearly complete. Operation Tahilla is on the move!

With all of this I give thanks to each and every one of you who have read and commented this past year. I feel like we are climbing this mountain together. Your thoughts, suggestions and encouragement have been invaluable. I secretly hope that one day, when we bang the last nail that I will be able to hold a small creative retreat...for like minded souls...looking for a place to create. A small and intimate version of my constant source of inspiration here.  It is just a dream and we have a ways to go...but hold that thought. We can walk and dream together!

PS..if you are looking for a home
in Vermont or New Hampshire, 
I highly recommend Lisa True Grady.
It will be a pleasure working with her,
I know from experience! 

Hoping your holiday planning is coming along. 
If you are still looking for Christmas ideas 
you can have a look here and here

As always my friends, thank you for reading my words,
you are all the most delightful people a woman could write to!

Illustrated by Sara Lee Parker here

The Tahilla Farm Story

 (click on video)


  1. Jeanne, has it been one year? Wow, time flies. I have always loved the story of Tahillia Farm and all of the wonderful people that became a part of your dream through blogging. There are so many kind, generous and like minded people in the blogging community that make the world so much more exciting while connecting across the globe.

    I cannot wait to see what is in store for your beautiful farm with the help of all of your new friends. I am sure that it will be beautiful.

    Have a great day Jeanne. Congratulations on your farm!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth...you are so right! Thank you for your comments and encouragement along this journey, it has been so very much appreciated...along with my summer box! xx

  2. I know I've mentioned before that I lived in NH when first married in the '60's - my husband is from Manchester, NH - and I loved that area. I also love the Maine coast and we always went there to the beach with the kids - Ogunquit mostly. Monadnock region is awesome too - Peterborough a favorite spot (wish Red Chair had not moved away to NY - it was my favorite go-to shop for European antiques and stuff - you would love it!). When you eventually relocate and get settled in - will it be the last time? - I know you'll love Tahilla Farm. even more once living there!

    Great story Jeanne - and I can see all those worldly treasures being tucked lovingly into your son's new room when he moves in later too.

    Happiest of holidays - it was this time 2 years back I was in Saigon, Hue and Hoi An - I would love to return!
    Hugs - Mary

    1. Thank you Mary..and in answer to your question, once we move our belongings in from all our travels, I have will have no intention of every moving them again! It will be the end of the road for Mr. and Mrs. H..at least that is the plan... ;)

      Saigon is bursting with colour in anticipation of Christmas and TET...a lovely time of year to be here.

      Best wishes for a wonderful holiday Mary! xx

  3. Wishing you all the best at your new spot. And one can always vacation in Maine:).

  4. what a beautiful story, I never tire of hearing it + all your dreams are coming true at Tahilla Farm + you are blessed + I adore blogging + bloggers are the best. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    1. Thank yoy Peggy...and you so right, we are fortunate to have such a talented and thoughtful group of men and women amongst us! ;)

  5. Everything perfect about New England is in your photographs. There is no other place on Earth with the same beauty and scent of soil that is here.

  6. Much beauty, peacefulness and memories to come. Congratulations Jeanne!

    1. Thank you Kathleen! Best wishes for a wonderful holiday!! ;)

  7. "Oh my", she says, with tears in her eyes. But really, I have to thank YOU! In opening this door for you, I opened another for myself. Looking forward to an even longer visit in 2014. Big Hugs, Lisa True Grady

    1. It has been so much fun Lisa...I look forward to many more years of it! xx

  8. How wonderful it was for us to play a minor role in helping you realize your dream, Jeanne! Paula and I can't tell you how thankful we are to have you, Mr. H, and your entire family as friends and neighbors. Blogging can, indeed, open doors to a whole new set of life experiences and wonderful friendships can form in the process. The "road to Tahilla" is proof of that in every regard. Here's to all of us enjoying a few more beers together under that gorgeous "Martha" tree in 2014! Happy Holidays to you and the family! Warmest wishes..~ Joe.

    1. Many thanks Joe...here's to 2014!! Looking forward to my return in Spring...dare I say, to the blackflies as well? Best to you and Paula for a wonderful holiday... ;)

  9. Dear Jeanne, I think you have caught all our imaginations with your beautiful farm, and having been lucky enough to meet you a couple of times, I know that the farm and its gorgeous setting just suits you down to the ground; you will not only enjoy the place but also be fabulous guardians ! One day soon you'll be setting up your christmas tree in the hall and waiting at the door for your children (and grandchildren!) to all come home together.
    Wishing you and Peter and very happy christmas and the best for 2014

  10. Jeanne, I remember first reading your blog just about a year ago, and wondering about this new neighbor of mine! So, it's wonderful to see these photos now, and to "hear" this story in your voice. Glad we had a chance to meet before summer's end. If you were at your farm now, you'd be looking out at 18 inches of snow and double checking the thermometer, which would be telling you that it's ten degrees outside! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday.

  11. Hi Jeanne,
    After one year you have a wonderful place and a collection of wonderful stories and photos.
    May you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014.
    Best wishes,


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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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