June 1, 2024 “INTERVIEW WITH MY GRANDMOTHER” by Jemma Waldron Haley – age 7
First I just want to say that my gran, Deb Waldron, has a really cool home called Weatherwood Farm. It’s not like what you think of when someone says “farm”. At the start of her drive, by the sign with the farm’s name on it, is a 3-foot tall Inuksuk stone sculpture – stacked-up stones that looks like a person! We build little ones all over the place with stones from the driveway.
There is a pasture on one side of the driveway and woods on the other where we play hide and seek. When Mom and Dad pull in, the barn is the first thing we see and there are usually a couple horses grazing in the pasture. The barn is just the start, though, because ALL the parts of Gran’s house are connected!
We can start in the barn, play in the hayloft and pet the barn cats. Then, without going outside at ALL, we can walk through the barn into the cats’ house. It’s this cool place where once in a while Gran has a litter of kittens she’s raising for some rescue group! They’re so CUTE!! And Gran always has what she calls “gramma and grampa” cats, who are living here like a retirement home.
Then we walk through her pottery studio, where we get to make stuff out of clay every time we’re here. Gran always has some pots she’s working on. My favorite cereal bowl is one she made just for me! Sometimes she teaches classes here too, so there is sometimes really different looking stuff on the shelves! We can tell Gran didn’t make it, but it’s neat to look at anyway!
We go through the small greenhouse that smells warm and wet and “green” and peek into the farm’s workshop at the back of the garage (where we are NEVER allowed to mess with the tools when we’re by ourselves!) and sometimes we climb into the back of the pickup truck – shhhh. THEN there’s the door to the house through the mudroom! Oh, and did I tell you that Gran’s house has flowers and stuff growing on the ROOF? And there are more animals in the house too! Gran really loves animals – and so do I!
I asked my mom why Gran has a farm like this and she said I should ASK her! So I did! Plus, we had to interview a relative for school, so I can do two things at once!
Here goes: OFFICIAL INTERVIEW
ME: “Gran … You have a very different kind of home. Where did you get the idea for this? Did you always live on a farm? How long have you lived here?”
GRAN: “It IS kind of different, isn’t it? I have only lived here for 6 years. You were just little when I moved in. I did NOT grow up on a farm but I wish I had. When I was really little, my grandma and grandpa had sort of a small farm right in town in Medina. Grandpa had chickens and rabbits, and barn cats. He grew corn and we rode on the tractor, but I never had a pony or anything like that. I remember walking down the lane after dinner with a coffee can full of the day’s table scraps for the barn kitties who were fed in the tractor shed. They used to REALLY make me jump when they just appeared out of nowhere at their dish!
When I was 5, Grandpa turned the farm into a street and we built a new house, so then we were “city” kids, just with one dog and one cat.
ME: “You have way more animals now! How did THAT start? Mom won’t let me have that many.”
GRAN: “I got 2 kittens the first year I was a teacher and I’ve had a bunch of pets ever since. I think they’re more fun – and happier – when they have friends to play with. When your Aunt Kara was in second grade, and your mom was about 2, we got our first dog – a Golden Retriever named Coty. Your mom loved playing with Coty’s puppies. When she was in high school, those first cats were gone and we got some new kittens and she REALLY had fun watching them play! You should have heard her giggle! You like playing with the kittens in the cats’ house, huh? Now YOUR family does have a few animals too! Supper and Eire love to come to the farm and visit with the other dogs don’t they? When they was younger, they played and played!”
ME: “Yah – but they STINK when they come in from the barn! Good thing you have that dog shower in the mudroom! So … about the FARM part, please?!”
GRAN: “Ha ha … OK! I like LOTS of things in life … the kind of building style that all connects together and art (making it, teaching it, living with it – and IN it!) and nature (and using it wisely, like to make electricity) and animals of almost all kinds.
ME: “Wait! You taught us a song about the way the farm is built! Big House – Little House – Back House Barn! We make up all kinds of words to go with it!”
GRAN: “You’re RIGHT! It’s fun to make up songs, huh? I do it too! Well, I decided when I retired from teaching and had all the time I wanted, that my dream was I would be able to design my very own dream place to live – big house, little house, back house BARN! AND I would have enough money to make it just the right way – plus give some of my time, talents and money to other people who have projects that help others around the world.”
ME: “So how did you GET the farm?”
GRAN: “I imagined it.”
ME: “I don’t understand. How do you do that exactly?”
GRAN: “I REALLY IMAGINED it! For years and years, I closed my eyes and I daydreamed and imagined and pretended and thought and thought and thought about my farm ALL the time. In my mind it was real, and I could see the grey, rough wood that the old barn is made of. I could hear the horses nickering, smell the sweet hay, and the warm smell of the horses. I imagined Sebastian and Patrick living in that barn and going out to the pasture. I imagined being in the workshop, smelling the wood and sawdust, building and fixing things there with all the tools. Some of those tools belonged to MY father – your great grandpa. I pictured myself working in my pottery studio – my hands in the clay – making pots and bowls and mugs … and firing all the pieces in the kiln – including the pieces you kids make. I imagined the fun and creativity of teaching art classes in the studio and outside, all over the farm. I even invited some of my artist and art teacher friends to come teach classes too! I learned a lot from them. I imagined watering the plants in that little green house. I could smell that green, warm wet smell in there and see the sun coming through the glass and water drops trailing down the windows. You know what I mean?”
ME: “Yah! It’s really THERE!”
GRAN: “Yes … it … is … because I imagined it! I saw myself coming into the mudroom with those stinky dogs and giving them showers, doing the laundry in the laundry room so everything was clean and smelled better! I cooked wonderful food in that kitchen I imagined your mom and dad helped me to design! Since they are chefs, they helped me A LOT! I could smell the pies and stews and soups and cookies! I’d get cold drinks out of the refrigerator or hold a steaming mug of cinnamon coffee, then look out all the windows at the back of the living room and watch the wind turbines on the hill go round and round and round making all the electricity for the farm with those solar panels on the barn. They hypnotized me in my imagination and they still do for real!”
ME: “Me TOO!”
GRAN: “I smiled a LOT as I watched the cats walk on their own private highway that was built on the beams above the great room and down the hall. They’d go in and out of cubbyholes and up and down a curved pink staircase. Since I only let the barn cats be outside, I really loved the cat-solarium I invented for the indoor cats to enjoy being outside while still being safe!”
“Then while I did all this imagining, I made plans for HOW I could really make this come TRUE. I started a business, worked at it every day, and it kept getting bigger and bigger and that’s what gave me the money to turn my IMAGINED farm into a REAL one. And the reason my business grew and grew was because I was more interested in helping other people make money than I was for myself.”
ME: “I don’t get it. Didn’t you want the money for yourself?”
GRAN: “Oh for sure I did. But, let me ask you a question. How hard would you work in a business with someone, if they only wanted YOU to help THEM get rich?”
ME: “Well, not very hard at all.”
GRAN: “Exactly. You’d want to work with someone who, you believed, really cared about YOUR ideas and dreams, and who was willing to HELP you make those ideas and dreams come true, yes? You’d work really HARD yourself, because you knew they were going to help you. I learned a lot of good lessons from books, and courses and people I talked with all the time.
I learned that EVERYTHING we have in our lives comes from things that we THINK about. So we can have ANYTHING in life that we want – if we REALLY want it, if we THINK about it all the time and then we ACT on the ideas that pop into our head with love in our hearts for other people. I practiced that and practiced that – and helped other people in my business practice it too. I helped THEM make THEIR dreams real – and that helped me make MY dreams real.”
ME: “So now that you have the farm, are you done imagining?”
GRAN: “I’ll bet you already know the answer to that, don’t you?”
ME: “I say you’re not done! What are you dreaming NOW?”
GRAN: “I always have dreams growing! One now is that I think about wonderful loving homes for all the foster kittens that grow up here for a while. I imagine they are all so happy with their new families. I imagine laughing and eating and talking with lots of guests who come to the farm for art classes or to help with the animals – or just to visit and enjoy this amazing place! I’m dreaming about building 2 or 3 tiny houses at different places on the farm, cottages where people can stay when they visit.”
ME: “Ooooh … like US?”
ME: “What else are you’re dreaming?”
GRAN: “Oh another dream I have is about YOU!”
GRAN: “Yup! I’m dreaming and imagining about you and your mom and dad and little brother … about Aunt Kara, Uncle Andy and your cousins, and about MY sister and brother, kids and grandkids. I imagine that I have healthy, happy children, grandchildren, family and friends!! I see us all creating the lives we want most and then sharing our dreams and gifts and inner sunshine with the whole world all around us. I imagine that this is the BEST life EVER on the planet and we get to live it together.” “What do you think of that dream?”
ME: “I think I’ll dream that too. That way, if we do it together, we KNOW it will come true. Thanks for telling me this story, Gran. I love you!”
GRAN: “You too, to the moon and back, my love!”
ME: So, I learned a lot from my Gran about how she got her farm. I’m pretty interested in how the things we think about become things in real life. I guess I’ll have to watch what I’m thinking, especially when my brother bugs me, huh? I’m going to write down a dream of my own, and start imagining it right now. Well, when I’m done with this homework … and playing with the kittens … and eating a fresh cookie … and …