I’ve known Alanna (Leona’s sister, for those of you not in-the-know) for about six years. It probably took about six months for us to become inseparable. I’ll spare you the details of our best friend love story and keep it short: We became sisters. If you’ve met Leona and Alanna’s AMAZING family in Hawaii, then it’s easy to understand how both grandparents and parents raised such wonderful women. Alanna and Leona are two of the most genuine, giving, happy, brilliant, hardworking and beautiful women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I could gush on about them for days, serious, that’s how awesome they are. Any-hoo, I moved back to California this past summer and immediately started the Alanna-Is-Moving-Too Countdown (To California and to Rose Acres Farm, again, for those not in-the-know)! And my excitement only increased when I got the phone call that said, “Guess what? You’re going to be an Auntie!”
The day finally came and my boyfriend and I made the drive down to Boulevard on New Years Eve, to visit Leona, Dan and Alanna and Russell on the farm. We both had never explored much down south and were amazed at the changing scenery as we drove. The sun was setting behind us in the west, making the hilly and rocky terrain and sky light up with reds, oranges and pinks. Who knew you could get such beautiful sunsets away from the ocean? We sure didn’t.
We arrived just before dark, driving past Rose Acres’ sneaky entrance three times before Alanna had to drive out and show us the way in. (I like that, you definitely wouldn’t get solicitors at this farm!) The boys cooked a fabulous BBQ dinner outside in the 20 degrees and we ate, had a few beers, caught up and packed in for the night. Although it was New Years Eve, we kept to farm (and baby) hours; early to bed and early to rise. And somehow I found that easier out in the middle of (almost) nowhere. There is that sense of calm and relaxation, but also a feeling that you should get up early and do something outside. Let’s put it this way, I was excited to get up and feed the chickens one 30 degree morning.
On our first morning, Dan and Leona led us on a walk through the property, which is impressive and surprisingly diverse and we only saw it in winter. I can’t wait to see it in the other seasons to see what changes. In my mind I break the properties into “west” and “east”. The “west side” is open and hilly with rocks, large boulders (fun to climb on and up based on Dan and Leona’s stories). It’s filled with bushes, shrub-like plants and cacti rather than trees, but still beautiful in that open, desert, the-sky-goes-on-forever kind of way. We had fertility marks - left by Native Americans in the boulders - pointed out to us, which I tried to stay away from less I become pregnant and add to the list of ever growing baby-makers. Dan and Leona’s knowledge and plans for the land made me so happy and I had no problems imagining their plans coming to fruition.
The “east side” of the property is where the two small houses, the barn, chicken coops, plots and their new greenhouse lays. Large oak trees litter this side, giving off shade, and the grassy areas that are missing on the “west side”. The trees also provide areas to hang three (or is it four?) swings. My boyfriend and I both said it, we don’t know how they get any work done, we’d just swing all day, every day. If you want to feel young again, I recommend hopping on one of those badboys! The walk was beautiful and refreshing in the chilly morning air and a little funny to think back on. Because when you take a walk in the city or in your neighborhood, you’re walking on public ground, but Leona and Dan get to take a good long walk on property that is all theirs. Think about that for a moment, because it really is a novelty.
The two small houses on (again, what I call the “east side”) are idyllic in their own ways. What is now Alanna and Russell's home is cabin-like inside, complete with wood paneling and a heating stove in the living room. It is filled with retro appliances and furniture, it’s cozy and warm and completely Alanna’s style. I can’t wait to see how they make the space theirs. What is probably my favorite feature of their home is a screened off room/porch, with a daybed and small table. It is situated off the living room and overlooks the greenhouse, chickens and barn. If it wasn’t so darn cold, I’m sure I’d have spent the whole time there. I just know I could sit and write in there all day. In fact, I’m already having daydreams about staying there in the summer. I think I’ll make a sign that says, “Bobbie’s Room” and hang it up. If I write my first novel there and make millions, I swear I’ll give them some of the money and thank them profusely in the acknowledgments.
Leona and Dan’s house is an old 1920’s remodel. Although, remodel might not be the right word. From what I understand they’ve kept almost all of the infrastructure, just added some more insulation, some new paint and (I’m sure, more work. Right Dan?) wallah, they’ve got the cutest, quaintest, straight-out-of-Pottery-Barn home ever. On. A. Farm. If I wasn’t jealous already after seeing their property, I’m downright envious over their little home.
Most of our time on the farm was spent catching up, eating delicious food (with at least one vegetable from the farm in every meal!) and talking of future plans. I got to hold Baby Lincoln and feel a small kick on Alanna’s belly, little lives growing along with the farm. Lincoln is all blue eyes, expressive eyebrows, and funky hair. You top it all off with his adorable baby talk, you’ve got yourselves the cutest little man out there. I know Alanna and Russel’s baby will rival Lincoln in cuteness and I cannot wait to meet their little girl or boy and spoil her/him. I look forward to many future visits, even if those visits are filled with hard work (I’m ready, Coach Leona and Dan! Put me in!) I’m so happy for both couples and cannot wait to see what the future brings for them and their home.
I can just imagine the farm up and running in the spring, all green, full of crops. I can imagine when the trees they’ve planted lining the little road down to the greenhouse grow and yield fruit and nuts. I imagine lots of hard work and the feeling of satisfaction after a hard day’s work. I imagine long, real talks beside a fireplace, and the real connections you can make with a significant other because of those talks. I imagine bad days, hard days, and good and easy ones but having the knowledge that they are your own. And most of all, I can imagine little Lincoln and Alanna and Russel’s child running, half naked of course, through the property laughing and growing up happy and free of our 21st century spoils. Like one of Leona’s previous posts said, growing up knowing the land, nature, hard work and real human interaction, not glued to their phones and electronic devices. Again, what a novel idea. One, that as I get older, I gravitate towards, more and more. . .
It’s my opinion that they’re really doing this whole “life” thing right on Rose Acres Farm.