Cheryl’s Dancing Star Farm Story

Dancing Star Farm

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”
— Nietzsche

I bought the farm. Literally.

I dumped every last dime I had into the purchase of five plus acres south of Portland, Oregon. Cleaned out my savings, tapped into the IRA, sold off artwork and poured it all into a piece of land tucked into a side-pocket of suburbia.

The flight from the city was a year in the making. I spent months combing the countryside for the perfect combination of charm and location. I obsessed over water rights and well tests, acreage and outbuildings. I fantasized about farm stands. I was a woman on a mission.

My manic desire to escape the city came as a surprise, though in retrospect, I should have recognized it as a perfectly natural reaction to the circumstances of my life. The previous five years I had toiled in the retail trenches as a vice president in the northwest division of a national department store giant. A PR person, an event maven, a fashionista. High profile and high pressure. Pretty heady stuff.

Then suddenly one day, it was over. My division merged with another and I was out of a job. In my 50s and unemployed. Unimaginable.

Only after I shut out the lights and closed the door on my corporate career did I realize how that environment had sucked the life out of me. I needed a rest.

I went into hiding. I was embarrassed to be out of work and confused about what I wanted to do about it. I kept repeating… when I grow up, I want to be… and couldn’t finish the sentence.

Reflecting on three decades in television, years leading workshops, and that stint in retail, I realized that my professional life had played out in full public view, stealing my privacy and propelling me toward solitude. I had always valued “alone time” but now, at this topsy-turvy time in my life, I craved a hideaway, an oasis from scrutiny.

I knew that I could no longer dress up everyday. I vowed never again to wear pantyhose. I planned to let my hair grow and wear it in an unfashionable, unflattering ponytail. I fancied the idea of spending my days digging in the dirt and having filthy, broken nails.

Yearning for a grounded life, I envisioned an easy-going existence surrounded by dogs, cats, horses, goats and chickens. I longed to inhale the sweet smell of hay every morning. I wanted to live on a farm.

And now I do. My little plot of land has a murky pond, abundant fir trees, wildlife habitat, a squat little barn with good bones, a couple of outbuildings and a dilapidated, 1940’s era “bungalow”.

The real estate ad said nothing about a cozy cottage or country charmer. The property agent suggested a wrecking ball. I saw a work in progress.

I’ve set about rejuvenating, restoring and re-energizing this sadly neglected property, ripe with blackberries and possibilities. I’ve named my little chunk of dirt Dancing Star Farm, where out of my own chaos, I’ve learned to grow heirloom tomatoes, build fences, raise goats, cobble art pieces and most importantly, get re-acquainted with the person I know myself to be.

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And now the newest chapter in the Dancing Star story……Dancing Star Farm bed&bone!!! This venture combines what I love best in my life—dogs and this farm. What I hope to provide to our pup guests is a fun, safe environment where they can run, play and enjoy the comforts of a home while their pet parents are off on adventures of their own. A country retreat for the pooch petite!

Dancing Star Farm bed&bone