It was the spring of 1988, the year I turned seven, and Dad was restless. Mom was happy on our little homestead. Dad had built a log cabin for us on the hill at the north end of the family property, as well as a blacksmith shop, a sawmill, a henhouse, goat barn, horse barn, picket-fenced garden, and other accoutrements of the homesteader, but he was growing bored with farm life.

From the cypress logs to the stone chimney, Dad built every inch of the cabin where I spent my childhood. Mom's baskets are piled on the front porch and my pet deer is visible next to them. The baskets went to the fair, the deer did not.photographs courtesy of the Blake family

From the cypress logs to the stone chimney, Dad built every inch of the cabin where I spent my childhood. Mom's baskets are piled on the front porch and my pet deer is visible next to them. The baskets went to the fair for sale, the deer did not.

The goats were in milk, the front porch was stacked with baskets Mom had made for the county fair, and she was happily painting in her studio when Dad announced that he was going to build another boat. His last boat, a Block Island double-ender, was christened MERRY SAVAGE, a play on his great-grandmother’s maiden name, Mary Savage. Dad had sailed that boat along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico for a few months, and then she languished around the house for a few more before being sold to a young man from Maine. This all seemed a trifle foolish to Mom, so when Dad said “I am going to build another boat,” she responded, “We will have to actually use this next one, and it should be for the whole family.” She would regret that statement several times over the next few years.

Read this article now for free!

Sign up here (No credit card required) to finish reading your article now.

— OR —

Subscribe now for $29.99 a year! You'll have access to our new issues as they are published, and access to our entire archive of back issues, starting with our inaugural issue in September 2014. Subscribers can also post unlimited classified ads. This is an extraordinary value!