In 1910 Ole and Pernille Rodstol arrived in Washington from Romsdalen, Norway and settled in Harper, a village on the west side of the Puget Sound. They brought three children—Margaret, Olaf, and Oswald—and later bore Laurence, Leonard and twins Harry and Henry. In 1916, the family’s original house on old Harper Hill burned down—the accused arsons were feisty basement chickens. The next year, the Rodstols built a a two-story, five-bedroom house in nearby Southworth on a 10-acre parcel off of their own private road: Rodstol Lane. Over the decades the plot was used for Olaf’s sustainable family vegetable garden, pasture for dairy and meat cows, and a small apple and cherry orchard.
Ninety years later, Cynthia Mora (Margaret’s granddaughter) and her husband Tony, took over the property and, with the help of their son André, began a comprehensive restoration process. Their goal: to remodel the interior of the house (it never had so much as a heating system) and return the grounds to prosperous farmland and healthy lawn (the land was nothing more than neglected pasture—bumpy and weedy). The Moras now have dedicated vegetable and flower gardens, a unique alder-fenced bird garden, a stage and lawns for concerts and weddings, a 240-tree blueberry orchard, and a 150-tree hazelnut orchard. Also, to the delight of visitors, four Cotswold sheep and one Chilean llama graze on the hillside—when they’re not being chased by the farm’s dogs: Thor, Norsel, and Giaver.
Cynthia and Tony hope that in time Rodstol Lane Farm will become a destination for blueberry pickers and local producers selling their wares, a gathering place for community members and green-thumbed enthusiasts, and a venue for local musicians and artists. There is a wealth of history here—and more to come. Don’t just think local, celebrate local.