Family: Old Roots, New Home

Although they were both born and raised in Southeast Ohio, Mathew and Jenni Van Nostran never thought they would choose to start a family of their own there. Twenty years ago they might have imagined raising their children somewhere in New England. Yet, after living in Maine for six years and facing a crossroads in their lives, they called to mind Athens County— a place of comfort filled with memories of the families and friends they had there.

In October 2014, after a few years of transitioning between houses and negotiating land deals, they purchased a dilapidated, 37-acre farm property right down the road from the sheep farm where Mathew grew up. The new property is currently in the process of a complete renovation and the couple plans to put their land back into pasture to expand his father’s sheep operation there, while raising their two daughters, Maggie and Eme. They hope that by living on the farm and experiencing the responsibility and hard work that comes with the lifestyle, their children will grow to become patient, confident and independent people.

Maggie and Eme’s drawings of what they think their new home will look like.


Maggie and Eme play in the fields of their future home while their dad works on cleaning up the property on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
Mathew’s father, Don, Mathew and Jenni, have a discussion after dinner on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, following a long day of cleanup at the new farm property.

 “It’s a double edged sword because the stress will get to you sometimes; but then when you sit down and think about it, it gets exciting because we’re starting this new thing and it’s a clean slate.” – Matt Van Nostran