Locals + Culture

House Calls | Patrick Ramsay

11/17/2022 | Samuel Johnson
Lauren Kerr | Kerri Fukui

As a queer writer, Patrick Ramsay was always drawn to Ogden’s writing community, a space he feels allowed him to find his voice. Now, with a full time career in writing, Patrick wanted to give back to said community by opening a bookstore - with a fresh take, based around the concept of paying what you are able and really focusing on delivering people the books they want to read. In addition, the store gives a portion of their proceeds to local nonprofits. Happy Magpie Book and Quill is Patrick’s gift back to the community that helped shape him and ultimately lured him back to make home at his roots, Ogden. 

Patrick is building his home utilizing all of his adventures and memories of places lived, loved and experienced.

Many of these memories shifted him out of New York and back to Utah. After pouring his heart into a Capitol Hill condo, he decided to sell and purchased his charming home in Ogden. Walking into Patrick’s home, you are able to feel the abundance of his love. He truly cares about life and all it has to offer. His entire home radiates in that love, from the eclectic rooms to the farm fresh yard.

How does your home express who you are as a person?

My home houses all of my wild interests and most coveted inspirations in life, a place I go to learn and to be inspired by. My home also expresses who I am as a person by allowing me to experiment with styles and figure out what really feels like me. Like understanding how to walk into a space and kind of adjust and modify it to make it feel like it matches who you are, is a really liberating experience. 

Like myself, it’s a work in progress. I think that is probably the best way to explain it. That’s how it expresses who I am. I'm working on things project by project for myself and on myself project by project, just like in life. 

I think that is the nature of home being a place where you can define the types of things that you want to decorate your life with, literally and metaphorically. It is really special figuring out what books I want to keep forever and what books I want to get rid of, or what type of dish you want in your home. I would never have thought about that a few years ago, but now I genuinely get joy eating breakfast off of a specific dish. So yeah, home expresses me in a million types of ways. Each day I feel like I'm learning a different way that home expresses who I am. 

How do you maintain that sensation of home in your space?

I think when I'm not feeling grounded or not feeling at home in my space, I like to start a new project and remind myself why it means so much to me. Even just putting up a new painting or framing a piece of art that I've had for years can help remind me why I got this thing and this is actually really valuable to me and I just need to put it somewhere.

Yeah, so I think it's like a constant checking in with what the space is expressing and what makes you feel at home or comfortable, or what brings joy. I'm prioritizing things that bring joy in the house, and that's my MO across the board. I want this house to feel good to come home to and for other people to come in and feel that too. 

It definitely feels like an art of maintaining a space that feels like you and also exudes you to the people who come into it. But yeah, it's always just a work in progress, as long as you're just aware of it.

What does a perfect day look like to you?

Oh God, I don't know if I've had the perfect day yet. It's been so many projects so far I haven’t been able to relax. No, the perfect day to me looks like waking up, having coffee before the world is kind of stirring… iced coffee! Enjoying a breakfast burrito or something at my kitchen table. Drawing the blinds and letting light come into the house, slowly letting it fill up the home. Listening to a podcast or reading something and then going outside and just putting my feet in the grass. Physically touch the flowers in the front yard because they're there, because I put them there. These specific fixtures around the property continue to stay here and continue to grow, like we have this agreement where you're a flower and I give you water and you grow and you get sunshine. Honestly, gardening is the most insane shit to me ever, I love it, it's so cool. 

The perfect day for me would be going out and spending some time in the garden. Feeding the chickens because that's how they wake me up every day. Then accomplishing some sort of project before heading to the farmers market because Ogden has an incredible farmers market. Coming home and eating a peach before heading to the lake. Maybe spending the whole day there. Coming home to sit in a hammock in the backyard and reading next to the pond. Hunter and I did that a few weeks ago and it was the nicest thing ever. I was like, this is why I have a backyard! Maybe hosting some people, too. I really like having friends over, we don't have nearly enough. So yeah, slow morning, slow day, a bit of a social night or a chill night is the perfect mix for me.

What's your favorite part of the house and why?

The garden - the front and backyard. I feel like I'm in touch with life on a constant basis, in a way that I haven't felt since I was a kid. I used to spend my day in the garden when I was younger picking strawberries, catching bugs, being three inches away from life growing in my backyard. I honestly haven't done that since and now, here I feel like I'm the one responsible for making sure that the pond is running and the fish are healthy. Making sure that the chickens are fed and that they can go somewhere and forage in the morning, and I need to go pick those cucumbers. There are so many things that bring me physically in touch with the garden and property on a daily basis. It feels like I'm just getting a closer look at life, closer than I have been in a really long time. It feels incredible to be the one responsible for why that's growing or why that's there, or why this bee has found this specific flower and is pollinating. Contributing to a whole life cycle on its own, its mind blowing to me. I try not to get into it too much, but it's so, so cool that these things are happening because we put gardens behind homes. Yeah, and like, it's pretty fucking magical.

What prompted the move from the bigger cities to Ogden?

When I was in New York, I was working for an airline, so I could fly wherever I wanted to… and I did. I flew wherever, every weekend. I would just go for short trips and come back to the city and spend another five days working. Then go for another few days on a trip and then rinse and repeat for like 2 1/2 years. After a while, I realized it wasn't working for me, the city culture itself. I realized that the experiences I was going out into the world to have were all right here. I was trying to recreate the feelings and activities that I could have here in Utah. Like I was flying to the southern United States to go on a climbing trip when in reality, from this house right now, there's a trailhead four minutes away that will take you to climbing. All of the hiking is here, everything that I really wanted was here. And I kind of knew that, but I never wanted to admit to myself that I should go back to Utah. 

So, when I realized that the experiences I wanted to have in life and the ones that I was trying to create on vacations were actually what I could have here, just living in Ogden, that's when I decided to really transition my life back here.

If the world is ending

I’ll be in the backyard 

collecting the eggs from the coop

smelling and then showering the rage-red 

strawberries almost ripe enough

to eat. I’ll be dipping my knees into the soil 

while I tug up weeds. This is more pure

than prayer. If the world is ending, 

come ‘round back. The gate is open. 

The lavender is shaking its small fragrant fists

by the thousands. The honey locust tree

is pulsing electric with a riot of bees. The air 

is thick with early summer and bloom. It’s quiet 

enough. And hey, the copper-black hen just laid 

her first egg—the color of Mars and tiger’s eye. 

It’s yours if you want it. 

A poem by Patrick Ramsay

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