During the Whites' previous stay in Californiaóthe six months when they had made the Rowland home their headquartersóthey enjoyed being guests and visitors. But when they arrived in Santa Rosa in December 1873 they settled down as residents.
Ellen reported in a letter to her children: "We have plenty of house room and all the furniture we need. We are comfortably situated" (letter 8, 1874).
Their home seemed to be a center of attraction to many visitors and a place where the state conferences were held. On one occasion she reported, "We had thirty for dinner, lodged eighteen and fed them straight through. The meeting passed off very pleasantly" (letter 10, 1874).
But as the winter rains dragged on, they were hindered from riding out and visiting as they wished. But they kept busy. Loughborough reported:
We esteem it a great privilege to have in our midst Brother and Sister White, who during the rainy season are vigorously prosecuting their writings, and are even now giving us good counsel and aid in the work here; and when spring opens, and they have the opportunity of speaking to our people in different places, as the providence of God may indicate, they are prepared to greatly help our people (ibid., Feb. 24, 1874).