Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

So having told my story and my plans to my family, my dad who always promotes gardening, gave me a great book for Christmas, Sunset Western Garden Book, which according to him, and the book itself, is the bible of gardening. It is broken down into sections, first it maps out the western United States, breaking the area down into climate zones. Roseburg is in zone six. Zone six is considered a maritime climate, with a long growing season, April to November, and 40 to 55 inches of annual rainfall in most places. The hills have good drainage, and are known for berries and Pinot Noir grapes. And I’m definitely going to try to make my own wine.
The next 500 pages of the book breakdown every type of plant you can think of, and then some, alphabetically, telling you what zones they grow in, how much light and water they need and general information about the plants. So I’m making a list of everything I want to grow, and I’m looking them up.
The last section of the book is filled with general gardening information, the tools you need and how to take care of the soil. One page is all about vegetable gardening. Very useful, so thanks, Dad.
I wonder how hard it will be to grow a vegetable garden, sometimes I think it should be pretty easy, I think I’m moving to fairly ideal conditions, and I mean, plants grow naturally, right? But still I do know that it will be work, but a labor of love. I can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt.
On the flip side... for his birthday a few weeks ago, Ed was given a book as well, this one is titled, An Omnivores Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. And from what we have read of it so far, it is following much of the grocery store food backwards, to see the origins of that Twinkie, Microwave Dinner, Rice-A-Ronie and Campbell’s soup, to discover that much of it is derived from corn. That’s where the energy starts. So even though through master-minded packaging we are tricked into thinking we have a diversified diet, we don’t. So, even though I plan on growing corn, I hope this process helps in the diversification of my diet.
Maybe I’ll have my own cows and feed them grass (most industrial cows are fed corn), and make my own cheese. And keep pigs and send them out to the butcher. Although Ed says pigs are dirty. And keep chickens and gather my own eggs. I wonder, and I can’t wait to start.
But for now I’m stuck in my Los Angeles apartment, with nothing to do, except read books on the matter.
So if you have any further suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the pictures of where we will be living. I'm new to this blogging, and couldn't get the full pictures in the body of the blog. I will work on this. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

so it starts

Ed left this morning, he is driving up to Oregon, and then to Washington. To pick up the used airstream we bought. Pictures will be posted soon. I’m going from a two bedroom 1400 square foot apartment, to a 300 square foot trailer. ed’s calling me every hour or so, he’s loving it, leaving LA, the long drive, his mind is off and traveling down roads, while I’m at home, sick and curled up on the couch. I think my skull in going to pound itself out of my head.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

my style


so i've started another blog, for those of you who care, this one is intended to be the rough draft on my book-in-progress, "Around the World on a Student Loan"
the address is:

for those of you who don't read my second blog, here is a quick note about my style, Ed felt it was important that i explain.
i don't like to capitalize personal pronouns, sometimes i do sometimes i don't. and i don't obey capitalization rules in general. i don't really understand proper english grammar, i claim it's because i was never taught proper grammar. i like long rambling sentences with lots of commas, but i don't use semi-colons. i also think fragments should be used, you don't really need a complete sentences, as long as the words work in context, what does it matter where the periods go? just wherever it feels like i need to stop.
i like to play with words, consider the following six sentences:

the cat sat on the mat
on the mat the cat sat
sat the cat on the mat
the cat on the mat sat
on the mat sat the cat
sat on the mat the cat

they all say the same thing, don't they? i mean, they all convey the same message, that there is a cat sitting on a mat, right?
well i think so.

have a good day.

The Transition

My name is Leah, I am 28, recently married, and living in Los Angeles. And when I say Los Angeles, I mean West Hollywood, more or less. I work in Beverly Hills, the 90210, cause it’s all about the zip code. I travel between the two daily, back and forth, to and from work, and it’s all about the scene, the be seen, and where you are seen, and with who, and what are you wearing and driving. For my livelihood, I manage the money of filthy rich people, and some not so rich, but who manage to retain our services. I see obscene amounts of money being thrown around on frivolous shit. But that’s not the point. My husband too works in Beverly Hills, or did, until recently. Ed was in life settlements, he wrote life insurance policies for high net worth individuals, which are then sold on the secondary market. Well, that was the idea anyway. So in our respective professions, we were skirting on the edge of the money club, the high rollers and fliers, and traders and buyers, and we were planning on joining the club ourselves. The country club isn’t so much our scene, but it was part of the game, and we would have money to play with.
Well, I’m sure you noticed, I spoke of my husband's job in the past tense, as the credit markets tightened, his company, which needed heavy capital flow to operate, started to implode, and he, although part owner, was quickly ousted with no warning and no severance. So we are faced with an option, my job does not provide enough to maintain the two of us here, so we could stay here living our LA life going into debt, Ed could find a job he doesn’t like and that doesn’t pay as well, or move elsewhere with a lower cost of living and start over there. I’m getting tired of the city, and it’s non-stop video game action, Ed’s never lived anywhere except in the metropolitan area that is LA, and we have both been itching for a change, I just did not expect it would happen so soon, or that it would take this form, but we got kicked out the door and are under duress.
Ed’s folks, who are getting on in years, have a 5-arce farm in southwest Oregon. We have talked in the past that we would like to get a hold of that property, for our own retirement. It’s in the middle of a valley, surrounded by vineyards and farmers. Well, Grant and Carol suggested that we move up now, we can get back on our feet and help them around the farm. I’m having more of a panic episode than Ed is, especially given that it was him who lost his job. But I am learning to let go of whatever it is that I’m holding onto and explore this new segment of my life. And there is a peace there, at the bottom of the panic and several bottles of wine.
Another constant topic of conversation between my husband and I, is the unhealthy, unnatural way in which humans pass through this life, (this is a very large topic on which I could write a book, and maybe one day I will). And I like to come up with ways and means in which we can live more in tune with nature. We bought a Toyota Prius, and recycle, and use our own cloth bags at the grocery store. But we are still living in an artificial environment. Eating packaged goods, fruit that was picked 10 days and 5000 miles ago, and half of it doesn’t taste that good, but I’m a picky eater so that doesn’t mean anything. And these things weigh upon our consciousness. I studied anthropology, Ed studied philosophy, I thought you should know this, as it greatly effects the prism through which we view the world.
I grew up on somewhat of a farm, although it was in Tucson, AZ. But my dad managed to keep a garden, it was bigger than our house, and he spent more time out there then he did in the house. We always had fresh fruit and veggies, let’s see, corn, tomatoes, cucumber (although it took him a few years to find a cucumber variety that did not grow bitter in the desert) squash, beans, mint, grapes, apricots, lemons, pecans (it takes seven years for a pecan tree to start producing) oranges, I can’t remember it all. We had a pig once, some sheep (that all ended up in our freezer), chickens (I had to go collect eggs). However I also grew up in restrictive religious household, and am having to tease out in my head, that I can take joy in the more domestic aspects of life, and joy in working the earth and self-sustaining, without feeling stifled or shafted into that roll. This is my task. Along with figuring out what I want to do with my life and how to get there.
First things first, we are buying a used Airstream trailer, via Craigslist with the aid of Grant, Ed’s step-dad. This too has been a stressful process, and it’s still in process. I’m going to be living in a trailer. This is also a difficult bone to swallow. I have an impressed image of a dumpy trailer with pleated beige sides, with a bad painting of an eagle and squiggly multi-colored lines down the side panel, surrounded by trash and broken down vehicles, empty bottles, and inside there was a fat drunken man on the couch yelling at the woman in the kitchen with the sink overflowing with dirty dishes, and the two year old with a sagging diaper crawling across the filthy floor. Okay, that’s not going to be my trailer, we are getting an Airstream, classic you see, and Ed is anal about cleanliness, so that helps, and we won’t be in a trailer park in the desert, we’ll be on a 5-arce lush farm.
I have so much to learn, and little time to learn it in, but really I have all the time in my life to learn. I want to learn composting, and winemaking. Ed wants to raise Alpacas, they are sheared for their wool, and bred, so we could get stud fees. But that is down the road. We will eventually build a log cabin, as environmentally friendly as possible. And when Ed’s folks pass on we will transform their house into a guest house, and turn part of the barn into a studio, and our little farm can be an artist's community, where people can come and contribute and create. At least that’s the idea. But first we need to get jobs as soon as possible after arriving, and establish ourselves.
It’s hard, you know, firstly because during this phase of our transition, Ed is able to be at home, with the windows open and his music playing, and he has the leisure to collect his thoughts and organize the house, preparing for the move. I, on the other hand, am still obliged to an office, and all the stresses that come along with it, and haven’t had as much time to sit and be with my thoughts as he has. Due to the complicated nature of my work, and the smallness of my office, I now have the pleasure of finding and training my replacement. Which is eating time out of my workday, and adding to the stress. I get very little relaxing in, and I was never that good at relaxing anyway.
And here we are, and from here we go. I sometimes wonder how far I’ll go. Will we get a cow, and I’ll milk it myself, and make my own cheese, grow my own cotton, make my own clothes, make my own paper? I will try to grow as much food as I can. Potatoes for sure. Also I want to harvest rainwater, use it to water the plants and animals. It rains a lot there, so I’ll have to learn the proper storage of water, and filter it for drinking water.
I have concerns about the circumstances. The major one is that I will be living on the same property as my in-laws, who I don’t know that well, but what I do know of them concerns me as being over-bearing and abrasive. But good, good folk trying to get by best they know how.