Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rainy day blues

There are some killer mosquitoes around here, and they seem to like the way I taste. I have bites up and down my arms and legs. I’m having a hard time refraining from scratching them. In fact, I haven’t been able to and they have turned into huge red itching welts. I hope they don’t scar my beautiful skin! But I suppose it’d be my own fault if they do, since I’m the one scratching them. Sometimes I think I scratch them in my sleep, when I have no conscious control over my hands and nails. But I’ve been scratching enough during the day when I am conscious.
Why do mosquitoes exist, anyway? I’m sure I’m not the first to ask this question. They don’t seam to serve any purpose that I can find. Most insects and worms are vital players when it comes to pollination and decomposition; they are needed in the cycle of life. Mosquitoes do nothing of the kind. I also found out during my research that it’s only female mosquitoes that bite us; they need our iron and protein for egg production. So the little bitches that bit me did it so they can lay eggs that will give life to more mosquitoes, who will also try to bite me.
Ed, in his Buddhist leanings is all for living and letting live when it comes to other creatures who inhabit this planet, except for mosquitoes, flies and sometimes spiders. If they are just going to bite us and make us itch like crazy, then we are going to kill as many as we can. Have you ever killed a mosquito that was in the middle of sucking your blood, and you swat it, and raise your hand to find a small smudge of blood on your arm? Was that your blood or the mosquito’s? At what point in their taking it from you does it cease to be yours and start to be theirs? When they fly off I suppose.

Ed and I are both horribly depressed lately. Two steps forward and three steps back. A few days filled with sunshine and good news followed by weeks and weeks of frustration. It’s frustrating. There is not a lot of economy or industry up here in the best of times, and these are not them. Most of the job postings are for health care, and I am not a RN. We briefly talked about me becoming one, which would require schooling, but I have to ask myself, do I really want to be poking people with needles, and cleaning scars and being coughed on? Ummm, I don’t think so. I mean, it is a valuable skill and god bless nurses; it’s just not for me.
What is for me? What do I want to do with my life? All I need to do is answer that question then go out and do it. How easy it all sounds. And how stupid I feel for not being able to answer it. My religious upbringing taught me that girls should dream of being a good housewife and mom. Those are noble endeavors, but I’m neither. Well, I am a step-mom, but Hannah is 16 and still in LA. And if I really think about it, I am a trailer-wife, whatever that is worth. Some people will argue that my religion (I was raised Mormon but no longer subscribe to the belief system) does not pigeonhole girls into that role, but those are the messages I received being raised in the church. I was never asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Whenever I came up with something I wanted to be, a ballerina or an actress, I was told that it wasn’t likely to happen, nobody liked me and I should read my scriptures. Like everyone, I see my past though my colored glasses and other’s might disagree, but they are my memories. Revisionist history.
So I sit here, on my hands, racking my brain. Maybe I know the answers, and maybe I’m scared to admit what I want, for fear that I’m not good enough. And demons are in my head, and under my bed and in my sock drawer. So I’m paralyzed, sitting in my boat floating down the river. Don’t go wherever the river flows. But why not let the river answer the questions for me? Beats having to do it myself. That would leave my life uncomplicated and unfulfilled. But I’ve never been one to take the answers given to me, thus the mental battle. Have I said that already?

So where do we go from here? Ed and I have now extended our job search to a national level. And if something gets offered, we’d leave the farm. Our financial stability is more immediately necessary and important than raising pigs. Without cash we would not be able to keep up the farm anyway. I’ve often pondered this: it’s impossible for nothing to happen, by the very nature of nature, something is going to happen. The sun will rise again; the plants and animals will grow. I will age, and get wrinkles, and my hair will turn grey, and Ed and I will move out of this trailer, build a house where we will sit by the fire laughing about the days we were cramped in the Airstream.


  1. Living in Louisiana one knows all about mosquitoes. "Skin so soft", you can order it from Avon and it works, good for your skin also. And yes we men use it also (we just don't tell anyone. Real simple philosophy I live by, Just step outside in the early morning with your coffee or tea and look and listen. If the birds are singing, the sun is shinning, and the wind is blowing then is going to be a beautiful day.

  2. What to do... what to do... Do what comes naturally. Do what you love doing. Your words indicate you love to write. Develop your natural talents. You're well educated, articulate and creative, with a unique point of view and sense of humor. You also have the self-confidence and job skills necessary to promote yourself and your writing. Try Googling 'freelance writing jobs.' Seriously. You've found your voice. Let it be heard.

  3. Have you thought about work campers??

  4. Hi

    I read your story on your blog and on the I-REPORT and wanted to write to you almost immediately to wish you luck and my prayers and good wishes are with you and your famiy.
    I'm sorry for your loss due to the downturn of this economy and your past lifestyle but I encouraged you to hang in there and keep hoping and praying because you will soon seen finer days return with your prayers. Enjoy nature in the meantime.

    Thank you

  5. Hello. Just discovered your wonderful blog. Do you know how many people wish they could do what you are doing, but don't have the guts? Lots!!!
    I love Airstream trailers & visit the Vintage Airsream Club website, which is a great resource for all things Airstream. Also, you might want to check out, which is a guy who has downsized even further than you, & travels around the country in an old purple bread truck. Finally, you might want to check out They are citronella grass; catnip, rosemary, marigolds and mosquito plants (which can be ordered from mail order catalogs). Don't know if any of these work, but it's worth a try. Keep up your spirits. Purple 53 says we have to learn how to barter again with goods & services, instead of always relying on money. It's an old fashioned principal, one that most of us have forgotten how to use. I'll continue to follow your blog.

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  7. I read about you and your husband on I am a social work student, and I was looking for a news article to bring to class and I wanted to bring something positive and empowering and not so much like our biased and negative every day news.

    I can understand changing lifestyles can be challenging, however, making the best of it will make it more fun. The fact that you are not alone and are sharing this experience with the the love of your life is also special. I'm sure you are extremely grateful for what you do have, but just know that you are indeed an inspiration. I'm heading to my class now to share your story and your blog info. Just remember to "Live Simply so that others may simply live."

    All the best.

  8. I am a prepper, what is rudely called a survivalist, in American society. You see, survivalists have goobers hanging from their nose and saliva drooling from their lips so being a prepper is a BIG step up the evolutionary ladder. We must keep trying to evolve!

    Many people would be extremely happy to trade you places at your 5 acre spread there in Oregon. It is because we think there will be a collapse of society and there will be danger living in the city. For some reason Gods got your ass out of there, so enjoy that and celebrate it.

    Plant a HUGE garden this Spring. Buy non-hybrid seed and learn to save seed from your crops. Learn to preserve your crops without the use of electricity. The electrical grid being down is a big thing on a lot of people's minds these days and it CAN happen. The one thing you can depend on is wood burning. It is very important to keep this in mind.

    Your sheep looked cute and good. If I were you I would get a chicken house built and producing. You can feed your chickens ground feed from your corn crop from the Summer. You just dry the corn on the stalk, shell it, and then grind it with your hand grinder. You do have a hand grinder don't you? But chickens produce eggs and meat and that is good. Getting a cow would be a good idea if you can keep it milked twice a day. Goat milk will not make butter but cow's milk damn sure will. It would be good to find someone who would like to trade or buy your extra milk. You WILL have extra milk.

    As for your grape ideas. talk to some older heads up there and find out which varietites DO NOT NEED SPRAYED. French hybrids might make nice wine but they cost like hell from buying sprays.

    My blog is at There is NO dot at the end of the www.

    My email is I will be keeping track of you from back here in Indiana. I wish you both the best and many years of it.


  9. I lived in S. Oregon for four years. My parents were in the medical field so we never really felt the harsh realities of the area.

    I think that both of you would really find the Peace Corps very rewarding. Another idea would be to move to DC and do temp work until you find something permanent. There are always finance jobs to be had in that area. It can be tricky though if you don't already live there.

    At this point I live in Portland, OR. Small employment market. Cheap rent though and a lot more opportunities than S. Oregon.

    Good luck.

  10. This was posted on your iReport site:

    "I would like to talk to Ed and Leah. I believe I might have a position that could help them. Does anyone know how I can get a hold of them? I can be reached at

    Charles McClister "

  11. Go make lemonade!

    You're obviously out there chasing your dreams. Pursue them long enough and good things will happen.

    In the meantime, don't forget to try and make the most out of your current situation. There are plenty of couples full-timing it out of their Airstreams, many for the very same reasons you are. Don't forget to work those angles to see what new avenues you might explore. Here are a few sites -- sign up, log on, post your links, and you'll see lots of friendly folk come out of the woodwork sharing their own experiences. You never know when one of these efforts just might click for you! Here goes:

    For Airstream owner events all over the country (including OR) try here:

    You guys are doing great -- oh, and go buy some Skintastic -- not your typical mosquito repellant, but it works great!

  12. What possessed you to move to Douglas County? I live here, too. The economy has been total shit for over a decade. The rest of the country keeps whining about layoffs; they've been a constant factor in everyone's lives here for years. I don't feel sorry for you, because most people in this area would be happy to trade places with you. How many months have you been here? You think it's bad? Most people who live in this county don't have a choice. Stop being so condescending.

  13. Welcome to Oregon!

    We're hillbillies now too, though not from Beverly Hills. Our hillbilly life in Burnt Woods (on Highway 20 between Corvallis and Newport) came via Austin, Texas and Kodiak, Alaska, where we made a whopping 100,000 +/year Fishing in the Bering Sea.

    Then life happened.

    We lost our lake front home, filed the big "B" and now make a whopping $25,000 a year. We live in a 29 foot trailer on the family ranch, take care of my husbands parents (both 92), manage the 150 acre property grow our garden (Green Acres is my theme song) and for additional income we play music ( every chance we get.

    Our lives run parallel and I just wanted you to know that we wish you the best during your time of transition.

    From the high life to hillbilly life. From weekly sushi dates to eating homegrown beef. From city lights and city noise to black velvety starry skies and nightly serenades from the frog and cricket symphony.

    From city folks to Country folks. From comfortable to feeling out of our element. Life is an adventure. The journey is always changing. It takes awhile, but we made it and we've never been happier or closer to eachother, and what an honor and blessing it is to take care of the folks!

    Wishing you the same happ'y'ness,

    The Burnt Woods Hillbillies,

    James and Julz
    Peace and Music

  14. I found your blog through a link, enjoy yourselves, and take time winding down who knows you may find yourselves enjoying the slower pace and it's a lot better area to raise children than LA. Name your Air Stream "The Ellie Mae" to fit in with the Hillbillies theme.

  15. So what town do you live near? I live in Portland, Oregon and moved here from Tucson, AZ..I do have a few connections in Southern OR, and was just wondering were you were located. The weather will be wonderful soon, I promise...ET

  16. Hey- I read about your blog on CNN. I am from Vermont so I had to check it out. I miss the country life so much. I now live in Dallas where life is very hectic. Even after 25 years here, I still miss and dream about my simple country life. Here is a little advice: slow down and just be. Be still and enjoy each day. Try to find God again. Prayers seem to come easier and God seems nearer when you are in the country. For the bites try tea tree oil. Pick some up the next time you are in town and wear skin so soft bath oil each day(AVON). The bugs hate it and it contains no poison and it smells good. You are a great writer.

  17. Found you through CNN. You're the top story. Maybe Oprah or someone is going to call you, you're famous now!

    My fiance and I are in greater L.A. and fantasize about the life you are living now. Although, not in a trailer. Things are going to get worse especially here and you are going to be in a very enviable position in the near future. I second the non-hybrid seeds and no pesticides that another mentioned earlier. Stay organic. Good luck to you and your husband.

  18. Hey Leah,

    I am amazed right now over some similarities we share... same age, same sign, both lived in SoCal, both blogging!

    What's crazy is that I have had a dream to get rid of stuff and buy an Airstream to live out of! Doesn't seem like you are enjoying my dream too much though! ;)

    I probably underestimate what my real reaction would be adjusting to life in such small quarters. It would be quite the change. There is something that is very freeing about your situation though. I never made the kind of money you have and have no concept of what your previous lifestyle would be like. Even still, I feel overwhelmed by all this "stuff" we are supposed to have and do as modern American consumers. There has to be a better way.

    Well keep up the great blogging and maybe you can check mine out... (we used the same layout too!) =D

  19. From a grandmother - an envious grandmother. Savor each day, each moment. You'll never get another time like this. Become closer to God, the stars, the animals. Enjoy everything for what it is. Life - in the form of a job or children - will intervene soon enough. This time is a gift - accept it.

  20. Hello Leah, I know what you are going through. My family and I also moved from NYC to nowhere land in Florida for economic reasons and living here with cows all around us was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but I thank the good Lord for helping us get through these still difficult times. There are times I do wish to be in NY, but reality says, "not going to happen during this economic crisis." All I can say to you and your husband is to Trust in God. He knows why you are there. Now you need to ask Him to reveal the purpose He has for you in the place you are at now. There is always a reason for things happening they way they do. Count it a blessing that your husbands parents have so much land that you are able to live on until you can get back on your feet. Trust the Lord and give your burdens over to Him. Let the Lord be in control of your life and before you know it, being there won't seem so bad and where He leads you next will seem like a walk in the park. May the Lords peace be with you and your family. God bless.

  21. Our ducks take care of our mosquito population for us! They're really cute, great egg layers, and don't mess up the garden nearly as much as the chickens.

  22. I would give anything to convince my husband that it is time to slow down, stop working 7 days a week to 'keep up' this lifestyle we now lead. We have a 200 acre family farm that we could move to - it's in the middle of BumF**k Arkansas and that is the problem he has. I keep telling him with satellite TV and internet he won't be in isolation - something I would just love.
    God bless you both.