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Monday, October 13, 2008

A Childhood Dream Come True

~Sadge at Firesign Farm
I too, am honored to be a part of this co-operative venture. Looking over my fellow bloggers’ introductory posts, it appears I’ve taken a different route to the simple living philosophy. I started early. I grew up a city kid, the oldest of five. Dad was a salesman, earning only straight commission, and Mom was into the “reduce, reuse, recycle” lifestyle long before anyone else, probably out of necessity. Dad had a garden and fruit trees in the back yard, Mom canned the harvest. I was doing the baking when I was eight, and sewing my own clothes at twelve. Grandma taught me embroidery, and Grandpa taught me to not name anything you’re going to eat (and how to roll his cigarettes for him – probably best Mom doesn’t know that). When I read the Little House on the Prairie books, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a pioneer - living off the land, in a cozy little home where my husband and I made everything in it.

Maybe it's crazy, but that dream never died. I did what I could, when I could. Except for a couple of years in a college dorm, I’ve had a garden everywhere I’ve lived – in the backyards of rental houses or in pots on the windowsills of apartments. I even gardened for 10 years in Leadville, the highest city in the US at 10,200 feet. Organic Gardening magazine ran a photo of me with some of my high-altitude harvest one year. With a season too short and cold for compost, I kept a worm box under my bathroom sink. I was at the library every month to read the new magazine, Mother Earth News, and devoured the Foxfire books. I bought books like Diet for a Small Planet and Make Your Own Groceries, learned how to cook with a pressure cooker, and how to economically keep warm when it’s 25 below zero outside.

Twenty-two years ago, I moved to northern Nevada. I was overjoyed to be where I could once again grow tomatoes and corn! And I met Aries – a fellow pioneer spirit. He had a little house, originally a two-room building (all the plumbing on one wall of the kitchen – from the sink you’d walk through the shower stall to get to the toilet), with a bedroom added on later. He’d built a garage and added on a bedroom and bathroom. After we were married (19 years, yesterday!), we did all the work to turn it into a cozy home – wallpapering, sewing, building furniture, everything from laying floor tiles to texturing the ceiling. This isn't really a farm - it’s an urban homestead, on a little over an acre (half of that still just sand and sagebrush) on the outside edge of the capital of Nevada. But over the years we’ve raised horses, a goat, a pig, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens and guinea fowl (only the latter two here now). I stood on a pitchfork to dig up the horse corral to put in a garden; we used our wedding present money to buy fruit trees. Through canning, dehydrating and cellaring, I rarely buy produce from the store. My childhood dream came true.

Over time, I find it interesting that perceptions of me have changed from "that crazy hippie" to that of a valued resource. People have stopped asking why I’d work so hard (when you can just buy things at the store) and started asking if I’ll teach them. When I saw young mothers trying to patch the knees of their toddlers' pants with iron-on patches, I realized that a lot of the things I know how to do are in danger of becoming lost arts. I volunteer with a group working towards making my community more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly, and have a B.S. degree in Human Ecology. Blogging seems a good way to share my knowledge and experience with a world now hungry to learn. I’m happy to be a part of this effort, and hoping I’ll learn more here too.

8 comments:

rhonda jean said...

Welcome Sadge. Thanks for a very interesting first post. You're right, it's amazing how it's come full circle. I think all our grannies must be having a little chuckle seeing how we are all striving to live now. Looking forward to your posts.

Catz said...

Hello Sadge!
Looking forward to your posts. You are right about "lost skills" we have a generation or two that have never needed to learn and haven't wanted to. I can see folk queuing up now once they have their lightbulb moment! The lights are going on pretty quick around the world right now!

Cathy said...

Hello Sadge
Nice to see you in another place lol
They do say that everything old is new again but it's funny how what we were taught as children has now become 'popular' and the way of life people to aspire to live.
Look forward to what you write here - as well as at the Farm
Take care
Cathy

Anonymous said...

I too was inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I recently reread her books. Wow.
Thats my dream since I was a kid. I too learnt many skills growing up, out of nessessity. Have been interested and following these principles most of my life, though not able to step out of mainstream society. Do what i can when i can.
Cheers
Juanita

Shaunta said...

What a great post. We have so much in common. I even live in Northern Nevada, too :) (We're close to Ely.) You are living the life I strive for. I've bookmarked your personal blog and can't wait to read more here, too.

Shaunta
www.shauntagrimes.com

Eilleen said...

I look forward to reading your posts Sadge! How wonderful to have the skills you have. I think its even more wonderful that you do not take those skills for granted - no doubt that has played some part in how others have come to relate to you.

Nancy M. said...

Happy Anniversary!!! I am enjoying reading the posts over here!

Melinda said...

So interesting how diverse we all are - this is lovely!

"People have stopped asking why I’d work so hard... and started asking if I’ll teach them." This I have found to be incredibly true as well. When it comes to growing, reading, eating locally, getting rid of chemicals in our home, whatever "crazy" sustainable undertaking we've done, it now looks more normal. Now people ask us questions about it. IT'S WONDERFUL!!

Very pleased to meet you!