leaves are changing all around us...
leaves are changing all around us…
if you let change happen it turns into amazing things if you learn to accept + learn....
colors line our walkways….

When my husband and I purchased our second home in 1999, we were looking for a home close to work. It had to be a walking distance from the schools our kids were attending,have a place to grow food, first floor laundry and  have an office to work from home. It took us two years to search for a home that would meet all those needs. My oldest daughter and I were out searching for a home one day, and she said,”Stop Mom and look at that house.” I was not impressed with this house when I first saw it; I must admit. It was not what I wanted for it was very different from all the other houses in the area. It was a California Mission type home which was covered in vines! It was for sale by owner, and I was certain it would be another reject but to appease my daughter, I decided to check it out. She was so certain it was THE ONE. Well, my oldest daughter was right. It was THE ONE.

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The day we toured the house, I fell in love with it for it had everything on one floor which meant it was a home we could live in for a long time. It had a yard larger than my postage stamp yard, I was living in at the time. It was built-in the late 60’s and all the original harvest gold/avocado green appliances were still working. I lived with those 60’s appliances for the first decade! People rejected this house for it was covered in every room with 60’s wallpaper, shag carpet, old flooring, and even had a pink bathroom! I did not mind all the odd colored walls and appliances. I could see beyond its imperfections. We got “THE ONE” house + that was all I cared about for my kids needed space to grow and we needed space to dream.

changing through the seasons of all our lives...

It has grown with us  through the years and the last kid moved out in 2013 to attend graduate school. We have just joined the club known as “Empty Nesters” and it feels weird to no longer have kids in and out all day long or dodge cars in the driveway or street. I can hear the leaves rustle outside, birds sing, and I no longer have extras bodies for dinner. It is quiet. It is a simple life now….

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This past year we celebrated our 15th year in our home. It is the longest I have ever lived in one place. My parents had the “white-line-fever” for it was in their blood. Today “white-line-fever”is a movie or deals with sports, but in my home it was hitting the road to follow the white line, where ever it took you. A fever might last weeks/days/ months before it would eventually pass. I spent a lot of time in the backseat of my parents car as a kid traveling to ALMOST all 50 states in the USA. The ritual on these trips was to take a picture next to a state sign while balancing one foot in each state and waving at the camera! It was a tradition and my kids enjoyed their ‘white-line-fever” car rides with my parents. They may of ONLY covered 5 states in a week with all their activities when they were younger, but they got their trip squeezed in every summer. I would bid them farewell and know it would be a great memory.

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My parents have  moved around, too many times for me to count since I left home at 18 to attend college. I do remember going to college one year and returning home to a new home down the street. I appreciate the fact they stayed put for 15 years so I could attend the same school system. Once my brother +  I graduated from high school  they moved down the street and then across the country many times.

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In 1999 when we moved to our present home, my parents decided to settle a bit closer to us, about 2 hours away. I was overjoyed for they were no longer a day’s drive or plane ride away. As I watched my parents settle, I wanted a different story for my kids. I had no childhood home to return to. My childhood home was gone, and all that was there were pieces that travelled to new places. It does not bother me for I have the ‘white-line-fever” in my blood,too. The challenge I faced with my career life was my “white-line fever” would have to be put on hold for the jobs we had were not the kind that benefited from a white-line-fever.

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My parents were from the times when people had pensions that were honored by companies. People were loyal to the company and companies were loyal to their employees. A person would work for a company and retire with an engraved watch + a pension to live on till they died

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When we finished college in 1982, we moved here for my husbands internship. It was the early 80’s and the Quad City Area was starting to  become depressed. Local industry was closing their doors.People were out of work and the jobs that their families knew for decades were no longer going to be here..manufacturing was going overseas and this area was in a terrible way. People had to find a NEW way to make a living. It was the start of the Social Costs of Deindustrialization ( by John Russo + Sherry Lee Linkon, Youngstown State University).

 

 “Plummeting Manufacturing

The hard times in farm and construction equipment have caused manufacturing employment in the Quad Cities to plummet to 36,000, from 50,000 five years ago. Most of that stems from Harvester and Deere slashing their area employment from 22,000 in 1979 to about 11,000 today.

Dean E. McKee, chief economist for Deere, which is based in Moline, said, ”In magnitude and steepness, the decline of the farm equipment industry is the sharpest it’s been since the 1930’s.” Sales of harvesting combines, for example, have nose-dived to about 9,000 this year, from 32,250 units in 1979.

The residents of Rock Island say their town’s crisis began when President Carter curtailed grain sales to the Soviet Union in 1980. That sent commodity prices plummeting and conceded much of the important Soviet market to grain exporters in Argentina and Australia.

After enjoying spectacular years in the 1970’s, many farmers have been losing money since 1980, a result of low commodity prices. They are thus buying farm equipment less often than before. And high interest rates are making it harder yet for them to purchase equipment.” by  Steven Greenhouse 1984-The New York Times

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Factories were closing their doors such as International Harvester, Case IH, John Deere (cut their labor force in half), and Caterpillar Inc.We arrived just in time to see the local landscape of their workforce changing. Before moving to the Quad cities in 1982, I had never heard of any of these companies but they would become familiar names.

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“Mr. Dunbar said that, to keep costs down, his company was encouraging many experienced employees to take early retirement and was hiring very few young people. Indeed, he said, today’s trying times are causing many of the area’s best and brightest young people to move away.

As a result, dozens of houses stand empty and local housing prices have fallen 20 percent.” by Steven Greenhouse-1984-New York Times

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We decided to settle in this area  for our jobs were here and when we purchased our first home in 1988, we were in a buyers market. When I would  walk through their homes, they were places people had dreams. The sellers had to take a loss. They knew their homes  were worth more than what they were getting….their lives were changed. We did get a good deal, but I never felt right about how it had to happen.

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I also remember attending local functions the first few years we lived here + hearing about a family member losing a job, insurance, pensions, etc. They were always in their 40’s, 50’s or 60’s. It was a way of life for many of these people for generations. I was younger and had no clue what they were going through, but it changed me forever. It made me start reading about living simply and making plans to never be caught off guard by losing a job later in life. I did not want to count on something being forever…. living here during that time taught us about what matters in life. We started looking at our savings and money differently realizing that it is no guarantee that your job will be forever. You only have today. We started looking at our home and ways to make life more sustainable and affordable. I also learned you need to always have a year’s salary in savings!

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After watching others lose their homes + jobs, it made us more careful of how we spent our money. We did not need to have the newest car, gadgets, widgets or whatever! It was hardest on our kids, but they got through it. We live with something until it breaks or it is no longer environmentally sound or usable. Today they call it being frugal, I call it common sense.

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Growing food on city lots is one of the easiest ways to save a lot of money weekly. Rosalind Creasy documented how to save 700 dollars on a mere 100 square feet. She actually took the time to study how much she saved on her city lot growing food in California in 2007. Mother Earth news published her findings.  I would say if you took your entire city lot and try to grow more food you would make a dent in your food bill! You could take the money you saved and build up a nice chunk of change!

update*** Wendy from Quarteracrelifestyle made a good comment on this 700.00 dollars. “We grow our food for the same reason but it has saved us a lot more than $700.00” I have to agree, I save a lot more than that ,too.  It is only a small section of her yard, but if you use more space, for example your landscape you would save  a substantial amount of money! If you get a chance check out her blog— she has great advice for saving food on less than a quarter acre!!!

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 “In 2007, I began to get lots of questions about growing food to help save money. Then, while working on my new book, Edible Landscaping, I had an aha! moment. As I was assembling statistics to show the wastefulness of the American obsession with turf, I wondered what the productivity of just a small part of American lawns would be if they were planted with edibles instead of grass.

I wanted to pull together some figures to share with everyone, but calls to seed companies and online searches didn’t turn up any data for home harvest amounts — only figures for commercial agriculture. From experience, I knew those commercial numbers were much too low compared with what home gardeners can get. For example, home gardeners don’t toss out misshapen cucumbers and sunburned tomatoes. They pick greens by the leaf rather than the head, and harvests aren’t limited to two or three times a season.

For years, I’ve known that my California garden produces a lot. By late summer, my kitchen table overflows with tomatoes, peppers and squash; in spring and fall, it’s broccoli, lettuces and beets. But I’d never thought to quantify it. So I decided to grow a trial garden and tally up the harvests to get a rough idea of what some popular vegetables can produce” Rosalind Creasy 2010 MOther Earth News

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I learned from seeing people around me lose jobs how you can’t count on things to never change. You have to take care of what you have and find ways to stretch a dollar for you don’t want to be caught off guard and only a paycheck away from being broke. Growing food and creating a home that can withstand hard times is the only way to survive a hardship like these people did…I never count on anything being the same…I embrace change, for I know it is inevitable. I have learned to save and live below my means. If you do it long enough, it feels normal…..white-line-fever is like 60’s appliances, you learn to live with it until you can make a change!

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 Hello 2014 look at what is planned to be built on one of our local vacant factory sites ….see change can be a good thing + happen if you wait long enough!

Written by Robbie

M.S. Education, , Organic Gardener, soil + nature lover, former modern dancer

70 comments

  1. I know that fever! I now feel so unsettled, moving from house to house, and only renting. Like you, I want somewhere for our kids to call home, even though half of them aren’t living with us. Now leaving my stamp on a rented garden no longer holds the appeal it used to. I want a garden that I can watch grow and change over many years, with trees that I’ve planted grown big! So I’m a little reluctant to garden here (besides I’m struggling to find time).

    That’s another thing. It was nice for me to read of your current peaceful life; reminding me that I’ll eventually have that time too! It helps me appreciate what I’ve got while I’ve got it – little feet stomping through the house, chirping in the back yard, lazy cuddles on the couch, older kids coming and going, sharing their latest experiences.

    Thanks for this wonderful post Robbie 🙂

    1. just got a phone call now + one is coming home to visit this weekend:-) My oldest ( one that picked the house) just moved from UK to Sweden last week. She has our first little grandson- he is 2 yrs old + she is expecting again! I miss her so much + wish she was not so far away. Do enjoy all those cuddles on the couch..they pass too quickly:-) butttt…I do have the youngest grandson( 1yr old) down the street + I was out gardening with him the other day-too special!!!!
      I agree, having your own garden makes a difference. I now look at the tree that was no taller than my knees in 2000+ it is past the roof. I put all the raspberry plants in and now they are filling my freezer. I am one with the earth:-) A great place to get old and watch the clouds pass by!

      1. Would you believe I just lost my reply to you also?! Aaaargh…

        Have a beautiful weekend with your loved ones 🙂 xo

      2. lol…I use the box above to reply to my comments and if I type a reply-comment in there + do not pay attention “zap” it is gone-lol. It is hard when you just reply to someone and it was a some thing witty or from the heart..hard to recreate! No problem- I do it ALL the time!

  2. Hi Robbie. Yes, whether it is welcomed or not, change is inevitable for we live in a dynamic world. I think we can adapt more easily to gradual or subtle change but the real test is sudden or dramatic change. I am impressed with the lessons your family learnt from moving to an area where people were struggling to adapt to new economic and social circumstances.

    1. I have been in this area since 1982 and it amazes how it has reinvented itself all along the river, job market + we have one heck of a great indoor and outdoor farmer’s Market + food hub. It was a very blue collar industry here but it is changing itself from the core. People are reinventing themselves. It makes one proud to see people survive!

  3. I wish we were leaning over the back fence – I’d love to chat some more on this subject! I wrote whole long response and then Siddy jumped onto the keyboard and it all disappeared! I’m taking that as a sign to just say ‘Great, thought provoking post!’ 🙂

    1. lol…that happens all the time to me when I write a great response and then it does not work–just can’t do it again:-) I totally understand!

  4. Oh Robbie, what a post! So much of what you said tugged at my heart strings and also opened my eyes to new discoveries. I had never heard of “white – line fever” and can see how that could affect a person in two ways; either leaving them with an insatiable wander-lust or making them want to settle. I really feel that you have taken wisdom from both those outlooks and made something good of it all.
    I love, love, love your home and garden and the effort you made to create a heart and soul home for your family where home grown produce played a pivotal role.
    You are right about change and were so wise to be prepared for it. I was not so canny and recently lost everything in terms of my marriage and business. Thanks to one amazing friend, I have hung onto my house and garden and like you always knew anyway, I am finding ways to live not quite as I did, but live a full and rich life.
    I love your eye for colour and natural beauty. As I scroll down I keep crying out with joy as I see that you too love Sorrel, Alaska Nasturtiums, Zinnia and the shades and patterns in a fallen Autumn leaf.
    I think often of the journey which was made by so many in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and I know that we are all capable of holding together if we have the love of family and friends and a plot of earth to call our own.
    I feel lucky to be able to call this place I live “home” and like you, I have tried to make it as lovely and productive as it can be.
    Just give me a few packets of seeds and I have the makings of paradise.
    Karen x x

    1. awww…Karen- I can’t imagine going through all that:-( I am truly sorry. You are so right-“holding together if we have the love of family and friends and a plot of earth to call our own”…sooooo true:-) When I read your blog + look at your photos it tells a story of a person that has “loving” hands. That is a gift to treasure. My garden is what has saved me from a lot of things in my life that have been disappointments. In fact, I started my garden to deal with what was going on around me-what I could not control. When I dig in the dirt it heals me. It helps me believe again in dreams. If it were not for the soil or small bit of land I own, I would not have made it this far. It not only gives me food, it shows me that nothing is impossible if you believe it is possible.
      …” Just give me a few packets of seeds and I have the makings of paradise”.just beautiful:-)..that is why we grow!
      Grapes of Wrath + John Steinback-one of my favorites! compared to people of the past, our modern society needs to spend more time “unplugged” + let ourselves be healed by the soil we live on:-)

      1. Yes, I so agree about the garden healing our souls. And yes, I too have turned to it when life has spiraled out of control. I am so glad that you have your land and pleased to know that it helped keep you steady in troubled times.

  5. This is a thoughtful post Robbie. I come from a very different childhood of growing up in just the one home, I liked it that way and was very fond of it.
    We grow our food for the same reason but it has saved us alot more than $700.00. Growing it and knowing how to is food security, that’s for sure, knowing that whatever happens you are sorted for food is a good feeling. We never do manage to save much though but would like to.
    Life throws some curve-balls and while I don’t particularly like change I handle it 🙂 It’s nice you have most of your family close.

    1. I hope I save more than 700 dollars, too. I was outside last night after dark gathering the makings for a salad. I made a huge green salad and it would of cost me a lot to purchase all the ingredients for my AMAZING salad! I made some homemade dressing + I had the perfect meal. I could not even finish the salad. I was thinking that if I did not have all that outside, I would of had to drive to the grocery store + purchase it all. I grow some greens that I know would not even be in my grocery store. It is amazing how much our garden provides in food.
      I have read your harvests and you get quite a lot of your quarter acre!
      We moved my husbands father closer when we moved to this home for he was in a bad neighborhood up North. He lives closer now and it is much easier to help him as he ages. I have yet to get to Europe to see my oldest daughter. Last time I saw her was in 2010- I miss her so much:-( I am hoping to save some money this year to fly and see her for she is pregnant again. I have not seen my first grandchild-he is 2 yrs old but we do skype. I do feel for you if you family is far away. We do skype( thank goodness) when we can. She just moved from UK to Stockholm last week. She is near her husbands mother and sister, so that comforts me-but I miss her a lot. My middle one just purchased a home about a half mile away:-) I am helping them with their garden this next year-a lot of fun posts as we turn their small lot into a food making machine! She is finishing nursing school in 10 months + has a 1 yr old, so I am blessed that I get to see him often:-) I had him here the other day wandering the urban potager + it was a blast!

      1. That’s so lovely that one of your daughters and your wee grandson live so close and you can help them grow their garden 🙂 It’s nice to be able to pass on your skills and it’s great fun watching wee kids in the garden…it reminds you of the magic there 🙂 My granddaughter used to be amazed by the sunflowers 🙂 She lived just 20 minutes away but the parents split up and my daughter-in-law moved abot 2 hours away – gosh I missed that child but we see her now every second weekend. It must be hard for you having your daughter overseas and a grandchild you haven’t met…thank goodness for Skype! I hope you can manage to visit soon. My other son lives a 12 hour drive away, we see him every couple of years but talk weekly.
        Nice too that your parents could move closer, it makes things easier when they are elderly.
        We love our salads here too Robbie, huge plates of produce of all sorts 🙂

      2. awww….I am soaking up all the time I have with my little grandson here for I fear some day that may happen. People just don’t stay together like they use to. It is easier to not miss something you never had, so to see my grandson one day would be amazing. I feel blessed the second one lives so close. I can now be a grandparent. Don’t worry- I am saving to go see her soon, but we are still helping my youngest in school. Soooo…it will happen soon. She is pregnant again, so her trip back next summer may have to be cancelled:-( I will go alone if I go next summer. Both of us can’t go..but I sure am trying!
        Happy Gardening:-)

      3. Good luck with your savings, you certainly will be feeling motivated about it 🙂 No, people don’t stay together like they used to…in my son’s case I am happy with his decisions and he met and recently married a lovely girl from Indiana, USA 🙂 They are planning to start a family soon, woo hoo!!!

    2. I just put your quote in my blog post under her 700 dollars saving-I thought about it and I save more than that ,too.. I wanted others to know you can save a l ot more than just 700! But Rosiland was trying to document a small 100 feet to make a point. Plus I use succession planting to get 3 harvest out of one area so I know, I save a lot more than that…I put your comment in there because it was a valid observation!!!

      1. Ah ok, thank you 🙂 She makes a very good point though, $700 is alot of money over a season and could make a big difference to many. We succession plant too, the savings have been mammoth! This is the single most important thing a family could do to help their budget and the only reason why I blog, I would love to see more families grow their own food, their is so much poverty and hopelessness out there and as you so rightly point out, we never know what changes in circumstances may come our way, it’s good to have the skills.

      2. You are so right. I have found out that my biggest place to save money is my grocery bill!!! It is where I can penny pinch and save more than any other place in our budget:-) I am learning more each year from reading, researching, reading blogs ( like yours), and making mistakes-I learn from-lol

  6. Once again Robbie, so well said! I actually think I lose money gardening because I have a “problem” with purchasing seeds and plants ha ha. It doesn’t matter, what would insanity therapy cost? See, I save right there! My husband and I live very differently from most people – we have created our own jobs and can travel, pursue other hobbies. We don’t live for retirement or weekends. We live and mostly work everyday. We will always work. We will always continue to learn and well, change. I don’t have lots of money but I have lots of life and that’s what matters to me. I am wearing a pair of Doc Martens I got a deal on at least 25 years ago – we certainly don’t follow fashion trends ha ha. And you know, even though they have lasted this long I wouldn’t buy them again because I’ve changed and I am now Vegan – no leather, please. (At least I don’t have a shoe “problem.”) I like your family’s “white line fever” affliction! It’s good to stir the pot.

    1. Kathy-I sent you my “pin oak pics” yesterday:-) I feel sorry for people that make work their whole life. I told my kids, find your passion, pursue it and work will never seem like work! It sounds like you both live that life. Why would you need to retire? It is what gives you joy. I felt sorry for the people here,they just did what they were told to do. They knew nothing else in their life. I did not grow up in a factory town where most everyone worked at the same place-generation after generation. It was a way of life for people here + a good life. They got out of high school and started in the factories working for more money than us that went to collage– for 4 years! They had all their medical bills covered etc. It all fell apart + their life changed. It is coming back but they all are living a different life now.
      I am like you. I could care less about fashion. I purchase classic-timeless pieces and wear them till they fall apart. 25 year shoes..now that is a good investment!!!

  7. You have found your passion and the place where you belong on earth and that is an inspiration.

  8. You have a real gift for photography Robbie. You capture the essence of the plant and give it a glow that reflects just how important plants are to our own health and lives. I love that photo of the oak leafed Hydrangea. Did you know that they are incredibly hardy and unlike their more regular cousins, the normal blue and pink hydrangeas, they need very little water to survive? White line fever starts with an itch to move… to take a step in a new direction. I have spent most of my life moving around after not going anywhere for the first 17 years of my life. I seem to have returned to the place where I don’t want to move anywhere again. I love my life. I woke up the other day at 3am, I headed out to the kitchen in the darkness. I know every surface of this place now through my early morning excursions in the dark. I no longer bang into things and can see how blind people get around their own homes quite easily. I headed in to stoke Brunhilda who was scheduled to be allowed to sleep but we have had a spell of bad weather and so she is still being called on to keep us warm. I opened her up and let her start crackling and stood in front of her looking at the flames and felt that peculiar security that comes from a deep understanding of what is real and important flowing through me. I knew that this is where I will be staying now. No more moving, no more packing, no more upping the sticks and heading out on another adventure. My adventures will be found here on my little 4 acre patch of paradise spent darting out to collect things for my nest.

    I truly do understand white line fever. I think that in another time, another place I would have been a true convert. There is part of me that would love to walk for miles on dusty roads in other countries and really engage with other human beings and learn. Reading about businesses closing down I am reminded that we humans keep trying to push profit above all else. The industrial revolution has a shelf life and we are getting very close to finding that out. Current practices are no longer viable and when you see a massive multinational oil company investing in green energy technology you know the writing is on the cards. Learning to live very simply with what you have is a start and rediscovering a sense of community is vital when jobs start to disappear and life gets a bit tougher.

    I learned to be frugal at my grandmothers side. She was the queen of sustainability and way before her time. I remember a potager garden full of herbs and vegetables and my grandfather digging trenches for compost. I remember grandma’s house always smelled of interesting things. I remember jars of sticky tamarind paste and curry spices and strange mixtures of herbs that she would create. I learned that money is just one side of the equation and that there are other economies, ancient economies that come with communities.

    Wendy is awesome. I follow her blog avidly. She keeps coming up with the most amazing ideas and I learn so much from her. I really wish I had paid more attention to how my mum and my grandmother grew things but I guess those memories are inside my head…I just need to find the right key to unlock them. We are growing our own nut trees from seed and I am just about to plant out walnuts and hazelnuts and chestnuts. Finding ways to produce food that will sustain you in hard times is very important to me. I am planting stands of Jerusalem artichokes, canna lilies (edible roots) and day lilies (also edible roots). I want flowers and fruit and nuts and vegetables and a great big communal garden full of food that we can share.

    I keep reading about preppers and it makes me twitch. Don’t they get that it’s the generosity of community that makes humanity beautiful? I don’t want to live in a post apocalyptic world populated by preppers! We share a common ethos. We want to share what we learn with others. I love the idea of permablitzes…where like minded people get together and learn from each other whilst working on each others gardens. A lot of work gets accomplished that might otherwise not be possible, community is built and community built at grassroots level is community that lasts.

    I love Rosalind Creasy and have come across her gardening books in the library whilst hunting for things to stuff my mind with. I learn through books and searching online and her book was magnificent. I couldn’t see that Mother Earth link and that last ling took me to a Business Journal article about East Moline Hotels apartment construction?! Oh well…

    I always get excited reading your blog posts Robbie. They make me feel like I want to gird my loins (whatever that means 😉 ) and get out into the garden digging for queen and country. I have nut trees to plant today and loquat trees and carob trees and grapes, berries and raspberries to plant. I have blueberry bushes to shore up (stop scratching them up chooks!) that are covered in berries and I have so much to do. Posts like this make me know that I CAN do it. I just need to get out there and dig for victory 🙂

    1. I love your comments! They inspire me to think about what it is, I am trying to say…you make me think. I know the hotel they are putting in is on a site thatI ride my bike by every week. It is just a big bunch of cement right on the river. They tore the buildings ( factories) down years ago so it is an eye sore:-( It is right on the river and it provides places for people to live. Right down from it is the new university campus they built on areas that were sitting vacant for years,too. The whole area downtown that was left vacant when “MALLS” came into the picture. Left all the downtown a ghost town. But not anymore!!! Now it is a hub filled with restaurants using local produce, people hanging out , housing created from old factory buildings and it is ALIVE again. I remember when it was all boarded up. It is really a great place to be + it has the great river bike trail running next to it + good old Mississippi River running right past!!
      I believe Unions got too greedy + workers got too greedy(but at first Unions were a good thing), so it was bound to collapse. I could not believe the benefits they got and how they took care of them.
      We need to get back to the basics..to be like your grandma + my mentors in my family,too. We all have them and as you, I WISH I WOULD OF PAID MORE ATTENTION!!!! I could kick myself in the derrière(no ass here- arse for you-lol)….but I am doing my best to educate the young in my family and around me to GROW and save.
      I know it will make a difference:-) You have 4 acres + I have no doubt you will be kept busy for MANY years to come..I have at most a 1/3 acre with house and all my hardscape + I have enough space for us + work to do to keep me busy. I always find a new way to go UP and vertical is the new way to grow-lol
      Preppers are a breed unto themselves. I am not a doomsday either. I live for the moment. I am saving for rainy days, but my mind is in the present. As for white-line fever, I am cured. I have found a hike in the woods does me good. I was more like that when I was younger, I had to go, go , go until I fell over. Now I like, where I am and enjoy being home.

      1. I didn’t know what I was looking at with the hotel. I thought that something had gone bung in the translation ;). I think I found my place where I can have white line fever AND stay put. The river is visible from my kitchen window. We have sea around the corner and mountains about an hour away and so much more. It’s good to find a place that you can really call “home” in the deepest most soulful meaning of the word and I think we are both incredibly lucky to have found such a place where we can put out our feelers and explore not only the world around us and nature as we garden but who and what we are in relation to it all. What an amazing place to learn! 🙂

      2. you are very blessed…where you live is very beautiful + if you ever learn to dive( I don’t know maybe you do-lol)-you have an amazing bunch of stuff in your waters!!! That documentary, I was watching last night( of your underwater world) it was AMAZING:-) The colorful world underwater off your shores..it is an underwater Paradise with creatures that are moving art!!!

      3. Was it off the shores of Tasmania though? I know that we have a lot of kelp and wakame seaweed and the odd carpet shark and flathead but didn’t think we would have much more 😉

      4. I tend not to go into the water. Unlike Stevie-boy who likes to dangle his feet (and a fishing rod) into the river while he does his best Huckleberry Finn inpersonation (including hat…) I prefer to stay with my 2 size 10 feet firmly on terra firma. They are big for a reason. They are there to anchor me to the ground and to protect me from floating away with gravity (as I am obviously incredibly light aHEM* 😉 ) I knew about the kelp forests and we have wakame as well that was leaked from a Japanese ships bilge and took off like gangbusters. One good thing that came of an “accidental spill” and it is being marketed Australia and world wide as our waters are pretty pollution free around here. I watch things like this on the television from the comfort of my seat. No diving for narf. I am worried that aside from sinking like a stone (I can’t swim) I might get mistaken for Moby Dick (OH the shame! 😉 )

  9. Sorry about the huge comment but I got excited 😉 I have been thinking more about what you are saying in this comment and just wanted to add that I get what you are saying completely. That’s what gets me up at 3am. That’s why I am here at 5.46am wide awake and squealing (inside) with joy that I just found a recipe for how to make powder out of dehydrated apple skins…

    http://urbannettle.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/golden-russet-apple-peel-powder/

    Most people would have me certified but its another way to make the most of what you have. I am learning SO much in my early morning forays into other people’s most generous shares. I want to learn as much as I can. To be the compiler of the information because who knows how much longer we will be able to find this all out for free? Soon it will be back to “pay for everything” online and we, the penniless, will have to resort to library books again. I save, I store, I squeal (inside) and one day I may be able to share these brilliant ideas, these ways to make things stretch to the max. Apple peel powder? Don’t mind if I do! It’s little things like this that make a pantry incredibly exhilarating even if you are pretty much broke and there isn’t a lot of monetary potential on the horizon. “Money” is just one part of the equation. Possibilities are SO much more important. I got very excited about what one African man did with less than a hectare of land and how he used his determination to feed the soil and grow plants to feed himself, his family and his community and how he ended up creating a food tree growing business that now pays for his kids to go to school and college. All from nothing. He started with a bit of dry dusty land and learned and applied what he learned. THAT is the exciting part. Everyone (at the moment) can learn so much from the net. I, for one, am making the most of it 🙂

    1. wow…your enthusiasm just sparks on that post!!! hectar of land is about -2.471 acres..you know I did not know “hectar”, so I did not process that in his story first time I read it, but I read it again and it said,”he has less than half a hectar of land”..so a lot less than I thought. WOW….It makes me wonder when people always say , “to make money you have to have money”…so UNTRUE! He proved that theory wrong. When I get comments from people as you, they inspire me to think outside the box. There are days, I wonder if blogging is taking up too much of my time. HOWEVER—when I read comments like yours about a man that took an idea that just cost him his time + makes something beautiful like he did..it gets me thinking about all the endless possibilities! My inspiration does come from my encounters with others, reading about others all through the internet…and like you, I am soaking it all up…When I was attending graduate school back in the 80’s ( you remember dial-up-lol) and no one had internet at their homes. I had to drive 45 minutes away to learn how to “search” on this thing called internet. One Christmas we got the internet + it had a program where you could follow santa across the sky..lol. I had an e-mail pen pal + I thought that was cool back then…look where we are now! I sure hope it lasts forever, for I learn more now than I ever did in college! It is free + I don’ t have to drive somewhere to learn:-)

      1. Guess what…Santa is on holiday for now but on the 1st December you can track him!

        http://www.noradsanta.org/

        Steve and I are both laughing about that noise on start up. You would log on and the net would be SO loud! Steve and I both met online and had an online relationship over the span of 2 years on either side of the globe which meant early mornings for me and late nights for him. We grew with the internet and as creatures who relied on it, we certainly tried to learn all that we could. I used to type with 1 finger before I met Steve now I am pretty fast ;). There were no blogs, no facebook, mobiles were HUGE. We used Netscape back then and we chatted in IRC internet chat rooms and had little avatars to identify ourselves. Life was very different back then but like now, you have to identify what is worth it and what isn’t and put your efforts into going in that direction. Now we just log on and bam, we are there 🙂

    2. by the way that apple powder- NEAT…you are an amazing cook, I am a gardener that cooks and if you give me a recipe , I can figure it out…but that is art-making apple powder!!!!

      1. Thats the sort of things I love to find. How to do, and make just about everything yourself. If you can do it yourself, you can teach other people how to do it and the word spreads around. I love sharing and the possibilities that developing community can bring and sharing is the BOMB 🙂

  10. Another thought provoking piece Robbie and as always you are a woman of great common sense. I agree, have a happy home and garden and you will get though much in life. I love the fact that your daughter saw the potential in the house before you and that you were willing to give her a chance. It says much about you. Stunning photos too!

    1. I like that ” have a happy home and garden and you will get through much in life.” That should be a title of a garden book:-)I should collect all the phrases, I have from this post! Very witty:-)
      My oldest daughter was a wise soul-I always said she was an old soul in a young body! It amazes me how often my kids were right about things. I had fun taking the photos:-)

  11. I think change is the only thing we CAN count on in life. It is being resilient to those changes that makes the difference.
    I have always been glad that I know how to grow food. It is like having an insurance policy. You know that with a handful of seeds you can provide for yourself and family, and maybe earn a few dollars if you had to by selling the surplus.
    As usual, your photos are both dreamy and wonderful. Your neighbors are lucky to have such beauty to look at.

    1. awww-thank you- Eliza:-)I have gathered so many replies that should be in a book from this post-” It is being resilient to those changes that makes the difference” that is soooo true!I love seeds, too. They are something you can always depend on + share:-) + you are so right, if you can grow you can live!

    1. Mandy:-) that is the kindest thing to say:-) I only want happiness for you, you deserve only the best in life! You are my hero-remember:-)

  12. I have also been in my home for about 15 years now. It’s officially the longest time I have spent in one place but, boy, have those years zapped by. We are empty nesters too. It’s an oddfeeling but I am beginning to like it, a lot. I like where I am but my ideal place would be much smaller; the house, not the garden that is. However, I can’t bear the thought of moving, so this is where we will stay and enjoy what we have. 🙂

    1. I agree- “smaller house but not garden” YES! I would love a larger garden but I know this one is really large enough for the long haul. My husband has a lot of stuff that he collects. I collect plants, seeds + grow food. My hobbies can be composted-lol. We also have families that live in other places + our house is the gathering house. I also grow a lot of plants, so I need my sun room for a place to start all my little seedlings. I never purchase any from the nursery, I grow from seed everything + some for others:-) Us gardeners love to share!

  13. Dear Robbie, thank you for another touching post… I really do appreciate your style of writing, when you mix your personal ‘adventures’ with happenings in the wider world… I imagine your family and you must have made that house to be a beautiful home to live in… 🙂

    1. Hi Lrong:-)My life is so intertwined with the garden.We had Halloween trick/treat last night + it was fun watching them rustle through the leaves. My son came home from college, my grandson carved pumpkins with his mother + dad but he was too young this year to understands the concept-lol-but he enjoyed all the decorations. Things change in our life + new memories are created. I am so gratedful, I learned ” a long time ago” what really matters in life:-)

  14. I always count on things to change but I was worried reading this post that you were going to end with…and so we are giving up our garden and moving on!!! Luckily, this is *not* where you were going with this. 🙂 Home is where your tomatoes grow. And your marigolds. And chard. And…your blogposts! Happy Harvest, btw!

    1. another good quote for this blog post ” Home is where your tomatoes grow”..love it! No, gardening is what keeps me going:-) Moving on is not in the plan-yet:-)

  15. This one was a very touching post… Starting with the title itself and all throughout your insights along it… I do believe that things are constantly changing… Pretty much like Heraclitus’ river… And yet the essence remains the same…
    Frank Sinatra would say: “The fundamental things apply as time goes by”.
    Your blog is absolutely beautiful, Robbie. Congratulations!. Aquileana 😀

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