Saturday, October 25, 2008

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

For the past several months, my mind has been racing. How can I persevere during these tenuous economic times? I truly believe it's time we all take a closer look at our situations and decide what is important to us.

I remember wanting to "live off the land" as early as my teens. To find a remote piece of ground far from the maddening crowd. To build a modest shelter, grow my own food and live a peaceful life. During my college days, I subscribed to Mother Earth News and bought the Firefox collection to prepare myself for a life of self-sufficiency, but those dreams quickly faded as I joined the status quo and began a life of accumulation and bad choices.

I worked for coporate America, raised my children and then worked some more. However, after a merger, or, dare I say, a hostile take over, my company stock was devalued. I watched my retirement vaporize. This was going to make the difference for me in my elder years, the difference between eating real food instead of cat food. It's been seven years since I walked out on my mortgage banking career.

I dabbled in creating art pieces, I looked to friends for odd jobs until I was taken under the wing and mentored by a local tradesman (whom I later married and divorced, but that's another story) in the art of construction for five years. Then, lo and behold, the bottom of the housing market began to rear its ugly head. What the fuck? I can frame up a house, put it in the dry, install drywall and do the finish work. My skills are useless in this market. The past several months have been chaotic. I've been paralyzed by my circumstances.

One night, however, I was able to see through the fog enough to develop a plan. To live that simple life I had once dreamed of. I was excited. I placed ads and emailed friends seeking a care taking position and in less than two months I had a solid offer. A long-time friend needed a caretaker for his 93 acre ranch 50 miles north of Phoenix. This beautiful oasis sits deep in a canyon surrounded by saguaros and wildlife, plus a 40-ft waterfall when, and if, it ever rains.

There's a huge rose garden with blossoms as big as my fist. An orchard with every fruit tree imaginable including the largest fig tree I've ever seen. Just next to the large garden spot is the grape arbor. All I have to do is move the water hose around and keep a vigil over the large 2-story adobe house. The chicken coop needs some repair before I fill it with layers. And, I think I'll get a couple of sheep to help maintain the landscaping. Sounds perfect doesn't it? Well, it is, except for the god damn rattlesnakes. Jeez, I hate a fuckin' snake. I'm just waiting for the cold snap that will send them all deep into their dens until April. This will give me the time I need to walk around, make some improvements and prepare the garden for its bounty without having to worry about something slithering between my feet or rattling from a nearby bush.

Yea, me! My dreams and skills are now in place. I am comfortable and at peace.

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