It was not worth it for him to keep working in the field he was in. Our lives were short, we realized. There was no time to waste. Even though we battled morally within ourselves about it, we gave our house back to the bank with our condolences and good ridances. We gave the mini-van back to its bank. We moved to a place where our bills were nearly half.
It was a charming, little house built in 1950 and moved from Denver at some point. A rescued brick house set on a walkout basement on a quarter acre in Elizabeth. We needed rescuing too, and the house was a welcoming beacon. Doug put his two weeks notice in and at the beginning of January we were free.
The view looked out across fields and woods. Cows roamed peacefully across the street and deer rested easy in our open yard. It was not fenced in so a makeshift dog run was put in for Bumble.
Those were sweet days. I kept one of my dance locations open for another five months to help us get through the winter before farmer’s markets began. I only taught one day a week. Doug spent much of the first few months in a chair in a corner in our room with books. Decompressing from years of stress and enslavement, he sat and did nothing.
As he relaxed, and we found ourselves with so much time, we walked hand in hand exploring the town. We visited the library and met new people. We enjoyed the little shops that lined the quaint main street. The antique stores, and the toy store. The clothing store and the empty buildings. We walked to the grocery store, and the hiking path. We talked and got to know each other again. We laughed and hoped.
Our homeschooled children enjoyed the new adventure and spent their days discovering the graveyard, ponds, forests, and fields. They reveled in each other’s friendship while meeting other kids.
We sat on the deck overlooking the cows and the line of pine trees and took in the mornings. Cups of steaming coffee and birdsong. Writing, poetry, and breathing filled my days. We talked about simplicity and our desire to make it a part of our life permanently.
We read homesteading books and planned what we could do. I learned to successfully bake bread. I water boil canned almost a hundred items that summer and lined the basement walls with bounty. We created a ten by ten foot garden in the front yard and bought tons of seeds. The garden wasn’t a huge success because of time and lack of water. What did grow (sunflowers, pumpkins, corn) became a marvelous buffet for the deer. They were fun to watch. The infant spotted babies. The enormous antlered bucks. The families of deer were part of our afternoon entertainment. We didn’t mind losing the garden to them.
Instead we bought a CSA (community supported agriculture) from our friends at Miller Farms and took home a bushel of produce each week to eat and can. We bought a freezer and started to freeze vegetables. We dehydrated more vegetables and fruits. We went vegan and Doug lost forty pounds.
There was no reason to shave, we didn’t go anywhere fancy so slowly his beard started to grow in. A look most people in town do not remember him not having. I love it. He looks comfortable and sexy.
We went to the library instead of buying endless books at the book store. We bought from the thrift shops and bought only what we needed. We were on our way to self sufficiency. A life we so craved. We dreamed of making the plot a farm. Oh, the food we could grow in the large plot. Fruit trees and plants danced in our heads as we planned how to afford putting up a six foot fence.
We wanted chickens. Our neighbor had chickens and we loved their “laughing” in the mornings. The little girls next door played with their chickens all day. They delighted in swinging them on the swings and sliding them down the slide. The chickens were so calm and our neighbor was so enjoying her fresh eggs, I became instantly smitten with the idea of having chickens.
We put in a lot of hard work that summer. Six to eight farmer’s markets filled our week. Week after week. Our clientele grew exponentially. We were tired, our children were running amok while we worked markets, but we were succeeding at being full time herbalists. Winter was coming though. What would we do this winter once farmer’s markets ceased for the season?
As we were walking close together, speaking of this and that, entranced down Main street, we noticed that the jeweler across the street from the library was moving out of his store. We found the number of the owner of the building.
Doug’s ninety-two year old grandmother passed away. She left us the exact amount of money we needed to open our own Apothecary shop…..