Who I am.
I am a 49 year old, healthy, vivacious, at times irascible, obstinately independent woman living in a one room, shotgun shack located in a wide open plain of western Montana.
I have recently survived my mid-life crisis. I divorced my husband of 17 years, nigh 3 years ago. In that same year I lost 1,000 of 1,100 nine year old lavender plants in what was a thriving self made lavender farming business.
One of my many dear friends recently bestowed on me the title; Patron Saint of Downsizing.
In the divorce, I let him have the house. It was my home those 18 years. Before lavender farming I was the proprietress of what became a well established gardening service for 12 years. The home I left was nestled in a thick and lush perennial flower garden of which every plant was carefully chosen and placed to create consecutive seasons of blooming; a display garden to show my clients. Of all that has been left behind, it is the garden I miss the most.
Since the divorce I have lived in 6 different places; most of them no bigger than a bedroom. All but this one at the whim of some crazy landlords. All of them but two cost just under $400 or 500 per month. All of them smaller than anything I rented as a young adult first out on my own. But back then they cost $200 a month. Weird; I’m not making that much more money now than I was back then…
But then, having lots of money has never been my priority. I quit the 9-5, Monday-Friday work-a-day world when I was 30. I’d rather have a quality of life and set my own hours than answer to a boss. I never did abide authority figures. I’d rather be poor and happy than wealthy and stressed out all the time. When you have more, you spend more. The more you have, the more you have to keep…Both my parents worked hard, long hours their whole lives and both died in their early 60’s.
These last 3 years of survival have proven to me that I really don’t require much for survival.
I am an auto-didact in all things. I graduated high school, and studied at a Jr. College and a University for a year and a half, with absolutely no direction. Too many choices to put all my energy into just one thing for 4-8 years, and no guarantees. The School of Hard knocks has handed me diploma time and again.
While I was a professional gardener I began self publishing a 4-8 page quarterly journal for my clientele. Its content augmented what I was teaching them about and doing for them in their gardens. It is in its 18th year and currently available in hard copy, delivered by pony express for a subscription rate of $15 a year. It is available by email if you so prefer. Over the years it grew a page documenting my experience in the field of lavender farming. And as of 8 years ago another page chronicling my trials here at the Rosalie Ranch.
Rosalie Ranch is a 20 acre parcel of prairie where sits my cabin (the shotgun shack), all of it bought and paid for with monies my mother left me a year after her death.
The cabin measures 11’x 7′, 77 square feet. It is rustic; no running water, no indoor plumbing. It is heated (warmer than any house I ever lived in) with a wood stove. I have a bucket system toilet; I compost my waste. There is no refrigeration but a medium size cooler for cream and eggs. I desire to remain off grid, so a small solar panel with a 2 battery storage unit provides enough electricity to charge a phone and the tablet I write to you from. If the sun shines and charges the system I can even have a light for a few hours before bed.
I utilize small LED tap lights for reading and while cooking on the 2 burner propane stove. I use the truck’s cigarette lighter to charge the phone and tablet sometimes. In winter the well is shut off. It isn’t winter proof yet. I haul my water in. I can drive right up to the cabin. I bring 5-9 gallons per 4 days. A creek, just outside the cabin door provides humidifier and wash water.
I have an outdoor bath tub. It takes a couple hours to heat it with wood fire just right. I don’t use it that often, but there ain’t nothing better than bathing outside in the dark with a candle, stars and moon for light. I usually just wipe down with a wash cloth, soap and water every couple days inside the cabin. My thinning hair is not bothered by being dirty for a few days. It just makes me appreciate that shower at a friends in town all the more.
I go to town, 45 miles south to mingle, do business, and wash me and my clothes once a week for 2 or 3 days. I stay with friends.
I have learned a lot about just what little I require to not only survive, but be really quite happy in the process.
And still, I have more than most of the people on this planet. I think we could all stand to do with less. Resourcefulness, practicality and self sufficiency are marvelous attributes to cultivate in the course of a life.
My blog contains excerpts from my Earth Nurture newsletter, pages right out of my weekly ranch journals, musings, ponderings, and once in awhile things that irk the livin’ hell right outta me.
You can find me on Pinterest.com/loriparr11; Facebook; lavempire,
Linked in; Lavenderloriparrmissoula, and a page about the lavender farm on Tenspoonwinery.com
Who I am.