Sunday, March 19, 2006

The winter of my discontent

March 19, 2006. Spring is tomorrow, however you wouldn't know it by looking out my window. It's snowy, cold and grey. Usually by this time of year we've had a few weeks of early summer, or at least a few days a week of upper 50's and 60's. Not this time. I feel like we're having our hundred years of winter and never christmas a la Narnia. My tulips and daffodils are still asleep, except for a few stalwart buds peeking up above the surface. Our furnace bill is still high. It snowed 4 inches just a few days ago, with more forecast this week.

I love spring, especially late spring. Last year I started a few trays of seeds indoor- in early February. I get very anxious for spring to start, even in a normal year. This year its driving me crazy. I haven't started any seeds at all since there is no end to this winter in sight.

I think I want to live in northern California, like somewhere north of Sacramento. I've heard the winters are very mild there, but the summers aren't too hot. I could have tomatos all year round if I did it right. There just isn't that much up there- just a few small towns like red bluff, chico, yuba city. We've always wanted to live out in the country though and have chickens, sheep, goats, cows and have a huge garden. I'd have to hire some farm hands though. Erin? You could run our ranch! But it has to be somewhat near a city so we're not completely cut off from civilization. My aunt and uncle live around there in Oroville. I drove through there once on my way to Los Angeles to go back to school after my mission, and stayed with them even though I had never met them. It was beautiful country and I knew I might have to live there someday. My aunt said they hadn't seen snow there in years, that it rarely gets to the freezing point even at night in the middle of winter.

So anyway, I'm done with winter now. Next, please.


Cabeza said...

I liked reading about your Smalltown/Notown American Dream. I often feel the same way. Not that I would necessarily want goats, but chickens and a cow or two would be nice. I want a big plot of land. I would grow an acre of wheat every year and have an extensive vegetable garden. Normally people scoff at me when I mention the wheat, but I feel okay mentioning it here because of Nick's vision.

One question--what would you do? For work, that is. I've often pondered the question. I'm not sure. I guess I would pursue such a dream when I have some financial freedom. Then I could open a bookstore or a bakery or something and not have to worry too much about a large profit margin. It's a dream I enjoy.

erin said...

You bet I'll run your ranch! I was just thinking yesterday that I was tired of having a job that I dress up for--I want something I can wear khaki cargo shorts or jeans so worn they're fuzzy and my hog-chewed hoodies (which is a great story...and nearly all true).

I grew up in northern Cal, in Woodland. It was really pretty country. I know it's grown a lot since I left, but it used to be a really pretty little town. Our elementary school was out on a country road and it was one of those towns you could drive for five or ten minutes and be out where you never knew there was a city around. It was close to the Sacramento river, too, which was beautiful, if prone to flooding a little. It was also close to Davis and UCD which had a great science emphasis, if I remember right. You bet I'll shovel your manure! know what I mean.

erin said...

Can I have my own patch for pumpkins?

Or my own Patch, you little pumpkin? :)

Jared said...

For those who may not have made the connection, Jared and Cabeza are one in the same. They are me. Or I am they. Whatever.

-Jared (Cabeza)

Jared said...

Nick, you never answered my question from the first comment I posted on this thread. What would you do for work while you lived the Smalltown American Dream?

Nick said...

My goal is to become filthy rich, then move out to the country and just work the land. I could be the local "Doc" (Emmett Brown) and invent the community ice machine in my off hours from blacksmithing.

Barring that, I think I could teach at a local community college, or even commute to the city to either teach at a university or have a normal job in industry or a small start-up like I have now.

erin said...

Besides, if you don't use a lot of money, you don't have to earn a lot of money. It's easier (I hear) to spend less than to make more....I feel like I don't do either. But I just got something in the mail that might give me the extra inspiration I need. Remember the PBS program about the Alaskan cabin-builder that I told you about? And you know how public television sends you a thank-you gift when you contribute (unless you're really generous and say no, thanks--pbs is enough). WELL, I just got the book about this guy and the DVD of the program. This guy just took off up into (is that three prepositions in a row, Jenny?) Alaska and lived there. It's great. When I'm done reading it, if anyone wants to borrow it I'll send it to them.
Sometimes I feel a little incongruity with my rustic ambitions when I realize I'm typing them on a laptop into cyberspace. Hmmmm.

Jenny said...

I really like what you said about it being easier to spend less than earn more ... Nick isn't going to believe me when I say it, but in some ways its hard to imagine really needing to spend much more money than we do right now. I mean, we're comfortable, we eat well, we have clothing and a furnace and a washing machine and carpet (the last three were things I really missed on my mission, and as such, I consider them signs of living well). It'd be nice to not always be scrambling for the money we do spend, but hey, we've decided to live out our '20s in grad school. A little extra for emergencies and a yearly vacation would be nice, but for all that I drool over high-end homes in various magazines, I'm still not really convinced all that fancy stuff is necessary or essential to my happines.
I have no doubt that in twenty years we will be living somewhere Nick can have a small farm and a research barn to blow things up in. When you come to visit, look for me out back. I'll be reading Borges to the chickens (I think they, out of all our animals, would be the most likely to understand Borges).