- Posted February 3, 2009 by
Beverly Hills, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Surviving a tough economy
From Beverly Hills to Hillbillies
My name is Leah, I am 28, recently married, and living in Los Angeles. And when I say Los Angeles, I mean West Hollywood, more or less. I work in Beverly Hills, the 90210, cause it's all about the zip code. I travel between the two daily back and forth, to and from work, and it's all about the scene, the be seen, and where you are seen and with who and what are you wearing and driving. For my livelihood, I manage the money of filthy rich people, and some not so rich, but who manage to retain our services. I see obscene amounts of money being thrown around on frivolous shit. But that's not the point.
My husband too works in Beverly Hills, or did, until recently. Ed was in life settlements, he wrote life insurance policies for high net worth individuals, which were then sold on the secondary market. Well that was the idea anyway. So in our respective professions, we were skirting on the edge of the money club, the high rollers and fliers and traders and buyers, and were planning on joining the club ourselves. The country club isn't so much our scene, but it was part of the game, and we would have money to play with.
Well, I'm sure you noticed, I spoke of my husbands job in the past tense, as the credit markets tightened, his company, which needed heavy capital flow to operate, started to implode, and he, although part owner, was quickly ousted with no warning and very little severance. So we are faced with an option, my job does not provide enough to maintain the two of us here, so we could stay here living our LA life going into debt, ed could find a job he doesn't like and that doesn't pay as well, or move elsewhere with a lower cost of living and start over there. I'm getting tired of the city, and it's non-stop video game action, Ed's never lived anywhere except in the metropolitan area that is LA, and have both been itching for a change, I just did not expect it would happen so soon, or that it would take this form, but we got kicked out the door and are under duress.
Ed's folks, who are getting on in years, have a 5-arce farm in southwest Oregon. We have talked in the past that we would like to get a hold of that property, for our own retirement. It's in the middle of a valley, surrounded by vineyards and farmers. Well, Grant and Carol suggested that we move up now, we can get on our feet and help them around the farm. I'm having more of a panic episode than Ed is, especially given that it was him who lost his job. But I am learning to let go of whatever it is that I'm holding onto and explore this new segment of my life. And there is a peace there, at the bottom of the panic and several bottles of wine.
Another constant topic of conversation between my husband and I, is the unhealthy, unnatural way in which humans pass through this life, (this is a very large topic on which I could write a book, and maybe one day I will). And like to come up with ways and means in which we can live more in tune with nature. We bought a prius, and recycle, and use our own cloth bags at the grocery store. But we are still living in an artificial environment. Eating packaged goods, fruit that was picked 10 days and 5000 miles ago, and half of it doesn't taste that good, but I'm a picky eater so that doesn't mean anything. and these things weigh upon our consciousness. I studied anthropology, ed studied philosophy, I thought you should know this, as it greatly effects the prism through which we view the world.
when I grew up my dad always kept a garden. We always had fresh fruit and veggies, let's see, corn, tomatoes, cucumber (although it took him a few years to find a cucumber variety that did not grow bitter in the desert) squash, beans, mint, grapes, apricots, lemons, pecans (it takes seven years for a pecan tree to start producing) oranges, I can't remember it all. We had a pig once, some sheep (that all ended up in our freezer), chickens (I had to go collect eggs).
First things first, we bought a used Airstream, via Craigslist with the aid of Grant, Ed's step-dad. This too has been a stressful process, and it's still in process. I'm going to be living in a trailer. This is also a difficult bone to sallow.
I have so much to learn, and little time to learn it in, but really I have all the time in the my life to learn. I want to learn composting, gardening, and winemaking. Lately we've been talking about getting Belted Galloway's, a breed of beef cow. But that is down the road. We will eventually build a log cabin, as environmentally friendly as possible. And when Ed's folks pass on we will transform their house into a guest house, and turn part of the barn into a studio, and our little farm can be a artist community, where people can come and contribute and create. At least that's the idea. But first we need to get jobs as soon as possible after arriving, and establish ourselves.
And here we are, and from here we go. I sometimes wonder how far I'll go. Will we get a cow, and I'll milk it myself, and make my own cheese, grow my own cotton, make my own clothes, make my own paper? I will try to grow as much food as I can. Potatoes for sure. Also I want to harvest rainwater, use it to water the plants and animals. It rains a lot there, so I'll have to learn the proper storage of water, and filter it for drinking water.