An Eastern Oklahoma Transplant

The author recounts the ups and downs of her family's two year transition from urban Tucson to a rural homestead in eastern Oklahoma.


| January/February 1981



067 eastern oklahoma transplant - red hens

Forty red hens supply our eastern Oklahoma homestead with all the eggs we need (and provide a welcome income from the sale of the surplus). Their male counterparts keep our freezer stocked.


PHOTO: NANCY STEPHAN

It's been over two years since my husband Karl and I traded the questionable pleasures of city life for 80 acres in this loveliest of all "poverty pockets" ... good old eastern Oklahoma.

We started out with very little income (and so many things to do that we didn't know what to tackle first), so we fully expected the first two years to be the hardest ... and we sure weren't disappointed! The workload is finally beginning to level off, however, and sometimes we even feel smug enough to pity our poor friends and relations still stuck with the traffic jams and pollution of city life.

So, if you've wanted to make your move to the country but feared you were either too old or too inexperienced (or both), I'd like to offer our story as evidence that it can be done ... and it's not even all that tough. In fact, your initial hardships (and the inevitable mistakes) will come to seem trivial when the first friendly neighbor says, "Just let me know anytime you need some help" and you realize that he or she means it!

That Special Spot

Karl and I were both well into middle age when we decided to make our big move, you see, and we had—between the two of us—exactly 18 months of farming experience (six of those were actually pretty questionable). Despite our "handicaps," though, we knew we had to find some place where people meant more than machines.

We were living in Tucson at the time and becoming increasingly dissatisfied with our area's urban sprawl (and alarmed at the nation's economic trends). Karl's job as an industrial engineer was getting pretty sour, especially with "big business" gnawing away at personal incentive. Finally, enough became enough when the noise from nearby street traffic and overhead jet planes actually got so bad that we had to raise our voices to converse in our own back yard.

Since we had come to love the desert, we began our search for rural property in Arizona and New Mexico, but found very little available land that would have been even remotely suitable for self-sufficient living. And after learning that a "perfect" 50-acre parcel in the mountains of New Mexico was priced at "only" $100,000, we decided we weren't so crazy about the desert after all.





Crowd at Seven Springs MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Sept. 15-17, 2017
Seven Springs, PA.

With more than 150 workshops, there is no shortage of informative demonstrations and lectures to educate and entertain you over the weekend.

LEARN MORE