My 50-Year Back-to-the-Land Journey with the Pages of MOTHER EARTH NEWS

| 10/25/2020 7:47:00 AM

Woman And Dog In Nez Perce River

The author takes her dogs wading on a recent trip to the Nez Perce River.

“Somebody get the shotgun! The dogs are chasing the goats!” I yelled from the back door of the church to my housemates working in the garden. It was 1970 and the first issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS had just been published. At that time, I was a 19-year old student at the University of Iowa going for my art degree and a dyed-in-the-wool hippie and devoted back-to-the lander. I was living with my friends in a vintage Alice’s Restaurant-style converted church south of Iowa City on a back road in the corn fields. Life was good then and we lived life in the moment.

Most of us worked part-time in the newly established New Pioneer’s Food Co-op and got food in barter. In the winter, the church was too cavernous to heat in its entirety, so we laid mattresses on the floor and squeezed into the front vestibule that was our kitchen. There we enjoyed the heat from the woodstove while a blizzard raged all night long.

We got a bunch of goats, including a stinky billy goat and some nanny goats for milk. The neighbor’s dogs were always loose and constantly threatening our goats. One day they injured the big billy and we had to put him down. After that, with guidance from MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we built a bonfire and cremated him.


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