Live Country in the City

Living in an urban trailer court didn't stop the author from working toward self-sufficiency. He made up his mind to live country in the city.

| November/December 1979

Do you get pangs of jealousy whenever you read articles about folks who're raising, eating, and putting up their own vegetables while the only thing you're growing is another day older? Do you dream of warming your hands beside a wood stove every time you turn up the furnace thermostat?

Can you tell your friends all the ins and outs of solar collectors but find no time or space to build your sun-catcher? And are you piggy-banking funds for your very own back forty while you wonder if you'll ever be able to afford a front "one or two?"

Well Bunky, perhaps you should quit making excuses and start building that new life right where you are! I'm not just spitting into the wind, either, 'cause I know from my own experience that it can be done! You see, my lady friend and I grow and put up veggies, raise and eat small livestock, and heat our home with wood and our water with sunshine ... yet we've made our home in a 100-unit trailer court that's smack in the middle of an 85,000 person metropolis! We're living country in the city.

Back to the City

My "citysteading" success story began when I abandoned life as a smog-breathing, money-grubbing Los Angeleno and headed out for some longed-for rural living in the Trinity Alps of northern California. Unfortunately, after nine months of hard knocks in the sticks, I realized that, though I had the necessary enthusiasm, I sorely lacked homesteadin' knowledge. I just wasn't ready to live in the country yet.

Still, I didn't like the thought of facing the L.A. treadmill again, so I migrated to a friend's town: Sioux City, Iowa. And there in the aforementioned trailer court, I hooked up with a fine young woman named Angela and her four-year-old son, Terence. Unfortunately, the funds we pooled that autumn were "minute" (hers), "minuter" (mine), and "minutest" (Terence's). So like it or not, we were pretty much forced to adopt some homesteading-type steps toward independence.

Angie and I began our move toward self-sufficiency by scouring back issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS (I'd introduced her to my collection back when we started sparkin' ). And the articles we read convinced us that our initial moneysaving step should be to cut down on what would surely be some humongous winter heating bills. And thus into our chilly "home, mobile home" entered ...

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