|"Home" for 3 and a half years. Main trailer on right. Guest room and storage on left.|
In the Spring of 2009, at the same time we were getting the Alpine
"Sharing Gardens" started, we decided to seriously downsize. We
were spending about $800/month on rent and utilities (not to mention
all the other costs of running a household). Our house was way too big
for our needs and we felt disheartened at seeing all that rent money
being spent for nothing tangible that could grow in any meaningful way.
We put up some posters around town advertising for a new place to live.
The first people to respond had the perfect situation: An 8' x 40'
travel trailer - hooked up to plumbing, sewer, and electricity, in a
little grove of trees overlooking 400 acres of farmland. It was a place
we could rent for a small fee and several hours a month of work-trade.
Free from the stress of meeting such a big monthly financial obligation
we could slow down our pace of living and devote our energies to the
"Sharing Gardens" and other service projects.
|Our home as of Dec. 2012|
We lived in that trailer for the first four seasons of the project and in Fall of 2012 we were given the opportunity to move into a 5-bedroom house, rent free. This allowed us to continue focusing our energies on growing food to share, instead of working at regular jobs. The new house is within walking distance of the Monroe gardens which means we spend less money on gas for transportation.
In the winter of 2010 we expanded from our Alpine site to a large piece of land in Monroe. Perfectly situated between the town's grade-school and the church that hosts our local food pantry, the site came with several out-buildings, fertile ground and a deep, delicious well that flows at over 40 gallons per minute. The owner, Chester Crowson loved our project and paid to have the pump in the well fixed and then covered utility costs. He allowed us to stay on the land rent-free with a season-to-season agreement that, if the land sold, we'd have till the end of the season to close down and find a different site. We weren't too concerned about the land selling because he was asking over $300,000 and, in these economic times that was a lot to ask for 3 and a half acres. Chester passed away in winter of 2012 and at first we wondered if we'd have to move but his grown children who live nearby were all in support of us continuing the project as long as possible.
Then, in summer of 2013, we were approached by Chester's oldest son, Jerry, who said that they'd taken care of everything else in their Dad's estate and, though they'd held off as long as possible, it was now time to sell off this last piece of land. Our hearts fell because we knew we couldn't afford to buy it, even with the significant inheritance left to us by Llyn's father. But we also knew that we'd been supported and guided along every step of the way with this project and, if it was time to move on that another door would open. Imagine our delight when we discovered that they were dropping the price by $180,000 making it possible for us to buy it outright.
The land comes with a farmhouse built in 1875 (the second oldest house in Monroe). At first we thought we'd just use it as a work-shop/studio as it had been abandoned for over seven years and vandals and weather had taken a heavy toll. But as we began to clean it up and fix the floors and roof, we found that it's "bones" were still really solid and we have since shifted into a full-scale renovation and expect to be able to move into it in Spring of 2014. The Sharing Gardens will continue but now we'll be able to feed even more people as we'll be on the land full-time and can put in orchards and berries and other perennials. Update:
July 2015 -- We've been living on the land for a year now. We've thoroughly renovated the farmhouse inside, and out. Fruit and nut orchards have been planted and we've added a third greenhouse (made mostly from salvaged materials). Life is good!
|The renovated 1875 farmhouse - Spring 2015|
|A rear-view of the farmhouse.|
We live a simple life.
|Our newest greenhouse - the Ark; built almost entirely from salvaged materials.|
We rise early and spend time with our
spiritual studies; acknowledging all we have to be grateful for, getting
quiet inside so we can listen for guidance. Most mornings we choose a simple project, preferring to get one
or two things accomplished without haste or pressure, rather than facing
a huge list of tasks that can never all get done in the time allotted.
On any given day, we may not get much done but, like the Tortoise, we
find that - "Slow and steady wins the race." Reflecting back we can see
just how much we have accomplished unaccompanied by the sense of hurry
and pressure that so many people experience, engaged in the usual busy,
modern lifestyle. Afternoons usually include a nap, or at least a
rest-time; a pause before taking on an afternoon project, going for a
walk, computer-time or other household maintenance tasks. We have no TV but do enjoy watching DVD's on our lap-top as a way to unwind in the evenings.
|Chris cutting up apples for applesauce. Vegetable juice cooling on railing.|
We are ovo-lacto vegetarians, eating plant-foods, eggs and dairy
products, all 'organic' - whenever possible. This is not a religion for
us but we notice we feel better eating this way and know it helps us
live lighter on the planet (and easier on the pocket-book!) Through the
"Sharing Gardens" we are able to grow a high percentage of our food.
Mid-August through Thanksgiving are the busiest times for us as we
convert the harvest into stored goods that will see us through to next
year's garden-season. In Autumn we also fill our pantry with gleaned
fruits and nuts and wild mushrooms foraged in the woods near our home.
We keep our two food-dehydrators going almost non-stop during this time
and 'can' a variety of foods and juices.
|Llyn with cabbage - now that's a lot of cole slaw!|
These times we're living in are calling for people to develop the many basic skills our grandparents took for granted: growing and
storing food, repairing things instead of just getting new ones, making
and mending clothes and taking care of each other in a spirit of family,
"neighborhood" and community. We are creating a welcoming
home/school where people teach and learn these kinds of skills and
develop friendships based on the meaningful exchange of information and
service. So far we have been happy to live in a "community of two" but now that
we are settling into our forever-farm are open to having others come
join us. If our life-style sounds like something that calls to you,
please be in contact.
Llyn Peabody and Chris Burns
"Sharing Gardens" Coordinators
664 Orchard St.
Monroe, OR 97456
Sharing Gardens - Mission Statement
|Come be a part of the Sharing Gardens family!|
Hi, Karol in Eugene. I'm a member of the Eugene Area Gleaners and saw a mention of your group on their FB page. It's great what you're doing! I hope to do something similar in the near future.ReplyDelete
Glad to hear from you, Karol. We didn't know we were linked to the Eugene Area Gleaners. It looks like 2013 is going to be a great year for apples, pears, plums and hazelnuts! Gleaning is such an important practice to keep all that amazing food from going to waste! Eugene Friendly Farmers has a garden that is similar to the Sharing Gardens; you might join their efforts till you get around to starting your own. We'd be happy to help, once you do decide to stick your shovel in the ground. Just be in touch! Llyn and ChrisReplyDelete
Your work is making a lot sense not a lot$.ReplyDelete
It is of great importance of this insensible world of human creation. We would love to learn from you and do our part in reversing the chaos in our body, our society and our planet.ReplyDelete
We heard about you from Rob, guy with a basket of veggies hanging in front of him. We met him at Portland Saturday Market. Great guy, very warming personality.ReplyDelete
Hi Jian - thanks for your comments of support. Yes! small actions done by many people around the planet can begin to turn the tide back to a more sustainable relationship between people and the Earth. If you haven't seen it already, you might enjoy this video-interview with us by Peak Moment TV. LINK: http://tinyurl.com/qgynsnc Be well - Llyn and ChrisDelete
Yes, very unstable & uncertain times as we go down this evolutionary journey with the power of choice which no other species on Earth has been granted. This truly gives me hope, knowing we have true stewards of our Mama Gaia who deeply value life over excessive profits. I've had many dreams of eternal gardens/complex ecosystems which I deeply believe we will all return to and be able to live in peace. It is people believing, respecting and appreciating in the True Wealth of Life that has been given to us by the Great Creator which will endure over all else. Afterall, we are trapped in the Mayan Law of Duality in which Creation and Destruction co-exist but unfortunately more and more destruction has become the more dominant force before we truly transcend & merge with the Great Creations. Thank you for sharing and creating such a wholesome,and deeply nurturing garden of abundance, health and true wealth!ReplyDelete
I hope to come visit and help out in your most beautiful, bountiful garden with you!
Dear Loretta - It would be a great joy for you to come visit and garden with us! Just saw the latest -Star Wars- episode, -The Last of the Jedi- and loved that line...something like, It's time to stop fighting what we hate, and begin nurturing what we love -. Seems like we need to put our energy into building the alternative world so that, as the old world crumbles, there's something healthy and strong to take its place. Much love, Llyn and ChrisDelete