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An Urban Cheesemaker’s Garden (AKA, the housing market and all of my hobbies)

August 8, 2010

So it seems like forever that Jeff and I have been wanting to buy a home but it never seems to be the right time.

First, the market was insane and even though the banks would’ve approved us for a gigantic loan, we could not have afforded payments and would probably be in the trouble lots of people are now…

3 years later, the home prices came down a bit but we didn’t see homes we could afford where we wanted to live in Portland and I still had lots of student loan debt. We decided to wait just a little longer, pay off my loans and see what the market continued to do.

1.5 years after that we’d paid off my loans just in time for the $8,000 tax credit so we jumped into a search. It was madness, everyone seemed to be thinking the same thing and I don’t like the feeling of scrambling and competing for something, I find it undignified (traffic, lines at the grocery store etc.). The houses were overpriced and they were flying off the market before we could even give them a thought. Jeff and I saw over 40 houses in two months. We’d find one, someone else was quicker to buy. Ick. The tax credit ended, we waited to see the prices adjust as well as new inventory.

Fast forward almost another 6 months, prices have adjusted and the majority of homes in our price range are short sales and foreclosures. We’re so ready, we want a little dog, a couple of chickens and the point of this unnecessarily long story…A GARDEN!! So, we’re back in the hunt, prices are good and so are interest rates, we’re seeing homes in neighborhoods we want,  we’re debt free, there’s no scramble and crazy competition but now it’s about the right home for the right price.

basil and thyme

first tomato!

first tomato!

Who knows how much longer it will be. Now I know though, that I can live the way I want, wherever I am. I don’t need to live in the country or have a ton of land to do the things I enjoy and I’m really glad I learned that.

With the help of my surprising patience I have created quite a little farm life in our apartment and stoop (NO yard whatsoever). As you know I make cheese and run a cheese supplies business. I also bake pies, ferment pickles and sauerkraut, make jam, kombucha and apple cider (some of these things more often than others) and I even compost with the help of a small worm bin.

We’re members of a local farm so we get great produce for 26 weeks out of the year. I also get to visit goats and have fresh milk just 8 minutes from my apt. This all adds to my quality of life but I still wanted to see plants grow! So, for the last two years I have planted a tiny garden in a retired curbside recycling bin. It contains two tomato plants, one cherry and one small tomato, as well as chives, dill and in separate pots, thyme and basil- as you can probably tell, these crops main purpose is to accompany the cheese I make. It’s been a good solution and has added more country flair to my apartment reality.

I encourage you to live the way you want to live now, even if it’s in a small way. Hang tomatoes from a hook, grow herbs in your window sill, use containers in a balcony- you will enjoy the fruits of your limited labor (quite literally speaking) and will hopefully enjoy living in the now instead of thinking your real life begins when you have land.  We only have THIS moment right?

Check out the pictures of my farm food projects below. I would love to hear about how you creatively live a country life in an urban setting!

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