How I Became Simple

I think I always wanted to live simple, just things got in the way…

At times I would do things like bake my bread, make yogurt, sew my clothes.  Most of the time these things were done because I never have had much money, so I had to do things the “cheap” way.  Most of my adult life I had a fulltime job.  I had children.  My husband had a lot of health problems and did not work or do very much around the house.

Then, in 2001 I lost my last full time job at the age of  50.  We live in a Detroit Michigan suburb and the economy around here was starting to go down the drain.  It has never recovered.  So any dream I had of finding a full time job (especially at my age) was pretty much a waste of time.  So I started working at home making websites.  I did work part time at a couple of different jobs, but I hated them.  Being a cashier in a grocery store for minimum wage was not for me.  Then I partnered up with a gentleman who sent me website work to do on a regular basis.  He asked me what was the minimum amount of money I needed every week and he paid me that.  If there was more work, great, but at least I could count on the minimum while I was learning to live very simple.  He died suddenly 6 months ago, but I was left with the regular clients we had and am managing to keep just about the same income I had with him.

My first garden

My first garden

In the meantime, I started doing more simple living things around the house.  Cooking from scratch, more sewing, small things.   Then the food scare started.  It started with tomatoes for me.  The ones in the store dissappeared and that summer I planted my own, along with a couple of other things.  My first vegetable garden was quite small, but I was impressed by what I got from it.  That winter I did a lot of online reading about organic vegetable gardening.  That was when I found blogs like Little Homestead In The City, down–to–earth, and others.  I was very impressed by what other people were doing in their yards in the city.  The next summer I dug up more of my backyard and planted heirloom seeds I bought online.  More success!  So much so that I canned up a lot of tomatoes, made pickles, and froze some other items from my garden.  It wasn’t enough for the whole next 6 months, but it certainly made a dent in my grocery bill!

Way too much lettuce that season!

Way too much lettuce that season!

I also started making sure I bought locally and organically if at all possible.  I composted our scraps and cardboard.  My garden this year will be the majority of our backyard, I am hoping it will be an even greater success, enough to last us through the winter and next spring.  I am now 59, my last kids are grown, although they still live at home, and unfortunately are both now unemployed.  Money is still tight.  But that’s ok, because we don’t need much.  I have been trying to teach them what I have learned too.

In between working on websites from my little home office, I do the simple things like gardening, sewing, knitting, cooking.  To me life is the best it has ever been!  I don’t leave home often, I don’t spend hardly anything at all except what is required. The clothes I wear are old.   It would be really nice if I had enough money to visit my 2 other children and 5 grandchildren on the other side of the USA, but I will have to settle for Skype visits.

My gardening buddy, Jack, sunbathing

My gardening buddy, Jack, sunbathing

May 23rd, 2010
  1. May 24th, 2010 at 16:09 | #1

    Hi Terry-

    I found your blog from Rhonda’s simple living post as you had commented there.

    I’m sorry to hear about how the tough economy in Detroit has affected you. I grew up in the Detroit suburbs and still have a tough time going home and seeing how things have changed.

    Anyway, I thought you might be interested in a blog I’ve been helping with recently. It’s called Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen, and it’s an ongoing discussion of simple living- cooking and gardening practices.

    If you’re on Facebook, join her group as well. There’s already a great community of simple living women there sharing in great conversation!!/mariasfarmcountrykitchen?ref=ts

  2. terry
    May 24th, 2010 at 16:22 | #2

    Hi Dana!
    Thanks for visiting 🙂 The economy here is bad but it is everywhere. I feel bad for the young people as I see nothing but unsettledness for them.

    I will definitely be taking a look at the website you mentioned. I love to read the blogs, don’t have much inclination to write myself, too busy reading!

  3. May 25th, 2010 at 06:40 | #3

    I also came here from Rhonda’s blog. I am sorry that things have been tough for you. I’m 61, and may lose my job of 13 years next year as the economy has really killed the business. I’ve already been cut back in time and had my hourly/daily wage cut also, but at least I still have a job.

    I love your veggie garden and wish you well in all areas of your life. It is encouraging to read what others are doing in these leaner times.


  4. terry
    May 25th, 2010 at 09:24 | #4

    Hello Flower Lady!
    Thanks for coming by and visiting. I really enjoy reading about others who follow the simple path to happiness. Rhonda’s blog is my very favorite, it never fails to inspire me. I hope you find your way in these lean times. I have never been happier!

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